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Julie, Undiagnosed BIo

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undiagnosed6

 

First test came back high coritsol. Testing again in six weeks. Weight gain, edema, high blood pressure and other symptoms.

Any advice would be helpful.

Trying not to stress it but want to get this behind me.

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LaDawn (NanaX3), Adrenal/Prolactinoma bio

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golden-oldie

 

I am a 54 old wife, mother and grandmother.

I have been terribly ill for 17 months with adrenal insufficiency and a prolactinoma. I do not know yet if it is a nonfunctioning tumor or not, but I suspect so since I do not have any of the Prolactin symptoms. I will be evalutated soon for that.

I have gone the whole nine yards at Vanderbilt University Medical Ctr in Nashville recently. This is after 17 months of hell and seeing doctor after doctor. No one would listen to me.

Last July I think I was actually dying and was probably in adrenal crisis. I had hypertension and hypotension epsisodes with two ER visits with extremely high blood pressure and stroke symptoms. I was seen by many doctors who were all headed in the wrong direction. I was basically told it was female problems, stress, menopausal, etc. etc….you know the routine..many have the same story.

However..mine has a twist. I was so desperate for help I went to see a Mennonite Naturopathic healer in Kentucky. His name was well known of helping so many people. He not only seen his Mennonite Clan but also saw many “English” as we are called. He does Iris Iridology. This is a very old time practice that is about faded away. It takes years to learn and I suggest if you go to one make sure they have done it for years.

He looked into my iris with a small eye magnifying glass. He told me all the problems that I have been diagnosed for years, Fibromyalgia, IBS, Sleep Apnea, Insomnia, hypertension, hypotension, digestive disorders, and early pancreatitis. Now this was different than the doctors as my sister told me NOT to tell him any symptoms at all, much unlike the conventional doctors who heard all my symptoms. Then he really shocked me when he told me I had adrenal problems and something wrong with my pituitiary!!!!! He gave me natural medicines that helped some but I knew it was not the final ending to this problem.

I went back to my FP at the time and told him my horrible symptoms of flushing, anxiousness, nausea, dizziness, digestive problems, inflammatory pain etc, etc. He finally checked my norepenephrine levels were 624! He then did a MRI of my adrenal glands…..negative.

But then he went back into the service and left me holding the bag…no referral no recommendations. I was ticked. I had to search for a new FP on my own. Finally I found a FP in my own county that everyone said loved a challenge. He thought I had a carcinoid tumor or an adrenal tumor.

After blood tests showed several things he sent me to Vanderbilt. After my first appt. they tought the same thing. However tests revealed that my cortisol was lower than a 1. Barely registering. No wonder I was so ill. They did a MRI of my pituitary and found a 6 mm tumor..suspected to be a Prolactinoma.

So the Mennonite man was batting100%, conventional doctors 0%. Well, I know I still need conventional doctors so I can’t beat them up too much.

However…why is it so hard to get doctors to listen…even my regular Endo missed all this last fall even though he suspected orthostatic hypotention? Men doctors are horrible, particularly for not listening to women and labeling them hysterical depressive menopausal ninnies!

Would love to hear from others please about their experiences too? Meds or surgery for Prolactinoma…what worked for you?

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Toni (Toni), Adrenal Bio

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adrenal-location

 

Diagnosed with cushings syndrome, right adenoma. Reviewed right adrenalectomy after 3 years of being bounced from doctor to doctor. Diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol. Hair loss, intense itching, bruising, weight gain, depression and osteoporosis, eith multiple fractures, torn ligaments and tendons.

Finally after researching a medication that one endocrinologist put me on for the osteoporosis I found another endocrinologist in NY at colombia presbyterian hospital that specializes in premenapausal idiopathic osteoporosis and this medication. I got an appointment with her.

On one review of my history she sent me for 24 hr urine cortisol which came back through the roof.

She then refereed me to their adrenal specialist had a CT scan which revealed a 3.5cm maas on right adrenal gland. Had surgery the next week and am now 4 weeks post op.

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Lauren (Iskah), Undiagnosed Bio

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undiagnosed6

 

My name is Lauren. I am currently being tested for Cushing’s Disease. I’ve read that every patient is different, and from what I can see it is completely true.

I am not entirely sure how long ago my story started. I began seeing my family doctor in high school because I was having menstrual issues. At the time my Mom’s biggest concern was that I was having very irregular periods. She had also noticed that I had been growing hair on my face, under my chin and side burns. I was referred to two different specialists – an Endocrinologist and a Gynecologist to try and determine that root cause.

After multiple appointments with both specialists, the Endocrinologist said that I was on the edge of being Hypo(?) Thyrodism (it’s the one that makes you gain weight) and the Gynecologist said that I had PCOS (or PCOD – the name has recently changed, but I prefer to think of it as a Syndrome instead of a disease). I had a large amount of weight gain between grades 10-11, bumps (or cysts) all over my ovaries, facial hair growth and very irregular periods. I disagreed with the diagnosis.

Even at the age of 15 I felt that it was not the right diagnosis. I had friends with PCOS, and every one of them had insanely painful menstruation and small breasts. This may sound silly, but it was honestly the boobs that made me feel like the diagnosis was wrong. I may have small boobs for my family, but I still carry around size D (or DD depending on my weight) breasts. Either way, the voice of a 15 year old does not tend to carry far and I ended up being prescribed Glumetza (Metformin – used in Diabetes patients) and Yaz (Birth Control).

The Glumetza has always made me sick. I can’t eat my favourite foods with out feeling sick, if I can even get it in my mouth. The one thing I’ve always told my family is that it’s like being pregnant 24/7 with no bun in the oven. I’ve been on and off the medication for years now.

About 6 months ago I went in to see my family Nurse (I’ve stopped seeing my family doctor since, as the diagnosis is always “Lose weight”). I had been having chest pains while working out. Now although I say chest pains, it was more like severe pressure in my left shoulder. I would get dizzy and light headed while running with my sister, and on one occasion I threw up (Just bring it up to my sister, and she will start describing the cheesy spagetti coming flying out of my mouth and on to the yard of one our neighbours.. she still will not run that way).

At the point Erin (the amazing family nurse) also mentioned that my blood pressure had been high, not just recently, but for the last year. Furthermore I was hypertensive. I had heard this term before because for the last year my Mother had been going through her own set of genetic heart issues. My Mom had just been diagnosed with Coronary Artery Disease (genetic form of it) and Superventrical Tachycardia (SVT – PSVT specifically). My Mother was also Hypertensive. This was concerning to Erin, as it had already been determined that my Mom’s condition was genetically given to her.

After monitoring my blood pressure for 3 months, with no improvements I was referred to an Internalist who also specialized in Cardiology. He’s great, just for the record. It’s not very often I that I get to speak with a doctor who understands sarcastic humour. Dr. A-R immediately removed me from Mavik (Blood Pressure Pill) as it was actually doing more harm then good. The palpitations that I was having on those pills were beyond intense, and the worst I ever had. They were never long lasting, never lasting more than 20 seconds at absolute most, but I can definitely say that I do not envy my Mom. Dr. A-R diagnosed me with SVT after a 14 day heart monitor. He literally called me the following Monday after I handed the monitor in. He immediately changed my medication from Mavik to a Calcium Channel Blocker. I still have heart episodes but not nearly as many or as bad as when I was on Mavik.

At my 3 month check in last week he said that he was concerned, because he did not believe that the blood pressure and the SVT were actually connected. He believes that I also have Cushing’s Disease. I had some blood work done a few weeks back that showed a very high number for a stress hormone in my blood. Now I am new to this whole thing, and my memory is horrendous, so I honestly do not remember what that hormone is called. I laughed when he said it though, for two reasons. 1. When I was diagnosed with PCOS, I was told that my body didn’t make hormones, hence the thoroughly detested Glumetza. Apparently that’s a different hormone. 2. It’s a stress hormone? Seriously? I am stressed 24/7 between work, home and my constantly changing relationship with the love of my life. I asked him if that would affect the number. As all of you know, it didn’t. At 8am when I had my blood work done, it shouldn’t be that high. He asked that I do a 24 hour Urine test. I waited until this weekend to do it, and I can honestly say that I did not enjoy a single moment of that test.

My Symptoms:

> Weight Gain

> Facial hair

> Irregular Periods

> High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

> Back Pain (Which I always assumed was from my curved spine – scoliosis)

> I have a little bump on my shoulders, but unless you’re looking for it, you won’t see it.

> High levels of stress hormone.. and waiting on results for Cortisol.

> I recently have been struggling with depression

> Anxiety & Irritability are a constant.

> Acne

I am currently waiting on my urine results.. and I have no idea what to expect. I do not even know how long it will take to get results.

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Rsh (Rsh), Undiagnosed Bio

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undiagnosed3

I am currently undergoing tests for cushing’s as I have all of the symptoms including 50 pound weight gain in 6 months, thin skin, buffalo hump, mid body weight gain, new diabetes and new high blood pressure, red spots on my face.

Some of the tests have come up high but some have come up normal so my endocrine doctor is thinking perhaps I have cyclical cushing’s. Becoming very frustrated as I continue to gain about 10 pounds a month ( have not changed my diet which is low carb).

I hope to have some answers soon, but the Dr wants me to wait another two months to test again.

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Surviving Cushing’s: Area woman hit by rare disease

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Gina Gregoire Helton is certain if she had a dollar for every time she has heard the word “rare,” she’d be a rich woman.

She has a lot to be thankful for. She’s been married to Sean, the love of her life, since 2011. She has a warm, gregarious family consisting of eight sisters, three brothers, over 30 nieces and nephews and two loving parents, Charles and Denise Gregoire of DeWitt.

But in April 2012, Helton started to experience disturbing symptoms. She had sudden-onset hip pain. A few months later, she had unexplained hair loss and breakage. Deep, red and purple stretch marks, also known as striae, started appearing on her skin.

