Bixby Teen Stays Strong Through Challenging Disease

Makayla Andrew, Reporter

Osteogenesis imperfecta is a disease that can cause people to break their bones a lot more easily than others. Sometimes for absolutely no reason at all, Sophia Harrell, a Bixby High School sophomore, struggles with this rare disease.

Osteogenesis imperfecta is also known as brittle bone disease and has many painful, dangerous side effects, including loose joints, weak muscles, breathing problems, brittle teeth, a curved spine and not enough collagen.

“More than anything, my bones unexpectedly break at the smallest incidents,” Harrell.says.

Sophia Harrell

Harrell got diagnosed with this rare disease at age 4. Doctors believe it is inherited through her family members such as her grandfather and dad. Osteogenesis imperfecta has caused her to miss 30 days of school this year. Her most recent injuries were her easily broken ankle and fractured elbow. She manages school with doctor notes, medication and the help from staff catching her up on schoolwork.

This disease, involving a teenage girl on up to 12 medications, can cause depression.

“I have experienced these mental issues in the past but I learned how to cope with the help of medical support and antidepressants,” Harrell says.

In addition, visits to her bone doctor are monthly, sometimes even weekly, depending on how bad breakage or weakness gets. She gets medication updates if needed, bone and muscle checkups, and treatment for other body issues or pains that could cause something to break. For example, when Harrell is having leg pains and gets checked up regularly, she becomes cautious for any weak bones.

Along with all of this, Harrell struggles with allergy attacks.

“This causes me to stay cautious when I go out,” she says “To do this I carry an epiPen, pack extra medication and make sure I do not eat anything that could cause myself to react badly and possibly fall over, which could lead to a bad accident from my broken bones.”

Harrell describes her issues as difficult but says how she is accustomed to being careful and is glad to have people who know how they can help in case of an incident if she did hurt herself or have an allergic reaction.

Harrell goes through these diseases, side effects and painful times, but she knows how to handle them and feel safe within herself. Harrell wants people to know that no matter what you struggle with, medical or not, learn how to keep it under control and find any ways that could help. Get comfortable with yourself to fight through it and understand that it will be OK if you try.

Osteogenesis imperfecta is not something that can go away for good, but it is something that can be helped or have treatment suggestions.