Health

Christina Speirs Learns Tumor Producing Hormones Was Behind Her Not Needing Sleep

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A college student who was in great shape no longer felt tired, but the reason why had nothing to do with her exercise regimen.

Christina Speirs exercised almost every single day, taught yoga and stayed in top shape, according to Mail Online. She assumed her inability to stay asleep was from her constant workouts, but it turned out to be a cancerous tumor inside her that was producing hormones.

ABC News reported that doctors first noticed a problem at Speirs' annual checkup in the fall of 2012 when they found that her potassium levels were low, but her blood pressure was "through the roof."

The 22-year-old Speirs went for more tests and a sonogram technician told her that she needed an MRI immediately because she suspected Speirs had one large combined kidney instead of two normal-sized kidneys. The MRI showed that Speirs had two kidneys, but unfortunately had a 10-centimeter tumor.

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Speirs then met with Dr. William Inabnet, co-director of the Adrenal Center at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. When he found out that the tumor was producing two hormones (cortisol and aldosterone) the doctor was worried that the tumor was cancerous.

The tumor was on her adrenal gland and it was making the hormones that kept her up at night.

The operation to remove the tumor was scheduled for October 31, 2012, just a couple of days after Superstorm Sandy had hit the New York City area. The hospital was packed and most regular surgeries were cancelled, but her doctor came through and performed the surgery.

Inabnet said he removed the stage 2 cancer and the doctor describing the tumor as "sticky" because it stuck to Speirs' liver. It’s called an adrenal cortical carcinoma, and the tumor she had affects one in several hundred thousand people, he said.

"I didn't even care that there was no electricity," Speirs said of recovering in the aftermath of the storm. "I was just happy to be alive."

Speirs is still cancer-free more than a year later and she takes medication to be sure the cancer doesn't return.

Sources: ABC News, Mail Online