They were painful and she credits them for essentially saving her life.

“They were the ‘red flag’ that something was definitely not right,” Helton says.

She went to see her doctor, Dr. Jennifer Bell at Genesis Health Group in DeWitt, who admitted she was stumped. Yet, based on the presence of the striae, Bell wanted to test one more thing – Helton’s cortisol levels.

Cortisol is a life-sustaining adrenal hormone that influences, regulates or modulates many of the changes that occur in the body in response to stress. Those changes include blood sugar (glucose) levels, fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism to maintain blood glucose; immune responses; and anti-inflammatory actions.

As it turned out, her levels were abnormally high. Bell referred her to a specialist in the endocrinology department at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) in Iowa City. Cortisol levels fluctuate throughout the day, but further testing showed Helton’s levels consistently remained extremely elevated.

That was the first time she had ever heard of Cushing’s disease.

Helton had nearly every single symptom of the disease that affects less than 200,000 people in the United States.

In addition to hip and back pain, hair breakage and stretch marks, she suffered from moon face, frequent bruising, depression and anxiety, weight gain, frequent urination, high blood pressure and muscle atrophy.

“I was extremely relieved to have a diagnosis,” Helton says. “At the same time, I was scared as I started to learn more about Cushing’s disease and what it can do to your body. There are people dying from this because of improper diagnosis. I was blessed my doctor at UIHC was educated on the disease.”

Most individuals diagnosed with Cushing’s have a tumor on their pituitary or adrenal glands.

Helton’s tumor, however, was located on her lung. Fortunately, her doctor decided to scan that area of her body and discovered the tumor.

In November, Helton underwent surgery to remove the tumor in her chest. However, during the procedure, some microscopic-sized tissue was left behind. So, in January, she found herself in the operating room once again. However, in order to get rid of the remaining tissue, the surgeons’ only option was to remove Helton’s entire left lung.

The situation went from bad to worse when it was discovered the tumor was malignant. It was a very rare tumor called a carcinoid tumor. These tumors are slow-growing cancers that typically start in the lining of the digestive tract or lungs.

After they took her lung, doctors noticed the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. Members of the oncology department recommended chemotherapy and radiation as treatment.

Because her particular condition is so rare, doctors cannot say definitively what Helton’s prognosis is. Living with only one lung, her physical activity is restricted. Yet, Helton is partaking in water exercise to help ease the pain in her hips and keep her muscles strong. While climbing the stairs is a major obstacle, she intends to participate in the next Fight for Air Climb in Des Moines sponsored by the American Lung Association.

It may take her longer to reach the top than most, but she has made it her goal to finish.

Helton also plans to become an advocate for the Cushing’s disease community. She has yet to meet anyone else in person who suffers from the condition, but has connected with hundreds of them through social media.

In particular, Helton has made contact with Dr. Karen Thames from Chicago. She has been diagnosed with Cushing’s and is working on a documentary called “The War to Survive Cushing’s Disease.”

Helton says the experience has dramatically changed her attitude and outlook on life. She no longer “sweats the small stuff” and her relationships with her loved ones have become stronger.

As for people who are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with Cushing’s, Helton encourages them to seek help.

Even if there are no immediate answers, don’t give up.

“If you are experiencing something with your body that doesn’t seem right, keep seeking help. There is a doctor out there somewhere that will help you. We all know our bodies and when something is wrong.

“My faith and relationship with God has grown tremendously. I count my blessings daily. That is the silver lining. My favorite quote is, ‘Everyone you meet may be fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.'”

via Surviving Cushing’s: Area woman hit by rare disease.

In Memory of Natalie ~ April 21, 2008

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This is another Golden Oldie.  I’m not sure when it was last written or updated by Natalie but it was updated by me after she died April 21, 2008.

~~

Hi! My name is Natalie, I am 35 years old and I’ve been married for 15 years. I don’t have any children at this time, but we are in the process of adopting. We can hardly wait for our little one to show up on our doorstep. We live down in southern Maryland at this time. I grew up in southern Virginia on a farm. My Dad is still farming; he raises peanuts, corn and soybeans. He has had 2 battles with colon cancer and is still hanging in there. He gives me inspiration. I have my Mom and Grandmother still living home on the farm too and we get there as often as we can. My sister lives near by my parents and has 2 boys. They spend a portion of every summer with us.

There is so much to tell, I really don’t know where to start. I had my official diagnosis in Jan. of 1990. But after all of the information I have learned over the years, I fully believe that it could have started as early as childhood. We will never know for sure.

When I graduated from high school in 1983, I was a happy go lucky teenager with a steady boy friend and many friends. My first year of college was great. I had a lot of fun and thought I had made so many new friends. Joe (boyfriend then, now my husband) left for Marine Corps Boot Camp in the spring of 1984. That was hard but I adjusted fine and was glad to see him come home that summer. In the fall when it was time to go back to school I was a different person. I withdrew from my friends and I pretty much kept to myself. After a weekend visit from Joe, I slipped into a deep depression. I stopped going to class and to work. My so-called friends didn’t want anything to do with me. I started having headaches and dizzy spells. I was really scared. No one knew what I was feeling or would even try to understand. I ended up dropping out of school and went back home. I didn’t want a job; I just stayed home and did baby-sitting jobs. My nephew was born in August of 1985 and I took care of him full time until Joe and I was married in June of 1986.

On our wedding day I cried all through the picture taking. I was very happy but cried anyway. We went to the Blue Ridge Mountains for our honeymoon, I got stung by a bee, got a speeding ticket, and we had no air conditioning in our truck. It was truly one to remember. We came back and moved to North Carolina, where Joe was stationed at the time, and I cried for the next 2 weeks. I had never been that far away from home before.

As a child I had a bad case of asthma and now all of a sudden I’m having no problems. Little did I know that my body was treating itself with cortisol. In Jan. of 1987 I had a doctor’s appointment with my Allergist.

I was told then that I had High Blood pressure and to keep check on it. I was also beginning to be very emotional around this time. I would cry over nothing.

I started having migraine headaches while Joe was away on a deployment. My parents came and took me to the ER and because I had not been able to eat for 3 days and I was living in the dark because the sunlight was killing my head. Again I was told that it was High Blood pressure. Joe came home and left again in June for 6 months on the ship. I moved home and didn’t have any problems that summer. I moved back to Carolina in the fall so that I could get our house ready for Joe’s home coming. The real nerve racking part was that Joe’s ship was part of the mine sweeping going on in the Persian Gulf during 1987.

1988 was a pretty good year. Not too many problems except for headaches. But 1989 is a different story. I fell apart this year. In the spring I broke out in this strange rash that wouldn’t go away and I couldn’t find a doctor that could tell me what it was. Not long after that my periods stopped, we were really excited thinking that we were finally going to have a baby, WRONG! I went 3 months without a cycle; I still had the rash, headaches and high blood pressure. You would think that this would have alerted my OB GYN that something was wrong. Joe came home one day and found me doubled over and took me to the ER and we found out that I had kidney stones. Over all this time I am steady gaining weight. The stones passed and then tests were done and everything was fine there. Finally I decided to go to see Dermatology for the rash and was treated for severe acne. On my second visit with them the doctor took a look at my entire medical record and excused himself from the room. A few minutes later he returned with a doctor from Internal medicine, he took one look at me and said that I was the classic Cushing’s case. Then he went on to explain it to me. This was in Nov.1989. The tests began and I had a CT Scan done in Dec of that year that I didn’t get the results from until after Christmas. They showed a tumor on the pituitary and I was told to go to Portsmouth Naval Hospital right away. We took off and headed to Virginia not knowing what to expect. I was admitted the next day and had a week of peeing in a jug and lots of bloodwork. I was sent home with my surgery scheduled for Feb. 1990. Well, being the Navy, my surgeon was called away and my surgery was delayed until March.

I had transphenoidal surgery in March 1990 and they removed what they could but it had invaded the sinus cavity and they couldn’t get it all. I was sent home on hydrocortizone and had 2 episodes where my cortisol levels dropped too low and had to go the ER. Once I was weaned off I was okay and actually felt pretty good. I had monthly 24-hour urine tests run and they began to come back high again. I was put back in the hospital in Portsmouth and all the tests came back normal. I was sent home and a couple of months later they were high again. Again I went to the hospital and sent home normal. What’s going on here? The next time this happened I demanded that something be done. The head of the Endo dept. (I won’t mention any names, but Handiman knows him personally) tried to tell me that I was faking it so that my husband wouldn’t have to go the Desert Storm. I talked on of the interns to schedule me for an appt with the radiation oncologist and they determined that the tumor was still growing and that I needed to have radiation. Joe was scheduled to go to the desert but he was pulled from that duty and assigned to recruiter’s asst. and we moved to Virginia to my parent’s home for 60 days while I underwent 31 days of traditional radiation to the pituitary. I went back to Carolina feeling more at ease that something had been done. The rash went away but I continued to gain weight and still had Blood pressure problem, but was now being treated for it.

I was doing really well and Joe went away again for 6 months in Oct.1991. He was gone that Christmas, which was hard but I handled it ok. When he returned he had orders to go to Atlanta, GA. I was doing well and we packed up and went. I didn’t like the endo I saw there so I continued my 6-month check ups in Portsmouth when went home to visit.

