Living with Acromegaly and Symptom-Free, How Did She Do It?

Isn’t it it ironic that the rarest things in the world can also be the most severe? Acromegaly, for example.

When she was only 23, Jillian was diagnosed with a chronic daily headache. Doctors told her not to worry about anything more serious. She was given a medication and told to carry on with her young life, which she did.

And then she changed jobs and struggled with the stressful hours. The headaches returned, to the point that they affected her quality of life—time spent with her new boyfriend, at work, and at home. She sought answers from medical professionals, only to be turned away with nothing.

Natural remedies, a chiropractor, an osteopath, UV-protection sunglasses, a new bed—she tried it all to alleviate her symptoms. All failed.

smell jar plague cures bubonic acromegaly
You know those moments when you’re willing to try ANYTHING to help your symptoms? [Source: giphy.com]
Then, in March of 2006, she couldn’t take it any longer. New symptoms were cropping up–forgetfulness, fatigue, and clumsiness. Jillian had been a nurse. She knew the human body, and yet, she couldn’t seem to figure out her own.

Finally, after multiple tests and an appointment with an endocrinologist, she was diagnosed with acromegaly. Relief washed over Jillian—relief only someone who’d gone months without answers could feel.

Even as a nurse, she had never heard of her disease.

The doctors requested that Jillian bring in photos of herself from over the past ten years. Why? Because one effect of acromegaly is a change in facial structure. Jillian’s were extremely subtle, but when she looked at the pictures, she could see the difference.

Source: Australian Pituitary Foundation
If you’re familiar with acromegaly, you know that people with it tend to show abnormal growth in their appendages and face. Source: Australian Pituitary Foundation

After getting home the doctor’s office, Jillian immediately took to the internet for answers–about both her disease and treatment. What she really wanted, however, was to talk to someone else living with her conditions.

And then, get this… In the process of telling family and friends about her diagnosis, Jillian got a call from her general practitioner, who wanted to apologize for not diagnosing her sooner. Have you ever heard THAT before? I have to give major props to that doctor for having the humility to admit she was wrong. Of course, Jillian was more than forgiving.

To make a long, harrowing story short, by 2011, after years of treatment and procedures, Jillian had gotten married to the man who had never left her side, had a baby, and achieved a status of “symptom-free.” She’s also finally met other people just like her, living with acromegaly.

“Life hands out challenges to everyone,” she says. “Acromegaly is mine. Although life had been more challenging prior to diagnosis and during my treatment. I am very lucky that, at present, my disease is not much of a challenge and I hope for it to stay that way.”

Read Jillian’s entire story here.


Lady Kehveen Abernathy

Lady Kehveen Abernathy

Lady Kehveen Abernathy, of noble birth (or so she’d like to believe), is what many would call a youthful “old soul.” As a self-proclaimed “caregiver to the world,” impassioned about life, triumph, and all things beauty, Lady Kehveen strives to love others, seek understanding, and most importantly, spread awareness. But don’t let her sweet demeanor deceive you. Dressed to the nines over corset and petticoat, she’s made it her mission to defend the innocent and fight all things evil on this Earth. And being no stranger to chronic disease, she knows exactly where to start.

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