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In Memory: Erica Michelle “GaGa” Meno ~ March 6, 2015

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in-memory

Erica was a fellow Cushing’s Disease survivor. She had been through pituitary surgery, radiation, and a BLA in an effort to receive her cure.

I didn’t know her myself, and I don’t know if she was a member of the Cushing’s Help boards but it’s so depressing to know that we have lost another so young from the damage done by this horrible disease.

Erica’s official obituary: http://thomasjustinmemorial.com/tribute/details/575/Erica_Meno/obituary.html#content-start

Erica Michelle Meno returned to her heavenly home on March 6, 2015. Nicknamed, “GaGa,” she was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was 38 years old. She graduated from Sycamore High School, Northern Kentucky University and Eastern Kentucky University. Erica had a zest for life and just loved being with her family. She loved sports of all kind and loved to cook. She was an avid reader and volunteered much of her time and many years at The Ronald Mc Donald House.

In addition to her family she had a great love for her pets especially her lively dog, Chesney. She is preceded in death by her grandparents Anthony and Mary C. Meno and Joseph and Katherine Terzo and Aunt, Karen Meno and Uncle, Bruce Ficke.

She is survived by her parents Michael and Mary Meno, devoted brother Ryan Meno and sister-in-law Melanie, loving niece and nephew, Leah and AJ Meno, her aunts and uncles: Frank and Terri Terzo, John Terzo, Judy (Terzo) and Chris Tocatlian, Victoria Ficke and Teri Zingale, cousins: Joseph and Kristen Terzo, John and Lesli Terzo , Amanda (Terzo) and Mike Stewart, Dominique and Natalie Tocatlian, Kati (Terzo) and Chris Mottershead, Dana (Terzo) and Omar Qureshy, Joe Granato, Kelly Ficke, Alex and Melanie Ficke, Vincent, Sam, and Remy Zingale. Erica was deeply loved and will be missed and remembered by many friends and family. Visitation will be 9am until time of Mass of Christian Burial at 10am on Friday, March 13th at The Community of the Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 8815 E. Kemper Road, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45249.In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations may be made to the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Erica’s memory.https://www.rmhcincinnati.org/help/donate/donate-online or you may also donate by check, made payable to RMHC – Greater Cincinnati, and mailed to Ronald McDonald House Charities, 350 Erkenbrecher Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229. Thomas-Justin Memorial serving the family. – See more at: http://thomasjustinmemorial.com/tribute/details/575/Erica_Meno/obituary.html#content-start

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Some of the comments from other Cushies:

My condolences to Erica’s friends and family and to our Cushie community.I too am afflicted with Cushings and a part of me dies every time I lose another fellow Cushie!The world just got a little bit dimmer without her beautiful soul!May she rest in peace and may her memory live on.She was a wonderful person.

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Dear Meno family, My name is Melanie and I’m a survivor of Cushing’s Disease. Your daughter and I corresponded a few times on a message board dedicated to this disease. Please accept my heartfelt condolences at the loss of your beautiful daughter. Every time a member of our Cushing’s Family leaves this earth it sends a wave of sadness throughout the world-wide members who live with this disease daily. The tribute you’ve written about Erica is lovely and indicates what a beloved daughter of God she is and how special she is to you and your family. I believe our lives continue on in the next life and believe Erica is now free from pain and sorrow. May God grant you peace and comfort in the days ahead. With love,

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My prayers go out to all who knew and loved Erica. Having had surgery for Cushing’s Disease and dealing with it’s consequences myself, I am inspired by her strength and determination to keep pushing forward for her cure. My heart aches that she was taken so early, and I pray she can now rest from her struggles and is at peace.

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I wanted to express my sincere condolences to Erica’s family and friends at this difficult time, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Sadly I never got a chance to meet Erica in person, we met though Bobbi Phillips on FB. We both have Cushing’s disease or as Erica called us Cushies and there aren’t many people that understand, it was a comfort to have someone that does. I will miss hearing from her, she will hold a special place in my heart. God Bless Erica!

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MaryO, 32nd Pituitary Surgery Anniversary

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Today is the 32nd anniversary of my pituitary surgery at NIH.

As one can imagine, it hasn’t been all happiness and light.  Most of my journey has been documented here and on the message boards – and elsewhere around the web.

My Cushing’s has been in remission for most of these 31 years.  Due to scarring from my pituitary surgery, I developed adrenal insufficiency.

I took growth hormone for a while.

When I got kidney cancer, I had to stop the GH, even though no doctor would admit to any connection between the two.

Last year I went back on it (Omnitrope this time) in late June.  Hooray!  I still don’t know if it’s going to work but I have high hopes.  I am posting some of how that’s going here.

