Boerne Champion (TX) senior Molly Breuer didn't let adversity sideline her love for running. Despite having just about every season during high school ended early, she is in position to possibly win a state title with her team.
When you think of an athlete, you normally don't think of them having any deficiencies. They are in great physical shape, they take care of their bodies seamlessly, and they appear to be able to succeed no matter what obstacle is put in their path. For Molly Breuer, this couldn't have been further from the truth. An invisible enemy was stealing her ability to succeed in a sport she'd dedicated her life to and hampering her from flourishing side by side with her teammates.
It all started with severe anemia and a stress fracture in her leg at the end of cross country season her freshman year. Mom noticed Molly chewing/chomping on ice and complaining of being lethargic in workouts. Jenny, her mom was a college cross country/track coach for 16 years so she recognized the symptoms of iron deficiency. Molly saw a doctor and immediately started taking oral iron. She seemed to be improving enough with this treatment that the rest of her freshman year her running and health were on par for what she expected.
Then in her sophomore year during cross country, she had more pain in her lower leg. She went to the doctor again to discover it was another stress fracture in a different bone. Molly and her mom thought it was odd due to the fact she was not running a ton of mileage. Molly said, "it was like it appeared out of nowhere." Sadly, that injury ended her sophomore cross country season.
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Track season that year was when it all seemed to fall apart. Three weeks into training of strictly running on grass and doing half of her usual mileage, she had pain in her other shin bone and was diagnosed with another stress fracture. Mom knew by this time that something else had to be wrong and asked for a full blood panel to be run.
"Being sidelined while watching my teammates win the state championship and the countless seasons and races that I've missed out on has really fueled the fire inside me."
Molly Breuer, Boerne Champion senior
Around this time she made a trip to the ER due to unbearable stomach pain which doctors thought was appendicitis. While she was there, all kinds of tests were run and finally, they found the cause of her pain was an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's Disease. This is where the body attacks your thyroid. Molly's thyroid antibodies were really high so they gave her a prescription and names of specialists. Mom wasn't convinced they had uncovered all of the answers because Molly was still suffering from severe stomach pain.
Upon visiting a thyroid disease specialist, they discovered that if you have one autoimmune disease, chances are good that you will have more than one. The doctor told them that Molly's stomach lining had been stripped by gluten and she was fairly certain that Molly had Celiac Disease which is another autoimmune disease. That was when she stopped eating gluten because she said she never wanted to feel that way again. As it turns out, thyroid diseases run in families and Jenny's second daughter is allergic to gluten as well as having high antibodies in her thyroid, but it is not as damaged as Molly's, yet.