Help Jose Beat Acromegaly (tumor)

Anyone who has met my husband Jose will make the following observations: He is quiet until you get to know him, he will give you the shirt off his back, he has a huge heart...and his hands are just as huge as his heart! For the past three years our family just thought that Jose's incredibly large hands were God's gift to a man who loves working in the outdoors. However, on May 9th, 2014 we were called back into the local endicrinologist office to discuss the results of some lab tests that an allergist recommended to determine why Jose was suffering from constant head aches. It was then we heard the word that has changed our life forever: "Acromegaly." Jose was diagnosed with acromegaly, a rare pituitary tumor which basically "hi-jacks" the pituitary gland and begins producing large amounts of growth hormone. This disease is often called "gigantism" when it is diagnosed as a child. However, when this tumor grows an adult the major bones have already fused into place which means that other parts of the body begin to grow quickly...especially hands, feet, and facial features.

In Jose's case, his body is producing almost 5 times more growth hormone that one would expect from a growing 12 year old boy. Many of his other hormones have been "choked out" and his body is having a hard time fighting the loss of these critical hormones. The neurosurgeon at UNC Chapel Hill told us that Jose is in need of immediate surgery because the tumor is significantly larger than anticipated for a 27 year old and is already pressing on his optic nerves which could cause vision loss in the near future.  In less than a month we have faced many fears and learned that immediate surgery is necessary to save Jose's life. The doctors explained that  acromegaly is a slow acting terminal disease IF NOT TREATED. However, with appropriate treatment acromegaly can be controlled and Jose will continue to enjoy a full and active life. 

The tumor caused Jose's hand size to grow so fast in the past year that he went up two complete ring sizes...from a 13 to a 15...and two complete shoe sizes...from an 8.5 to 10.5 .  His tongue is swollen which has caused severe sleep apnea, his entire body aches from the hormone imbalances, and he pushes through long work days with excrutiating head aches. The doctors say that surgery is the only option to keep Jose's entire body from breaking down completely. 

In June 2014 Jose undwent his first surgery and now we are heading into a second surgery (February 9, 2016) and possibly a series of radiation treatments this spring. Life long treatement is a scary thought but we are thankful for every day God gives us.Thank you all for being such a special part of our lives and this journey....

Sincerely,
-Marie (wife and author of this post)
-Nayelyn (adoring 5 year old daughter)
-Jose (the most amazing man and father we know.)
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Organizer

JoseandMarie Palacios 
Organizer
Hickory, NC
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