Pastry Chef Hopes to Whip Acromegaly In The Bud

At 23, Jessie Brenholt should be busy planning the rest of her life, such as marriage and having a family.

Instead, the 2012 graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts  is learning to live with a life-altering condition called acromegaly and gigantism after puberty.

The condition affects only 60 in one million people.

When the non-cancerous tumor was detected, Message Media explains she was just starting her career as a pastry chef, having received certification in patisserie and baking.

Jessie began having health issues, such as constant vomiting, fatigue, and weight loss about a year before her diagnosis in October 2014.

Her peripheral vision has also been impacted because the tumor put pressure on her optic nerve.  She has since undergone three brain surgeries to remove the tumor, the first being the most successful in that it removed 70% of the tumor. Now she is undergoing proton beam radiation therapy with the hope of eliminating the remnants.

Jessie struggles with depression and weight issues, as well as painful joints. Particularly bothersome is the pain in her wrist, given her profession as a baker.

Baker kneading dough
Often overlooked, baker’s have to do a lot with their hands. Whether kneading dough (as seen in the above example) or taking pans in and out of ovens, a baker’s hands are never really resting. Add acromegaly on top of that and you got your hands full!

She also suffers from secondary adrenal failure because her pituitary gland is non-functioning as a result of the tumor which is producing excess growth hormone. “It’s hard to be so young and go through something like this,” Jessie says in Message Media’s featured article.

It will be 2 – 5 years before she knows if the radiation therapy has worked, and in the interim, she is baking for family and friends, all the while, keeping a positive attitude. She receives regular injections to keep the growth hormone levels in her body in check.

Jessie’s mother Wendy said, “She’s really positive, and she’s looking to her future with lots of hope.”

Be sure to check out Jessie’s picture on’s site and the unbelievable before and after photos of her tumor.

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn is passionate about raising awareness of rare diseases and disorders and helping people connect with the resources that may ease their journey. Erica has been a caregiver, and is a patient, herself, so she completely relates to the rare disease community--on a deeply personal level.

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