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Ren, Undiagnosed Bio

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Hi there. 27 year old female, never had kids. It’s been an awfully long couple years and I’ve been researching and reading all you lovely people’s bios on pituitary tumours, Cushing’s disease and Acromegaly for about that long.

My symptoms onset at a time where my lifestyle was out of control. I was drinking heavily, using drugs and didn’t have a care in the world. Or so I thought. At the time of my heaviest use (cocaine) I started having strange laundry list of symptoms.

Pressure headaches
Pain in my abdomen
Acid Reflux
Excess hair growth (abdominal, face)
Purple stretch marks on my abdomen
Weight gain of approximately 30lbs in a month (distributed in only my trunk/abdomen)
Swelling of arms, face (around eyes too) sore jaw, enlarged tongue (ridges on the sides, from my teeth)
Swelling of hands, feet & legs (increased foot size from size 7 to 8)
Exhaustion
Hair loss on scalp
Itchy, sensitive skin that looks very thin (see-through almost, blue veins very prominent all over body) skin redness as well, large pores. Dull eyes.
Fatty deposit on the back of my neck
Collar bones no longer visible
Diagnosed with anxiety, bipolar disorder and ADHD
Memory loss, brain fog
Irregular menstrual cycles and increased pain
Tunnel vision at times and blurred vision. Sensitivity to sunlight.

At the time, I was so messed up my perception of reality was pretty skewed. The combination of my lifestyle and all the symptoms mentioned above motivated me to get clean (a year and a half so far woohoo!) I knew something was wrong and I needed to figure out my baseline without substance abuse to get to the bottom of it. At my lowest point I met up with my parents who I hadn’t seen in a month and they commented on how different I looked. One of my friends from narcotics anonymous hooked me up with a great physician as I didn’t have a family doctor. I was determined to get to the bottom of all this.

When meeting with my new family doctor (after getting sober) all of the focus was put onto my recovery and mental health. Seeing as she didn’t know me beforehand she didn’t know the petite, energetic person I used to be. I voiced my concern about my physical changes as well as my mental ones. I was referred to a psychologist. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety and prescribed meds for all of the above. The interesting thing is I didn’t have these problems before the physical symptoms onset. This was followed by countless ER visits for panic attacks, being dismissed countless times for strange physical symptoms that every medical professional attributed to my history of drug use and mental health. I believed them at the time. I was also diagnosed with TMJ disfunction and started seeing a chiropractor and massage therapist with no improvement.

The year that followed was the most challenging of my life. I thought I was going crazy. I tried eating an extremely healthy dairy free, wheat free, exercising constantly with no change. Seeing various doctors, explaining my symptoms only to get basic bloodwork done and sent on my way. It wasn’t until I decided to get off my psychiatric meds and focus on finding a diagnosis for my physical ailments that things started to change. I visited the ER and the doctor on call actually listened, he referred me to a rapid assessment internist. To date I have had a thyroid panel, hormone panel, all basic bloodwork, thyroid ultrasound, abdominal and pelvic ultrasound, cortisol 8am test, 24 hour urinary cortisol- all came back within normal range. I have been tested for angioedema, (neg) referred to an allergist, dermatologist and endocrinologist.

When I saw the endocrinologist he basically said “I see people with your symptoms all the time and there is never a diagnosis, so you’ll probably have to live with this” I was instantly worried and heartbroken with that response. He ordered some tests, ACTH, another 24 hour urine, T3 T4, DHEA-SO4. I’m waiting on these results now. Saw my internist again after the endocrinologist as he also ordered a prolactin and ACTH test which I hadn’t obtained the results from yet. ACTH was slightly elevated as well as prolactin. (High) not by very much. He ordered a CT scan of my head which I have to wait a month for (he said possible hyper prolactinoma of the pituitary). I’ve asked to have my growth hormone (IGF-1) levels checked, endo says “nope you don’t have Acromegaly”

I am trying to stay strong but I’m on the verge of losing home based my business as I’m a hairstylist and am starting to develop tremors in my hands, I can barely get up in the morning, I feel as though no one understands what I’m going through. I have a sense of urgency within me to find a diagnosis, my body is screaming at me that something is very wrong. My symptoms above increase in severity by the day. Have any of you diagnosed with Cushings out there experienced only slightly elevated ACTH results or prolatcin? I was also curious if anyone has an enlarged/ swollen tongue as a form an ACTH secreting tumour, I’ve tried to find information on it but only points to an acromegalic symptom. Something inside of me is telling me this is either pituitary or adrenal related. I can’t help but wonder if my drug use somehow stimulated my pituitary.

