An Illness That Takes All

Brynn Gartner, in the blue New Year’s party hat, celebrates with her friends.

Brynn Gartner, in the blue New Year’s party hat, celebrates with her friends.

Micah Neasby, Reporter

Nobody likes to watch her friends play on the field while she is stuck on the sidelines because of an illness that she couldn’t control.

Such is the frustration faced by Brynn Gartner, a 14-year-old freshman at Bixby High School who draws, plays on the volleyball team and hangs out with her friends.

Last year, Gartner was diagnosed with iron deficiency, moderate vitamin D deficiency, hypothyroidism, asthma and borderline anemia. The amount of iron in her blood is low for an athlete. Her ferritin level is supposed to be between 12 and 150 nanograms per liter, but hers is at a 7. Ferritin is a blood protein that has iron in it, so low ferritin levels indicate that a person’s iron stores are low as well.

Hypothyroidism is a common disorder where the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone. The body processes slow down and make less energy, and metabolism becomes sluggish.

All of this makes Gartner exhausted and depressed. She sometimes falls asleep in class. Her loss of appetite compels her to eat fatty foods. Her doctors are surprised that she is even standing, let alone playing volleyball.

“I don’t really think about it that much; I just feel like crap all the time,” Gartner says.

Gartner had to quit club volleyball, which she has been in since the sixth grade, and soon she will have to quit high school volleyball because it has begun to tear her down mentally. She says the sport taxes her cardio system because of her asthma.

She has been to many doctors and she is being treated with 11 different pills a day. She takes five iron pills a day, three in the morning and two during lunch. She also takes two pills that help with depression and anxiety, along with two yellow pills, one big white pill and a B-12 pill. She also takes spoonfuls of cod liver oil and coconut oil every night. She hopes to get better in about six months.

Gartner’s friends and family are loving and praying that she will get better soon so she doesn’t have to quit what she loves to do.