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Meet Thsarubla: The tallest Naga girl

By Our Correspondent Updated: Sep 02, 2018 11:43 pm
Thsarubla Sangtam with her family members and a family friend at Salangtem Ward, Mokokchung. (EM Images)

Mokokchung, Sep. 2 (EMN): Towering over her folks, this eighteen years old teenager, C Thsarubla Sangtam, might enter the elite group of tallest persons in the region with an astounding height of 6 feet 10 inches. She could still be growing.

Thsarubla was born on October 15, 1999, to J Chokhase Sangtam and Rebecca Sangtam. The family moved to Mokokchung town when she was only a month old from Longkhim sub-division in Tuensang district. Other members of the family including her parents and one sister were all of average size.

Her father is a daily wage earner and mother, a homemaker, while her sister is currently pursuing her studies at Queen Mary Higher Secondary School at twelfth standard.

Thsarubla’s incredible growth spurt did not start until he was 10 years old. Her parents disclosed that Thsarubla became very sick when was studying at IV standard and for which they took her to every hospital in the state for three years.

The parent did not notice the changes taking place in their daughter, who began to outgrow than her school mates as they were more concern about her poor health.

However, Thsarubla’s massive height came with a price. She was suffering from a rare disease called Acromegaly – a serious condition that occurs when the body produces excessive growth hormones.

Growth hormone is released from the pituitary gland in the brain. When the gland is damaged by a tumour, for example, it releases too much or too little hormone. The effects of over-production include large hands, a thickening of the bones and painful joints.

Other effects of this condition include enlargement of jaw and other facial bones; overgrowth of bone and cartilage in the joints, causing arthritis, back pain, and curvature of the spine (kyphosis); swelling of the face, lips, and tongue; breathing problems during sleep (sleep apnea); thickening of the skin; carpal tunnel and other nerve entrapment syndromes; and enlargement of body organs such as the heart, thyroid gland (goitre), liver, and kidneys.

“Our daughter was very seriously bedridden. She had severe headaches, high temperature and most of the time in unconscious state. We took her to various doctors for diagnoses.

“In 2009, a doctor in Zion Hospital & Research Centre, Dimapur, discovered a tumour in the pituitary gland of the brain after her Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan,” her mother told this Correspondent.

“She was referred to a neurological institute in Guwahati for immediate treatment, however, our family cannot afford such luxurious treatment for our dear daughter,” said the mother.

After a harsh time of sickness and rigorous treatment for many years, Thsarubla resumed her studies. She came to notice about her height when she was in VIII standard. “I wonder why I looked different from other kids of my age,” bewildered Thsarubla said.

Sadly, Thsarubla’s days in school came to an end when she was studying in the X standard. She disclosed, “I have to stay bedridden for a week if I attended the day-long classes… My body could not bear the pain in my joints because of sitting for long hours.”

“I want to become a veterinary doctor, I love animals but I have to quit my studies,” Thsarubla shared her regrets.

These days, Sangtam mostly remained confined in her house expending time with her kittens and helps her mother in household chores. She is often visited by kids around her localities with candies and edible foods items during holidays.

To a query why she does not want to go outside and mingle with people, Thsarubla replied, “When I go outside, I received long stares from people because I looked different and they are naturally curious about me, which made me uncomfortable.

“I am angry of my massive height and just want to be normal like others,” she added.

Imchawati Kichu, a social worker, said that he takes Thsarubla to various programmes to enable her accept her condition and be sociable with others.

Kichu is a managing director of Care & Support Society, who first met Thsarubla and her family in 2016. He had helped her get certified for person with disabilities.

As for the disadvantages to Thsarubla’s height, she complained about not finding the right size of clothes or shoes that fit her and extremely difficult to fit into a regular-size car or bed. “I have to sleep diagonally because my bed is just 6 feet,” she said.

On measuring her height, it stood-out 6 feet 10 inches and one of her foot measured 1 foot 4 inches. Sangtam said, “I felt I am taller than last year.”

Thsarubla’s father said he had to place order special size foot wears for her from a local cobbler in Dimapur and wear clothes stitched by her mother.

According to Dr. Kilangwapang, a medicine specialist in IMDH, if the tumour in the pituitary gland of the brain ruptured or bleed, the patient might suddenly die. He also said if the tumour becomes bigger, it might affect the nearby structure which can cause server consequences.

Doctor said that the patients need immediate MRI scanning to locate the tumour and undergo extensive surgery to remove it from the gland. He asserted that such treatment is extremely expensive and even after successful surgery the patient needs extensive medication which comes around INR 30000 to 40000 for an injection per month.

It is said that a tumour intricacy in her body made Thsarubla a monstrous lady to accomplish such height. She is currently recuperating and carrying on with her life joyfully.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Sep 02, 2018 11:43:20 pm