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Tina H (TinaHardenMississippi), Pituitary Bio

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Hi everyone! I’m 41 yrs old, I live in Mississippi with my hubby & our precious 14 yr old daughter.

I have suffered with so many health problems since I was around 16 yrs old.

I was just diagnosed with Cushing’s in Sept. 2013, I found out it was from a pituitary tumor in Nov. 2013. I had an IPSS in April 2014 and surgery to removed pit tumor June 13, 2014.

Contact Tina here.

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Cathy L (CathyL), Pituitary Bio

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I am 55 years old and my symptoms began long ago I believe.  I have had my tumor out and have not had any recurrance since 2009 when I had it out but unfortunately am still a little paranoid (to the extent that I will spend $100 on a saliva test once or twice a year) when I have any symptoms.

1998 out of the blue started having heart palpatations at night ( endocrinologist still insists that was not part of it but it stopped when my tumor was removed!!!(So far have yet to find an endocrinologist that I love…very narrow minded and refuse to admit how little they really know about Cushings).

2003 started Natural Progesterone cream due to fibrocystic breasts and low libido & just general breast cancer prevention.  No MD ever had a problem with that.

2005 – 1st saliva test just personal curiosity about hormone levels.

2006 started feeling lump in my throat when swallowing so went to ENT —found nothing out of the ordinary (with 20/20 hindsight suspect it was the supraclavicular swelling starting internally.

2007 upper GI just to be sure nothing in my throat per ENT referral–found nothing.

2007 starting to show supraclavicular fat pads 2 MDs & 2 surgeons seen for those & none of them picked up on the Cushings from that. Also had complained to my OBGYN @ the sensation of my uterus dropping out of my vagina — he saw no physical reason for this sensation but with cental obesity getting slowly worse (155 compared to my normal 135 lbs) i suspect there was downward pressure esp when walking & standing for long periods of time.

Finally in 2008 one of my MD patients suggested Cushings & BINGO everybody suddenly saw the light.  Abdominal CTs showed no adrenal problems MRI showed 5mm microadenoma (well circumscribed) .

My brother in law is a neuro-surgeon & in our area if you ever have anything weird going on you go to Duke but he said in this particular area you want UVA (a “Pituitary Center of Excellence”).  Dr. Ed Oldfield took out my tumor & so far so good.  I had to supplement cortisal at first but within 6 months I was off it & my body was making its own.  I feel that I was very lucky.  They say that the majority of MDs go thru their entire career without seeing a case of Cushings (OR knowing that’s what they are looking at). I would definately recommend not just letting any Joe-Blow neurosurgeon do your surgery – the more they have done the more likely the success.

I’m sorry this IS an update of my just submitted bio & I don’t know what my URL link is.   But I do feel that the 4 time cortisol saliva test was how mine was diagnosed because my morning cortisol which is all the MDs ever wanted to take was never off the charts IT WAS MY PM CORTISOL that gave it away.  Then total urinary cortisol measurement.  Sorry but I thought this was an important addition.  Yayy saliva testing!!!

Contact Cathy Leigh, DDS here.

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Drew (DrewP), Undiagnosed Bio

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Hello, I am a 24 year old male who has been feeling out of wack for 4 years now.

I have been going to numerous different doctors to figure out what is going on. It all started with the indication of low thyroid, then noticed low testosterone. I was on levothyroxine for about 2 years. I recently went off all medication, and just had my labs done and i have all normal levels.

Everything i get done is contradictory to my last lab test. I have had positive 24hr cortisol urine results but nothing high enough to diagnose.

Sorry if this is a confussing post :)

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Denise (Jeff’s Mom), Undiagnosed Bio

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My son is almost 16 years old and so sick he hardly gets out of bed anymore.  Although no Dr.s believes me I do believe he has Cushings and the Dr.s can not give me any other idea’s of what is wrong with him only that he needs to lose weight and exercise more.  My son is so tired of hearing this that at his last appointment with a specialist at Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia he left in tears and wants to know why no one is helping him.  He is to the point where he doesn’t even want to go to the Dr.s anymore, he thinks it’s pointless.  He has only had one 24hr Urine test which came back normal and an cortisol & ACTH test taken at 5pm and these were also within range.  I am going to guess maybe things started at the age of 9 or 10 and progressively gotten worse.

