People Who Have Acromegaly Can Lead Meaningful, Fulfilling Lives, Mississippi Attorney Haley Zelenka Says
Living with any chronic disease can be a trial, Mississippi healthcare and family law attorney Haley Zelenka says, but people who have rare conditions confront a plethora of uniquely difficult challenges. Just getting an accurate condition can take years, and many people who have poorly understood illnesses like Zelenka’s acromegaly struggle with loneliness and isolation.
But some people with rare, challenging conditions learn how to overcome them and live great lives.
Many people who have acromegaly, a chronic condition caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland in the brain, suffer a baffling variety of symptoms. The classic symptoms of acromegaly are continued growth of the hands, feet, tongue, and nose after adulthood. The growth that doesn’t quit can cause problems with vision, breathing during sleep, taste, and coordination.
Acromegaly also changes appearance in many of the people who have it. Add to these problems complications such as the increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, goiter, and precancerous growths in the colon.
Acromegaly is used to presage an early death. But with modern treatments, most people who have acromegaly can expect a normal life expectancy. Some people with acromegaly, like Haley Zelenka, can live very meaningful lives even with their disease.
Haley Zelenka is a native of the Gulf Coast. She currently lives in Gulfport, Mississippi.
Ms. Zelenka earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Mississippi State University and her JD from the University of Mississippi. Zelenka devotes most of her professional energies to her work as Vice President and General Counsel of Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, but before she went into healthcare law, she was an attorney for the Eighth Chancery Court District of Mississippi. The chancery court, among other things, hears cases involving adoption and family matters. She developed a passion for child advocacy. She remains close to the families she helped adopt children.
One of the social workers who knew Haley Zelenka from the chancery court described her this way:
‘Haley is both passionate and compassionate. Moreover, she is ridiculously smart. You couldn’t have a better lawyer in your corner.”
Haley Zelenka carries that same passion and comparison to her service on the inaugural Board of Directors of the Acromegaly Community,
Haley was diagnosed with acromegaly while she was still in college, in 2002. The Acromegaly Community came along in 2005. It offers a variety of services to the 2800 people living with the condition in the United States.
It takes an average of 10 years for the average acromegaly patient to get an accurate diagnosis. The Acromegaly Community helps people get an accurate diagnosis and gives them information on surgery, radiation, medication, and how to pay for them. Most importantly, The Acromegaly Community helps its members find the emotional, financial, and physical resources to live with their condition.
In her spare time, Haley is also a pet parent to two rescue cats, and keeps up with six nieces and nephews.
“Acromegaly does not define who I am,” Haley Zelenka says. Haley Zelenka lives with acromegaly and has a full and rich life.