A woman who became depressed when her chin, nose, feet and hands would not stop growing was shocked to hear that it was caused by a brain tumor.
Rebecca Churan, 29, wondered if it was all in her head when she noticed her facial features getting bigger every year.
Her feet went from a size eight and a half to a size 10 in her mid-twenties and her jaw line and chin were enlarged and chiseled more at the time.
The ordeal hit her self-esteem and she spent many birthdays in tears in panic about why she inexplicably & # 39; uglier & # 39; became.
Over the years, the social worker has visited more than 10 doctors, all of whom struggled to determine what caused the physiological changes.
Rebecca Churan, whose nose, chin and feet would not stop growing, was shocked to hear that it was caused by a brain tumor
Mrs. Churan (left, before her symptoms went up), 29, wondered if it was all in her own head when she noticed her facial features getting bigger every year (right)
The ordeal hit her self-esteem and she spent many birthdays in tears in panic about why she inexplicably & # 39; uglier & # 39; became
In March 2019, a CT scan revealed that she had a benign tumor on her pituitary gland – a part of the brain that releases hormones that control body growth. It caused her body parts to grow
She had been wrongly diagnosed with diabetes and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) – elevated male hormones in women.
At the end of March 2019, Mrs. Churan from Sudbury in Ontario, Canada received an IGF-1 blood test.
It measures the amount of insulin-like growth factor (IGF1) that controls tissue and bone growth in the body.
A typical reading should be between 97 and 297, depending on age, but Mrs. Churan's measurement came back no less than 1015.
Doctors tried to find out why she had such elevated levels and subsequent tests confirmed that she had a benign tumor on her pituitary gland – a part of the brain that releases hormones that control body growth.
The mass caused acromegaly, a rare condition where the body produces too much growth hormone and causes body parts to become abnormally large.
It affects around 325 people a year in the UK and 1,625 in the US. Churan believes she has been living with the condition for 15 years.
The mass caused acromegaly, a rare condition where the body produces too much growth hormone and causes body parts to become abnormally large
She had the tumor removed through her nose on April 6 and within a few months her hands, feet and features shrink back to normal size
Mrs. Churan & # 39; s hand measurements before and shortly after surgery to remove the tumor that secreted excess growth hormone
She hopes to encourage others with inexplicable symptoms to stay positive and look for answers
She had the tumor removed through her nose on April 6 and within a few months her hands, feet and features shrink back to normal size.
Mrs. Churan said: & I have seen more than ten doctors over the years who would simply treat my symptoms.
& # 39; I have made a wrong diagnosis with borderline diabetes, generalized anxiety disorder, depression and PCOS.
& # 39; I told this doctor that my face changed and I became more ugly and I didn't understand why I arrived because I barely ate.
WHAT IS ACROMEGALY?
Acromegaly is a rare condition in which the pituitary gland in the brain produces too much growth hormone.
It is usually caused by a non-cancerous tumor in the brain that affects the gland.
Acromegaly is usually diagnosed in people between 30 and 50 years old, but can occur at any age.
It is a rare condition with only about four to six new cases per million people diagnosed each year – about 325 people a year in the UK or 1,625 in the US.
Symptoms include swollen hands or feet, fatigue and sleeping problems, changes in facial features, numbness in the hands, abnormal menstruation in women, erection problems in men and headache or blurred vision.
Some symptoms can be caused by the tumor pressing on other parts of the brain.
Having the condition increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Treatment usually involves surgery to remove the tumor and relieve pressure on the pituitary gland.
Sources: NHS Choices; The pituitary gland
& # 39; She gave me a blood test and then called me back and told me I had a pituitary gland based on the results of that test.
& # 39; The tumor caused extreme fatigue, my anxiety, weight gain, the growth of my hands, feet, nose and chin.
& # 39; (Earlier this year) I went out for a birthday party with a group of friends … They all tried to cheer me up, but I cried uncontrollably and I knew something was wrong.
& # 39; My dear friend, Anisa, held my hand as we went from cafe to cafe and I remember that she asked me where my confidence had been since we met in college.
& # 39; Fortunately, she was there for me, because I would never have survived that night without encouraging me. & # 39;
Ms. Churan hopes to encourage others with unexplained symptoms to stay positive and look for answers.
She added: & # 39; There is really no information other than extreme cases online. There is hardly any awareness or tools to help people recognize the signs, so many cases are diagnosed as hormonal disorders.
& # 39; I saw the scariest photos of Andre the giant and others not treated early in the process. I was shocked, scared and hopeless.
& # 39; I had this tumor for more than 15 years based on the pictures I look back on, but I just thought it was the way I was aging at the time.
& # 39; I doubted my growth a few years ago when my feet shot up half a meter, but I had also arrived and I thought it must have been caused by water retention or my borderline diabetes diagnosis. & # 39;
& # 39; You have to stay positive and find hope in every way possible while fighting. I want people to understand that a simple blood test can often diagnose a pituitary tumor.
& # 39; Don't just accept a diagnosis without digging deeper and asking if anything else can be the cause. Never rate a book based on the cover, because those covers can be redrawn, just as more pages can be added to a story. & # 39;
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