Tanya Angus suffers from a rare disease that makes her body keep growing… and growing. At 33 years old, Angus is seven feet tall, weighs 400 lbs, and can barely walk under her own body weight. Now, there is some hope.
Ten years ago, Angus was diagnosed with acromegaly, a rare disease that causes gigantism in adults. Acromegaly affects about 20,000 Americans, causing growth, weight gain and the accumulation of fluids, which puts stress on several systems in the body. Patients are more prone to cardiac problems, hypertension and diabetes, according to Dr. Laurence Katznelson, professor of medicine and neurosurgery at Stanford University Hospital in California and medical director of its pituitary center, speaking to ABC News. For Angus, the disease was caused by an inoperable tumor pressing on her pituitary gland, causing her body to release too much human growth hormone. The CNN video above shows her startling transformation from a healthy, vibrant twenty-something to the woman she is today. Before the disease, Angus was only 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed 135 pounds, according to ABC News.
Over the last ten years, Angus has grown more than a foot and added close to 300 pounds to her frame, all due to the destructive disease. She has undergone three brain surgeries and radiation treatments in her battle against acromegaly. One 13-hour operation nearly killed her, and another caused a stroke that took away most of her hearing, ABC News reports.
Now, for the first time in a decade, Angus has stopped growing. Doctors have been treating her with a new drug that has kept the levels of growth hormone in Angus’ blood within the normal range. “This is such good news,” she told ABC’s Las Vegas affiliate KTNV.
While Angus still has a long road ahead of her, she no longer feels hopeless. “I read emails that people send in saying, ‘You’re my inspiration,’ or, ‘You are so strong.’” She says in the video. “If I am helping other people, I feel I can do anything.”