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Stephanie (Stephanie), Pituitary Bio

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The pituitary gland

3 years ago, 2014, I was 43 and very active, running, doing HIIT workouts, volunteering, making and doing stuff, traveling like a maniac.

Then I started getting cysts that were benign but required surgery. One was endometriosis and ovarian, the second, lumbar. Which resulted in my having chronic, severe numbness and nerve pain in my left leg. I attributed the severe weight gain to not exercising.

Then I went to the emergency room for a abscessed cyst in my neck. An ENT did a follow up MRI and found a cyst on the pituitary gland late 2015, but I had to move to Fairbanks. early 2016.

Finally, I have a team of an Endocrinologist specializing in Cushing’s and a Neurosurgeon at Swedish in Seattle. I have to travel but it’s worth it because I’m being treated for something.

I had the first transphenoidal surgery in Aug 2016 that removed the bulk of the macroadema, but there was still elevated cortisol and they found some cyst left. Just had the second surgery January 2017 and will be going to post-op appointment soon.

I still have symptoms of Cushing’s Disease, don’t know yet if I actually have elevated cortisol, but I left the hospital with no change in cortisol from admittance to discharge. I looked at the scale today and despite watching my eating have gained weight- I have gained 60 lbs in 3 years! I still have the severe, chronic nerve pain so am on meds, go to p/t and a pain management specialist.

Have had hypothyroidism and take steroids. I go through cycles of good days but mostly bad with sleeping and bathroom problems and unhappy thinking.

I rarely leave the house anymore. I look and feel ugly and disabled – I just got a handicapped placard. I want to volunteer, travel, go outside but then when I try, I get sick and can’t. So I’m trying to find ways to be active at home or on my own time schedule. I do fiber arts at home but for my own sanity- it’s not good enough to sell but I have enough stuff to sell! I’m also an introvert with a social phobia, I don’t have any extended family, and I’m new to this area so have not made any friends! So this is the great challenge of my life, where all my roads have led me to, to which my strength and knowledge must apply and conquer.

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Renee (Renee), Pituitary Bio

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pituitary-location

I am really not sure where to start! I have struggled with medical issues my entire life. I am 25 born with many anomalies–bladder, cleft lip/cleft palate, dilated aorta, hydronephrosis…the list really goes on and on. Thankfully, I have had great doctors and everything is under control until recently.

I had my first appointment with my new endocrinologist. She listened to my history that I highlighted for her and she actually took the time to *think* about me and all of my little medical issues. It was great to see her brain trying to piece things together. When she was doing my exam, she gently touched my shoulders and made a comment that my shoulders were holding a lot of weight. I said that I’ve noticed and that it makes me feel that I look like a football player. She told me that it isn’t that bad, but then asked me if I have stretch marks on my body. I told her that I do and that I’ve actually noticed that they are getting worse and deeper than usual. She looked at my belly and she said that she wants to get my checked for Cushings Syndrome.

She asked if I was on any steroids, and I am not, but I did have a pituitary cyst in 2008 that was surgically drained (specifically a Rathke’s Cleft Cyst). From what I’ve learned, whenever a doctor works near the pituitary there is a risk that hormones will be effected. This may be what is happening to me.

Last April 2012, I was also diagnosed with a pseudotumor cerebri. It is basically under control and I am on Diamox for it. These are my symptoms for why I really think I have cushings:

» Extreme weight gain

» Moodiness, irritability, or depression

» Muscle weakness– my leg muscles get tired very easily, even just walking a few blocks. It feels like I have shin splints, at times!

» Hypertension–possibly, but undetected because  of I am on meds for other heart anomalies.

» Immune suppression– a possible reason why I got pertussis (whooping cough) during the end of 2012 even after being given the vaccine

» Hirsutism–embarassing, but true

» Hypercholesterolemia–to the point that I am on a medication for it

» stretch marks

» “moon face”–it isn’t too bad, but it is noticable.

» the storage of fat on my shoulders/back

Today I got my blood tested with the dexamethasone. I don’t know how long I have to wait for results, but I am really fighting urges to call my MD immediately. I found this board because I need support. I am nervous for what my future holds because I really don’t want to have ANOTHER brain surgery, but I think all that I can do it be positive and wait. Thanks for this forum!!

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