In the summer of 1994, I started having problems with my left eye and thought it was allergies. I went to the eye doctor and after examining me he sent me to a Neuro Ophthalmologist who ordered a MRI and guess what The Tumor’s back! It was pressing on the optic nerve causing what they called a third nerve palsy. I was treated with medication until Jan 1995, hoping that the tumor would shrink but it got worse. I began to have double vision and my left eye closed completely. In the spring of 95 I again underwent Transphenoidal surgery at Emory University under  Dr. Oyesiku. He was great. I also had a great endo there, Dr. Lewis Blevins (he is at Vanderbilt in Tenn. Now). They still could not retract the entire tumor so I went back in August of that year and had Sterotactic Radiation Surgery. That was a one time radiation and it was a real experience. I had a metal Halo drilled into my head and I had CT scans and MRIs done with it one to determine the exact location of the tumor, then I was placed in a chair that spun in very slow circles while the radiation was being done. When I arrived back in my room they couldn’t find the key to take the halo off, so I had to wear it for another 2 hours until they found it.

It has now been almost 6 years since the last radiation and my current MRIs show some shrinkage of the tumor. I am currently battling high cortisol levels again but I think if we can find the right dosage of medicine it will level off. I am currently taking meds for: thyroid, high blood pressure, estrogen, diabetes, medication to control cortisol, allergy medication and every 3 months I take hormones to make me have a menstrual cycle. But over all I am doing OK.

My husband is out of the Marine Corps now and we live in Maryland. We are in the process of Adopting. We are really excited about this and can hardly wait to get our little one. My husband and Family have been so supportive of me through all of these years and I don’t know what I would have done without them and my close friends.

I feel like I have made many friends here also. This site has been a great help to me and I hope that my story can help someone else.

Take Care everyone!

Natalie

MaryO Note: Natalie had a BLA in March, 2008. She died April 21, 2008.
In Memoriam

Natalie Fay

Monday, April 21, 2008

2001 Cushing’s Lunch. From
left: Joe (Natalie’s husband), Natalie and Linda

Natalie Fay (Natalie65), died April 21, 2008. She was only 42 and had recently had a BLA. I first
met Natalie at a local lunch in November of 2001 and have seen her seval times
since then.

Natalie started the original “Dammit Dolls” that circulated
around the country until people refused to pass them along anymore.

Dammit Doll.

Natalie also made counted cross-stitch
Cushing’s Awareness Pins:

Natalie’s bio… http://www.cushings-help.com/natalies_story.htm

Some recent past
posts.

February 10, 2008

going to UVA I am going for my first visit with Dr. Hanks at
UVA on the 20th. I will also see Dr. Vance that day. I haven’t seen her before
either. I am planning on having bilateral adrenal surgery in March. I am a
little nervous about this, but it is going to be a positive thing I hope. I
would love to hear from anyone who has had this done so that I will have an idea
of what to expect. after surgery.

Thanks! Natalie

March 18, 2008

surgery update Hey everyone!

I’m back! It has been a
very slow week and I’m just satrting to feel like moving around again. I had BLA
on the 10th and came home on friday. My parents have taken my boys (3 & 6)
home to Va. I have missed them so much this week, but I think it was the right
thing to do. I don’t know how I would have done it without them. I am still very
sore and tired at times, but I’m coming along. Sorry this has taken so long to
get out to you guys, I thought things were taken care of but I was wrong. Oh
Well! I’m doing good and I’ll keep in touch. Thanks for all of your thoughts and
prayers.

Natalie

Message Board Signature:

pit surgery 1990
traditional 30 days
radiation 1990
pit surgery 1995
sterotactic radiation surgery 1995
2004
still have remaining tumor
cortisol levels still off balance
BLA March 10,
2008


Tributes and Memories on the message boards…


Our first local DC area Cushie lunch November 17, 2001 with Linda, Jayne, me and Natalie – all in Cushe Colors [Photographer: Robin]

Our first local DC area Cushie lunch November 17, 2001 with Jayne, Linda, Natalie, MaryO and Dianne [Photographer: Robin]

Our first local DC area Cushie lunch November 17, 2001 with Jayne, Linda, Natalie, MaryO and Dianne [Photographer: TomO]

Our second local DC area Cushie lunch February 9, 2002 all the families [Photographer: Robin]

Our second local DC area Cushie lunch February 9, 2002 with Jayne, Marcia, Heather, Natalie and MaryO [Photographer: Robin]

Our second local DC area Cushie lunch February 9, 2002 with Jayne, Marcia, Heather, Natalie and MaryO [Photographer: Robin]

Our second local DC area Cushie lunch February 9, 2002 with Jayne, Marcia, Heather, Natalie and MaryO. LynneInVa made the roses for us from candles. [Photographer: Robin]

Our next local DC area Cushie lunch May 4, 2002 with lots of us! [Photographer: Robin]

Our next local DC area Cushie lunch May 4, 2002 with lots of us! [Photographer: Robin]

Our next local DC area Cushie lunch May 4, 2002 with lots of us! [Photographer: Robin]

Our next local DC area Cushie lunch May 4, 2002 with lots of us! [Photographer: Robin]

Our next local DC area Cushie lunch May 4, 2002 with Pat, MaryO, Ruth, Natalie, Susan, Jayne [Photographer: TomO]

Our next local DC area Cushie lunch May 4, 2002 with Pat, MaryO, Ruth, Natalie, Susan, Jayne [Photographer: Robin]

