In July 2010 I was rushed to the hospital by a friend who was convinced that I was dying. Having had asthma for many years, I kept telling her I wasn’t having an asthma attack, I was just so tired I could barely hold my head up. The ER doctor was a brand new resident, she took one look at me and said “You’ve got Cushing’s.” I had no idea what she was talking about, but because I was too tired to care, I agreed to be admitted to the hospital for testing. Five days later I walked out with a confirmed diagnosis of exogenous Cushing’s Syndrome caused by massive doses of prednisone I had been taking for more than 10 years for the asthma.
Five years later I have had Adrenal Insufficiency added to the long list of conditions caused by the prednisone overdoses. I am steroid dependent now; 15 mg of prednisone daily keeps me from being admitted to the hospital for asthma attacks. Taking the drug that almost killed me in order to stay alive is one of the hardest things I have to do.
I am fortunate in that I have an excellent endocrinologist who works well with my primary care doctor to manage the multiple medications I take to cope with my various chronic conditions. Right now the thing I struggle with the most is the pain – muscle pain, feet pain, joint pain, nerve pain. Trying to find medications to deal with the pain is almost impossible; I can’t take most narcotics, even if I could find a doctor to prescribe them.
My endocrinologist told me at our last visit that there was nothing else he could do for me except monitor my condition. My primary care doctor has said the same thing. It is very discouraging to be told that there is nothing else that can be done.