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Mary H (Marietta), Adrenal Bio

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In 1976, I was (finally) diagnosed with Cushing’s disease and after the up the nose surgery, which was ineffective, I had bilateral adrenalectomy.

It all started in late 1974, when I started having lots of illnesses and was depressed.  I was crying a lot and going back and forth to my doctor, who treated every illness and gave me anti-depressants.

Then the weight gain started, ( I was 185 at my highest, which was usually 115-120) actually I had been gaining weight, but by now it was rapid and uneven– only my trunk and face.

All through late ’74 and 1975, I was back and forth, even with a dx of pregnant,  (which made evryone happy, as I was married Feb 1974.  But the mental problems continued, I was under psychiatric care and had 2-3 in-patinet stays of about 2 weeks.  Each time, after the observation and evaluation, I was discharged with no dx. I would also fall asleep at the strangest places and times, all very suddenly.
In March of of 1976, I  had what was then called a “nervous breakdown,” so again I was hospitalized.  THAT probably saved my life, as it was my psychiatrist who finally dx Cushing’s and decided on treatment. He later told me that I had him very confused, as each time he thought he had the DSM dx (he knew I was in the mh field), I would change and thus, he could not fit me in any DSM DX.   Then, because of my appearence (moon face, foot-ball player shape, with skinny limbs, losing my hair and all the secondary dx (high blood pressure, insulin diabetes that could not be controlled– up, down, up down, losing hair, on my head but growing on my face and back), he said he remembered something from medical school.

He did a lot of research, ordered a lot of tests and VOILA– I had Cuhing’s disease.  It was very rare and at that time, he said there were no more 300-400 (known) cases in medical history; also, I was the youngest dx at 26, because most cases were in those age at least 50.

I had the nose surgery, very new at the time,  but it didn’t “work,” so I had to have my adrenal grand removed– they were 5x the normal size and producing 25x the normal amount of steroids. I had the surgery in Novemver 1976, which took from 7 am to 5 pm (I have the 2 long scars on my back).  I did not know at the time that there was an 85% chance of surviving that surgery.

Post surgery, all but 3 of my fingernails fell off, my hair was in tight curls (previoulsy straight) and I had cystic acne on my face, neck and back. I started taking cortisone and florinef and was told I had to take  it the rest of my like.  I was under close dr care for about a year, and by April 1977, the weight was gone (I was back to 115) and all secondary symptoms were gone.  I believe that the surgery was a real “cure” for my Cushing’s disease and after, it was/is maybe somewhat like diabetes, in that it is managed and controlled.  There are some things that I have to watch carefully, like a comprommised immune system (increase the prednisone if infection seems likely) and some depression (never hospitalized again).  I have had some adrenal crises, that landed me in the ER, maybe 5-6 over the years (how strange, no doctor ever told me or gave me a prescription for an injection for such occurences).
In 1990-1991, I had what ended up being appendicitis.  After 4x in the ER, I vomited blood and collapsed.  It turned out to be a (dead) grangrenous appendix, which should have been removed the first t ime.  Supposedly, the prednisone that I take “masked” the symptoms and since my blood showed no infection, I was sent home from the ER each time.  I spent 2 weeks in the hospital with 3 strong intravenous antibiotics to remove all the toxins in my body that almost killed me.

In 2000, I was dx with diabetes, which runs in my family, and at  64 years  old, the problems I have now are severe allergies/sinus problems (no one believes that I am sick when this makes me sick) and I seem to always be hotter or much colder than anybody (which the doctor warned me about right after the major surgery).

Also, I started out with cortisone; in 1990, a new doctor in NYC gave me hydrocortisone and I gained 10-20 lbs.  Another doctor quickly put me back on cortisone and said that the hydrocortisone was only for injections when I have adrenal crisis– it is quick actiing.  The cortisone was 25 mg daily and around 1993-94, I started gaining weight.  A new docotr in Chicago, switched it to prednisone 5mg., the equivalent of the 25 mg cortisone.  He said the prednisone did not cause weight gain– he was right.  I also take Florinef, now Fludrocortisone (the generic, Florinef is VERY expensive, as is the generic, but less).  I started out with this at .1 mg  once every other day and sometime in the 90s, the same dr who put me on prednisone, changed the Fl to one x daily.