During nephrectomy, doctors removed my left kidney, my adrenal gland, and some lymph nodes.  Thankfully, the cancer was contained – but my adrenal insufficiency is even more severe than it was.

In the last couple years, I’ve developed ongoing knee issues.  Because of my cortisol use to keep the AI at bay, my endocrinologist doesn’t want me to get a cortisone injection in my knee.  September 12, 2018 I did get that knee injection (Kenalog)  and it’s been one of the best things I ever did.  I didn’t look forward to telling my endo!  I have had a couple more injections.

I also developed an allergy to blackberries in October and had to take Prednisone – and I had to tell my endo that, too!

My mom has moved in with us, bring some challenges…

But, this is a post about Giving Thanks.  The series will be continued on this blog unless I give thanks about something else Cushing’s related 🙂

I am so thankful that in 1987 the NIH existed and that my endo knew enough to send me there.

I am thankful for Dr. Ed Oldfield, my pituitary neurosurgeon at NIH.  Unfortunately, Dr. Oldfield died.

I’m thankful for Dr. Harvey Cushing and all the work he did.  Otherwise, I might be the fat lady in Ringling Brothers now.

To be continued in the following days here at http://www.maryo.co/

 

In Memory: Dr. Edward Hudson Oldfield, September 1, 2017

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Dr. Oldfield was MaryO’s surgeon at the NIH November 3, 1987.  This was back in the olden days of transsphenoidal surgery.  I honestly expected to die but this man saved my life.

Dr. Edward Hudson Oldfield quietly passed away at home in Charlottesville, Virginia, surrounded by his family on September 1, 2017.

Born on November 22, 1947, in Mt. Sterling Kentucky, he was the son of Ellis Hudson Oldfield and Amanda Carolyn Oldfield. Ed is survived by his wife of 43 years, Susan Wachs Oldfield; a daughter, Caroline Talbott Oldfield; three siblings, Richard Oldfield of Mt. Sterling, Ky., Brenda Oldfield of Lexington, Ky., and Joseph Oldfield (Brenda) of Morehead, Ky.; nieces, Adrienne Petrocelli (Phil) of Cincinnati, Ohio and Keri Utterback (Brad) and nephew, Gabe Oldfield, both of Mt Sterling. His parents and a sister, Bonnie Lee Cherry, predeceased him.

Dr. Oldfield attended the University of Kentucky and graduated from the UK Medical School. He completed two years of surgical residency at Vanderbilt University and spent a year in Neurology at the National Hospital for Nervous Disease in London, England, before completing his neurosurgical residency at Vanderbilt University. After a year in private practice in Lexington, he completed a two-year fellowship at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

In 1984, he was named Chief of the Clinical Neurosurgery Section at NINDS and from 1986-2007, he was the Chief of the Surgical Neurology Branch at NIH. He joined the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Virginia in 2007 where he held the Crutchfield Chair in Neurosurgery and was a Professor of Neurosurgery and Internal Medicine.

He led multidisciplinary efforts in the treatment of pituitary tumors and contributed to the research program in Neurosurgery at UVA. He often said it did not feel he was going to work because he so enjoyed every aspect of his career.

Dr. Oldfield was the author of over 500 original scientific and clinical contributions to medical literature and the co-inventor of patents on convection-enhanced drug delivery and genetic therapy. He served on the editorial boards of Neurosurgery and the Journal of Neurosurgery, where he completed a term of eight years as associate editor. Dr. Oldfield served as vice president and president of the Society of Neurological Surgeons (SNS). He received numerous awards including: the Public Health Superior Service Award; the Grass Medal for Meritorious Research in Neurological Science; the Farber Award; the Distinguished Alumnus Award, University of Kentucky Medical Alumni Association; the Harvey Cushing Medal; and the first annual AANS Cushing Award for Technical Excellence and Innovation in Neurosurgery.

In 2015 he received the Charles B. Wilson Award for “career achievement and substantial contributions to understanding and treatment of brain tumors”. A man of many interests and endless curiosity, Ed found joy in exploring the world around him with a great appetite for adventure, as long as it included variety and history. He preferred outdoor activities, and throughout his life enjoyed hiking, bird watching, photography and especially fly fishing, which provided the kind of peace he treasured in his limited free time. Learning was a priority in every activity. Ed was interested in genealogy and maintained a precise record of his family history, spending over a decade accumulating and scanning family photographs. It was important to him to know from where and whom his family originated. Though he loved to watch sports, especially the UK Wildcats, he did not always follow a particular team he cheered for the underdog.

His love of music was vast, from Arthur Alexander, Etta James, John Prine, Luciano Pavarotti, Van Morrison and Iris Dement, to name a few favorites. Friends and colleagues remember his gentle southern voice, particularly in his advice, “All you have to do is the right thing; everything else will take care of itself.” His family will remember him loving Shakespeare productions, a good barbecue sandwich, Ruth Hunt candy bars, a warm fireplace at Christmas and several beloved dogs.

