Saturday, March 5, 2011

Adrenal Insufficiency from a Child's Perspective

Thousands of teens struggle each year to come up with good essays for college entrance exams. There are questions about accomplishments and overcoming obstacles. Many soon-to-be adults struggle to define or appreciate any life threatening or altering experiences they have had because they simply have not had them. Kids with adrenal insufficiency face barriers that normal kids do not. As parents we often wonder if they grasp the seriousness of their situation while at the same time wanting to encourage them to reach for their dreams and do the things they love. When 10 year old Landon was asked to write an essay about "breaking barriers", he captured the heart of what it is like to live with a disease and persevere. Sometimes you can't go through, you can't go around, you can't go under- sometimes you just have to break through and Landon is doing just that!  If this doesn't win the contest, I don't know what will!
My Barrier
By Landon Adzima


I bet you don’t know what Addison’s Disease is. John F. Kennedy had it and so do I. It is a rare, life threatening disease.

When you have Addison’s disease, your body won’t produce Cortisol (Adrenaline). Cortisol helps your body respond to extreme stress such as; trauma, injuries, broken bones, sickness and intense physical activity. As a result, I have to take medicine three times every day to replace the Cortisol my body doesn’t produce. In addition, I have to carry a crisis kit that includes a shot of Hydrocortisone (not the cream for itching), pills of Hydrocortisone, an Epipen, and an inhaler. I also wear a Medic Alert Bracelet at all times that has my medical issues engraved on it.

One big problem I have with this disease is fatigue. If I have a lot of physical activity, I don’t eat often or don’t get enough sleep I become very fatigued. I have been hospitalized because of my disease. When I get really sick my body can’t take it very well. I have to get my medicine through an IV. It can be scary.

After telling you about my disease, you would never think I would be a wrestler. Well I am a wrestler! The one major thing that is hard about wrestling is the constant pounds I take to the mat and the complex body bending moves. I also get fatigued so easily during and after matches. For example, one time I had a rough first match and got so fatigued that I was not able to recover physically in between matches. I ended up losing my next match and was wiped out for the rest of the weekend. In order to prevent this I have to take double or triple doses of my medicines. This is called Stress Dosing.

There is no sport to compare to wrestling. It is the roughest, most strenuous sport. My teammates are phenomenal! When I am wrestling the whole team is cheering for me. When another teammate is wrestling the whole team is cheering for him. My coach says there is no sport where the team is so close and teamwork is so important. The team is not a team it is a family.

Although wrestling is a tough sport, and even tougher for me because of my disease, I still have persistence and determination. I am always determined to try my best and have fun. I also work my hardest every single practice and tournament. I am persistent to keep wrestling no matter how I feel physically. In wrestling you win some matches and you lose some matches. When I do lose, it breaks my heart. My coach and teammates always tell me to keep my head up no matter what.

Most of the people that know about my disease and the conditions I have to overcome are amazed that I am a wrestler. Thanks to my pastor, my family, my team and many other people, I have been able to overcome this tough and exhausting barrier and I am able to do what I love-Wrestle!


  1. Landon,

    I am a 42 year old woman with Addison's disease and I have to say that you are pretty amazing. Your paper is informative and interesting. It sounds as if you are learning how to manage your disease the best you can and to enjoy life fully. Keep it up. Your family must be so proud of you!!!

    Lana C.

  2. Whitney,
    Thank you so much for posting Landon's on your awesome blog. This is my first chance to get to your blog. It is truly amazing and I am so glad you are doing this. I am so glad we have each other to lean on, bounce thoughts off of, pray for and support one another. It is a special group of people with even more special children.

    I am Landon's mom and yes, we are so proud of him. He has been through so much and is only 10. He is finally understanding his disease and accepting it and all that comes with it. We work really hard at encouraging to do anything he wants (even though sometimes I just want to shelter him). He is a very strong boy and very courageous!

    It is so nice to hear from adults with this disease, as this gives me hope for my son's future. Thanks for commenting!

  3. All credit for the blog goes to Jen! If anyone needs a place to share a story, please feel free to let us know. We all have different experiences with this, but knowing that we go through many of the same emotions can really help each other! And Landon's story will help our kids as they grow up :)