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Kate M, Pituitary Bio

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I find it amazing that it’s newsworthy in this day and age for anyone receiving support after a diagnosis.  Of course, a diagnosed person should be getting support as a matter of course.  If she had cancer, everyone would be all over this.

For Kara Murrow, the most rewarding moments as a teacher come when students learn about animals in the classroom. So it’s difficult for the Bonham Elementary fifth-grade science and social studies teacher to be away from school while she prepares for surgery.

“I enjoy it, and I know my kids enjoy the class and enjoy science because of it,” Murrow said. “With the science club I do after school once a week, the kids get upset when it gets canceled because of meetings. Not having it now is upsetting, too.”

Murrow was diagnosed this month with Cushing’s disease, a condition that develops when a tumor on the pituitary gland causes it to secrete too much adrenocorticotropic hormone. Murrow, who moved to West Texas from Arizona three years ago, said she has received support from Midland ISD employees and others in the local community.

Murrow’s mother, Louise Gonzalez, also appreciates Midlanders’ concerns for her daughter.

“People in Midland have been wonderful, considering how new we are to the area,” Gonzalez said. “The school district sent out the GoFundMe page and there’s been an outpouring of support for that. People at my church always ask me.”

Murrow’s family is collecting donations from the website GoFundMe to cover the costs of medical and travel expenses. Murrow and her husband, Kai, recently spent money on hospital stays connected to their 4-year-old son’s food sensitivities.

“They’ve been paying off those bills and doing OK until this came,” Gonzalez said. “Plus, she’s been going to the doctor about this. Because Cushing’s is so rare, doctors don’t recognize it.”

Murrow was diagnosed with the disease after medical professionals discovered a tumor on her pituitary gland. For six years, she experienced symptoms — including weight gain, dizziness and headaches — but said doctors couldn’t determine the cause. Murrow was thankful when she received an answer.

“It was a huge relief to finally have a diagnosis and know that I wasn’t crazy or making things up,” Murrow said. “It’s weird to be excited about a brain tumor. It’s a relief to know what was happening and that I have a solution.”

Murrow traveled this week to Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, where she’s scheduled to undergo surgery to remove the tumor. Though Murrow said recovery lasts several months, she hopes to return to the classroom next school year.

Jaime White, fourth-grade language arts and social studies teacher at Bonham, said both staff and students miss her presence. She said Murrow expresses concern for her students during her time away.

“She’s worried about how kids will do on the STAAR [State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness],” White said. “She doesn’t want them to think she abandoned them. The disease has to take center stage.”

At school, White said she noticed her colleague’s dedication toward helping her students understand science.

“She’s hands-on,” White said. “When it comes to science, she’s always making sure the kids are doing some sort of experiment. She wants to make sure the kids grasp it.”

Murrow teaches students about animals through dissections and presentations. Before she became a teacher nine years ago, she coordinated outreach programs at an Arizona zoo.

When she came to MISD, Murrow saw an opportunity to generate enthusiasm about science. She launched an invite-only science club for fifth-graders who show interest in the subject.

“I started it because there wasn’t really anything,” Murrow said. “They have tutorials for reading and math. There’s not a lot kids can do with science after school. They get science in the younger grades, but the focus is on reading and math. Science is something kids really enjoy.”

Though Murrow is disappointed about not being able to facilitate the club, she recognizes the importance of her upcoming surgery. She’s happy her mother, husband and two children will be in Phoenix for support.

“I hope that it will bring about a sense of relief to all the symptoms I’ve been dealing with and provide a chance for myself and my family to continue along with a full life,” Murrow said.

From http://www.mrt.com/news/local/article/Science-teacher-receives-support-after-11026581.php

MizBellaTru, Undiagnosed bio

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golden-oldie

A Golden Oldie from August 12, 2007

I’m a 48-year old female who has had an awful lot of illness over the past 12 years and starting to wonder if there could be some connection to all of it even though my doctors don’t think there is. They just think I’m one of those unlucky souls who just is sick alot and doesn’t have very good genes.

Here’s what I can tell you about me health-wise:

In 96 I had to have my colon removed due to Ulcerative Colitis. This resulted in 3 surgeries.

