Woman reveals the awful reason why her hands and feet wouldn’t stop growing
Chloe Powell has an unusual problem. The petite 26-year-old midwife has been cursed with an extremely bizarre condition. Most people stop growing once they reach the age of 18, when their hormones finally level out and they become adults. Although Chloe didn't grow any taller, she was shocked and disturbed when she realised that her hands and feet were slowly growing larger and larger, swelling to gigantic proportions.
The growth process had been so gradual that she didn't notice how extreme things were until 2015, when she and her sister Tiffany went to visit a jeweller's shop in London, and Chloe realised that none of the rings in the shop were able to fit on her chubby fingers. Concerned, she consulted her doctor, who seemed baffled by her strange circumstances. But even worse was the fact that nothing seemed to be able to halt the process, and within months Chloe had gone up at least two shoe sizes.
It was a genuine medical mystery - yet it was one whose origins stretched as far back as 2014 when Chloe suddenly stopped menstruating. She was initially told that this was the result of something called 'polycystic ovary syndrome' - in which harmless follicles develop in the ovaries and cause fertility problems.
Not knowing that she had been misdiagnosed, Chloe went travelling, but within a few weeks, she realised that something was wrong, as she experienced extreme fatigue and severe headaches while abroad. Returning home, she found that her face, hands, and feet had become puffy and swollen. She returned to the doctors, who performed tests on her. That was when they discovered the awful truth.
After Chloe had an MRI scan, doctors discovered that there was actually a tumour growing around the pituitary gland in her brain - the gland which excretes the body's growth hormone endocrine. In September of 2016, surgeons performed a complex four-hour-long operation to remove the benign growth. She has since been diagnosed with Addison’s disease, a rare adrenal gland disorder, and is on medication to cope with the effects.
Commenting on her condition in a recent interview, Chloe stated: "Looking back on it now, I should have questioned it more, but it made sense at the time ... Everything looked very puffy. The skin on my face was very coarse and my nose was getting bigger – rather than growing longer, like Pinocchio, it was big and puffy. It all happened slowly, so I didn’t really notice it until I looked back at pictures from the time ... I thought I was dehydrated, but I was drinking litres of water a day and it wasn’t helping."
She added: "The surgery was scary, but I was getting worse and, by the time of the operation, my feet had grown to a size 9,” Chloe said. The operation was a success, as they managed to remove a tumour, but there was permanent damage to my pituitary gland. My reproductive system, thyroid and adrenal system, which produces the steroid hormone cortisol, have all stopped working properly."
However, Chloe has been supported over the years by the Pituitary Foundation and has used her Instagram blog to spread awareness about her condition. She's also pledged to climb Mount Snowdon in Wales, in order to raise money for PF. To make a donation, please visit Chloe's Just Giving page here.