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Jeanne, Pituitary Cushing’s and Acromegaly Bio (Golden Oldie)

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golden-oldie

 

During the summer of 1999 I was a trim and fit 130 pound woman. I was very athletic and worked out all the time. At that time I had also been taking Tae Kwon Do. I was able to eat anything that I wanted and not gain weight. I wore size 8 pants.

Fast forward to May of 2000. I developed increasing stomach and bowel problems. I had a spastic colon and serious GERD. Along with that came a poof in my belly. Although I was still wearing the same size my stomach started to look “pregnant”. I was referred to a gastroenterologist who began treating my myriad of health issues. He really couldn’t find a reason for all of it but said he could treat it. For awhile I managed okay on the drugs and diet that I was treated with. Everything went in cycles.

During the summer of 2001 my naturally light blonde hair began to change color. It got black and mousy looking at the roots. At the same time it started thinning, the texture was horrible and no longer shiny and baby soft. I developed heat intolerance. I was uncomfortable in 80 degree weather. I also developed strange rashes and red dots on my skin. Later that fall my neck and face started to turn beet red. It stayed that way.

I could no longer fit in my wedding rings and my shoe size went from a size 7 ½ to and 8 1/2. Doctors didn’t find this impressive. My neck went from 13 inches around to 16. I gained 12 pounds in 1 week alone. I started getting real fat in my stomach and armpits, and I could no longer wear normal bras. I also started getting a lot of fat on my upper back. I grew hair in places that women should not grow hair. My face was huge with strange acne outbreaks. I also got acne in weird spots.

At the time I had put on about 20 pounds all in my stomach. When I would try other clothing it wouldn’t work because the next size bigger fit in the waist but the butt and legs were huge. I gave up on real pants and started to wear stretch clothes all the time. At this time I could no longer exercise to my peak performance. I was tired all the time and never felt well and I looked like I was 6 months pregnant. I thought that I was getting old.

January of 2002 my bowel and stomach troubles peaked. I was in and out of the hospital. Although I was following the healthy eating plan and exercising no doctors believed me. My PCP did a TSH test and it came back at 27.48. I was hypothyroid, at that time my estradiol levels were also non-existent. So off I was sent to an Endocrinologist. I was given replacements for both yet nothing improved.

This started an intense year of doctors. I was diagnosed with anything and everything at this point. I was started on the Atkins diet plan. I followed this religiously and walked for up to 2 hours a day and continued to gain weight. By this time I was 165 pounds. Finally realizing that something horrible was wrong with me I started seeking out Endo’s on my own. It led me to one who thought he should do a few 24 UFC’s. One came back high, 2 others came back high normal (33.4 and 33.9 with a range of 2.9-34). They then did serum cortisols which came back below normal. I was frustrated.

It was November by now and I was getting no where fast. At this point I had seen 11 different doctors. The last of which told me that there was no way I was eating healthy and not losing. He even suggested that my fresh sliced berry snack was making me fat. By now I’ developed high blood pressure and high blood sugars. My fasting blood glucose came in at 170.

By this time I was so exhausted and developed such horrid bone pain that I could not even exercise anymore. I remember waking up late one morning and crying. I went downstairs and told my hubby I was sure my back was breaking. It was horrible. I weighed 196 pounds and looked 9 months pregnant with triplets.

I came home and looked the tests up on the internet. I started reading everything that I could find. I knew then that I had Cushing’s. I found the Cushing’s help site. The trouble was that some tests were normal and some were abnormal. Finally in January of 2003 I went to see Dr. Friedman after another patient emailed me. Dr. Friedman tested my 17-Hydroxysteroids and 17- Ketosteroids which came back elevated. He also did some additional salivary cortisols testing. He finally figured out that I not only had Cyclic Cushing’s but also Acromegaly.

After many more tests and some MRI’s my tumors were found. I had pituitary surgery to remove them. I was devastated that I was not cured from the Cushing’s. After much consulting I decided to proceed with a Bilateral Adrenalectomy to cure it once and for all. I am recovering slowly but surely.