In 97 I developed Iritis (inflammation of the eye) and one of the docs said that because I no longer have a colon and have an auto-immune disorder that now my whacked out immune systems has started attacking my eyes. I’m in remission currently but this will be something I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my life.

Things were fairly quiet for a few years with the exception of having Iritis flare-ups and don’t remember anything else going on until 2000 when I broke my left ankle (badly) and now have a steel plate with 11 bolts holding my ankle together. (This happened in 2000 and I still have problems with that ankle).

In 2001 I was diagnosed with Diabetes. This had run in my family (my great-grandmother had been diabetic and I had been borderline diabetic as a child). I started out taking oral medications but after a couple of years this wasn’t enough and it resulted in me being on insulin now for the past 3 years. (Sugars still aren’t under control).

Also in 2001 I had some kind of seizure. Was taken to the hospital and after a lot of blood tests they thought it might be due to a calcium deficiency and recommended I go see an Endo. However, when I wen to see an endo he didn’t think my calcium was deficient enough to cause what had happened and recommended I go see a neurologist. The neurologist thought it was some kind of seizure too and ran some preliminary tests on me but he wouldn’t return any calls for me to find out what other tests should be run. I gave up on him and still never had an answer about what had caused this very weird episode. (What had happened was that I had been at work and all of a sudden my jaw started to tighten up and my head cocked to the side and I started making all these weird grimaces. My mouth became locked up so could barely get any words out. I couldn’t turn my head – it was as if it was locked in place. This is what led the ER (after running blood tests) to determine that they thought my reaction was due to low calcium. To get my rigidity to loosen up, they gave me several shots (can’t remember now what it was) but it finally had allowed my body to loosen up enough that I could finally leave the hospital. This event lasted several hours and moved in to my arms where they became so rigid that it felt like someone was turning my arms inside out. I was completely exhausted after that had happened.

As time went on I would have periodic episodes of what was thought to be a seizure and I just started to learn to live with it. Sometimes only my face was affected and sometimes my whole body would become very rigid and after several hours these episodes would pass but I was always left feeling completely worn out.

Throughout all this time my Diabetes has been almost impossible to get it under control. My insulin doses would be increased but I never could get my sugars to stabilize.

In the spring of 2006 I developed some type of wound on the top of my left foot. It spread and ulcerated and I went to several types of doctors and a couple of them thought it might have been a spider bite of some kind and due to the diabetes it wasn’t healing. I was put on various types of strong antibiotics but nothing was helping. I finally was referred to an infectious disease expert and he said I had some type of serious strain of staph infection and he finally was able to get me on an antibiotic that started to help me heal. I’m now left with some horrible scarring on my left foot but at least I didn’t lose my foot which is what I thought might happen.

In August of 2006 I developed Bells Palsey on the left side of my face. I went to a neurologist (different one from the one I had gone to for my “seizure”). He was the one who diagnosed me with Bells. In the process of seeing him I had one of those episodes in his office and he watched me very closely as it evolved and told me that he thought I had a form of “Dystonia” which is a movement disorder. After a couple of months my Bells resolved although I do have some permanent nerve damage in my face which affects how I smile but it seems to only be really noticeable to me.

In late fall of 2006 I noticed my right ear was hurting quite a bit and was draining. I went to this ear doc and she determined I had a ruptured eardrum with a huge hole that might require surgery. She also determined (after some tests) that I had an infection in the mastoid and said it was imperative that I not let any water get in my ear so that the ear could dry out enough and the infection to clear up before I have surgery. She said it could take a couple months before my ear might be dry enough and told me to come back in a couple of months. During that first visit she also did a hearing test on both ears to establish a baseline. I came back to see her in Jan 2007. When she looked at my ear she said it looked like the eardrum was starting to show some signs it was trying to heal itself (because originally she thought the hole was too big for it to ever heal on its own). She told me to give it some more time and come back again in a couple of months. I came back to see her in April 2007 and the hole was still showing some progress in trying to repair itself so she said she didn’t want to operate if my body could heal the hole. In June of 2007 my left ear started producing a very high pitched ringing sound. I’m not talking a little ringing sound but a sound loud enough it kept me up at night. I had noticed my hearing had diminshed quite a bit in that left ear. I then developed some dizziness and a sense of fullness in my left ear and noticed that when the barometric pressure changed my head felt like it was going to explode. When I went back again to the ear doc she surmised that she thought I now had developed Menieres. She put me on a diuretic and a steroid as this is supposed to help with Menieres but it didn’t seem to do a thing for me. The ear doc ran another hearing test and found that my hearing in my left ear had diminished since it was first baselined last December.