His symptoms are as follows and the explained away answers from the Dr.s -

1. Headaches all day everyday – sometimes severe, sometimes just there and no amount of advil seems to take it away completely – Dr.s probably puberty and since he is a big kid take up to 4-advil every 4 hours.
2. Buffalo Hump – we brought him to the Dr. about 2-3yrs ago for this odd hump on the back of his neck – Dr.s it’s just a fat deposit – he just deposits fat in odd places
3. Red to purple stretch marks that fade and get brighter but never go away completely – they appear in masses on his sides, back, shoulders and stomach – Dr.s response although his stretch marks are quite impressive they are typical of what you would see in cushings they are not purple enough or wide enough.
4. Severe pain in back and knee (sometimes elbows) – he can’t even take a simple trip to the stores as it is to much for him to walk around – his is 15yrs old and is now asking me to get him a cane to help him get around.  Dr.s response to the pain – must be growing pains (my son is 6’1″ and I was just told he is pretty much done growing)
5. He does not sleep at night, says can’t fall to sleep no matter how hard he tries and when he finally does fall asleep in the morning early hours he will sleep most of the day, then wake up still feeling tired.  He told me it’s like his mind sleeps but his body doesn’t feel rested at all.  Dr.s said he needs to stop video games and t.v. to hours before bed – these types of things stimulate the mind thats why he can’t sleep.
When the Dr.s were told the rest, they really didn’t say anything at all – below are the rest of his symptoms:
6.  He is starving at night – he says he has to eat he is so hungry
7. Having a hard time remembering things and getting progressively worse
8. Losing his grip – he can barely right his name – when I ask him to squeeze my hand it hardly even hurts me now and he says when he tries to squeeze hard he gets this odd sensation up his arm and it feels really off .
9. Has a hard time sitting for an extended amount of time – this has caused him to miss the last 6 weeks of school – his says the pain in his back and sides are just to much to handle when trying to sit.
10. He has had numerous skin aliments, mouth sores
11. Always thirsty
12. Acanthosis Nigricans – back of neck, under arms, elbows
13. never a sick child until recently – strep throat, mono (which I was first told he didn’t have), normal colds now last for weeks with him where he never even got colds before.
14. slow healing of cuts and he scars horribly

I am sure there are other things but these are the first to come to the top of my head.  His biggest complaint is the memory loss, lack of sleep and pain.  I am scared for my son and do not understand how this is acceptable for anyone let alone a 15yr old.  I am watching him get worse and watching his precious teenage years just pass right by him.

Contact Denise here.

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Lil (luckylil), Adrenal Bio

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My niece has had Cushing’s for 8 yrs prior to diagnois. She had her one tumor ridden adrenal gland removed 3 months ago. The remaining adrena gland had shrunk and is non-functioning. We are trying to understand the after affects of the adrenal gland removal and how long it will take for her body to adjust from a 300+ cortisol level to a controlable level so she can be pain free. She is in constant pain and the pain meds are not doing working.

Looking forward to hearing other people’s experience with an adrenal gland removal.
See you on th board!
Lil

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Elizabeth (ToxicNudibranch), PCOS Bio

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This has been a difficult road to even get to a tentative diagnosis, and I know it’s going to be even more difficult going forward, but it’s better than nothing, eh?

I was a pretty healthy kid. I didn’t eat that well, I wasn’t that active, but I was always strong and fairly lean. When I was 19 that all changed. I’m 27 now, and have just barely found an Endo who was willing to order the obvious tests for my obvious signs. It’s been frustrating. To wit:

*2006 I move to the dorms and put on what I assume are the Freshman 25 within the first semester, even though I’m much more active and eating markedly more healthfully than I was ever raised to. 190lbs
*2007-2008 Job prospects are not great, so I’m dead broke. I end up leaving college for the time being. I’m walking everywhere since I can’t afford a car and public transport is not adequate, and eating less than I should. Weight stabilizes at 195lbs
*2009-2012 I’m not eating much more, just better (lean meats and leafy veg instead of rice and beans for every damn meal!), but my weight starts piling on again (30 in 2 months). I begin experiencing migraines, marked fatigue, and anxiety. Fat settles entirely around middle. Face still relatively normal. Continue moderate gains thru weight watchers, south beach, Atkins, etc. Bring concern to PCP, where I am accused of mis-stating caloric intake and asked to track food. I do, and on my follow-up appointment, my PCP just looks at me like I’m lying and and offers stimulant diet pills. I decline. Hirsuitism increases, as does fatigue. OBGYN diagnoses PCOS, I start Metformin 500mg/2x No reduction in weight. 220lbs
*9/2012 I put on another 15lb in 4-5 weeks. Face is getting fatter, gut sticks out like a basketball. I know something is very wrong, and by this point I’ve heard something about Cushing’s and thought “Hey, that looks exactly like me.” I go to see my first Endo. He notes that I have the hump, torsal weight gain, hirsuitism, weak limbs, easy bruising, anxiety, etc. Mild striae. I even show him pictures of myself from 6 months ago. The change in my appearance is enormous. He waves those away and runs a single midnight cortisol (inconclusive) and an8am dex test (kinda supressed) and says that I’m just fat because I’m clearly stuffing myself with chocolate cake on the sly and totally lying about the 5-8 miles *a day* that I’m running by this point. He recommends a more restrictive diet or gastric bypass. And did he mention that he just happens to be able to provide me a referral to a good colleague of his that runs a whole surgical center that will throw in some laser hair removal with Lapband? Asshole. I feel degraded and helpless. 235lbs
*10/2012-5/2013 Continued migraines, increasing sinus pressure and constant sinus infections, eyes very irritated. PCP blames allergies and stress. Could be migraines, could be cluster headaches. I take at least 1600mg of Ibuprophen daily. I can’t run anymore because my ankles and knees are hurting pretty badly, but I start swimming again. Continued creeping weight gain despite increased exercise. 240lbs
*6/2013-10/2013 Migraines increase. Mis-diagnosed with multiple sinus infections. (5/28/13, 6/19/13, 7/2/13, 9/10/13, 10/18/13) The sinus pressure and pain never seem to get any better, so I go see an ENT. He says we may have to roto-rooter my sinus cavity to correct the constant inflamation. However, once he reviews my CAT Scan, he says I have only the mildest of swelling in my sinuses. Whatever it is, it’s not my sinuses.
*11/2013-4/2014 I develop double vision, my right eye stops tracking with my left, both eyes are bugging out (exoplthalmos). ER doctor and Opthamologist diagnose it as Thyroid Eye Disease/Graves. I have no symptoms of hyperthyroidism/Graves, (TSH, Thyroid antibodies all negative/normal) but my main concern is regaining sight, and the course of treatment is the same, regardless. First course of Prednisone. Rapid weight gain of roughly 20 over 3 months. I track and weigh my food obsessively, averaging 1400kc/day, which should be resulting in steady weight loss. In addition to smimming, I adjust my commute so I walk instead of drive and am doing body-weight yoga. Strength is a fraction of what it used to be. My striae get worse, as does my torsal fat distribution, hirsuitism, fatigue, hair loss, hump, mental fogging, etc.  I’ve stopped wearing pants and moved entirely to dresses. 260lbs
*5/2014 I’ve been weaned off Prednisone entirely. My eyes look normal again. I’m still eating well, but I feel so badly and I’m so tired that I can’t exercise much anymore. My heart starts pounding from relatively mild activity. I’m not experiencing migraines anymore, but I just plain don’t feel good. My moon face gets even worse. Everything gets even worse, actually. My weight is the same, but I can’t lean my head back because of the buffalo hump and I can’t even properly snuggle with my fiance because I’m feeling choked by the massive beer cozy o’ fat that surrounds my neck.
*6/2014 My eyes are swelling again. Thyroid levels still normal and I don’t have any markers for Graves specific antibodies. We begin 2nd course of Prednisone.
*8/2014 I’m off Prednisone again. I know something is very wrong. I go to another Endo, Dr. Knecht, who actually listens. He reviews my medical history, looks at my clear physical symptoms, and orders a crapload of labs. The results are pretty clear. It’s Cushings. He thinks there’s a good chance it’s cyclical. Now we start in to determine exactly what kind we’re dealing with.  It’s very likely that all the things I’d been suffering from (the PCOS, the pain/pressure that turned into exoplthalmos, anxiety, migraines) have been directly related to this condition. In Dr. Knecht’s office, I cry from relief. When I get home and tell my partner, I cry because I’m kinda scared.

And then I found you guys. And now I’m really scared. Hopeful, still, but terrified. Because the clinical, dispassionate descriptions about the surgeries that may be needed to “cure” (or at least knock into remission) Cushing’s are very different than yearing about the actual day to day experiences of living with a messed up or woefully inadequate adrenal/endocrine system. I’m confident I’ll get through it, but damn. This is going to be really hard.

I will update more as we get more conclusive answers and I begin treatment.

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Cushing’s Disease and how a brain tumour made me fat. | Skeptical Artist

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The author of this blog post is a member of the Cushing’s Help Message Boards.

…I’d been feeling a little off colour and had put on a bit of weight so went to the doctor at the beginning of last year (2012). In September 2011 I’d been running and blacked out. Through the rest of the year even though I was careful about what I ate, was swimming 80 lengths of the pool everyday and running pretty regularly I was still gaining weight. It’s weird that I found it hard to climb the stairs at work because my thighs felt so weak but could still swim a couple of km. I found it difficult to sleep and bruised pretty easily.

It was a bit of a shock to be told I might have a very rare brain tumour releasing the hormone cortisol that affects 10 in a Million people. Things went downhill and Cushing’s Disease really started breaking apart my body. My muscles wasted and I carried on putting on fat. Joints skin and feet were all affected. I’ve heard Cushing’s Disease called the ugly disease so yep not great…

Read more at Cushing’s Disease and how a brain tumour made me fat. | Skeptical Artist.

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