I am now 4 months post-op.

Click any thumbnail to view the larger image.

Before Cushing’s [Photographer: Jeanne’s family]

In the kitchen [Photographer: Jeanne’s family]

Jinxie [Photographer: Jeanne’s family]

Jinxie [Photographer: Jeanne’s family]

 

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Kim (lil dickens), Pituitary Bio

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golden-oldie

 

March 2009
I was diagnosed in 1995 with hypothyroidism, after the birth of my son vie C section. This was my third Cesarean section. I knew I was gaining too much weight during pregnancy but no one would listen to me. I’ve had hypo for fourteen years now, with ongoing difficulties and no weight loss.

I became suspicious when I couldn’t get my thyroid disease under control and started moon facing. In 2003 my daughter noticed my buffalo hump. I tried to point it out to the doctor but to no avail. Said it was fat. I was tired, depressed and sick.

I have to note that when I was a child I cracked my skull open. My sister said I had clamps on my head. I cannot find anything else about it. I had severe headaches, poor appetite, skinny and fearful. Many emotional problems. I came home from school many times to have ice packs on my head for the headaches. I started to drink alcohol at about 13 yrs old, becoming an alcoholic until age 33. 20 years of drinking! I am now sober 18 yrs.

I am pursuing a diagnose for Cushing disease based on my symptoms and the huge hump on my neck. I’ve been really complaining for the last two years.

My newest PCP was the one who gave me a copy of a printout on Cushings. She is sending me to an Endo but who knows. 3 1/2 month wait to see Endo. Now, wouldn’t you know it, my hubby’s job looks like its going to be terminated in March, so my insurance will only be in for two months after that! I’ll be without insurance!

September 2009
I’m now in the process of testing after going through 2 more Endos and meeting a great Endo in Maysville, KY: Dr Holmes. “Wonderful, Good doctor “as we’d say in PA! I had went to one Endo here in PA and had two UFC24 test done and I showed high, but he just asked if I was stressed and sent me to Hershey. I heard Hershey Medical wasn’t very good for Cushies so I moved on to KY. I’m so glad I took the time and the money to go there. I will never regret that. It saved my life!

I feel so fortunate. Dr Holmes ordered more testing which I am doing now, and he looked over a Pituitary MRI which I obtained from the other Endo. Dr Holmes disagrees with the radiologist that my MRI was normal. BTW, my husband got another job that uses the same Union Insurance! I also have high GFI-1. He said I might have an Acromegaly.

Dec 2009
I am now diagnosed with Cushings and Acromegally. At this present time I have chosen my surgeon and am waiting for his approval for surgery and set a date to meet with him.

All of this testing and paperwork is time consuming and a lot of patients is needed. I am diagnosed during the holidays and this is really a slow process with many delays.

My symptoms are many, including that horrid buffalo hump. I feel really sick sometimes, and bloated like I am going to exploded. I have extreme fatigue. I also feel during my lows like I am just going to die, with waves of dizziness and a huge general weakness that I can hardly turn over in my bed. I thank God that I do not hurt. I am just stiff in the knees and I can’t get up very well from a squat or from sitting too long. My emotional state is awful, from rages to deep depression.

I suffer/suffered from TMJ ,Depression, Mood Swings, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (2)with surgery, Weight gain, Headaches and Vertigo- dizziness, teary right eye, Teeth gapping, Cavities, infected Root Canals, Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s Disease, Tonsillectomy, Costochondritis, Heart Murmur, Tortuous Aorta- a twisted heart valve, shortness of breath, Tennis Elbow, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Dysentery, Impotency, lost periods, Osteopenia, Ovarian Cysts, 3 C sections, Joint stiffness, chronic rectal itching, Hemorrhoids, Heel Spurs, Ganglion foot cyst, MRSA.

