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Sheara (sbailey), Pituitary Bio

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golden-oldie

 

A Golden Oldie originally from Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I started back in Jan 08 with a heart arrythmia that ultimately put me through weeks of cardio testing. All cardio came up negative, including passing the stress test at 110% for my age. I went back to my PCP and she was deadended with answers.

I started to advocate for myself asking if it could be endocrine since I had been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease(a type of Hypothroidism) in 2002. In particular I asked her if she thought my adrenal system was the culprit. My doc said well let’s check cortisol levels. I did a salivary cortisol test that, according to the endocrinologist my doc spoke with said, was the highest he had seen.

They ordered up an MRI and confirmed a Pituitary Tumor on June 27th. My doc reacted quickly and had me go for an emergency eye exam that day to check visual fields…they were fine. Then my doc had me do urine and dexamethasone testing to see if cortisol levels could be duplicated.

Early July I had a phone call from my doc stating that since the other tests for cortisol came back normal they felt I had a non-functioning tumor but still wanted me to meet with a neurosurgeon. Finally on Aug 5th I met with the surgeon.

In the meantime I had been reading whatever I could get my hands on. I was prepared with many questions to the surgeon. Before I was in the room talking with him for 15 min. he mentioned Cyclic Cushing’s as a possibility. He had me repeat the salivary testing for 5 days…all came back normal. So the opinion remained that I may have Cyclic Cushings or can watch the tumor and symtoms or I could have the tumor removed for peace of mind.

I opted to have the surgery. to remove the tumor. Last Mon. Sept 29th I had Transsphenoidal surgery to remove the tumor. On Fri. Oct 3rd the neurosurgeon called with the pathology report results being that it was an ACTH(aka Cortisol) and Prolactin Tumor. He was vague to make a formal statement to agree that it was Cyclic Cushings.

So I am home on the mend 1 week post op…glad I made the decision to go forward with tumor removal. The medical system is curious though how they appeared almost afraid to make any formal opinions. Although the surgeon did state that Cyclic Cushings is difficult to diagnose. In my opinion, the evidence is in the pathology report!

Maybe it is my imagination, but I already feel like my “old self” back 10 yrs. ago. The other bit of history for me is that after my hypothroidism was diagnosed and I was stabilized on Synthroid and Cytomel I could never get weight off and in less than 6 months in 2005 I gained 40+lbs. No matter what I tried to do for weight loss I could not budge more than 5 lbs. I am now anxiouis to see how I do. I meet with the neurosurgeon in 5 weeks. He and possibly an endocrinologist will be following my health. Time will tell but I do feel I am on the right track.

Thanks for listening!

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LaDawn (NanaX3), Adrenal/Prolactinoma bio

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golden-oldie

 

I am a 54 old wife, mother and grandmother.

I have been terribly ill for 17 months with adrenal insufficiency and a prolactinoma. I do not know yet if it is a nonfunctioning tumor or not, but I suspect so since I do not have any of the Prolactin symptoms. I will be evalutated soon for that.

I have gone the whole nine yards at Vanderbilt University Medical Ctr in Nashville recently. This is after 17 months of hell and seeing doctor after doctor. No one would listen to me.

Last July I think I was actually dying and was probably in adrenal crisis. I had hypertension and hypotension epsisodes with two ER visits with extremely high blood pressure and stroke symptoms. I was seen by many doctors who were all headed in the wrong direction. I was basically told it was female problems, stress, menopausal, etc. etc….you know the routine..many have the same story.

However..mine has a twist. I was so desperate for help I went to see a Mennonite Naturopathic healer in Kentucky. His name was well known of helping so many people. He not only seen his Mennonite Clan but also saw many “English” as we are called. He does Iris Iridology. This is a very old time practice that is about faded away. It takes years to learn and I suggest if you go to one make sure they have done it for years.