Our next local DC area Cushie lunch May 4, 2002 with Joe, Jed and Catherine [Photographer: Robin]

Our three families: Tom and MaryO, Natalie and Joe, Robin and Jayne…and kids [Photographer: a waitress]

Our three families: Tom and MaryO, Natalie and Joe, Robin and Jayne…and kids [Photographer: a waitress]

TomO being silly, stealing Catherine’s nose. [Photographer: Robin]


http://www.wrightfuneralhome.org/index.cfm

Natalie Grissom Fay
(June 11, 1965 – April 21, 2008)


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Courtland, Virginia– Natalie Grissom Fay, 42, passed away April 21, 2008 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown, Md. She was born in Petersburg, Va, a daughter of Edward Scott and Nan Lucy Grissom and was a 1983 graduate of Southampton High School. Natalie actively supported several Cushing Support Groups, and was a member of the Patuxent Presbyterian Church. Surviving in addition to her parents is her husband, Joseph P. Fay; two sons, Joseph Edward (Jed) Fay and Nathan Lee Fay all of Hollywood, Md.; one sister, Annette G. Stephenson of Courtland, Va.; two nephews, Scott and Vance Stephenson; and her father-in-law, Edward K. Fay and wife, Sunee, of Deltona, Fl. The funeral will be conducted at 2 pm Friday at Wright Funeral Home with the Rev. Edmund Ellis officiating. Burial will follow in Riverside Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 7 to 9 pm Thursday at the home of Edward and Nan Grissom, 16046 Wakefield Road, Courtland, and suggest that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Cushings Help, c/o Mary O’Connor, 4094 Majestic Lane, #328, Fairfax, Va. 22033.

Stephanie (Steph), Undiagnosed Bio

3 Comments

undiagnosed2

Hi. My name Steph, and this has been a long journey for me so far, and I see a long road ahead. Hopefully their will be a rainbow once all these clouds have melted away.

I just turned 33 years old (this month) and have been dealing with symptoms of Cushing’s since I was a pre-teen without even knowing it. I was diagnosed (or possibly mis-diagnosed) with PCOS when I was about 11. That’s when the irregular (to almost non-existent) menstrual cycles, hirutism (chin, upper lip, upper and lower thighs, fingers, toes, basically everywhere) and weight problems began. I was immediately put on birth control to regulate my periods, which only made my life a living nightmare. They forced on a fake (non-ovulating) period and made my moods a disaster. I went on to be on birth control until from the age of 11 until about 3 years ago when I just couldn’t take it anymore, and took myself off. I’ve been using herbal supplements for menstrual regulalation since then, and feel MUCH better.

Over the years I’ve always felt like there was something “more than PCOS” wrong with me. From the extreme inability to lose weight normally, and the ease to gain it, to the weak legs, vitamen d insuffeciency, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, extreme irritability, now non-existent cycle, shortness of breath (just from walking up 1 flight of stairs), slow healing, hoarse voice, high testosterone, male pattern baldness, blurry vision, EXTREME brain fog etc….. It has been very, very, very tough and emotional over the years. It has taken a toll on my personality, emotions, and those around me….

The way that I found out about cushing’s is rather unique. I was on a popular PCOS message board site called “soul cysters”, and I have always been EXTREMELY self conscience of my round puffy face, and was wondering if it could be a side effect of PCOS. So I searched Puffy face on the message board to see if others on the board had experienced it, and sure enough Cushing’s came up, and a suprising number of women either had both (cushing’s and PCOS) or had been mis-diagnosed, which apparently is very common with cushing’s. it was like a gigantic light bulb went off in my head when I started googling cushings symptoms. All these things that I have been experiencing almost my entire life started coming together. I’m really not crazy!! Everything is possibly related. Im almost 100% sure that this is it!!! I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing, as I see that cushing’s is curable in most cases, but it is also scary, and diagnosing it seems like hell!!

I have began my -already slow- journey to diagnosis. And, the the Dr.’s don’t seem to be all that well informed. However, I am DETERMINED. I am excited at the thought of possibly being able to get my life back through surgery or meds. I went to a well respected Endo in my area, and she is gonna test all of my hormones, including my cortisol level. Though she didn’t seem to be too informed on Cushing’s when I brought it up, along with my “dead ringer” symptoms. I’m going to a pulmonologist on the 29th as suggested by my GP (who also thinks I have cushings, but admits he’s not well informed enough or equipped to diagnose). I’m also going to an OBGYN soon (tried going to one today, and had to walk out because it was such a bad experience). But I am determined to get 2nd, 3rd, and however many opinions are needed until I am satisfied.

