My son Matthew is 26 years old and was diagnosed with Klinefelter syndrome when he was 14 years old. I credit his pediatrician who thought that his enlarged breast tissue was something more than just puberty. He sent us off to CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) where we received his diagnosis. At the time, there was very little information out there and the Internet, as we know it today, did not exist. I researched as best I could, and explained what I had learned to Matthew. I did this so he understood that Klinefelter syndrome was not anything bad. Matthew started Testosterone Replacement Therapy.
Finding the right medium was challenging though. He tried patches, cream and then finally injections. Matthew continues taking the injections to this day. It broke my heart to see Matthew being teased and bullied. At the age of 16 I took Matthew to see a doctor at a Comprehensive Breast Care facility. We made the decision collectively to perform a double mastectomy for him to get rid of breast tissue. It didn’t change everything, but it sure did change a lot for Matthew. Matthew returned to school with a new found confidence. He tried college, but without special accommodations, he left after two semesters.
Matthew has been working for FedEx for the last 6 years. He has good pay, excellent benefits and the opportunity for advancement. At a Fall Mid Atlantic Support Group meeting, held at Nemours DuPont Hospital for Children in Delaware. We were told about Ryan Bregante and his positive messages on social media about Living with XXY. “I found Ryan on Instagram during the drive home and he has inspired me in many ways” -Matthew. We went back to the Spring Support Group meeting so that Matthew could meet Ryan in person. The two have quickly become friends and stay in contact with one another.
In Matthew’s own words, “ I’d like to tell you about my life’s two greatest accomplishments. First is flying and traveling alone. I had planned it for a while but never had the courage to do it before, but with the support from my mom and Ryan, I did it! I went to Nashville, TN for a long weekend. Once I got to my hotel room I had anxiety and felt home sick but with the support and encouragement from my mom and Ryan, I left my room and went on the most amazing adventure! I got to see and do everything I had wanted to do.
My second accomplishment is my weight loss journey. It’s been a hard struggle for me to loose weight, but I am now down over 20 pounds. I cut out a lot of sugar and eat less carbs. It helps having support from family and friends as well as an awesome trainer who pushes me to go beyond what I think I can do. I feel better about myself when I work out and I plan on keeping up with it and also plan on taking another trip back to Nashville to see even more things there, now that I know I can do it. I hope my story inspires anyone with anxiety to know anything we set our minds to is possible.” Written by Matthew and his Mother. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia