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Pam M (mapgirl23), Undiagnosed Bio

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I am the mother of an 18 year old daughter who I suspect has Cushing’s. Kristy was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome when she was in the 5th grade. She suffers from mild to severe motor tics.

Fast forward to the end of her Freshman year and high school when she started to develop depression, anxiety and unexplained episodes of vomiting along with rash covering her entire body which the doctors just said was eczema She also developed stretch marks all over her breast, abdomen and thighs. I asked the dermatologist and she said she was just growing. She was the same size she had been for the last 2 years and was actually losing weight. I took her to a neurologist who diagnosed her with Cyclic vomiting syndrome. By May of the following year she was seeing a therapist and then went to see a psychiatrist who put her on Prozac. Her rash immediately cleared up. I asked the doctor about cortisol I figured her body must be producing to much and he said yes it was causing a stress rash.

Her mood improved temporarily and everything was blamed on the Tourette Syndrome. She started gain weight and by her Senior year she had gained 60 pounds and she barely ate. Her face became moon shaped and the majority of her weight was carried in the abdomen area. Her anxiety continued to get worse along with severe fatigue. We saw more doctors who just told her to lose weight and go to therapy to learn to live with her symptoms because there is nothing they could do for her. In June we found a new psychiatrist at U of M who increased her dosage of Prozac to the max dosage. She still has know improvement and she even attended anxiety classes to try to learn to cope.

She is now suffering from severe brain fog , has difficulty speaking and gets confused easily. In November she started having vomiting episodes and a rash again so that brought me back to thinking about her cortisol levels. I started searching the internet once again and stumbled upon Cushings once again. The light bulb went off! I ran downstairs and checked the back of her neck and there was a Buffalo Hump that wasn’t there in June. That is when I knew we may have found the answer.

We saw a new family doctor in December and she took us seriously and ordered Prolactin, testosterone, Thyroid, 24 Hour free urine cortisol and a Cortisol blood test. The Prolactin and Urine Cortisol came back elevated. The blood Cortisol 8am test cam back at the highest end of normal. We met with her psychiatrist and he agrees that it may be Cushings. We will see him on Feb. 1 and he is going to review her labs with a endocrinologist. We have an appointment with an endocrinologist on March 2 and are waiting to get into another endocrinologist at the University of Michigan. Praying for an answer!

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Chelsea, Undiagnosed Bio

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undiagnosed2

 

Hello Cushing’s world! My names is Chelsea. I’m 23, female and waiting for a possible Cushing’s diagnosis. I’m trying to see if anyone has a similar story to mine? I’ve had a hard time finding people in my age bracket with similar symptoms or test results.

Up until I was 21, I was 110 pounds soaking wet. I’m 5’3 and have always been extremely active. I was on the USTA junior tennis circuit for 15 years and then started coaching when I was in college. I also was always on a high protein, low card diet for the majority of my life.

I also went on birth control at age 13 and stayed on it until I was 20. The first 6 months off of birth control, I never had a period but I assumed it was normal after being on the pill for so long so I didn’t worry about it.

Then, about 3 and half years ago, roughly six months after I turned 20, I gained 45 pounds in a matter of 5 months. Completely unexplained when, at the time I was coaching a JV tennis team and in kickboxing class twice a week. Obviously I was utterly shocked and disappointed. I started trying to lose the weight. I cut down from 1500 calories a day to 1200 and amped up my cardio routine.

My period had come back, but I started noticing that it would always come about 8-10 days after I expected it to come. Again, I assumed my body was just getting back into the swing of things after going off the pill.

During all of this, it was time for my yearly physical with my GP. I went to the appointment, had weight and height taken, and was ready to discuss with him the weight problem I got in what seemed like overnight. After walking him through my diet and exercise routine and mentioning my period irregularity, he simply insinuated that I was probable a closet over eater and said “Just eat more celery”.

Still to this day I can not look at celery without my blood boiling. He also said that once I lose the weight, my periods will get normal. Ok. I’m 20 at the time and a little naïve in my thinking that, “he’s the doctor, he must be right”. So I pressed on in my quest to lose the weight. To no avail. Instead, every Wednesday when I stepped on the scale, it showed that I had gained a pound of two.