My personal life is non existent, I have isolated myself from my friends who no longer reach out or accept me (even though I have attempted to confide in them). I feel as though everyone but my family thinks I’m completely out to lunch. Just want to thank everyone on this site for sharing their stories, when I’m feeling hopeless and at a dead end, reading your bios are the only thing that is keeping me going and pushing for a diagnosis!

 

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Vicky (Vicjy), Adrenal Bio

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Hi. For the last couple of years I have had different symptoms. I’m 45 and feel like I’m 70. I think it started about 3 years ago. I would break or fracture something and it would take forever to heal. I gained over 60 lbs. I’m always tired yet don’t sleep well. I look like I’m 9 months pregnant but skinny arms and legs. Stretch marks on body. Round red Face that constantly feels hot. My back has a hump and my neck has fat pads. Finally, prehypertension. I also have intense itching especially in a soecific area. Oh, let’s not forget anxiety and focus issues. .

I had enough. About 7 months ago I began going from doctor to doctor. Every test came back fine and they dismissed me. Finally, I went to an endo. She tested me for Cushings. I gad 5 tests and all came back positive. All this took time but I tried to be patient. I know this is horrible but I was actually happy to finally have an answer to my issues. I then had a CT scan and found an afonona in my left adrenal gland.

I had surgery a week ago today. I’ve heard so many different stories of figuring out if they have cushings but little about their recovery. I’m hoping to hear people’s recovery stories. I’m actually much better than I thought I’d be. I’m weak, still some pain at surgical sight, out of breath, and very emotional. Also, hard to do an intellectual activity before feeling overwhelmed.

Can you all share your journey? I’m taking 40 mg of hydrocortisone a day. I was wondering if anyone had itchiness as a symptom. Doctors have told me that they haven’t heard of that as a symptom of cushings. It is horrible with me and am hoping it will go away with this surgery. I feel like it has gotten better.

Looking forward to hearing about some recovery stories and feel free to ask me anything to help other understand what they are going through.

 

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Lor, Pituitary Bio

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golden-oldie

From Tuesday, June 9, 2009

9-07

COLON SURGERY: 1’ colon removed (pre-cancerous pulup/tumor removed.)
10-07

HEAD/NECK/SHOULDER/THROAT PAINS: hundreds of daily: “pops” in neck, terrible stabbing pains in base of skull, throat, shoulder, with hundreds of random screams of “ouchhh” daily for months. Tests or Treatments tried: chiropractors, ibuprofen, hot packs, x-ray on neck normal, physical therapy, MRI on neck normal
1-08

BODY JOLTS & INVOLUNTARY MOVEMENTS START: electric jolt sensations and myoclonic type jerks and involuntary movements – mostly when relaxed. Movements will stop if I get up and move around. These come with or without loud screams, gasps or other vocal noises. Tests or Treatments tried: EMG normal, MRI of head and normal, pain meds no help, oral steroid by Physiatrist no help,
1-08

SLEEPING PROBLEMS: wake up every night and sometimes stay awake for many hours – happened entire 2008, but 2009 was better.
2-08

MOUTH/JAW/TONGUE START: randomly the tongue tingles or twtiches, the jaw & cheek have pain (like someone is pulling off my face), the mouth/throat/tongue/and/or gums get ice cold, the mouth waters for hours. Tests or Treatments tried: more blood work normal, except a 7x higher than normal inflammation which neuros said had to be a lab error. Got steroid shot in head where the stabbing pain is. EEG recommended due to small seizure like movement when injecting the steroid.
4-08

