New Delhi: A look in the mirror started giving nightmares to Renu Sharma. Her lips were growing bigger, facial features were getting distorted, eyes were bulging out - she'd begun to dread her own reflection.

After a visit to a cosmetologist and a physician, she was diagnosed with brain tumour. “It was in June that I started noticing changes in my facial features. Thinking this was because of heat, the first thought that came to my mind was consulting a cosmetologist,” Sharma, a homemaker said.

“But then I was advised to go to a physician. An MRI was done,” Sharma, 33, said.

In a report that shocked her, it was revealed that Sharma had benign tumour in the pituitary gland of the brain.

“The tumour is known as Pituitary Adenoma. Excessive production of the growth hormone in the pituitary gland leads to changes in physical features,” Sudhir Tyagi, senior consultant of neurosurgery said.

The pituitary gland is responsible for the production and release of hormones such as growth hormone.

It was not just changing physical features that hinted at Sharma's deteriorating health condition, she also complained of piercing headache and weakness in limbs.

Experts term the condition as Acromegaly. The metabolic disorder, which causes enlargement of body tissues, has a rare occurrence of six per 100,000 adults.

The mother of two was recently operated at Apollo hospital and is now back at her Noida residence.

“We rarely see tumour cases resulting in changes in the facial and physical features of the patient. The patient was immediately taken for a minimal invasive skull-based surgery where we made incision through the nose to remove the tumour,” Tyagi explained.

The surgery costs around Rs.200,000 in India.

“The difficult part is that we have not been able to ascertain the cause of the tumour. The patient slowly regains old features if diagnosed on time,” the doctor said.

In cases where the diagnosis is done late, the distortion of the face can be permanent, apart from causing vision loss.

For Renu, life is limping back to normalcy after almost a month in hospital. She looks more or less her previous self, picks her 10-year-old son from school, cooks for her family, and plans to live life to the hilt.

“Life had come to a standstill. I used to think I will die any minute because of the abrupt change in my appearance. There was swelling in limbs as well,” Sharma recalls the dreadful moments.

“All I knew was that I have to live for my children,” says Sharma, with eyes welling up.

(Agencies)