A Memorial service was held on Monday, September 25, 2017, at the University of Virginia Alumni Hall at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to Edmond J. Safra Family Lodge at National Institutes of Health, Hospice of the Piedmont, or Piedmont Environmental Council.

From http://www.dailyprogress.com/obituaries/oldfield-dr-edward-hudson/article_3bb9df83-d223-5d26-81f4-cfd4565ee0c6.html

EvE7070, Pituitary Bio

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Hi and good evening new here So im EvE7070 and oh my were do i start.

I was finally diagnosed with Cushing‘s 2015 To wich i had no clue what it was and how horrible it would change my life.

But lets start before when it first started I was a gym rat and eat very lil and would do fasting often and one day my menstrual cycle changed and I stop getting my periods and after that I gained about 60 pounds out of nowhere and I decided to see a doctor who told me that I had a hormone deficiency and they put me on something called glucophage which instead of making me lose weight made me gain another 30 lb within the few months of taking it and nobody knew what was wrong with me or how to treat me and I was very depressed for so long because every time I would see a doctor they would say you’re obese and you need to get on a diet and I would cry and tell them I don’t eat I exercise everyday and I don’t understand what is happening to my body i all of a sudden had every disease you could think of and know doctor could tell me what was wrong

i even got a allergies to peanuts which I had never had a problem with before crazy right

So finally after so many yrs i stated getting headaches to witch they said migraines and then my eyesight started to get affected and finally they said no maybe it’s just a sinus infection to where I had to have an X-ray done of my sinuses and that’s when they saw the tumor and my pituitary gland

So had surgery 2015 was on remission until the beginning of this year I started getting headaches again and my eyesight was starting to mess up and decided to go back to the endocrinologist and now they tell me that my cushing‘s is back and I’m hoping that my MRI comes out okay and I don’t have a tumor again but I don’t know what the odds of that happening again of another tumor this is the hardest thing that I’ve had to go through and I’m having a really hard time trying to adjust again to everything that’s going on with my body they say the second time around is worse than the first time and so far it’s true emotionally my depression is at its highest

I’m having problems with coordination brain fog concentration problems forgetting what i was taking about and im really scared I won’t be able to deal with it this time It took me so long to get back to wat ever normal is and now im back here again

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Lili, Pituitary Post-Op Update

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hi there…

i had the pituitary surgery.  They said i am cured (of course it could come back) but the day after surgery my acth level was 3.7 and the next day it was 1.  They consider that a cure.

it is a very painful recovery for me and i am documenting each day.

The headaches and pressure in my head were so awful and painful but have now on day 6 subsided.  They had to cut my septum to get through and i had a bone spur too so maybe that added to it…my nose was, still is i am sure, packed and i can’t blow my nose till July 12!  The nausea was bad too.  The cortisol withdrawal hasn’t been so horrible yet.  They have me on a taper program of each week taking less.

The tumor was towards the left side and the surgeon who was Dr. Van Gompel at Mayo was aggressive in the amount of tissue he took out as he said it was soft.  He wanted a “home run”.  I asked after if he got the home run and he said yes.

The whole Mayo experience was strange.  You don’t really get to call and speak to the doctor after you see them…you get a “desk” and a message gets sent.  The endocrinologist is the only one who calls back personally but I guess that is a lot.  I would highly recommend her and don’t know all her info except her name is Dr. Irina Bancos at the Mayo clinic.  Things just fell into place there.  As you know I was only scheduled for the IPSS but when she saw how symptomatic I was and all my levels she picked up the phone on a Tuesday and had me scheduled for surgery Friday morning.  A one stop shop.  I was scared and there alone but got through it.

The next 3-12 months will be difficult.  I am currently on some pain meds and muscle relaxers but in touch with my sponsor daily and we decided I don’t have to be a martyr.  I just need to check myself and get off them as soon as I get these headaches under control.

Mary, I’d like to stay active on your site.  I’ve learned so much that helped prepare me for the doctors appointments and the procedures that I’d like to give back anything I can in the way of my experience of living with the symptoms and not knowing what was wrong with me to fighting for a diagnosis to the cure.  Please let me know the best way I can do this and you may post this if you’d like.  Maybe edit out the pain meds and sponsor part as I don’t think many would relate to that but who knows.

I just know I am grateful to you and this site.

Lili

 

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Stefanie, Pituitary Bio

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The pituitary gland

I was diagnosed 2012 and had pituitary surgery done 2013. I am currently on medications.