So, a little over a week ago my right ear (the one with the perforated eardrum) started hurting quite a bit and the ear started draining. Again I went back to the ear doc and she determined I had a sinus infection and an ear infection so she put me on an oral antibiotic and antibiotic ear-drops. It’s been a full 7 or 8 days on this antibiotic treatment and my hearing in my right ear has diminshed considerably to where I can hardly hear a persons’ voice on the phone. I’m to stay on this present course of antibiotics for another week. In the past I’ve always responded to antibiotics but it doesn’t seem to be helping this time. My right ear has been draining for a whole week and it’s never done that before.

Also I want to point out that I gained a lot of weight over the last 15 years and I’m now about 120 lbs overweight. I gained 12 of those pounds in just less than 2 weeks recently and my eating hasn’t changed. This is what made me start looking on the internet about rapid weight gain when I came across Cushings and started wondering if I could have this.

At this time I’m waiting on some results from a urine test to see if I’m starting to have a problem with my kidneys because I’m dealing with a lot of edema lately. I don’t know if all the problems I’m having such as the poor wound healing, edema, diabetes, developing high blood pressure are all separate things or more related to my Diabetes.

So at this time I can’t claim that I’m a “cushie” because that’s not been identified yet but I’m thinking that I should get tested for it.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on with me right now.

Thank you for reading this very long bio.

MizBellaTru

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In Memory: Janice, Tuesday, September 4, 2001

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in-memory

Tuesday, September 4, 2001

Double click to see these ribbons
used in Janice’s memory.

On the message boards, Lorrie wrote: Our dear friend, Janice died this past Tuesday, September 4, 2001. I received an IM from her best friend Janine, tonight. Janine had been reading the boards, as Janice had told her about this site, and she came upon my name and decided to IM me. I am grateful that she did. She said that she knew that Janice would want all of us to know that she didn’t just stop posting.

For all of the newcomers to the board that did not know Janice, she was a very caring individual. She always had something positive to say. Janice was 36 years old, was married and had no children. She had a miscarriage in December and began to have symptoms of Cushing’s during that pregnancy. After the pregnancy, she continued to have symptoms. When discussing this with her doctor, she was told that her symptoms were just related to her D&C. She did not buy this and continued until she received the accurate diagnosis of Cushing’s Syndrome (adrenal) in March of 2001. Tragically, Janice’s tumor was cancerous, a very rare form of Cushing’s.

Janice then had her tumor and adrenal gland removed by open adrenalectomy, a few months ago. She then began chemotherapy. She was very brave through this even though she experienced severe side effects, including weakness and dizziness. She continued to post on this board at times and even though she was going through so much, she continued with a positive attitude. She even gave me a referral to a doctor a few weeks ago. She was my inspiration. Whenever I thought I had it bad, I thought of what she was dealing with, and I gained more perspective.

Janice was having difficulty with low potassium levels and difficulty breathing. She was admitted to the hospital, a CT scan was done and showed tumor metastasis to the lungs. She then was begun on a more aggressive regimen of chemo. She was discharged and apparently seemed to be doing well.

The potassium then began to drop again, she spiked a temp and she was again admitted to the hospital. She improved and was set to be discharged and then she threw a blood clot into her lungs. She was required to be put on a ventilator. She apparently was at high risk for a heart attack. Her husband did not want her to suffer anymore and did not want her to suffer the pain of a heart attack and so chose for the doctors to discontinue the ventilator on Tuesday. She died shortly thereafter.

Funeral services will be on Tuesday.

