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Kathy C, Pituitary Bio

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My name is Kathy Casey. I am a 63 year old retired school nurse. I am married with two wonderful sons and a grandson. My husband and I live in the mountain town of Mt. Shasta in northern California. I have always been athletic.

In 1995, I was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor. At the time the only symptom I was aware of was a severe headache. I had a transphenoidal resection by Dr. Wilson at UCSF Medical Center followed by radiation therapy for 23 days. At the time they said they could not remove all of the tumor.

In 2008/2009. I exhibited symptoms of Cushing’s and my cortisol level was outrageous, and I had to be hospitalized initially for a potassium level of 2. I returned to UCSF and Dr. Anwar Sandeep operated . By removing part of the tumor. My Cushing symptoms resolved. However, he said that the tumor was not encapsulated and was invading the cavernous sinus and stella turcica so it was still not possible to remove it all.

I was OK until December 2013 when I began exhibiting the symptoms of Cushings. One of my 24 hr. urines was 14,000. I had to be hospitalized for a potassium level of 1.9. Dr. Heaney said he has never seen a cortisol level that high. This time I decided to go to the UCLA Pituitary Tumor and Endocrinology Program where they were more oriented to follow-up and treating this disorder. Dr. Bergsneider decided that surgery was not an option. He and Dr. Heaney decided radiation was not an option. So now I am being followed by Dr. Heaney to see if medication can help.

I am now on Cabergoline 0.5 mg three tabs twice a week and Signifor 0.9 mg subcutaneosly twice a day. I think they are alleviating some of the symptoms. However, the Signifor caused my blood sugar to rise, and I had to go on Metformin which is causing nausea to a point where I have a hard time eating.

Anyway, this whole situation is depressing and overwhelming. I am tryng to stay positive, but I wonder how it will turn out. I am fortunate to have a supportive and helpful husband.

I am interested in communicating with people who may be going through a similar experience and learning more about this rare condition.

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Michelle (Michelle), Undiagnosed Bio

6 Comments

Hi, I am a Mother of 3 boys, 20, 18 and 13.  My youngest has been steadily gaining weight, has a large round face with red cheecks and large torso.

I’ve been to 3 endocrinologists so far and have not been given a diagnosis of Cushing’s.  All of his cortisol levels were considered normal.  He also had an MRI of his pituitary and adrenals which were also negative.

The last endo diagnosed him with insulin resistance and he was put on Metformin. He has suffered from depression, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, buffalo hump, add gastrointestinal issues etc.  He has all of the symptoms except for the obvious stretch marks.

I believe he has cyclical cushing’s, which my sister found out she has after many years of testing.  A lot of the drs. I spoke to about this said they don’t believe in cyclical cushing’s.

It has been so difficult watching my son suffer and be ridiculed by other children. The doctors tell me to make him exercise and eat healthy (really? No kidding!)

Has anyone else had cushing’s WITHOUT the deep red stretch marks.  He does have stretch marks, but not the typical type you see in cushing’s.

Thanks so much

Michelle

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Valencia, Undiagnosed Bio

1 Comment

A Golden Oldie

Hello.  I was led to this site while searching for information.  I am surprised to find out that so many people have similar stories to my own.

Last summer I went to the ER because of unexplained vomiting.  They said that my liver values were off, and I needed a CT scan.  So I went to my internist and after the scan he called to tell me that they found a tumor on my left adrenal gland.  He told me to stop taking Metformin, and at the time I was taking 850 mg 3 times daily.  I am severely diabetic, have hypertension and am taking 5 blood pressure meds.  I have had a lifetime of weight issues, missed periods for years at a time, have had hair loss on my head, but I shave my chin and mustache every day since I was a teen, and I am constantly tired.  I also am obese, but eat usually once a day now, since my abdomen is so large.  My legs and arms are smaller than the rest of my body, and this has happened over the last 10 years. I have a buffalo hump, and have since I was a teenager.