I’m curious to talk with other Cushings patients. I don’t know anyone with the disease and have actually never even had a conversation with someone with cushings. It would be nice to relate with someone.

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Laura, In The Media

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After years, mystery ills diagnosed

April 3, 2005
By JANET MARSHALL

On the day her life changed for the better, Laura Zastrow was exhausted. So much so that she almost didn’t go to the Quantico commissary, as she’d planned.

For years, Zastrow had felt run down without knowing why. One doctor chalked it up to depression. But that afternoon at Quantico, a stranger offered another diagnosis: Cushing’s disease.

Rare and often misdiagnosed, Cushing’s causes fatigue, weight gain, hair growth, mood swings, high blood pressure and other ills, all familiar to Zastrow.

The stranger, Jayne Kerns, recognized her own puffy face and hairy arms in Zastrow.

“I said, ‘I feel like I’m looking in the mirror,'” Kerns said.

Kerns encouraged Zastrow to check out a Cushing’s Web site, which Zastrow did. Every symptom listed matched her condition. Her doctor ran some tests, and the results confirmed Zastrow had Cushing’s, a hormonal disorder often brought on by a tumor.

The chance meeting in September 2003 transformed Zastrow’s life. In the months since, she’s had surgery to remove a large tumor on her pituitary gland and rediscovered her old, healthier self.

“My energy is coming back,” said Zastrow, of Locust Grove. “I’ve lost a lot of weight. I feel good. I don’t feel like I’m in a fog anymore.”

Kerns, of Spotsylvania County, has made it a mission to raise as much awareness as possible of Cushing’s since being diagnosed with the disease in 2000. She’s written President Bush asking him to declare a National Cushing’s Awareness Day in April.

Her meeting with Zastrow was first described in a Free Lance-Star profile of Kerns in 2004. At the time, nobody yet knew just how life-altering that meeting would be.

It emboldened Kerns to keep reaching out to people she thinks have the disease. And it gave Zastrow hope for a healthier, more energetic future.

“I was at the point where I was deteriorating so fast that if Jayne wouldn’t have approached me, I honestly don’t know what would have happened,” Zastrow said recently. “Obviously, I didn’t know anything about [Cushing’s], and neither did my doctors.”

For those with the disease, April 8 is the unofficial day to recognize it and the man–Dr. Harvey Cushing–who first put a name to it.

People with Cushing’s suffer from excessive levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. The condition can be caused by long-term use of certain drugs, such as prednisone for asthma.

Often, Cushing’s stems from an overproduction of cortisol by the adrenal glands. The pituitary gland sometimes over-stimulates the adrenals, triggering the problem. Tumors on the adrenal or pituitary often are at the root of the problem, and treatment can involve removing the glands.

Kerns’ diagnosis followed months of maddening efforts to pinpoint why her body deteriorated, and never recovered, after childbirth.

She said she was misdiagnosed many times, and that one doctor, frustrated by her recurrent problems, told her he no longer had time to listen to her and referred her to another physician.

Kerns ultimately had her adrenal glands removed.

Each year, 10 to 15 people out of every million are thought to be affected by Cushing’s, making it highly uncommon.

“Doctors think that Cushing’s is too rare for people to have it,” Kerns said. “And I truly believe that it is not as rare as people think.”

Another local woman, Jennifer Belokon of Fredericksburg, has Cushing’s. She was serving in the Army in Iraq when she began feeling weak and gaining weight, adding 60 pounds in three months.

The Army flew her out of Iraq and sent her to Walter Reed Medical Center. After being diagnosed with Cushing’s, she had her adrenal glands removed.

“Now, I have no adrenaline, no steroids or anything that will help me produce that second wind when doing anything,” Belokon wrote in an e-mail.

Yet she’s resumed exercising and is training to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll half-marathon in Virginia Beach in September. She ran a 10-mile race a few months ago.

“My time was nothing big,” Belokon wrote. “But I was proud of myself for finishing.”

Getting treated for Cushing’s is life-altering, all three women said. Just finding out what’s wrong is profound because a diagnosis often follows months or years of mysterious and unsettling ailments.

“It changes people’s lives when they figure out what’s going on,” Kerns said. “It’s kind of like discovering that you have diabetes, and then you get insulin. You find something that’s going to make you feel better.”

For more information on the disease and its symptoms, which include purple stretch marks, check out cushings-help.com

To reach JANET MARSHALL: 540/374-5527 jmarshall@freelancestar.com
Copyright 2005 The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company.


JAYNE KERNS IS A MEMBER OF THE CUSHING’S HELP AND SUPPORT MESSAGE BOARDS.

Jayne answered questions in an online Voice Chat January 31, 2008 at 6:30 PM eastern. Archives are available.

Listen to CushingsHelp on internet talk radio

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