He looked into my iris with a small eye magnifying glass. He told me all the problems that I have been diagnosed for years, Fibromyalgia, IBS, Sleep Apnea, Insomnia, hypertension, hypotension, digestive disorders, and early pancreatitis. Now this was different than the doctors as my sister told me NOT to tell him any symptoms at all, much unlike the conventional doctors who heard all my symptoms. Then he really shocked me when he told me I had adrenal problems and something wrong with my pituitiary!!!!! He gave me natural medicines that helped some but I knew it was not the final ending to this problem.

I went back to my FP at the time and told him my horrible symptoms of flushing, anxiousness, nausea, dizziness, digestive problems, inflammatory pain etc, etc. He finally checked my norepenephrine levels were 624! He then did a MRI of my adrenal glands…..negative.

But then he went back into the service and left me holding the bag…no referral no recommendations. I was ticked. I had to search for a new FP on my own. Finally I found a FP in my own county that everyone said loved a challenge. He thought I had a carcinoid tumor or an adrenal tumor.

After blood tests showed several things he sent me to Vanderbilt. After my first appt. they tought the same thing. However tests revealed that my cortisol was lower than a 1. Barely registering. No wonder I was so ill. They did a MRI of my pituitary and found a 6 mm tumor..suspected to be a Prolactinoma.

So the Mennonite man was batting100%, conventional doctors 0%. Well, I know I still need conventional doctors so I can’t beat them up too much.

However…why is it so hard to get doctors to listen…even my regular Endo missed all this last fall even though he suspected orthostatic hypotention? Men doctors are horrible, particularly for not listening to women and labeling them hysterical depressive menopausal ninnies!

Would love to hear from others please about their experiences too? Meds or surgery for Prolactinoma…what worked for you?

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Dee (DeeO), pituitary (prolactinoma) bio

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golden-oldie

 

My daughter is 19 years old.

about 4 years ago her periods stopped…looking for a possible cause blood work was taken and she had significant rise in prolactin levels.

An MRI was taken and a prolactinoma of 2mm was found on her pituritary gland.

A few months later she fell pregnant and had a beautiful healthy baby boy…..After the pregnancy prolactin levels were still high but an MRI showed that the tumor had gone ???

Since then (about 15 months) my daughter has gained about 30 kilos, tired all the time hump on her back (neck) a much more rounded face, and her periods have returned but they are never on time. She has also been treated for what they believe was postpartum depression.

Does anyone know if a tumor can just disappear? And what test would you ask for now?

After reading this web site I cant believve that her endo hasnt checked her for cushings.

Thankyou Dee

(MaryO note: Although Dee asks several questions, she didn’t give permission for a link to her email address to be added to her bio)

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Lisa (Lisa), Pituitary Bio

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I was diagnosed with Cushings in Feb 2011 at the age of 30, after 6 months of inconclusive testing to find out what was going on with me.  Bone marrow biopsy, CT scans, MRI’s, urinalysis, bloodwork, you name it, it was done.  The first symptom I noticed was my left foot swelling (edema) after a workout injury.  The swelling remained long after it should have, and I thought I damaged my lymphatic system.  A trip to the endocrinologist and a CT scan proved that untrue, but he did notice I had an enlarged spleen and a high red blood cell count.  He didn’t seem to think that was a concern, but around that time I also began to experience a constant pain in my right flank.  So I went to a gastroentrologist.  Then a hemotologist, then a cardiologist, etc.  My final diagnosis came after my hemotologist ran a urine sample and noticed a highish level of cortisol.  She sent me back to my endocrinologist.  Before I went, I started a heavy Google search for what high levels of cortisol could mean, and came across Cushing’s.  I knew that was what I had.  I had been diagnosed with a prolactinoma 4 years prior (which I had told every doctor I had seen) and no one made the connection.  I demanded my endo test me.  He didn’t want to, telling me that I hadn’t gained weight and that people who had Cushing’s were really sick.  I demanded, and he gave me a supression pill to take the night before I came in for bloodwork.  He called me with the results a couple of days later, accusing me of not taking the pill.  Of course I took the pill, I said.  He said that the pill hadn’t suppressed my levels as it should have, but he didn’t believe it, and wanted me to then do a 24hr cortisol urinalysis.  I agreed, but also scheduled an appt with a neurosurgeon.  The neurosurgeon had the same hesistation, but also did the 24hr test.  A week later, the tests came back in.  My cortisol levels were 8 times what they should have been.  I definitely had Cushing’s.