Janice was our friend. She was a Cushie sister. I will always remember her. Janine asked me to let her know when we get the Cushing’s ribbons made as she and the rest of Janice’s family would like to wear them in her memory. She said that Janice would want to do anything she could to make others more aware of Cushing’s.


A Poem written in Janice’s Memory:

JANICE’s POEM

When I Am Done
When the leaves settle
Among the earths soil
Then will I find peace
For all my work and toil.

Know not I when it will be
But of its happening, it’s a certainty
For once sick in body
Though healed in time
Can never be wiped clean
Of the illnesses grime.

The stamp of death
Left upon this soul
Will never have reason to fear
It’s pearly gates that have come, for some
But for me only when I am done.

~Adrienne Lilley

Written in Janice’s memory, may she rest in peace always.

One thing about Cushings—I no longer fear death. But I sure do embrace life.

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Patricia, Adrenal Bio

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My adrenal incidentaloma was discovered after an abdominal CT in 2011.  My doctor told me that it was insignificant, and no follow up was needed.

Late 2012 I began having symptoms which led me to believe that something hormonal was going on.  I was having extreme anxiety, headaches, insomnia, new onset hypertension, hair loss, blurred vision, memory problems, dizziness, and extremely heavy menses.  I went to the gynecologist because I thought it might be premenopausal symptoms.  The doctor started me on birth control pills to regulate the periods, which was the only symptom that improved.

My general practitioner sent me to a cardiologist for my blood pressure which was spiking as high as 194/110.  The cardiologist immediately suspected a pheo, and referred me back to the GP with a recommendation for a referral to endocrinology.  The initial round of labs were all within normal limits with the exception of plasma cortisol due to the estrogen pills.  The endocrinologist told me to follow up in one year.

A lot of people started telling me it I was just stressed out, and depressed.  I don’t buy it for a minute.  It feels like something chemically is wrong. It’s hard to explain….I just don’t feel right.  Yes, I have stressful things going on, but not anything that should make me feel like this.  Especially when things are fine, and I am going to meet a friend for coffee why on earth would I almost freak out on the way there? I started feeling better for a couple of months, then the symptoms came back.

I have had 3 near panic attacks in the last 6 months, social withdrawal, rapid abdominal weight gain, hospitalized with 24 hours of amnesia (transient global amnesia…which left lesions on my hippocampus), headaches, hypertension, amenorrhea for 8 months, increased facial hair.

My first lab test was the high dose dexamethasone which I did not supress.  Last week I did the 24 hour urine…a whopping 3650 liters!!  I will get the results on Thursday.  My endo said he will need to do an adrenal vein sampling as part of the diagnosis.

Has anyone else had to do this?  I am in Germany, so maybe it is just different protocol here, but I really don’t want to have to do it.

Thanks for any feedback!

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Helena (hummerbird), Steroid-Induced Bio

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Hi! My name is Helena (hummerbird). I am going to be 60 next week, Nov 16. I have come full circle with this.

I knew I had adrenal problems 12 years ago when I got stuck in the ‘fight or flight reflex’. I paid to have saliva tests done and it showed that I was dumping cortisol into my system early evening with my lowest point being 6am in the morning. I showed my allopathic doctors the tests but none would put any stock into saliva testing and just blew me off (this was 2002).

Some of my first signs were extreme insomnia yet when I did sleep I would still feel extremely fatigued, flushing of the face, neck, chest, and back, weekly migraines and daily headaches which started after I was 45, unexplained weight gain, crazy buzzy internal tremor adrenaline smacking (I could actually taste it!) jitters that would not go away, hypersensory (especially to light and sounds), feeling painfully sunburned even though I had not been out in the sun, pain in my legs going way beyond restless leg syndrome, totally fearful of everything, developing a hump between my shoulders and a host of other symptoms.

I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia 03, then SLE Lupus 09 (positive ANA but no markers).

We moved to Colorado in 2012 and then back to Oregon 2014 and when I saw my rheumatologist again after 2 1/2 years (Oct 2014), he said it looks like you have Cushings? So at the moment I am suspected to have Cushings. I have been reading up on it and I am totally textbook (including the fact that I could literally step into the profile of the picture of the woman with Cushings).

