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Jean (Jinxie) Cushing’s and Acromegaly Bio

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This bio was originally posted 1/26/2008

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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]

Emma (emma22), Undiagnosed Bio

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Hi there,

I’m not really sure where to start! I’m 22, and work full time (10-12 hour shifts) as a porter in the operating department of a city centre hospital- so i’m very very active, constantly walking/lifting/carrying on a daily basis.

I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue when i was 13 after a bout of severe flu/repeated shingles infections, and never really recovered, but i was gradually well enough to live a more or less normal teenage life. I have never struggled with my weight (a constant 9 stone at 5 foot 5), until a year ago, when i suddenly started suffering from extreme weight gain (7 stone in 10 months), fatigue, acne, mood swings, hair loss where there should be hair/hair growth where there shouldn’t be, stria, irregular periods (and when they arrive they’re incredibly heavy, buffalo hump, heat intolerance and all manner of horrible symptoms.

I’ve been diagnosed after tests and ultrasounds with PCOS and hypothyroidism, and am currently being treated with 75mg thyroxine (to be increased), and am due to start on metformin.

There’s been very little improvement in how i feel, and after a pretty horrible meeting with the endo, in which all she really did was call me fat, tell me to stop the late night trips to mcdonalds (I’M VEGAN! mcdonalds is pretty much the antichrist to us!) and refer me to the dietician. i felt really let down and all i could do was try to hold the tears in until i got back to the car.

she didn’t seem to realise that for a 22 year old woman to be feeling more like a 90 year old, is a pretty horrific experience. but i digress…

i’m due to be tested for cushings in a few days time with the low dose dexamethasone, and i know this is awful to say, but i’d jump for joy knowing what’s going on with my body at last.

although i know i have pcos and an underactive thyroid, i just know that there’s something else going on with me, and unfortunately my consultant just won’t listen to me.

my social life has disapeared, i just feel too goddam ill, not to mention my incredibly unsupportive boss, who seems to want to make my life a living hell because i’ve had to take a lot of time off work- she even screamed at me until i cried when i collapsed at work one day. i’ve actually taken to hiding in the toilets in the afternoon to have a nap, and to regroup, just so i can get through the day. never mind that i’m a 22 year old who has gained 7 stone in under a year- it’s hard to feel great about myself!!!

anyway, hopefully one day i’ll find out what’s wrong with me

this was me last year:

 

and this is me now:

quite a difference huh?! and apologie for the poor fashion sense!
anyway, wish me luck, and and my best wishes for everyone going through diagnoses/treatment for any health issues, we’ll get there in the end 🙂

Dana E (Dana), Undiagnosed Bio

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Hello, my name is Dana. I am a 43 year old female. I live near Dallas, TX. I attend college and spend allot of my time taking care of my crazy family, whom I love very much. After reading posts on this site I decided to document my symptoms and experiences.

A couple of days ago I was discussing my endoscopy and colonoscopy results with my mother-in-law. They showed I have GERD, esophagitis, stomach erythema, duodenitis, hiatal hernia, hemorrhoids, nine polyps, and IBS. Wow. After all that she asked me if I was checked for goiter. GOITER? I told her I was just fat. Over the last several years I have gained weight. I did the Atkins diet in 2000 and lost 70 lbs, but gained back 100. Most of my weight is in my abdomen, face and neck. I have relatively small legs, hips and rear. I have had several people think I was pregnant and told how disproportionate my body is. Recently my kids and even my 4 year old grandson have commented on my weight and health. I have noticed that my neck is getting larger, despite being the same weight for a while now.  I have poor eating habits, which I am trying to change. I only eat once or twice a day and I am an active person. I do not exercise except for walking. After my mother-in-laws comment I decided to do some research.

I have almost every symptom of Cushing’s. Central obesity, thinning skin and bruising, especially on my hands. Oral candidiasis, axillary and cervical skin tags, round, fat, red face and neck, oily skin and hair with recent increased acne, headaches, fat pad on back of neck, blurry vision, fatigue, back pain, arm weakness, heat intolerance, pain in joints and swelling in hands and feet, thirst, facial hair, and increased heart rate at weird times. I have been treated for depression/bi-polar for several years now. It took two and a half years of experimenting to find something that would keep me stable. I still have emotional instability, depression, cognitive difficulties, and mood swings. I have many stretch marks but only a few are red. I have very fair skin so my coloring is not the same as others. The only symptoms I do not have are irregular periods. I do have what feels like a soft mass under my chin fat. There are lymph nodes under the area, so this could be the cause.

I pray I am able to find a doctor who will not dismiss my symptoms as some of you have experienced. My first appointment will be next week with my primary care physician and we will go from there. Wish me luck and I will update regularly.

Does anyone know of a good endocrinologist in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area?

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