I had transsphenoidal surgery a month and a half later.  I spent a week in the hospital that can only be described as hell.  My body crashed hard and every part of me ached.  The next four months proved equally as challenging, my energy being non-existent and my replacement dosage being difficult to keep correct.  But a year and four months later I’m very close to being off the replacement dosage, and feeling back to normal.  Thank goodness for Cedars Sinai pituitary center for their attentiveness and care.

The biggest lesson I learned was to trust yourself.  I did not gain weight when I was sick.  I did begin to develop a moon face and a small tummy, but my weight remained constant.  I was waking up at 3 in the morning every day, my blood pressure spiked, my muscles weakened, I bruised easily, I lost hair on my head, my skin became mottled and thin.  I don’t know if the weight gain would have happened eventually or not, but I truly believe I wouldn’t have stayed alive long enough for that to happen… the change from healthy to sick happened so rapidly in my case that if it kept up I doubt I would have lived much longer that a year or so.  I worry about recurrence every day, and have had numerous visits to the ER since surgery due to adrenal crisis, but at least I know what to do when that happens and can take care immediately.  And as I’m sure most of you would agree, I treasure every healthy day.

Christina (Christina10), Pituitary Bio

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Hi everyone, I am Christina and am 22 months post op from transphenodial surgery of my pituatary macronoma. Like so many of the bios I have read on this site I spent years trying to get any doctor to listen to me, because while I insisted something was wrong and I had almost ALL the classic physical manifestations of Chushing’s, after running the basic thyroid panel I was generally dismissed with the advice that I needed to eat less and workout more- advice which infuriated me because as an active duty officer in the Army I was running 3-6 miles a day and going back to the gym after work and down to 1200 calories a day.

I first started to notice a marked physical change in 2005 when I rapidly gained 30lbs in less than 6 months, at the time I was in Law School full time so of course the doctors attributed it to stress even though I was still maintaining my physical activity level as a reserve officer. I also started noticing my once long and full hair thinning and breaking to the point you could really see my scalp and my skin became pale and translucent with constant breakouts. This is also the time when the mood swings and headaches started along with the reoccurring sinus infections and inability to heal from the smallest injury along with black and blue marks all over my body.

Faced with going back to active duty the next year on orders to Korea I basically starved myself and worked out 3 or more hours a day and managed to loose about 25lbs    but I could never get below 160lbs no matter how hard I tried, which baffled me since I started Law School at 130! I begged the doctors every time I went in to run tests but they insisted I was healthy because my blood pressure was always 106/65 and my thyroid tests always came back low but still in normal ranges. Frustrated and defeated I pretty much starved myself and lived on caffiene and supplememts for the next 2 years, trying to avoid the doctors at all costs and doing everyting I could to just make weight when it came time for Army physical fitness tests.

My next run in with the doctor came just before my deployment to Iraq. I had rapidly gained 20lbs back seeminingly overnight and I was now having full blown hotflashes along with headaches so violent they caused my right eye to pulse. After basic blood tests came back relatively normal except for an elevated red blood cell count (which should have been a red flag for the doctor to connect the dots) my doctor informed me she thought I had Hepatitis C and wanted me to go to a Veteran’s weightloss group which consisted of being weighed in in front of a group of 25 cranky old men at the VA!!!!! I had further testing to rule out the Hep C which Iknew I didn’t have since I have never touched an intravenous drug in my life and have always practiced safe sex in my relationships. Of course it came back negitive which should have prompted more testing but once again I was just told to eat less and work out more. The doctor specifically told me I led a sedintary lifestyle because I had an office!!! At this point and after trying the support group for a couple of weeks and being humiliated having to weigh in in front of a room packed with men all over the age of 60, I told the doctor she was basically a moron and that it was impossible that I led a sedintary lifestyle because I ran 6 miles before she even gets up in the morning. Needless to say it was the last time I saw her.