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Molly (Iloveparrots), Undiagnosed Bio

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I’m new to this board and am currently waiting to have tests done for Cushings. I live in WNY, have an African Grey Parrot (who I love dearly), am in my early 40’s, and have other diseases.

I’m seeing an Endocrinologist that I’m not that thrilled with and found one in a nearby city that specializes in Cushings, so I think I will go to her for a second opinion and possibly stay with her.

I’m very scared and have little to no support network.

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Patricia, Adrenal Bio

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My adrenal incidentaloma was discovered after an abdominal CT in 2011.  My doctor told me that it was insignificant, and no follow up was needed.

Late 2012 I began having symptoms which led me to believe that something hormonal was going on.  I was having extreme anxiety, headaches, insomnia, new onset hypertension, hair loss, blurred vision, memory problems, dizziness, and extremely heavy menses.  I went to the gynecologist because I thought it might be premenopausal symptoms.  The doctor started me on birth control pills to regulate the periods, which was the only symptom that improved.

My general practitioner sent me to a cardiologist for my blood pressure which was spiking as high as 194/110.  The cardiologist immediately suspected a pheo, and referred me back to the GP with a recommendation for a referral to endocrinology.  The initial round of labs were all within normal limits with the exception of plasma cortisol due to the estrogen pills.  The endocrinologist told me to follow up in one year.

A lot of people started telling me it I was just stressed out, and depressed.  I don’t buy it for a minute.  It feels like something chemically is wrong. It’s hard to explain….I just don’t feel right.  Yes, I have stressful things going on, but not anything that should make me feel like this.  Especially when things are fine, and I am going to meet a friend for coffee why on earth would I almost freak out on the way there? I started feeling better for a couple of months, then the symptoms came back.

I have had 3 near panic attacks in the last 6 months, social withdrawal, rapid abdominal weight gain, hospitalized with 24 hours of amnesia (transient global amnesia…which left lesions on my hippocampus), headaches, hypertension, amenorrhea for 8 months, increased facial hair.

My first lab test was the high dose dexamethasone which I did not supress.  Last week I did the 24 hour urine…a whopping 3650 liters!!  I will get the results on Thursday.  My endo said he will need to do an adrenal vein sampling as part of the diagnosis.

Has anyone else had to do this?  I am in Germany, so maybe it is just different protocol here, but I really don’t want to have to do it.

Thanks for any feedback!

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Sandi J, Undiagnosed Bio

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Recently I had a kidney stone. I went to the ER where they did a CT scan. The confirmed the stone and gave me pain pills to tough it out. A couple of weeks later I got a letter describing all of the CT findings. I had to look up all of them to figure out what they meant. One of them was adrenal adenoma. When I started reading about this one it was like reading my medical history. Weight gain in the belly, hump on my shoulders, high blood pressure, high sugar, high triglycerides, fatigue, depression, serious panic attacks, aching muscles…

I didn’t have a regular doctor because I just moved to Phoenix and was fed up with the VA. I’m a disabled vet due to a back injury in my first year of enlistment. So I got an internal doctor and showed her my CT findings, she wasn’t worried but upon insistence I got her to test more. She called me a few days later to tell me that it was a functioning adenoma. She is sending me to an endocrinologist because it might be part of a bigger autoimmune disease, I’m guessing Cushings.

I told her I knew exactly when it started, in 2003. That was shortly after finishing Hepatitic C treatment and when I had my first panic attack. I had no idea what was happening and called 911 and took an ambulance ride to the ER. They found nothing physical, so continued my life of being treated as a hypochondriac. Oh yes, prior to the Hep C diagnosis I was treated as a mental patient, depression got stamped on my forehead for over a year…

Now here I am 11 years later, 60 pounds over weight, can barely go up stairs without getting out of breath and starting a panic attack. Doctors have been riding me about my weight, and not exercising… Finally they hear me!