At this point I’m weighing in at 158. Not grossly overweight but also not a healthy BMI. I also started noticing that my once long, strong jaw line was turning into mush and seriously thought I needed a chin implant. Then I noticed that I was starting to oddly resemble a linebacker. The fat on my back between my shoulders came out of no where. I have worn a scarf almost every day since to hide it. I also noticed that, while the sleeves in my shirts were fitting fine, my pants were not buttoning and I could no longer wear my mid-drift bearing tops without looking at myself and crying.

The depression began to set in. I had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 18 due to boughts of depression followed by highly elevated mood, never quite reaching mania. Also, I was anxious 24/7. I never took antidepressants. Only a mild mood stabilizer and still do to this day. It is the only medication I’m on.

Back to age 20, the next thing I noticed was that I could no longer bear going to school, coaching tennis, and working part time. It was everything I could do to just get out of bed. My back ached, my knees ached, and I was not even recognizing myself in the mirror. As my mother puts it, I started looking like I was stung my a thousand bees rather than putting on weight.

It was about this time, age 21 that I had skin problems. So I went to the dermatologist who diagnosed me with mild eczema on my elbows and tops of my hands. But it hurt. I couldn’t and still can’t stand for my hands to come in contact with anything hotter than warm bath water.

It then came time for my annual gyno appointment. Again, I rehashed everything I had been feeling and noticing and again, I was told it was just “life stress” and to “learn to relax and work hard to lose the weight”. So again, I left feeling like it was all in my head. The next few months is when I started noticing that I was not functioning like I used to. The comment I often made to my mom was ” I just feel like I’m on autopilot all day. Everything seems so hazy.” She began thinking I may have a thyroid problem.

SO I made another appointment with my GP and brought her with me. He adamantly insisted it was in my head and would not order blood work. Again, I left feeling like this was all my fault. A few months later, I accepted a job after graduation and moved to Boston. This is when I first noticed the disgusting black mustache that had taken up residence above my upper lip. I began having to shave it every day and decided well this must have something to do with my period problem, that was still coming farther and farther apart every couple of cycles. Again, more weight gain.

Finally, I hired a personal trainer and nutritionist. I met with the trainer twice a week and the nutritionist once a week. I kept up with this regime for about 11 months. I lost a grand total of…… four pounds. I was defeated to say the least.

During those 10 months I noticed that my vision was so blurry. Every day all day, it was slightly fuzzy but there would be instances where it would get so bad, I could no longer read my phone. I had been diagnosed with refractive amblyopia when I was 5 ( a non-wandering lazy eye) but I had never had blurry vision before. I decided to find a GP in Boston and made an appointment.

I yet again, went through my whole list of symptoms that I had been gradually wracking up over the last two years and again, heard “you need to just try harder to get the weight off and then everything will go back to normal”. UGH. I thought by choosing a female doctor this time that I’d hear something at least a little more hopeful. But no.

A few months later, I took a job with a great company and relocated to Houston. It was this time last year and I had completely missed a period. 84 days with no period. I decided to get serious. I starting tracking my cycle and recording my weight. I met with another GP. Again, I heard, you need to lose the weight. I was done. I resolved that this must be how I was going to spend my life. Fat, achy, depressed, most probably infertile, and going through life in a haze. However, I kept tracking my periods just so I’d get an idea of when to expect them.

Then, in October of 2015, I accepted a dream promotion and relocated to Seattle. I had started having hot flashes in Houston but guessed that it had to just be that Texas heat. However, they continued in Seattle. I was still living life with the sense that maybe all people feel like me. Maybe all people have aches and pains and can’t muster up the energy to do tasks as simple and mundane as cleaning the coffee pot.

Then, I went home over Christmas where I experienced the three most awful hot flashes of my life. My whole body started tingling, I felt like I was being held up to a fire. I resolved then and there that when I got back to Seattle, I was making a gyno appointment and I was not going to leave that office until the doctor thoroughly listened to me and blood work was ordered. I had a “don’t take no for an answer attitude”.

