This post is long overdue, because writing it has stirred up many emotions for me. Publishing it makes it feel real and final and undeniable.
Tanya Angus passed away on January 14, 2013.
Tanya was an inspiration to me any many others across the acromegaly community. By being an acromegaly awareness activist, she saved lives and spared others from the suffering that comes with a delayed diagnosis. She went public with her struggles, which helped her fellow acromegaly patients remember we are not alone and that someone out there understands. By sharing her story, she taught people to be compassionate and non-judgmental towards others, because she opened up about all the things she has to deal with behind the scenes, and this could happen to anyone. Throughout her life, Tanya was a role model of grace, kindness, humor, dignity, and purpose in the face of adversity.
I followed Tanya's acromegaly journey online via her website, where I read updates and watched her appearances on TV shows and local news features. Many of the news articles that reported on her death noted her age: just 34 years old. Seeing all those headlines was a glaring reminder of how young she was and that acromegaly took her away from us too soon.
I had the honor of spending time with her in person twice in addition to a few brief phone calls. I dreamt of the day when we could have a big celebration together because a cure had been discovered- some procedure or drug that would work for all of us, permanently, and we would be free from the the pain, medication, side effects, medical appointments, tests, and emotional exhaustion that comes with the disease. Tanya is free of all of those things now, and remembering that is my only comfort as I consider her passing.
My heart goes out to her loving family, especially her mother Karen and godmother Tina. By taking care of Tanya, Karen and Tina also took care of the entire acromegaly community by extension, because Tanya's story raised awareness of our disease, got people to care, and helped them to understand what we go through. If there ever is a cure, it will be a result of Tanya, Karen, and Tina's efforts.
Rest in peace, Tanya. You are missed and will never be forgotten. You continue to inspire me even though you are no longer with us, and I hope that I can honor you by continuing your mission to educate others about this disease.