By Sandra Birungi
Tanya Angus who suffered from a rare condition which made her giant has died at the age of 34.
Angus, a citizen of Las Vegas grew 7ft 11 inches tall and weighed more than 400lbs, approximately 181 kilograms. Her condition made it impossible for her to stop growing meaning she kept on growing as long as she lived.
The disease took a toll on her after 21. At 21, Tanya was just 5ft 8ins tall and weighed 130lbs. She rode horses, went dancing and had a boyfriend. She got a tumor which got wrapped around her pituitary gland, causing massive amounts of growth hormone to be released into her body, acromegaly.
She soon became wheelchair bound, was fired as a supervisor at a Walmart in Michigan and was dumped by her boyfriend when his parents questioned whether she was a man.
Her situation seemed to improve when in August last year, a blood test revealed that her growth hormone levels had fallen at last. Her mother, Karen Strutynski said at the time: “For the first time ever, Tanya’s blood level for her disease is in the normal range. It gives us renewed hope and will give other people renewed hope.” However, the good news did not last for long.
Tanya’s Insulin-like Growth Factor levels, which had fallen from 3,000 at the worst of her condition to just 283, had started to creep back up into the 500′s. The normal range for a healthy person is around 250. It is thought the extreme pressure on her body, caused by 12 years of coping with her huge size, caused her heart to fail.
Tanya’s website posted the sad news saying, “It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing on of our beloved Tanya Angus at 12.25am on January 14, 2013, due to her heart and TIA. RIP dear one.” Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is a type of mini-stroke, caused when the blood flow to the brain stops for a period of time and Tanya had suffered several.
Last year, Tanya said of her condition, “Sometimes I feel really down about it but to me the most important thing is that I have to tell people about it. I read emails that people send in saying: ”You’re my inspiration,” or, ”You are so strong.” If I am helping other people, I feel I can do anything.”
During the last 12 years, Tanya underwent three operations to attempt to remove the tumor, but several different surgeons were unable to reach part of the growth, as it was wrapped around her inner carotid artery. Her heart, lungs and the joints of her limbs continued to grow as she gained weight and height, causing huge strain on her body.
“I couldn’t understand why, as I wasn’t eating more. What was strange was that my feet seemed to grow as well. My face also started to swell and was changing.
‘I felt unhappy with my appearance and spent a fortune on make-up. My figure also started to change and become more manly and my voice became deeper.’
The 34-year-old, who loved jewellery and enjoyed regular swimming sessions which helped her body feel weightless, continued to remain hopeful throughout her life.
‘Without hope you don’t have anything,’ she is quoted as saying. ‘I hope they can stop me growing one day.’