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Melissa (Melissa), Suspected Pituitary Bio

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The pituitary gland

The pituitary gland

At only 19, I have been through a lot medically. I went through puberty at the young age of 8 and by age 15 was diagnosed with osteoporosis after breaking 20 bones within a year’s time. I had always had hormone problems and was put on birth control pills in hope to help.

This January I stopped the pill and within a few days started to feel crazy. After an allergic reaction to nuts I went to the hospital and was put on prednisone. Within a few days I was miserable and ended up on suicide watch. I knew my hormones were wacky and I had panic attacks, depression and anxiety all of which I never had before.

Over the next two months I gained 40+ Lbs all in my stomach and got “moon face” with a slight buffalo hump. I was exhausted all the time. I bruised easily and was afraid to talk to doctors for fear they would put me in a mental ward for my anxiety and depression. I could barely sleep through the night becuase of nightmares. I had no libido and started growing a lot of facial and body hair…

When I came home from freshman year, I finally went to the doctors. Urologists, cardiologists, endocrinologist, gynogylogists you name it. Most wrote me off. The endocrinologist diagnosed me with PCOS and hypothyroidism after blood work and becuase of my symptoms. However I kept having headaches and would be freezing and rapid rate heart even when laying down. I finally perseuded the doctor to do a brain MRI. I got the results last week and there is a suspected 3mm pituitary microadenoma. Of course my endocrinologist left for a month vacation and I go back to school next week.

Right now I’m in the process of figuring out where to go and what to do but I feel like this would be the closest thing to what I have… Hopefully answers will come soon

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Erica (Ericaop), Undiagnosed Bio

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golden-oldie

 

I am 33 years old and at the age of 17 I had a sudden onset of weight gain during my senior year of high school. I was a size 8 and graduated wearing a size 18. My weight was mainly in my face and my stomach. My legs were small so my pants would be big in the leg but I needed a large waistline. I began taking birth control & thought it was a side effect from that.

I stopped having my period completely when I went to college & doctors said it was stress & I just needed to diet & excercise. I never ate alot and was a normal active teen. over the last 15 years I have been treated for blood pressure, water retention, high cholesterol and symptoms of PCOS.

In 2003 I was sent to an endocrinologist for suspected metabollic syndrome (syndrome X) that was ruled out & after an ultrasound of my thyroid I was told I had an enlarged thyroid & was treated for hypothyroidism. I quit my job & moved to another city to return to college loosing my health insurance & so I was back at the University health center. Blood tests showed my TSH levels & malehormone levels to be fine so they would not continue to treat me for the thyroid issue. Just cholesterol & sent me to a nutritionist.

After graduating & moving to GA, I went to see a new doctor and went through my history to be told the same, my levels are normal. Because my insurance does not require a referral & knowing I had a previous diagnosis of hypothyroidism I scheduled an appointment with an endocrinologist. My firstvisit wasn’t with him but with his PA in which I went over my long drawn out history. Blood work was done & upon seeing him on the second visit I was told the same, my levels are normal & I havehigh cholesterol so he treated me for that. It wasn’t until I stressed to him that I had been on cholesterol medication until the previous endocrinolgist did the ultrasound and took me off of it & said the thyroid medication would take care of it that he said he would send me for an ultrasound. The ultrasound revealed small nodules, that were not there in 2003, but he says are too smallto be concerned with & he will check them in 6 months to see if they have grown, other than that I’m fine. I know this is not the case. I watch what I eat, I excercise for 2 hours 5 to 6 days a week & cannot loose any weight. I am frustrated & am noticing increases bouts of depression where I can’t control my emotions one day & the next I’m fine. I am always exhausted, and after excercising I need a nap, I thought excercise was supposed to give you energy.

I was just about to give up & begin to reconcile that its just me & I’m crazy as the doctors want me to think until two weeks ago I saw an episode of TLC’s Mystery Diagnosis where this woman was basically telling my story of the sudden weight gain & other symptoms & how she basically self diagnosed herself with Cushing’s Syndrome & went to an endocrinologist who confirmed it & she had surgery to remove a tumor. When I heard this, I knew this had to be it, but am wondering why my endocrinologist never mentioned this disease or tested me for it. I really do not like his lack of concern and care so I called another office to schedule an appointment which I cannot get until September 1st.

After doing further research I decided I really want to see someone who is knowledgeable about Cushing’s so I found the Pituitary center at Emory University hospital in Atlanta. I called today for an appointment & was asked my diagnosis. I told her I don’t have one yet, I was seeking a consultation for a diagnosis of suspected Cushings. She asked who my doctor was and about MRI results. I told her I haven’t had an MRI and that my doctor never did a cortisol test or any urine tests just only non fasting blood work. She told me to have my labs sent to them & that they would review them & call me to schedule an appointment. I faxed both my regular doctor & my endocrinologist a request for my records to be sent to this lady’s attention. I am scared that my labs will not show anything to warrant an appointment & I don’t know where to go from here.