Luckily, by God’s grace I presume, I didn’t need that attitude. My new gyno is now my hero. Immediately after I went through the last three years of my symptoms, he sent me for blood work. He was thinking PCOS or a thyroid problem. Maybe both. A week went by and I never heard from him. He had said he’d call in two days. Finally, after I called the office about 5 times, he called and said he was sorry to keep me in suspense but that he had never seen blood work like mine. He was expecting to see either my thyroid levels elevated or my testosterone/androgen elevate. Instead, those were all in normal range. What wasn’t in normal range was my moderately elevated Prolactin level and my “through the roof” DHEA level. He had consulted four other doctors who were all just as puzzled as he was and recommended he refer me to a medical endo.

In the meantime, I had made an appointment with a new GP. I went to that appointment two days after my gyno called with my test results. I didn’t mention that conversation with my new GP. I wanted to see what her opinion was when I presented her with my symptoms and test results. She too thought PCOS with symptoms but when she looked at my blood work said ” I have no idea but something is not right”. SCORE! I couldn’t have been happier.

After years of feeling crazy and lazy and defeated, I had validation that my body was working against me. She didn’t come out and say “I believe you have Cushing’s” but she did say “When you see the endo, please ask him about Cushing’s”. My guess is, she didn’t want to make that kind of diagnosis. I got my referral to endo and called to make the appointment, it’s for next week. And I found out my gyno had written “possible Cushing’s?” on my referral. So now I’m anxiously awaiting my endo consultation. His assistant called yesterday and asked why no one had order a pituitary MRI yet. I told her that these were the first two doctors out of 7 that I have seen in the past two years who ever even believed something was wrong. She decided we should do the consultation and go from there. Weird to say, but I really hope it is a cut and dry endocrine issue. Then I’d have a real answer. So now, I’m at 173 pounds, 5’3, (obese as I have been told by several non Seattle physicians), with stage 1 hypertension and a multitude of symptoms that I hope are all linked together.

If anyone has had a similar experience, please reach out. I know this is different for every patient but any kind of similarity will be welcomed while I anxiously await the endo appointment next week.

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Rita (Rita), Steroid-Induced Bio

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Hello to those who are frustrated & suffering!

My real search for a diagnosis began vigilantly just over 2 years ago. I was extremely hot,exhausted,weight gain (unexplained) and not sleeping well and sleeping all the time but extremely fatigued!!! My face became very round and my facial & body skin was a nightmare.

My husband kept saying that he thought it was systemic but I wasn’t sure. And, this sounds so sill but completely true, I was watching an episode of Doc Martin (UK series) where a woman was having trouble and he told her she had Cushings. Well, I had never heard of this disease so I looked it up on the internet and told my husband that’s what I have. Of course, he said that I was being silly.

I had very upset stomach most of the time to I had an endoscopy & colonoscopy where large cysts had developed. I also had burning and nagging pain in my upper thigh area thinking it was my Lymph nodes. Many more cysts were discovered on my ovaries and all the doctors cold focus on were the cysts and telling me that my blood pressure was too high and that I needed to lose weight.

I few months later I noticed small purple striations on my abdomen and just knew I had Cushings. So, I asked my doctor if he could run cortisol test on me and he said no problem. I had also told him at this time that I was using a steroid cream to control my eczema and he said that would not cause not effect me in such a way to cause such problems.

I had beeen to the emergency room, had 4 CT scans, atleast 7 ultrasounds, 2 MRI’s and so many blood tests that I had lost count.

Another doctor had recommended that I see an Oncologist so I saw 2 of them…..still no idea and 2 more visits to the emergency room.

I sent all my files and tests to the best Endocrinologist I could find and still had to wait 6 months for an initial appointment.

During the 6 months of waiting to see my Endocrinologist, my body had taken a severe turn for the worse. I could barely step up onto a curb and would spend 3 weeks straight in a bed.

I was extremely depressed and felt like I was dying!!!

April of 2014 my long awaited appointment to see THE BEST ENDOCRINOLOGIST in the state finally came!!!!! He took one look at me and said you have Cushings without a doubt!!!! he saw all the other files and tests that the other doctors had done and said they all did the same exact tests and have absolutley no idea what they are doing.

This is the best doctor I have ever been to see in my entire life, he spent over 1 hour with my during my first evaluation. (Please know,that he is not even covered by my insurance but I didn’t care……shelled out $510 and it saved my life.)

He would stop asking me questions until he got to the root of what was causing the Cushings. And it was the cream that I was using to control my eczema!!!!!!! Yes, please know that Cobetasol Proprionate will cause Cushings if used on a long term basis.