The last 2 endocrinologists I went to just yelled at me for not eating properly and not monitoring my glucose levels.  One told me that she was glad my daughter is married because I am going to die.  She never checked me for anything.  The crazy part was after the internist called me and said that I would have to have surgery to remove the adenoma, he changed his mind.  All of a sudden, he said I needed to be followed by an endocrinologist, after he knew the two that I had been seeing.  He referred me to a new endo, who immediately said she didn’t think I had Cushing’s syndrome, but she ordered some tests.  I didn’t take them because she was in the process of leaving the practice.  I see a cardiologist who insists that adrenal adenomas are common, and usually don’t require any attention.  UMMM, I am on 14 different medications for diabetes, hypertension, depression, and arthritis in my back.  I think the evidence is present, but the doctors don’t seem to want to deal with my situation.

So, I changed doctors.  I go to a new endocrinologist on 9/2, and I pray this one will listen.  My health is failing, and my quality of life has sufferred because of all of these problems.

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Angela Marie (Angela M), Undiagnosed Bio

6 Comments

Growing up I’d always been anywhere from underweight to average with a couple chubby phases in my pre-teens and teens. I actually got into modeling work for nearly 10 years and I found myself having to take time off in 2008..At least I thought it would just be little while. Between anxiety, being fairly active and a high metabolism, I never had trouble losing weight until In 2007 out of nowhere, I found myself rapidly gaining a lot of weight. All together I had gained about 60-70 lbs in well under a year without my diet or lifestyle ever changing and I’d always been a light, picky eater. I went from a usual size 5-7 to 15 or S/M to XL/XXL. I got back into yoga, pilates and even bought a Total Gym. Working out and dieting even I wasn’t losing even so much as water wieght. I was notiing a whole host of new symptoms. From purple stretch marks, gaining weight, my fingers, toes and palms of hands constantly bright red. Weight gain/appearing swollen only in my torso and upper body, to even my features changing. Adema, constantly craving and eating ice. My once heart shaped face was now completely round and full starting from the top of my ears. I appeared more swollen than anything.

My first endo diagnosed me with hypothyroidism. He was the first to suggest Cushings and my first 24 UFC was 4 times higher than normal and the next was slightly above normal. The rest after that were in the normal ranges. Eventually hypothyroidism was ruled out after routine tests came back normal without taking the Synthroid and telling my doctor I was. Once I admitted it, he was so angry I proved him wrong that he dismissed me as a patient.

I was sent to another Endo and a specialist he referred me to. The next endocrinologist ended up being the most arrogant, rude person I’ve ever met and the few appointments I had with him ended up being mostly arguments or me breaking down into full blown panic attacks. The specialist I seen and his fellow who are supposed to be the best in my state initially believed I have Cushings once they went over my symptoms, medical history and photos documenting my physical changes. The specialist and my past endocrinologists even had grand round meetings on my case and still blew me off!

In 2008 I started having fluid/discharge from my right breast and after tons of testing to rule out breast cancer I was sent to surgery to remove the ducts. After this traumatic surgery, I still have fluid and from both breasts now that’s been ongoing for 6 years. Even after expalaining my situation and medical issues, I’m just told to lose weight. I went from completely normal sugar levels to borderline diabetic to “full blown” diabetic within a matter of months at the age of 26. I’ve seen numerous dieticians, nutrition and diabetic classes and no one can figure out why I’m not losing weight doing everything right. I was prescribed Metformin and lost a little over 20 lbs, but it was such a high dose it had to be lowered and I stopped losing any more weight.

Since everything started in 2007 it seems I’m adding more and more symptoms almost monthly to my already too long list with no answers as to why or what is causing them. I’ve done more research than some would consider humanly possible and probably more than some doctors I’ve seen! Reading blogs, forums, bio’s, etc. I can’t believe how many of the same symptoms I have as other patients. Mystery Diagnosis anymore is hard to watch relating so much to the stories I break down crying. The only symptoms I seem to be lacking is the constantly high cortisol, pronounced buffalo hump and thinning skin. Other than that I seem to have every single one, even the rarest or some I’ve never even seen associated. I’ve been offered so many possible diagnosis’, but nothing definitive. Everything from metabolic syndrome and PCOS to auto immune, parathyroid and that’s just your body!

I’ve seen or been pushed off on just about every specialist there is. At least my primary doctor admits there is something serious going on, but it’s over his head. Every single one of my other doctors, PA’s, surgeons or specialists believe I have Cushings, but I need an Endocrinologist to agree.

