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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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Catie, Possible Steroid-Induced Bio

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A Golden Oldie

Hi.  My name is Catie.  I am 49. I am asthmatic and have COPD.  I am tired of being sick and no one listening to me and knowing that something is wrong.

I have been pretty sick since November 1999.  I am constantly on steroids of one kind or another because of my lungs being pretty bad.  I have to use steroid inhalers daily and I have an updraft machine that I use daily also.  I had a complete hysterectomy in January 2000.  The doctors all told me that was what the problem was.  I was still sick afterwards.  I started having stomach issues in 2001.  I was vomiting all the time.  My primary doctor of 23 years would not listen to me when I would tell him that something was wrong, that the pain in my stomach was horrible, that I was vomiting bile all of the time.  He told me flat out that couldn’t possibly be true because I wasn’t loosing any weight.

I had a heart attack in 2002 and while in the hospital my heart doctor ordered an endoscope done.  I was then told that I had acute gastritis and GERD along with gallstones.  My gallbladder was removed.  I was still sick most of the time and now on even more medicines to calm down the gastritis.  I was becoming so tired and so weak that my heart doctored ordered a sleep study in 2003.  I am now using a CPAP.  It has helped my sleep and the GERD, but I still felt so bad all of the time.

The weight kept piling on, mainly in my stomach, neck, face and shoulders and what is that bulging fat pad between my shoulders?  I just cry when I have to look in a mirror at myself.  I am not a vain person but I used to have such pretty eyes, now my eye lids are red all of the time.  I wear sunglasses whenever I go anywhere and I never wear any low cut blouses because my chest is red all of the time.  I was becoming so depressed about not being able to loose any weight at all no matter what I did and no one really listening to me when I would tell them that something was wrong.  Why was my face so red all of the time?  Why couldn’t I loose any weight, even a pound?  Why am I so tired and weak all of the time?  I have to have my glasses replaced every 6 months because my vision is so distorted.

One doctor gave me antidepressants that almost killed me.  I am so allergic to medicines now that if a doctor gives me a new one I am afraid to take it, especially all of the new and improved medicines.  I basically gave up on going to any doctors because no one would listen to me.  I am constantly getting pneumonia no matter how careful I am and in 2009 things became worse and I found a new doctor.  He ordered a complete blood test and told me that I was diabetic.  I was put on meds to try to control it but nothing worked.

It doesn’t matter if I eat carbs or not, my sugar is uncontrollable, so I was sent to a specialist.  On my first meeting, a month ago, he sat down with my blood test results and told me that I had abnormal liver levels and my AC1 was 14.8.  Yeah, way high, it should be below 5.  Then he said that just by looking at me he was 95% sure that I had Cushings disease and that is probably the reason for all of my sugar problems that are going on.  I was put on insulin immediately and I had to do a 24 hour UT.  I am supposed to go back this week on Thursday 10/21 for the results.

Nothing has been said about the abnormal liver levels that are pretty high, so I don’t know if or when that will be talked about.  Will the UT show what that is all about?  I had never heard of Cushings and started looking it up to see what all it entailed and I found this site.  I have been reading through the posts and it sure sounds like a lot of my complaints.  I know this sounds awful but I really feel like it would be a relief to say, “YES, this is what is wrong with me!”  Does that make sense?  I do not take hormones, there is too much cancer in my family for me to take them.

I have a horrible time with stress issues and I try to avoid any stressful situations but not knowing what is wrong with you is stressful in itself.  I do take 2 high blood pressure meds, blood thinners because I have 3 stents.  I have 2 arteries that are 50% blocked but they won’t do anything until they are 60% or you have another heart attack.  How awful is that?  I was put on a diuretic and potassium and boy they give me leg cramps that are out of this world but it has helped the pitted edema in my legs.  I take 3 stomach meds when I have flare ups but not all of the time.  I do not drink alcohol or smoke.  I can not exercise much because I just don’t have the energy or the air to do much.

I basically am stuck until someone somewhere decides to try to find out what the problem is and doesn’t just pat me on my head and tell me to not worry and here take this pill.  I am so frustrated and tired.  I have a good family support system but even they get tired of hearing that I am not doing well.  I don’t go anywhere or do anything anymore.  I used to do needlepoint, sew time period clothing for rennaissance fairs and oil paint but I can’t see well enough to do it anymore and my hands shake too bad even if I could see to do it.  Boy, talk about a pity party.  Sorry.  I collect Tonner dolls, Barbie, love to read even if I have to use a magnifier over my glasses, take animal pictures, watch movies, cook and I adore cats.

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