Hairdresser reveals how her hands and feet wouldn't stop growing !!! - Sabi Tips


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Hairdresser reveals how her hands and feet wouldn't stop growing !!!

A hairdresser has revealed how a tumour on her brain led to her HANDS and FEET growing.

Lauren Bates, 26, from New Romney, Kent, couldn’t understand why every time she bought a new pair of shoes, she would have outgrown them within a few weeks.

And she found it impossible to squeeze her favourite jewellery onto her expanding fingers.

After constant trips to the doctor, over the years, she was diagnosed with the rare condition acromegaly – meaning her body produces too much of growth hormone.

It is caused by a tumour on the pituitary gland in the brain and means the body it is unable to control the amount of hormone that is produced.

Remarkably, she was diagnosed, after a consultant compared her Facebook snaps going back to 2007 and noted in more recent pictures, she had an enlarged nose and excess tissue in her face.

Lauren explained: “I was buying new shoes all the time, because my old ones were too tight.

“I couldn’t understand it at all. I thought your feet would stop growing when you reached adulthood, but mine just wouldn’t stop.” Although doctors believe the condition began when Lauren was around 16 or 17, she first noticed something was wrong around her 18th birthday.

Lauren said: “My grandad Frank got me a really nice ring for my 18th birthday but, within weeks, I couldn’t get it on. I had to buy shoes all the time as well. I was putting it down to things like it being hot and my hands and feet swelling.”

Slowly, Lauren’s feet grew from a size six when she was 17 to a size nine when she was 24 and other symptoms started to plague her life. She explained: “I had constant headaches. I was training to be a hairdresser and determined to finish my course, but I was constantly getting migraines.

It was one of those things that you think just happens and I wasn’t really getting any answers from doctors.”

Lauren was also struggling with her weight, going from a size 12 to size 16 in a few years, despite exercising almost every day and eating a low-fat diet. She said: “I weighed too much, but I was exercising all the time and barely eating anything. The weight just wasn’t coming off. That was due to the condition, but I didn’t know that. I was at the age where I wanted to look nice but no matter what I did, it wasn’t working.”

For years, Lauren battled with her health problems. Then, turning 22 and still struggling for answers, she decided she needed a dramatic change of scenery.

“I decided to give up my job and go travelling for 18 months,” she said. “I thought doing something different might help, but I gradually got worse. Six months before the end of the trip, I reached a real low and decided to come home. “When I got home my mum Elaine, 52, was shocked. She said I just didn’t look like me anymore. My face was different and I wasn’t myself at all.”

Doctor’s surgery administrator Elaine took her back to the GP and together they tried to explain everything that was happening. A blood test showed high levels of the pro-lactin her blood and she was referred to an endocrinologist at Buckland Hospital, Dover.

Just a few weeks later, in January 2015, Lauren sat down with the specialist for the first time. When he asked to see an old picture, she scrolled through her Facebook profile photos with him. Lauren added: “He immediately said, ‘Have you ever heard of acromegaly?’ I had no idea what it was but, as he listed off the symptoms, I said I had every one.”

Scans showed that Lauren had a tumour on her pituitary gland that was causing her to produce too much growth hormone. The tumour was 7cm, the size of a credit card, which was much bigger than those in most other people with the condition, and had grown around her brain and optic nerve.

“They told me I was going to need to have brain surgery and I was frightened. But they also said I was lucky to be alive, so I wanted to have it as soon as possible. They told me they wouldn’t be able to remove it all but they could de bulk as much as possible. “ Just two weeks later, in March 2015, surgeons at King’s College hospital, London, removed the bulk of the tumour through Lauren’s nose.

April 2015, she had another operation, this time open surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible from the more delicate areas of her brain. Then a third operation in May 2015, left her with just 1cm of the tumour remaining.

Surgery was followed by four weeks of radiotherapy at St Thomas’ hospital, London and Lauren was the first person in the UK to be prescribed a drug called Pasireotide, for acromegaly, which helps to stop the tumour regrowing and keeps her symptoms at bay. “It has helped massively. My headaches have been reduced really well and I have been able to start going back to work as a hairdresser part time.

The medication has really helped will all of that. I will have to keep taking it long term,” she said. However, the condition has caused some long-term damage. She said: “It will take a long time for my hands and feet to go back to how they were and they might never shrink in size. I have also lost the sight in my right eye. It is hard but I think other people are affected much worse and I feel quite lucky.”

This year, Lauren has met with other sufferers of acromegaly to support each other and discuss how it affects them.

Acromegaly sufferers are supported by UK-wide patient support charity the Pituitary Foundation. They say symptoms like headaches, nausea, poor concentration, irritability, tiredness, problems sleeping, lack of appetite, sexual and fertility difficulties, depression, increased thirst and excessive urination could be a sign of a problem. 

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