Also, on a side note, possibly having cushing’s, along with having PCOS, has made me look at the doctors and the medical profession as a whole in a different light. I feel like if you find a genuinely good doctor who listens, cares, takes you seriously, and is willing to test you without question, and work with you, your levels, and your symptoms, you are blessed!! I have had so many doctors try to push meds down my throat (for their own pockets/greed obviously) when it wasn’t needed or necessary without hesitation or question. And, then when I tell them that the medicine is affecting me adversely, they just tell me to keep taking it! It’s sad and ridiculous. I’ve had to learn to do my own research, know my own body well, and trust my own judgement…..

I will be praying for myself and everyone on this message board who has had to deal with this horrific symptoms over the years.

Updates coming…..

interview

Stephanie was our guest in an interview on BlogTalk Radio  Wednesday, April 29 at 6:00 PM eastern.

The archived interview is available now through iTunes Podcasts (Cushie Chats) or BlogTalkRadio.  While you’re waiting, there are currently 82 other past interviews to listen to!

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Steve, Pituitary Bio

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golden-oldie

 

I am a 43 year old man from South Carolina who has been a “big boy” most of my adult life and have been pretty healthy until early 2003 when i started noticing marked weakness in my legs. At the time I was on a diet and thought I was just deficient in something and started trying all kinds of supplements but nothing helped. I was kinda checking my bp here and there and it was very high so I decided to go to my gp because I was due for a physical anyway. He saw me and I told him about my leg and arm muscle weakness and he started asking lots more questions about my moods, vision, looked at my stretch marks and felt my noticable hump and said that it looks like cushings but probably isn’t because it’s so rare. He sent me to an endo “just in case, to rule it out”.

I have since found out how blessed I am to have had this gp and to be referred on the 1st visit. My endo agreed and started lots of tests (I never gave so much blood or peed so much in my life!) and even though after a CT and MRI they couldn’t see any tumors, he referred me to Drs. Vance and Laws at UVA Medical Ctr. who are wonderful! After an IPSS I was diagnosed and it was caused by a tumor on the pituitary.

I had transphenoidal surgery on Feb. 7, 2004 and after no change in my cort levels in 4 days they decided to go back in and operate on the other side which resulted in complete removal of the pitiutary. I never did “crash” so they sent me home saying I definitely would in a few days. It is now March 2005 and I am still waiting to crash. I never had to take steroids due to my levels being near normal and although I am due for another check-up in a month, I feel pretty good, having gained 90% of my strength back along with most other symptoms getting better. The wierd thing is that Dr Vance thinks that I am in remission from cushings but I am a rare case (I guess that makes me rare among the rare!). One year post-op and I am only on bp meds and thyroid replacement and testosterone replacement, that’s all.

I am a lurker here and was during my darkest days and appreciate all the help this site has given.

The recurrence of this disease seems to be high, among posters here anyway, but I am optimistic that I am through with cushings for good and just have to deal with hormone replacement.

 

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Michelle (ingledoo), Cyclic Pituitary Bio

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golden-oldie

 

Dear Cushies, (if I have spelling boo boos please over look them, I don’t have the spelling gene)

I would like to say that I was new on my road to a diagnosis, but I am not. I begain to complain to my Dr’s in my 30’s (I am 3 weeks away from 50th B-day) about my symptoms. I have led a very stressful life from the start. No need to go into details, but it has taken a life time to heal from them. One day (it seemed like over night) I felt extreme weakness in my legs and arms.

I begain to have dizzy spells and began to gain weight for no reason. A very strange fatty hump begain to grow at the base of my neck and my periods began to disappear. I don’t mean I missed them, the just began to become very light and last only one or two days. And I became infertile. Happily I had two children and I was alright with the news.

I started to have high blood pressure (sometimes, it goes up and down for no reason). My Dr. said I must be forgetting my meds. I DO NOT! She (I have two Dr’s same office, one male other female) gave one of what was to be hundreds of eyebrow raises that mean your lying to yourself, if not coming right out and saying it. In the begining I had all my weight bulging around my middle. People used to say “you have such nice legs” (for a fat person).

But after so many years of extreme waekness in legs and arms and not being able to be as active as I used to love to be, fat begain to advance over the rest of my body as well. My Dr’s kept telling me to diet and stay away from sweets. No matter how hard I would tell them that I don’t eat many sweets (I like a goodie now and then, but I never have them around as a rule) they would tell me that I had to be pigging out and I was just in denial. I can’t describe the frustration and helplessness I feel when no one belives what I’m saying.

Finally My male Dr. believed me enough or just wanted me to be quiet about it and sent me to the Endocrinologist. I had to wait for months to get there. I had been looking up my symptoms on line and Cushings came up over and over again. I cried when I read all of my sysmptoms facing me from the screen. I have everyone!

I have lost over half of my hair, mostly on top. I have purple marks on my side, I have blured vision, I have to have my glasses changed every two years and I still can’t see. I bruse easily and I heal very, very slowly. I had a hernia operation and the wound opened up and it took 5 months to close. I have the most embarassing hair on my face, I can grow a full beard, and I have a thick hair line on my belly. I lactated for 15 years after the birth of my son. For no reason. I live with anxiety every day of my life. I have off and on depression. I have tried every class of anti-depressent with bad side effects. I will never use them again. I can’t sleep and I’m so tired. I can’t raise my arms for more than a minute before they literally fall down on their own. My blood sugar is up a tiny bit but as i said, I don’t eat many sweets and there is NO diabetes in my family at all.