I am very afraid of the Acromegally. I have changed sizes. I was a petite 10, I am now a size 22. I do believe I have gained height by 1–1 ½ inches. My wedding rings size has changed twice and now I can no longer wear them. I suffer chest pains from Costochondritis- inflammation of the rib bone area. As the days go by without treatment, I swear I can feel the damage that is being done to my organs. I suffered terrible dental problems with major infections and I also had an awful infection in my foot from a minor injection for a cyst. I ended up with surgery to clean out MRSA and had two areas of incision! I also show a twisted Aorta valve, which I feel is from Acromegally.

I succeeded in obtaining my diagnose of Cushings Disease with Acromegally from Doctor Holmes through UFC tests (Urine) and blood work for IGF-1, CRH testing, and Glucose Suppression Tests. Salvia testing didn’t work for me. I feel I have problems with my saliva in general, perhaps a malady not yet diagnosed, but nevertheless is present. I was tested once with saliva that proved I had a very low acidic value, and the comment from the lab was “could be due to cortisol access!” 5 years before I was diagnosed with Cushings! I am now waiting to meet my surgeon, Dr Jho and set up a surgery date.

This site is invaluable to anyone suffering. The amount of information can be overwhelming because it is so plentiful. The forum is wonderful. Up to date information, wonderful people who give help, information; support and Hope!

Update April 5, 2011

I had my 1st pituitary Surgery Jan 28th, 2011. My tumor stained positive for Growth Hormone but did not stain for ACTH as suspected. i was on cortisone for less then 3 months, for I was told to wean quickyl when I was actually gaining weight and aquired more stretch marks. I had some relief…such as my tongue had swellling the went down some, my hemmroids disappeared overnight, and my earlobes went down from being swollen so big you couldnt see my post earrings. And that horrible feeling I was being squeezed to death. But, after tesing one UFC and some other blood labs, I was found to be high with my UFC24. It was a 53 (0-50). Even though my doctor said I was cured, I begged for another UFC. He gave me a lab slip and said return in 6 months. I went home and did the lab and it came back 57 (0-50). He made a note to discuss this when I returned in the fall. I knew I wasnt cured. I actually gained more weight then ever and grew more in the waist line. I tried to get help at John Hopkins and Allegheny General Where I had my surgery with Dr Jho’s Endo, but to no avail. They told me to go home and forget about Cushings.
it is then I called Dr Ludlaum with photos and a note explaining my surgery and testing. I went to Camp Cushy in Seattle, Washington @ Swedish Medical Center. 5 Days testing proved successful. I had high Midnight serums, high UFC and High ACTH. Though not quit enough for a diagnose , I went home with a test kit to continue testing. I have just completed my third kit and am waiting for result. Dr Ludlam said this is it for home testing an he will come to a conclusion soon after this. I hope that I will get an ok to have another surgery. I am now suffering more problems …I am now a pre diabetic. Dr Ludlam found that I have a enlarge left Adrenal Gland. I have tested high in all areas now, including one high saliva! ( surprised me! ) My ACTH has been consistantly high ( about 10 units higher than the top limit) and I had a few more UFC highs. I definely feel sicker, unable to clean my house, run the sweeper, wash clothes or even take a walk very far. I get extremely out of breath. I suffer high and very low BP. (92/49/75) I am anxiously awaiting Dr Ludlam’s final say in my matter.

Also, I am dealing with my son who is 16 and is now in testing for Cushings also. He is showing signs of this dreaded disease!

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Jean (Jinxie) Cushing’s and Acromegaly Bio

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This bio was originally posted 1/26/2008

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Cushing’s and Acromegaly Odyssey

During the summer of 1999 I was a trim and fit 130 pound woman. I was very athletic and worked out all the time. At that time I had also been taking Tae Kwon Do. I was able to eat anything that I wanted and not gain weight. I wore size 8 pants.