I don’t have the money or time I feel to continue to wait months for an appointment to get an accurate diagnosis.

Does anyone out there have any suggestions on what I should do?

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Holly (Zeus218) Steroid-Induced Bio

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Hi.., I am hoping not to confuse you all with my roller coaster history.

I have exogeneous Cushings which was close to impossible to diagnose.

In the past few years I suffered from the symptoms of cushings, celiac and hyperthyroidism.

Unfortunately all have autoimmune symptoms and I had everything at once. Like most or all of you I was fit and athletic but even as far back as 10 yrs. ago I wondered why I gained weight before or during summer. We are not talking about a lot of lbs. then just ten lbs. I then had to work hard in the summer to get it off.

Six yrs ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroid so that seemed to explain the weight gain but the thyroid medicine made me sick and over time I would test sometimes as hyper then hypothyroid. Sometimes I would test with both at once so I basically went untreated as no one understood it. Three years ago I gained 72 yes 72 lbs in one 3 day weekend while traveling.

My thyroid was out of control and I felt likeI was having a heart attack. I went to a well known hospital to an endo because there were no endos in my area. They figured out what my thyroid problem was and said that the nodules has been skewing the tests. I told them about all of my other symptoms that didn’t make sense and they felt that I had more than one thing going on.

At this time they were testing for high cirtisol but it was actually low. I had significant bruising then, paper thin skin, lack of muscle and all symptoms other than striae. They did a total thyroidectomy and recovery went well. I was not supposedto take thyroid meds until heart palps went away because I was hyperthyroid they said I would have excess thyroid retained in body for a few days. You can imagine how bummed I was when I stillfelt sickly. I went home gained another 52 lbs a month later and became much sicker.

That summer Celiac was diagnosed and all of those immune system symptoms disappeared when I went super strict gluten free. By this time I was eating nothing and was sick all of the time. I was diagnosed with mono (Dr’s were surprised and didn’t believe at first) and basically slept for 4 mos.

I had been getting allergy hayfever injections annually for 29 years but my Dr retired so I went to a family Dr to get the injection. This shot worked well for severe hayfever and was given in another town. The Dr called another allergist who said that I could not have the shot because it caused weight gain and Diabetes. You should have seen my face when I was pointing to my very sicck body! I went home and read the website about the shot and sure enough it causes Cushings. I think I basically slipped through the cracks.

The last two shots were administered by a triage nurse and then the doctor had retired. I always assumed that the endo had seen those injections on my medical records as I had signed a paper having them sent to my medical records before the Dr retired. The medical records from that Dr never transferred.

The scary thing is that I had the shot one month after a thyroidectomy which caused the 52 pound weight gain. The weight gain that I always got in summer was delayed and never showed at the time of the shot. The Dr was a conservative and good Dr and never broke protocol administering the annual shot once annually but you could repeat one half of the shot once a summer which I sometimes did. When he did see me towards the end I told him I was going through a thyroid problem which I was!

The real problems happened when I was refused the shot. I was traveling and when through major steroid withdrawal and had no idea what was happening. I was the sickest at this point and ended up several times in the ER thinking that I was having a heart attack. The cardiologists felt that my symptoms were classic adrenal insufficiency. I would sleep fully clothed thinking I would end up haviing to go by ambulance to the hospital. The hospital (endo) was able to track the retired Allergist down and he called me in October , 5 mos. after I was refused the shot. He said had he still been seeing me he would have definitely tapered me since I had been on steroids for 29 yrs. i had all symptoms but not stiae. The emotional mood swings were gone right away and overnight the 500 lb person that was sitting on my heart when I had AI vanished. The very next day I could walk 7-8 mles after barely walking across the room the day before. My question is withexogeneous Cushingsshouldn’ the weight be coming of nowthat I am 8 mos steroid free?

Had I gained this weight on my own I would know what to do to lose it i.e cut out desserts etc. i have such a restricted and disciplined diet anyway so it makes it hard to do more.

I am exercising daily, just walking, taking Metformin, 1000 mg although I don’ t have Diabetes and taking Vitamin D supplements. Am eating protein and veggies, no sugars. I am taking a low dose of estradial and progesterone due to going off the pill and am 55 yrs. old.

A veterinarian who treats this often in dogs said that they use a reversal drug. Do they have anything to speed up recovery? The steroid injections that I was given were so strong they were taken off a crash cart and have been outlawed in the UK for none lifesaving use. It seems like it will take awhile for me to be less”foggy”.

There has been little info on medicine-induced cushings and it always seems like once you stop it will reverse. I have only lost ten lbs. since June. The Dr.s said I am lucky I was hyperthyroid and celiac at the same time or I could havegotten a lot bigger.

I should have been emaciated without Cushings. Is there such a thing as a steroid therapist? Thanks although I am so grateful to feel better I am left with all the damageand yes looking like a troll. Thanks for listening!