At last I found the answer I have been seeking for for years. And now I could have some hope. I went to my first Endo appiontment and told the Dr. that I was at the end of my hope and I was preying for his help. After he examind me and took my history he told me he believed that I had Cushings too. At last someone who believed me, I cried buckets. He ordered a AM Crtisol and a 24 hour urine. And he told me to come back in 3 months! In the mean time the AM cortisol came back to my Dr’s office, NEGATIVE. I was dumbfounded. All I could say to my Dr was, I don’t understand? What about the weakness in my legs and everything? She said, and I still hurt to this day: TOO BAD YOUR LEGS WEREN’T WEAK ON YOUR WAY TO THE FRIDGE! I wanted to die. The one 24 urine came back normal too.

I have lost all hope. Then I remembered that the Endo Dr. said he would find the problem and I still held out some hope for help. When I finally got back to see him he said, I the the test were negative and I don’t have Cushings, good-bye and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. I will be honest here, the thought I had in my head was “I guess I need to die so they can disect my pituitary to find the tumors” an awefull thought huh? But that’s how low and dejected I felt. That was last month and I know something is very wrong with me. I have lost who I am and my ability to be a part of life. I know with all that I am that I have Cushings. It is the only thing that answers every one of my symptoms.

Read about it I have found that many Cushies have gone through what I have, but I have no-one to turn to and no Dr. will believe me after their test prove to THEM that I’m nuts. If anyone knows what I can do, please please help me. I do not have money and can not pay for tests myself. I need a Dr. to refer me in Canada. I’m putting it out there for help.

Thank you all,
Michelle in Richmond BC

Update August 24, 2009

Hello Cushies,

Please disreguard spelling boo boo’s! This site needs spell check!

I felt I needed to up date where I am at this point in my Cushings journey. (Please read my first Bio posting Nov. 19th ’08)

I was in the pit of dispair as to what to due about my health and with no one to turn to, I went into a horrible depression. I had just ended a 20 year marriage that included abuse about my weight. Blame from everyone that my sysmptoms were all my fault and in my head. My grown children were no better. I live in a VERY image focused city and if you are not a size two, there is something wrong with you. Most people look at you as a freak. Fat biggots are everywhere. I wish I was joking, but it’s true.

One morning I woke up and felt I had nothing to loose by making a pain out of myself with my Dr’s or anyone that I thought could help. I came back to Cushing’s Help.com and looked up helpful Dr’s in my area listed on this site. I found two in my city and proceeded to write a 5 page history of the last 20 years of my life and the test that had been done on me (or not done) and 24 symptoms that I have. When they started and where they are up to now. I poured my heart out. I had nothing to loose by sending out this letter on my own but dead air space coming back to me. And I wouldn’t be worse off than I already was. So what the heck.

A couple of months past and I gave up on hearing anything back from these Dr.s, when low and behold, my phone rang when I was walking down the street. There was this Crisp South African accent on the other end saying her was Dr. Tom Elliot. It tool me a few minutes to have my brain put him in the right place and I was shocked that he called! He said he read my letter and he agreed with me that I was not properly tested! I was dumbfounded! He said he was going to leave some tests for me to pick up at his office and if they came back showing anything then he would see me, other wise I wouldn’t hear from him again.

I raced to his office and picked up. Two 24/hour Urines and an order for cortisol suppession blood test and 2 salavery test tubes. This was what I dreamed of. And I was so scared! What if it was true! What if I was really crazy and it was all in my head!

Anyway, I did all the test and took them to the labs myself. Months past. I thought the worst. Till one day I was walking down the street again and there was that crisp accent on the other end again! He said I need you to come in and see me! Some of your tests came back as abnormal!

He added me as a regular patiant and I discovered that it is almost imposible to get in to see this Dr. He doesn’t take new pateints unless he feels that they are a special case! I had hope at last! He gave me a physical and he kept saying yep and there it is and nodding his head. Finally we sat down and he asked me one question. He said: of all your symptoms, what one bothers you the most? I didn’t hesitate and said: the extreem weakness in my legs and all muscles. The painful fatigue. I feel that if I could have my body back, I could have a life again, He looked at me with understanding eyes and said he wanted to do one more salavry test and the he would see me in Oct. to discuss treatment for Cyclic Pituary Cushings! I couldn’t help myself. I started balling my eyes out! I wanted to hug him and bake him cookies. But he just didn’t seem like that kind of guy! He would have seen me sooner, but he was leaving on holidays. Now when I see my GP’s they don’t give me that “look” anymore and can hardly look me in the eye.

Remember all you Cushie out there, never give up! Keep rattling you cage and be heard. Someone somewhere will hear you!

All my best to all,
Michelle G.
Richmond BC

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