Not sure if this is drug induced or if the prednisone finally brought out the demon that’s been tormenting me. My rheumie wants me to slowly wean off the prednisone. My dosage was 5mgs per day unless I was flaring (dealing with horrible muscular pain and internal tremors) then I was to do a step down starting at 30mgs back to 5mgs. I probably do a step down every other month.

My internist in Colorado wanted me to get off my Percocet 10/325mgs 4 times a day and try to deal with the pain. For the first time in my life I used MJ edibles to get off the Percocet with only a week of hard withdrawals. I was on the MJ edibles for 3 weeks until I realized I was allergic to it! I now take 2 Tramadol 50mgs 3 times a day to control pain. On the negative side this is not working because I have too much breakthrough pain but on the positive side I have a clearer head (I’m able to focus and read again!).

Over the years my days have gone from one ‘down’ day a week to a whole month of down days. I have lost my quality of life and pretty much my social skills. My venturing now is from my bed to the bathroom, kitchen, and possibly my recliner if I’m not feeling too dizzy.

I have three saints in my life, my husband and my two girlfriends who take care of me. I know that God has a plan for my life and I have faith in knowing that I’m going to feel well again some day. It has been a long and expensive road to travel to get to this point. I am not looking to have Cushings but it is a diagnosis that finally fits completely. I’m looking forward to meeting the support group.

Love you all and thanks for taking the time to read my post.

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Don S (Don S), Undiagnosed Bio

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My name is Don.  I am 35and I am a career firefighter with 14 years on the job.

10 years ago I was injured badly at a fire and almost immediately noticed a change.  My skin began peeling off and I began gaining weight.

I knew about cortisol and its effect on the body because my mother passed away from Cushings at 46 after years of taking steroids for respiratory problems.  My doctors dismissed my issues as stress following the trauma.  My accident happened in March and by July, I had gained  80lbs.  I was constantly fatigued and developed acne all over my body.

A year or so later, I began having stomach issues.  Nausea and Reflux were with me everyday.   I continued to have high serum cortisol throughout the past 10 years but each time, it suppressed to just below the 1.8 threshold with dexamethasone so my doctors just dismissed it as stress.

In 2012, the dizziness and blurry vision began.  My spine is weak and my joints hurt constantly.  My legs are so skinny and weak, they shake when I stand and my heart races from any exertion.  I managed to continue working until a year ago when I accepted that I was putting myself and others at risk.

For the past year I have been paying guys to work for me in order to keep my job and insurance.  I worked hard for this career and promotions and I will not give it up without a diagnosis and confirmation that I can no longer do the job.

I have a new Endo now and she ordered a Urinary Cortisol.  It came back 4X higher than the upper limit.  She is convinced I have Cushings and it isnt just stress.  I have the following symptoms.  Weight gain of over 100lbs, Long purple stretch marks on my flank, side, and groin, Blurry vision, tachycardia, weak limbs, tremors, anxiety, puffy face, dizziness, stomach issues.

I am hoping after 10years of suffering, I may finally have my answer and that I can begin getting my life back.  I have a wife and 3 year old that really count on me and all I have been doing is letting them down.  Our lives are on hold because we do not know what the future will bring.

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Kim, Undiagnosed Bio

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golden-oldie

Hello, everyone. Below is information from my introduction at Cushings-Help.

“So, about me…I’ve had various non-specific symptoms since I was a child and various specific diagnoses as an adult … hypothyroid, fibromyalgia, adult ADD (misdiagnosed and treated as bipolar from 2005-2008), chronic atrophic gastritis and chronic duodenitis (diagnosed via biopsy), colon polyps, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, sinus polyps, insomnia alternating with hypersomnia (sometimes I sleep up to 15 hours a day), plus an REM sleep disorder (REM sleep latency 287 min/378.5 total sleep time, REM sleep 37.5 min with 12 upper airway resistance episodes during that time) … and the list goes on. I have multiple vitamin deficiencies too (C, D, zinc and iron) and other abnormal blood levels (low arginine and dopamine, and high folic acid, glutamine, glycine, norepinephrine and ornithine). The levels that made some people suspect Cushing’s (vs. PCOS) were my DHEA and Testosterone. My highest DHEA was 1342, lowest Free T is 0.2.

