Mystery Diagnosis

OWN Network – Mystery Diagnosis – Dangerous Growths : Case of Tanya Angus – Acromegaly


In 2006 Tanya Angus was a young, beautiful 18 year old teenager full of dreams and hopes for her future. Within a few short years, her path changed and her road was far more difficult. Struck by a rare disease, her world was toppled and she had to find a way to cope with her new reality. Here are a list of her personal symptoms and a brief version of the path she took to get a final diagnosis.

Some of the symptoms he showed over time:

  • One night while driving she got an intense headache. She had to pull the car over…it was that bad! When she did she could hear a horrible crackling in her head and then the pain subsided. – Doctor felt it could be stress and migraines.
  • Headaches continued about once a month.- Tanya figured it was the migraines.
  • Began a relationship with someone and moved out of state. There was no family around to see what was happening to her.
  • She noticed her shoe size was growing, as well as her clothes. Things would fit for a few months and then she would grow out of them.
  • Noticed her hands were growing and went to a local clinic. – Doctor saw nothing wrong.
  • Her relationship ended simply with a “you changed a lot” excuse. (He wasn’t very supportive or concerned about what she appeared to be going through.)
  • Arms, hands, legs…everything just seemed to keep growing.
  • She saw a new doctor and told him she was in pain, had grown 3 inches in a year and noticed visible changes in her facial feeatures. – Doctor felt it was a growth spurt and didn’t take her seriously.
  • Embarrassed of her changes, she decided to go back home. When she arrived at the airport, her sister did not even recognize her. Suddenly they were scared.
  • Family took her straight to a family friend and Pediatrician, Dr. Eleonor Cajita, MD. She took it seriously and ran a hormone and MRI test. Her level for growth hormones was off the chart. – Doctor Cajita found a tumor on pituitary gland at the base of her skull. 

Final Diagnosis:

  • Acromegaly- a rare disorder that causes extreme growth or giganticism.

 What is ahead for her:

  • There is NO cure. The pituitary gland normally regulates growth and it isn’t functioning properly.
  • The benign tumor on her pituitary gland causes the gland to secrete growth hormones constantly. Her body literally never stops growing.
  • In 2002, she had the dangerous surgery to remove the tumor, but couldn’t get it all. The parts that are left will continue to grow. In time, she will need the surgery again.
  • After 10 years, she finds herself standing at 6’11” and weighing 371 lbs.

Although Tanya Angus sees herself as a “frightened little girl who grew up to be a giant”, we can all see a beautiful and courageous woman!

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