I had no warnings or instructions from my Dermatologist. He just said use this on your eczema.

Dr. Neil Breit saved my life!!!! He said that I was hands down, the worse case he had ever seen!!! And he said that I would have definitely been dead in 1 or 2years at best.

If you live in the Northeast, please seek out this doctor. He is the best and very passionate & loves his work. He truly cares and brings lots of smiles with his treatment!!!!j

Dr. Breit still spends 1 hour with me on every office there. And I still pay full price but do not mind, because he saved my life!!!

Also, right before my diagnosis, I discovered GERSON THERAPY. Regardless of whatever is wrong or just being healthy, juicing helps me immensely with energy and just feeling better as a whole!!!

Thank you for enduring my long story!!!!! Keep fighting for your diagnosis and don’t stop till you get one!!!

Thank you kindly for reading my story,
Rita in New Jersey

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Genevieve (JenNYC), Undiagnosed Bio

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to-do-diagnosis

 

I have many Cushings symptoms. I developed severe, often incapacitating IBS nearly 12 years ago and believed I had Crohn’s or Celiac Disease. All tests came back negative.

Around 5 years ago my symptoms got worse, and my normally thin to average weight shot up, despite normal diet and exercise. I became depressed, anxious, and had painful joints and flu-like symptoms. I also had irregular periods and skin problems (dry skin/eczema, acne, frequent brusing and skin infections and bug bites that never healed). My blood pressure at times was high and other times normal, my face would flush, and I had kidney infections and kidney stones.  My hair started to thin. The worst part was the weight gain- all in the face and stomach area; although my arms and legs were thin by stomach was bloated and very heavy.

I was told by several doctors to excerise and diet and have– nothing works. I had blood tests done and they found low ferritin, very low iron/Vitamin B/Vitamin D, alternating high and low blood pressure & thyroid. I was diagnosed with anxiety or fibromyaligia, depending what doctor I went to. I was told I did not have IBS, although I have diarrhea almsot daily.

I also have low muscle tone, poor energy, insomnia, chronic fatigue during the day, and wake up in night sweats.

The one test that was finally ordered for high cortisol (24 hour urine test) came back ‘normal’ range– so either it was a fluke or I really am crazy.

I don’t know what to do. Doctors, family and friends, tell me “just diet and exercise”–thinking weight gain is just a willpower issue– but what about all these other symptoms? I feel like I have flu every da y and miserable. My joints ache severly and although I have been working out, calorie counting, and doing Weight Watchers, and (alternately raw vegan and liquid diets) for months I don’t lose any weight and look 7 months pregnant.

I need advice.

Kristina, Undiagnosed Bio

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Hello everyone, My name is Kristina and i am 21 years old.I am so happy that i found this site because there are so little information about Cushing’s, especially real people stories. If not internet or tv i still wouldn’t know what is happening with me for a quite long time.

Hm i don’t know where to start, as a kid i always was very thin, and everything started changing when i was 11 or 12 years old i started to gain more and more weight, and after few years was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, i took medicine and lost my weight , but when i was 15 everything started changing again but much worse, i was always hyperactive, happy, enthusiastic, always got best grades and ect… i was always depressed, always asleep, feeling dizzy, everyday felt exhaustion, i even started missing schoool , didn’t even went where because i didn’t had energy to get up from bed and get dressed, and also with +66lbs i really didn’t wanted to show my face anywhere. And everyday everything get worse and worse, because of all this lack of energy and motivation i quit law studies, and then other studies, i don;t have energy to do simple house chores, my muscles always hurts, my head everyday hurts, i can’t sleep, i still get on weight every week almost, i have 800 kcal diet, and do some exercises, and weight still puts on… my hair is so ugly, my skin is very dry i got eczema that my skin doctor can’t cure, i broke my kneecap with very light impact i have many many other problems, and when i saw this on house md and mystery diagnosis i started my reseach on internet and library, i took very hard road that my endro would write prescriptions for all blood tests and MRT and now i am waiting for results and am very be anxious and have still many many questions.

I know that all cases are different but maybe someone could share, if after treatment or surgery, how hard is to loose weight, and not feel tired all the time? what to expect?

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