MUSCLE TWITCHES START: randomly, different muscles twitch, hundreds of times daily (it is like body is making popcorn). Tests or Treatments tried: took a coupld stress free vacations. (I now its not stress related anyway but since the doctors cannot diagnois me, they don’t know what else to think. No help – same symptoms. Seen Neurologists with no answers. Got another steroid shot in head.
8-08

KNEE POPPING STARTS: just like neck from 10-07, one day it started to “pop” with pain hundreds of times daily. This made it hard to walk for months. Tests or Treatments tried: knee x-ray-normal and a special Lymes Blot test in California = negative.
11-08

Another Neurologist: Repeated inflammation test=normal.
12-08

Rheumatologist ran more blood test=normal
OTHER SYMPTOMS IN 2008-2009:

INVOLUNTARY MOVEMENTS / TWTICHED CONTINUE

ALL MOUTH SYMPTOMS CONTINUE

GASPING FOR AIR (take in a huge gasp of air, happens randomly, a several times daily)

LEG WEAKNESS / PAIN

INSIDE ELBOW AND MIDDLE FINGER, LOWER BACK AND BIG TOE PAIN

FATIGUE

HIGH PULSE 130+ doing nothing

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE 145/97 average

HEART HURTS (just occasionally)

EAR ACHES/RINGS (CT of sinus area was normal)

NIGHT SWEATS (occasionally / only on head/neck area)

NECK HUMP

SKIN (acne, ichy, sweaty)
1-09

Tests or Treatments tried: Tried depression pills for 2 months with no help. I do not believe I have depression/anxiety issues though.
3-09

Tests or Treatments tried: Went on another fun trip to Disney World – had very strong symptoms most days
3-09

WEIGHT GAIN: (necklace didn’t even fit because my neck / stomach is getting fat).

Cortisol level checked and was high, so Endo specialist was recommended).
5-09

DIAGNOSED WITH CUSHING’S

4x6mm tumor on pituitary and high cortisol level. Scheduled for consult/surgery at Mayo in July.
7-09

UNDIAGNOISED and called Borderline Cushing because symptoms not are typical of Cushings.

They reviewed MRI – says its either a tumor or a rathke’s cleft cyst

CHEST XRAY – normal

EKG – normal

EMG – normal

ENT Dr. – normal exam – cannot explain mouth symptoms

COLONOSCOPY

MAMMOGRAM

DERMOTOLOGY – skin cancer diagnosed, shaved and treated

MRI on neck & spine- normal

EEG – normal

CERVICAL SPINE MRI – normal

MOVEMENT LAB: my movements don’t fall into the myroclonis catagory because I move faster than 100 milliseconds (?), even though they are a split second movement

SENSORY PROVOKED POTENTIAL NEUROLOGY LAB – normal

DEX SUPPRESSION & CRH & CORTISOL TEST, did not suppress, and had high and normal cortisol

OTHER URINE AND BLOOD TEST

PARANEOPLASTIC PANEL blood work – results show striated muscle antibodies which is either a neuro, myasthenia gravis, or a hidden tumor so get a lung scan recommended
9-09

LUNG/ADRENA CT SCAN: did not show lung tumor but showed enlarged or nodules on both adrenal glands
10-09

blood test & urine- (did 24 hr urinary metanephrines and fractionated catecholamines and blood aldosterone concentration and renin activity – all normal) (cortisol at highest end of normal)
11-09

new MRI – same as before
12-09

new CT of adrenals – no change. Await new results of striated muscle antibody test.

Dr recommends I wait 6 months to see what changes.
6-10

bi-lateral neuro angiogram confirms Pit. Cushings
Pituitary Surgery May 12, 2010
Back to work after 2 weeks. Its been 1 month since surgery and muscle pain and weekness is gone, heart pounding gone, high blood pressure down, but still have unusual symptoms such as involuntary movements and mouth symptoms. Still have enlarged adrenals.

 

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