Now I have found this board and have lots of reading to do.

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2014 in review ~ Cushing’s Bios

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for the Cushing’s Bios blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 44,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report and the fireworks!

Helena (hummerbird), Steroid-Induced Bio

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Hi! My name is Helena (hummerbird). I am going to be 60 next week, Nov 16. I have come full circle with this.

I knew I had adrenal problems 12 years ago when I got stuck in the ‘fight or flight reflex’. I paid to have saliva tests done and it showed that I was dumping cortisol into my system early evening with my lowest point being 6am in the morning. I showed my allopathic doctors the tests but none would put any stock into saliva testing and just blew me off (this was 2002).

Some of my first signs were extreme insomnia yet when I did sleep I would still feel extremely fatigued, flushing of the face, neck, chest, and back, weekly migraines and daily headaches which started after I was 45, unexplained weight gain, crazy buzzy internal tremor adrenaline smacking (I could actually taste it!) jitters that would not go away, hypersensory (especially to light and sounds), feeling painfully sunburned even though I had not been out in the sun, pain in my legs going way beyond restless leg syndrome, totally fearful of everything, developing a hump between my shoulders and a host of other symptoms.

I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia 03, then SLE Lupus 09 (positive ANA but no markers).

We moved to Colorado in 2012 and then back to Oregon 2014 and when I saw my rheumatologist again after 2 1/2 years (Oct 2014), he said it looks like you have Cushings? So at the moment I am suspected to have Cushings. I have been reading up on it and I am totally textbook (including the fact that I could literally step into the profile of the picture of the woman with Cushings).

Not sure if this is drug induced or if the prednisone finally brought out the demon that’s been tormenting me. My rheumie wants me to slowly wean off the prednisone. My dosage was 5mgs per day unless I was flaring (dealing with horrible muscular pain and internal tremors) then I was to do a step down starting at 30mgs back to 5mgs. I probably do a step down every other month.

My internist in Colorado wanted me to get off my Percocet 10/325mgs 4 times a day and try to deal with the pain. For the first time in my life I used MJ edibles to get off the Percocet with only a week of hard withdrawals. I was on the MJ edibles for 3 weeks until I realized I was allergic to it! I now take 2 Tramadol 50mgs 3 times a day to control pain. On the negative side this is not working because I have too much breakthrough pain but on the positive side I have a clearer head (I’m able to focus and read again!).

Over the years my days have gone from one ‘down’ day a week to a whole month of down days. I have lost my quality of life and pretty much my social skills. My venturing now is from my bed to the bathroom, kitchen, and possibly my recliner if I’m not feeling too dizzy.

I have three saints in my life, my husband and my two girlfriends who take care of me. I know that God has a plan for my life and I have faith in knowing that I’m going to feel well again some day. It has been a long and expensive road to travel to get to this point. I am not looking to have Cushings but it is a diagnosis that finally fits completely. I’m looking forward to meeting the support group.

Love you all and thanks for taking the time to read my post.

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Lauren, Undiagnosed Bio

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Hello. my name is Lauren. I am currently being tested for Cushing’s and am scared.

I have hypothyroidism/ Hashimoto’ s auto immune disease. Also my sugar is pre-diabetic.

I am 53 years old.  I don’t have a lot of the symptoms. I had gone into my endo and told him how rotten I feel. So he started with some testing. My ACTH number was 278 and my cortisol was 19.
This was around the middle of November.

However, in August i herniated a disc. I have been on oral steroids  for 5 days in August, a epidural steroid shot in my back in August, had back surgery end of September and put on a steroids for 5 days and had a steroid shot in my knee in  October. Also on a lot of pain killers and meds. I am off all meds for the last 4 weeks, off pain killers since October.

Also, I have had a very stressful and sorrowful last 10 years. I buried my 22 year old son 2.5 years ago.

I am hoping this is causing the reading.
I am glad I found this site. Thank you for reading this. I pray we all get well.

Thank you,
Lauren

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