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ORKitty, Pituitary Bio

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Another Golden Oldie, this bio was originally posted 01/22/2008

Hi, I’m ORKitty. I live in Portland, OR, with my wonderful husband and kitty. I just turned 50 in 2005.

I began this journey quite possibly 17 years ago when I had some isolated panic attacks and then suddenly had panic 24 hours a day. I also kept crying and didn’t know why. I was eventually put on Xanax and then found a psychiatrist who put me on the anti-depressant imipramine and weaned me off the Xanax. It worked well for both the panic and depression for about 10 years. I gained some weight which I attributed to the anti-depressant. During this time I was still able to work and ran my own home-based business for 3 years. About seven years ago my anxiety worsened and my psychiatrist added Klonopin to deal with it. About this time I began gaining even more weight.

Due to a terrible (and terrifying) experience with a doctor, I developed a real phobia about seeing doctors. I managed to overcome this in early 2003 and have a large lump on my neck examined. An ultrasound showed normal tissue, but while I was there the doctor took my blood pressure at 160/100 and then decided to do an EKG. She found an abnormality and sent me to a cardiologist who diagnosed me with severe cardiomyopathy (next step dead). I was put on medication and had regular echocardiograms every few months and each one showed more improvement.

In fall of 2003 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and began taking Levoxyl, increasing by very small doses because it seemed to increase my anxiety every time I upped the dose. At the same time I was taken off the imipramine because there was some concern that it may have contributed to my heart problems. As my thyroid meds increased I began to lose weight and began having serious digestive problems including constant diarrhea. I had burning sensations in both arms, edema in both legs and my periods stopped. After some misdiagnoses and some doctor abuse I was finally found to have gallstones and had my gallbladder removed in April of 2004. I had hoped this would clear up the digestive issues, but that wasn’t the case.

After the surgery I noticed that my depression was getting much worse. By July I found that I couldn’t stand to listen to music or watch TV without getting anxious and upset. I was also feeling like I was in a fog and had racing, looping thoughts. I had trouble with reasoning and memory. My psychiatrist began prescribing a variety of medications, none of which seemed to help any of my symptoms. Things were so bad that I became suicidal for the first time in my life.

I finally persuaded my doctor to do a CAT scan to see what was wrong with my digestive system. Nothing showed up there but they found a uterine/ovarian mass and an adrenal adenoma. My doctor didn’t tell me about the adenoma until a later visit when she mentioned it in passing, saying it was nothing to worry about.

Oregon Health Sciences University.

Oregon Health Sciences University. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That was when I saw my first endocrinologist hoping to get help with my thyroid and an explanation of what was going on with my adrenal gland. He did a 24-hr. urine collection and my cortisol was high (200). He did an 8mg Dex test and I didn’t suppress completely so he sent me to Dr. Cook at OHSU who did a CRH/Dex test. The results were somewhat ambiguous, but he decided that the most likely source was the adrenal adenoma and recommended having the gland removed. I had that surgery in December of 2004. The day of the surgery I developed phlebitis in my right arm starting at the site of the IV. My arm became red and swollen from wrist to shoulder and all the superficial veins in that arm clotted up and disappeared. Ten months later I still can’t have blood drawn from that arm.

In the months after my surgery my heart went back to normal and my cholesterol and blood pressure improved, my periods came back and the burning sensations lessened. My legs were still swollen and suddenly became very red and hot. Doctors suggested it might be cellulitis or vasculitis. After 10 days of antibiotics the redness went away and a few months later the edema did, too. An ultrasound of my legs showed a thickened vein in my right leg that suggested there might have previously been a blood clot there. The mental fog slowly improved but I’m still not back to where I was. The anxiety and depression did not improve and have even gotten worse.

I planned to have the uterine mass removed after the adrenal surgery. This would be a total hysterectomy and my surgeon feels that my blood clotting problems need to be treated before the surgery. He is 99% certain that it is not cancerous since it hasn’t changed in over a year so I have the option of having the surgery when and if I choose. Of course there is a very slight chance that this mass could be the ACTH source.

Dr. Cook wants to do the IPSS before the MRI of my pituitary but this clotting problem needs to be dealt with before we stick 3-foot catheters in my veins. Plus I am running out of arm veins for the IVs.

Right now I’m waiting for my doctors to decide how to deal with this clotting problem before I can get the IPSS done.

I had a follow-up visit with Dr. Cook in September of 2005 and he ran all the tests again including the CRH/Dex. Since we thought the adrenalectomy had cured the problem, we were both surprised when my ACTH did not suppress. Dr. Cook wants to do an IPSS to see if the source is ectopic or pituitary. As I mentioned above, there is a slight chance that the growth on my uterus and right ovary could be the source of the ACTH. Neither my Gyn surgeon nor Dr. Cook feel that this is very likely, but it does make having the IPSS even more important than it would normally be.

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