Fast forward 18 months later and I am now back from Iraq, (having lost 15lbs from the heat and Army food!) and am starting to notice the weight returning and hot flashes getting worse, to the point I would just start pouring sweat down my head and back. My regular doctor insisted my body was just needed time to re-acclimate back to the climate! Tired of struggling like most Cushing’s sufferers and under constant pressure to be fit for my job I turned to plastic surgery and had lipo and a tummy tuck thinking it would take care of all my problems. Wrong Wrong Wrong! The surgery went well and I was elated with the results, until the tissue around the suture site started to die. (as you know the inability to heal is a classic sign of Cushing’s) So after walking around with a hole (yes an actual hole in my abdomen!!!) for 2 weeks I had to have reconstructive surgery to fix it. About 8 weeks post op from the surgery even though I was literally only drinking 3 protein shakes a day (because I had just spent THOUSANDS of dollars on cosmetic surgery), I was now gaining weight again!!! My surgeon looked at me in contempt for ruining his work until I told him to look at my breasts which had spontaneously grown a cup size since the surgery. Looking back that was actually an Epiphany in my struggle with Cushing’s because he did look, and then he looked harder at the fatty deposits centralized on my neck and trunk and thighs and in a moment I will never forget, said nonchalantly “I think something else is going on hormonally,” and handed me a lab slip!

That lab slip changed my life. When the results came back I knew finally someone was going to believe me, because not only did my new primary care doctor want to see me but she wanted me to have an MRI because the lab results came back with a prolactin level 86.6 and I certainly was not pregnant. 3 days later the doctor called with the results of the MRI and told me I had a brain tumor, but the good kind, and that there were excellent treatments. Needless to say I was less than thrilled with my “good” brain tumor and wanted the thing out of my head and out of my life as soon as possible!!! But at least finally I had an answer and began doing as much research on pituatary macronomas as possible so by the time I went in for the first round of follow up tests I knew more than my doctors.

What followed from my diagnonsis in May 2010 to the present has been the longest 2+ years of my life. I wanted to have surgery ASAP, but because I tested positive for both Prolactin and ACHT/Cortisol the doctors were divided on a treatment plan and made me do 3 months of observation during which I ballooned up to 198lbs!!! I was also suffering daily migranes and mood swings and harrassment at work because now the physical changes could not be hidden. I started to feel trapped in a body that really wasn’t mine.

After surgery I went into complete adrenal failure and was on hydrocortisone for 6+ months. I felt so much calmer after ther surgery even on the steroids, no more mood swings and I immediately started loosing weight with no effort. Although the nausea and daily throwing up probably helped that cause. But everything hurt, and I mean everything, it would hurt my feet to touch the gound and I would get tired easily. In the 7th month, right after a breast reduction to get me close to my pre Cushing’s size and to help with the sever back pain, I weaned of the steroids which brought more challenges and body aches, but with a lot of vitamins and sticking to a healthy lifestyle I managed to go from barely being able to jog a mile right after surgery to finishing my first post op 10K this month in Central Park, NY.

So here I am today 22 months later and extremely cognizant of how far I have come in keeping off the 30lbs I lost after surgery and gaining back so much of my old self, but also frustrated because I am still suffering Cushings like symptoms and the doctors and I are at an impass again becuase they refuse to really look at my symptoms. My headaches have started to come back more intensely and I have noticed a marked increase in mood swings and hot flashes. I have also (despite living with a personal trainer) hit the wall in my struggle to loose the last of my “Cushing’s weight.” Countless hours of research has also yet to produce any information on coping with Cushing’s after surgery, which is why I am so grateful to have finally found this site.

I am hoping by connecting with other Cushing’s patients I can get a few of the answers the doctors don’t seem to have (or at least the ones I have seen anyway)!!! Because I personally am tired of Cushing’s controlling my life!

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