When most people are told they have a tumor, they only have to deal with one type; which is hard enough. Somehow, I drew the short stick in the lottery of health and have to deal with three tumors.

Carney Triad is an extremely rare syndrome that involves three very rare tumors: Pediatric/Wild Type Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GIST), Pulmonary Chondromas, and Functioning Paragangliomas (also known as extra-adrenal Pheochromocytomas.)

To-date, only 140 or so people have been diagnosed with Carney Triad. Of those 140, 35 at most have ever acquired all three types of tumors within their lifespan. Last year, I was diagnosed with the third tumor, making me one of the 35. The genetic link is still unknown, the cure is unknown, a chemo treatment that works is also yet unknown.

I was 16 when the first tumor (pheochromocytoma) appeared, 17 when the second tumor (GIST) came around and 28 years old when a pulmonary chondroma appeared. So far, I’ve lost 1/3 of my stomach, and my left adrenal gland. At age 25, I had open-heart surgery to remove a paraganglioma that was attached and eating into the pulmonary artery, and sometime this year I face losing half of my left lung to remove the newest tumor, the pulmonary chondroma.

I am now 29, a wife and mother of a beautiful four-year old boy and living my life to the fullest. The last five years of my life, I have learned to cope with my diagnoses by focusing on patient advocacy. While there are no support groups specifically for Carney Triad, there are groups for GIST and Pheo/Para.

Today, I am the editor-in-chief of the PheoParaTroopers newsletter, and I support many GIST organizations including the LifeRaftGroup.org and GistSupport.org. I also speak at symposiums and help admin support groups on Facebook.

I have hope that awareness surrounding Carney Triad and affective treatments will be widespread about Carney Triad. Yet, until then, my goal is to spread the word about these rare tumors, as well as help those diagnosed along the way.

More of Erin’s personal story can be read here.

9 thoughts on “Three Rare Tumors From Carney Triad Syndrome Turns Mom Into Inspirational Advocate Living Life To The Fullest”

  1. Hayley McCarthy says:

    Hi Erin,

    I just want to say how inspirational and identifiable your story is, and i have a mum exactly the same! She was carrying her pheo when she was carrying me, 29 years ago and i’m pretty lucky to be here. All of her surgery has resulted in her not having a stomach anymore ( plus, some wonderful scars! ) But, she’s stayed strong, courageous and powerful all her life, just like you seem to be!

    Thought i’d drop you a note to say, that as a woman and a daughter who hasn’t recieved any support over the years whilst fighting this with my mum, you really have reached out to us both.

    Thankyou so much

    I want to wish you all the luck with your family and your future.

    Hayley

  2. Jacey says:

    23 operations later, I’m still hanging on. I’ve had it for 30 years next year. I hope that gives you some hope Erin.x

  3. Denise young says:

    My daughter has been diagnosed with carneys triad. She started having symptoms when she was at school. Now she is 31 and a mother of two children

  4. yantono says:

    Hi, just to share:
    I get to know that my lady is diagnosed with carney triad and today is the day that she doing her third operation and currently stayin strong!

    As such I would to wish and pray to everyone that keep on be healthy n stay strong.

  5. yantono says:

    Hi, just to share:
    I get to know that my lady is diagnosed with carney triad and today is the day that she doing her third operation and currently stayin strong!

    As such I would to wish and pray to everyone that keep on be healthy n stay strong.

  6. Amanda Stiber says:

    I was diagnosed with carney’s triad at 14. I have no stomach and half my right lung removed. I’m 35 years old, married 2 children. Stay Strong life is a gift and live everyday to the fullest!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. norimasa says:

    Nice to meet you
    My name is Japanese Norimasa Shimada.
    I English is not good, I am sorry.
    My fiance has been diagnosed with Carney Triad.
    The best way is what?
    Optimal doctor who?
    How I do not know may be If we deal.
    Because in Japan because there is little information on the Carney Triad.
    We will find a workaround is now examining a lot of information.
    Do you also do not share a lot of information of me and Carney Triad?

  8. Erin MacBean says:

    Oh wow! I have not checked back on this for a long time and just noticed all the responses here. Thank you for your kinds words and encouragement.

    For anyone wanting to learn more about Carney Triad or would like to keep in touch with me, please email me at Paratroopererin@gmail.com

    Best Wishes,
    Erin MacBean

  9. Nelly says:

    Hi.. Im wondering .. I was diagnosed with carneys triad now im left with no stomach after a full gastractomy was done to remove the tumor. Im just a little worried since i was diagnose with this i really hav a bad irregular period and only depends on birth control pills to hav the cycles going. Do u hav any issue with that? Is it due to being anaemic too long due to the carneys triad?

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