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Amanda, Undiagnosed Bio

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golden-oldie

 

I have been battling sickness for about a year and half now. It started with my gaining weight pretty rapidly (about 20 lbs. in a month-month and a half). I’ve never been super strict about my eating or exercising but I don’t eat a lot of junk food – don’t buy any chips, soda, cookies, etc.) I also do remain pretty active in the work that I do as an elementary teacher. I’ve never had a problem with my weight before and this particular summer I was teaching 3 sections of dance so I was getting plenty of exercise.  I told my family practioner about the weight gain and he told me that metabolism slows down as you age. Ok. I was 26 when he said this and my metabolism must have went down to 0 for me to gaine so fast! I decided to just be more concious of what I ate and did.

As the months went by, I went on a business trip to Boston. During this trip I was inrcedibly fatigued and felt awful. I thought perhaps I was coming down with something and was put on antibiotics that did nothing to help. In August of 2010 I began to have debilitating headaches. I could not get the headache to go away with any over the counter pain reliever and ended up going to a doctor who diagnosed me with migraines. I tried a few migraine medicines with no luck and had a CT scan that showed nothing abnormal. I was then referred to a neurologist.

I mentioned the weight gain to the neuroogist who thought it was odd that I would gain weight so rapidly, but he pretty much dismissed it as a symptom and said I was getting headaches from overuse of medication. I knew that could not be right, but thought I’d try just taking nothing for a while to see if it helped. It did not. The same neurologist then recommended physical therapy, which helped ease the pain but did not take away the headaches. His final thought was that I was depressed and put me on depression medication.

During this time I was working as a teacher and missing work quite often. I felt awful every day. I continued to gain weight, feel fatigued and weak, have mood swings and began developing stretch marks and acne. I always had wonderful skin and it seemed no matter what cleanser I used, I couldn’t control the breakouts.

I saw another neurologist that was recommended by a parent at my school. She scheduled me for an MRI and a lumbar puncture. My pressure came back a little high during the lumbar puncture and the MRI was fine so she diagnosed me with Pseudo Tumer Cerebri. I took medication for this condition, but ended up with no relief.

I ended up spending a week in the hospital because I couldn’t stand the pain in my head and I was so emotional over the whole experience of not having any answers. They pumped me full of pain medication and migraine drugs. At the end of the week when I still had no answers, I ended up going to see a neurologist that was a headache specialist.

The headache specialist diagnosed me with meningitis. No tests but I got a diagnosis based on my story. She put me on steriods. I began to feel better for a few days. I returned to work and thought I had finally found my answer. Then everything came to a screeching halt and I began to feel awful again. The headache specialist was still convinced it was meningitis and said I was just more susceptible to migraines from the meningitis. I again went through a whole gamot of migraine medications to no avail.

I ended up leaving my job and moving close to my family so I could have support and people to help care for me. I returned to my family doctor who decided to do some blood tests. After running the blood tests, my doctor said that my cortisol level was high and I might have cushings which would explain all my symptoms. I had never heard of Cushings so I began researching it. Once I read the symptoms and others’ stories of how they felt and what they went through I was so sure that here FINALLY was my answer. The doctor did a low dose dexamethasone test which came back with normal levels and it was decided I did not have Cushings.

I was devestated. Not that I wanted to have this illness, I just wanted an answer and thought for sure this was it! I even asked my doctor to retest me which she would not do.

I went to see another doctor. I began going through migraine medications again, acupunture, chiropractor, etc. to find some relief. I finally brought the idea of Cushings to this doctor. She ran some blood tests again. Everything came back with normal levels except my potassium was low. Even though my blood didn’t show it, I’m still convinced I have Cushings and my doctor agreed to send me to an endocrinologist.

I have an appointment on Monday with Dr. Findling in Menomenee Falls. I found him on this site as one of the ‘helpful doctors’. I’m hoping that he can finally diagnose me and I can get on the road to recovery.

I miss my life. I’ve lost friends due to this illness. My marriage is suffering. I cannot work. I basically have no life at all because I rarely feel well enough to do anything and no one understands. Not to mention the psychological toll being sick with no answers has on a person as well as watching my body change so much and not being able to do anything to control it! I want an answer and I want to finally know what I can do to help myself get better.

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Renee (Renee), Pituitary Bio

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pituitary-location

I am really not sure where to start! I have struggled with medical issues my entire life. I am 25 born with many anomalies–bladder, cleft lip/cleft palate, dilated aorta, hydronephrosis…the list really goes on and on. Thankfully, I have had great doctors and everything is under control until recently.

I had my first appointment with my new endocrinologist. She listened to my history that I highlighted for her and she actually took the time to *think* about me and all of my little medical issues. It was great to see her brain trying to piece things together. When she was doing my exam, she gently touched my shoulders and made a comment that my shoulders were holding a lot of weight. I said that I’ve noticed and that it makes me feel that I look like a football player. She told me that it isn’t that bad, but then asked me if I have stretch marks on my body. I told her that I do and that I’ve actually noticed that they are getting worse and deeper than usual. She looked at my belly and she said that she wants to get my checked for Cushings Syndrome.

She asked if I was on any steroids, and I am not, but I did have a pituitary cyst in 2008 that was surgically drained (specifically a Rathke’s Cleft Cyst). From what I’ve learned, whenever a doctor works near the pituitary there is a risk that hormones will be effected. This may be what is happening to me.

Last April 2012, I was also diagnosed with a pseudotumor cerebri. It is basically under control and I am on Diamox for it. These are my symptoms for why I really think I have cushings:

» Extreme weight gain

» Moodiness, irritability, or depression

» Muscle weakness– my leg muscles get tired very easily, even just walking a few blocks. It feels like I have shin splints, at times!

» Hypertension–possibly, but undetected because  of I am on meds for other heart anomalies.

» Immune suppression– a possible reason why I got pertussis (whooping cough) during the end of 2012 even after being given the vaccine

» Hirsutism–embarassing, but true

» Hypercholesterolemia–to the point that I am on a medication for it

» stretch marks

» “moon face”–it isn’t too bad, but it is noticable.

» the storage of fat on my shoulders/back

Today I got my blood tested with the dexamethasone. I don’t know how long I have to wait for results, but I am really fighting urges to call my MD immediately. I found this board because I need support. I am nervous for what my future holds because I really don’t want to have ANOTHER brain surgery, but I think all that I can do it be positive and wait. Thanks for this forum!!

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