From a CT scan of my abdomen in August 2011, I know there’s a “probably benign” lesion on my liver, a cyst on my kidney (plus medullary sponge kidney), a 10 mm cyst on my ovary and an umbilical hernia. My PCP considers all of this normal. Also, I’ve had four fractures as an adult (two in 2008 alone, one that required surgery) partly because of poor balance and coordination (frequent trips and falls, dropping things, etc.). I was through an EEG and 24-hour EKG because I fainted and collapsed on the sidewalk outside of my kids’ school at the end of December 2011. Those tests were normal.

…In terms of my physical appearance, I don’t have stretch marks but the shape of my face changes almost daily. It’s been hard for me to piece together a visual timeline since I hate having my picture taken and therefore, steer clear of camera lenses. (NOTE: I did manage to put a timeline together…You can find it here. http://cushings.invisionzone.com/index.php?app=gallery&album=408) How sad is it that I have very few pics with my kids because the person I see in the mirror is a stranger! I don’t even resemble the person I once was…my weight just continues to creep up regardless of how little I eat or how much I exercise. The fatigue has gotten REALLY bad lately and my tolerance for any physical activity is gone. I have regular shortness of breath and my blood pressure and heart rates are all over the place. Just the thought of doing stairs to throw in a load of laundry is overwhelming. And after showering to get ready to go somewhere, the only place I’m ready to go is back to bed. I also have a small buffalo hump and my neck is very thick. 16″ necklaces that used to fit comfortably won’t even close now.”

January 30, 2012

Today I had an initial appt with an endo who ordered the following tests:

Gave blood today to measure:

UR/CS/CBC/FT4/T3RIA/TSH (have confirmed hypothyroid; TSH has been remaining high even on 125 mcg Synthroid)

GONAD #1

Thyroid Antibodies

Vitamin B12/Folate

IGF-1 (have two kids with GHD being treated, third child is being tested; endo suspects IGF-1 may come back low)

IGF-BP3

ACTH

Cortisol

Cardio CRP

DHEA (history of high DHEA … 554, 717, 1342)

Ferritin

Prolactin

Free Testosterone (history of low Free T)

Vitamin D, 25 (have confirmed Vitamin D deficiency, rechecking levels)

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B6

Vitamin C

Tuesday, January 31 having DEXA scan of spine, hips, and right wrist and ankle (have had multiple fractures on right side…cuboid (foot), anterior process (heel), elbow, wrist).

Thursday, February 3 having nerve conduction study because of peripheral neuropathy in hands and feet

Friday, February 4 meeting with opthamalogist for vision testing (peripheral vision is diminished, causing dizziness, balance issues, resulting in falls)

I’m waiting for endo’s order to have an MRI of the pituitary. Endo reviewing report from the CT scan I had in December 2011 after my fainting episode/collapes on the sidewalk outside my kids’ school. The report says nothing except there were not hemmorages, so anticipate order for MRI will be coming soon.

This seems like a lot of tests, but I think the endo wants to determine where to dig deeper. The nurse practitioner asked a lot of questions that led me to believe she may have been suspecting Cushing’s and/or growth hormone deficiency. And they were interested in a timeline I’d put together demonstrating my eight month experience on Ketoconazole, which allowed me to shed weight and caused an improvement of symptoms. (The weight went back up and symptoms flared off Keto as posted above.)

I guess I’m in a waiting pattern now as the endo pulls together the results of all these tests and decides which tests will be next. The only next test that was discussed was GH stim testing, again leading me to believe the endo may think he’ll uncover that issue, especially since I have two kids who are GHD. (My son also has smallish pituitary and chiari malformation and my daughter has a Rathke’s cleft cyst.) I know a lot of the standard Cushing’s tests are missing from the above list, but this is a starting point. I’ve never had such a full endocrine workup, so at least I’ll have a baseline.

I’ll post more about my journey as my test results start coming in.

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