Fast forward to May of 2000. I developed increasing stomach and bowel problems. I had a spastic colon and serious GERD. Along with that came a poof in my belly. Although I was still wearing the same size my stomach started to look “pregnant”. I was referred to a gastroenterologist who began treating my myriad of health issues. He really couldn’t find a reason for all of it but said he could treat it. For awhile I managed okay on the drugs and diet that I was treated with. Everything went in cycles.

During the summer of 2001 my naturally light blonde hair began to change color. It got black and mousy looking at the roots. At the same time it started thinning, the texture was horrible and no longer shiny and baby soft. I developed heat intolerance. I was uncomfortable in 80 degree weather. I also developed strange rashes and red dots on my skin. Later that fall my neck and face started to turn beet red. It stayed that way.

I could no longer fit in my wedding rings and my shoe size went from a size 7 ½ to and 8 1/2. Doctors didn’t find this impressive. My neck went from 13 inches around to 16. I gained 12 pounds in 1 week alone. I started getting real fat in my stomach and armpits, and I could no longer wear normal bras. I also started getting a lot of fat on my upper back. I grew hair in places that women should not grow hair. My face was huge with strange acne outbreaks. I also got acne in weird spots.

At the time I had put on about 20 pounds all in my stomach. When I would try other clothing it wouldn’t work because the next size bigger fit in the waist but the butt and legs were huge. I gave up on real pants and started to wear stretch clothes all the time. At this time I could no longer exercise to my peak performance. I was tired all the time and never felt well and I looked like I was 6 months pregnant. I thought that I was getting old.

January of 2002 my bowel and stomach troubles peaked. I was in and out of the hospital. Although I was following the healthy eating plan and exercising no doctors believed me. My PCP did a TSH test and it came back at 27.48. I was hypothyroid, at that time my estradiol levels were also non-existent. So off I was sent to an Endocrinologist. I was given replacements for both yet nothing improved.

This started an intense year of doctors. I was diagnosed with anything and everything at this point. I was started on the Atkins diet plan. I followed this religiously and walked for up to 2 hours a day and continued to gain weight. By this time I was 165 pounds. Finally realizing that something horrible was wrong with me I started seeking out Endo’s on my own. It led me to one who thought he should do a few 24 UFC’s. One came back high, 2 others came back high normal (33.4 and 33.9 with a range of 2.9-34). They then did serum cortisols which came back below normal. I was frustrated.

It was November by now and I was getting no where fast. At this point I had seen 11 different doctors. The last of which told me that there was no way I was eating healthy and not losing. He even suggested that my fresh sliced berry snack was making me fat. By now I’ developed high blood pressure and high blood sugars. My fasting blood glucose came in at 170.

By this time I was so exhausted and developed such horrid bone pain that I could not even exercise anymore. I remember waking up late one morning and crying. I went downstairs and told my hubby I was sure my back was breaking. It was horrible. I weighed 196 pounds and looked 9 months pregnant with triplets.

I came home and looked the tests up on the internet. I started reading everything that I could find. I knew then that I had Cushing’s. I found the Cushing’s help site. The trouble was that some tests were normal and some were abnormal. Finally in January of 2003 I went to see Dr. Friedman after another patient emailed me. Dr. Friedman tested my 17-Hydroxysteroids and 17- Ketosteroids which came back elevated. He also did some additional salivary cortisols testing. He finally figured out that I not only had Cyclic Cushing’s but also Acromegaly.

After many more tests and some MRI’s my tumors were found. I had pituitary surgery to remove them. I was devastated that I was not cured from the Cushing’s. After much consulting I decided to proceed with a Bilateral Adrenalectomy to cure it once and for all. I am recovering slowly but surely.

I am now 4 months post-op.

Click any thumbnail to view the larger image.

Before Cushing’s [Photographer: Jeanne’s family]

In the kitchen [Photographer: Jeanne’s family]

Jinxie [Photographer: Jeanne’s family]

Jinxie [Photographer: Jeanne’s family]

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