6 years later I still with labs all over the place, a list of literally 30+ symptoms and health problems because of this mystery disease that’s yet to be diagnosed. My Cortisol tests seem to be back and forth, but mostly showing low. My testosterone, ACTH and Insulin Like Growth Factor are all elevated. My vitamin D and iron are extremely low even with prescription strength vitamins. My white cell count is high enough to be sent to a cancer center to rule out different types of cancer. I was dagnosed with fattly liver disease and no answers as to why. Hair growth on my face and body, acne breakouts worse than I ever had in my teens. Chronic reoccuring skin, bacterial and viral infections.Dark pigmentation under my arms. Excessive sweating to the point my hair is soaked or sweat drips from my face in cool weather or shopping. Severe intolerance to heat. Growths or polyps on different organs without any further testing and more abnormal labs and symptoms than I can keep track of. I’m just at that point where I’m not sure if I give up and let it take me out or just keep searching for that one possible doctor who will listen and order the right tests.

All I know is I’ve lost so much of my life being so sick and disabled. Not working, not even modeling work on the side, no college to work with animals and be a veterinary tech, turning 30 and still not being able to get pregnant, going out and having fun like I should or even recognizing myself in the mirror. Loving swimming and summer, but can’t stand looking at myself or being engaged for over 5 years and pushing off a wedding because I don’t want to walk down the isle like this and look at my wedding photos remembering this time in my life.

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Britney (PandaBearHobbit), Undiagnosed BIo

2 Comments

I’m a 25 year old who’s in the middle of being tested for Cushing’s.

I have very high anxiety, hirsutism, fatigue, muscle weakness, can’t lose weight, acne, irregular periods, very high testosterone (163, normal is below 79 for women), always thirsty & pee often, ect.  My doctor referred me to an endocrinologist, and I was diagnosed with PCOS.  My cortisol levels were never tested.  I was put on birth control & metformin and the doctors told me that would help with everything.

After being on these medications for two years and seeing little to no improvement I started to do my own research.  I went to my endocrinologist and brought up the possibility of Cushing’s.  She assured me that it is too rare and I am fine.  I would’ve just taken her word for it, because I figured she knew what she was talking about, but my wonderful husband pushed for us to go ahead and do the tests.  I’m SO glad that he did.  All of the many, many tests have come back abnormal.  I’ve never had so many blood, urine, & saliva tests in my life!  After months of testing, my doctor said that Cushing’s is looking more and more likely.

I struggle immensly with weight loss.  My mother is a personal trainer and has always been in amazing shape.  She & the rest of my family told me I wasn’t doing enough to lose weight.  At one point I was working out 4 hrs EVERY DAY at the gym in addition to having a very physically demanding job.  I was able to lose a couple pounds, but that was it.  I eat healthy, and I’m not just saying that… I really do!  haha!  I’m a vegetarian, eat loads of fresh fruit & veggies, & try to keep my caloric intake to about 1500 calories a day!  I recently found information that a lot of exercising can actually raise my cortisol levels, which are already high.  So, I’ve taken my workouts down to brisk walking for 30-45 min.  Which, after years of intense working out, is weird for me.  I have never been able to lose weight on my belly and face.

I really struggle with anxiety & Irritability, and I hate it.  I get anxious about everything and it drives me crazy.  I compete in dog agility & get so anxious before & after I go into the ring that my pulse is over 180 & I shake (Just while I’m standing there!).  I love the sport so much, though, that I’d never give it up!  My dogs are my life!  I want to be able to compete & be able to enjoy it more, without all the intense anxiety!  I lack emotional control at times, and it tears me up.  I am a very loving person, and hate putting my loved ones through that.  When I lose my temper, I can’t control myself.  Once I come down from it, I feel aweful & can’t believe the things I said or did.  I feel like a crazy person!

I often have mental fogginess & insomnia as well.  Trying to focus on something is difficult, which made college a real struggle.  It’s not rare for me to go through patterns of insomnia, where I can only sleep a few hours a night.

Hoping to get officially diagnosed soon, so I can move forward with treatment.  I’m so eager to get all this figured out and feel “normal” again!

~~~

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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 🙂

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