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Mary Lou (MarLo), Undiagnosed Bio

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I am the mother of a 19 girl who is currently being evaluated for Cushing’s Syndrome/Disease.  My daughter is in her first year of college and over the past eighteen months, she has gained close to 50 pounds.  I have watched her struggle and we have even attended two military-style bootcamps for weight loss.

Despite eating healthy, during that five weeks, she gained 2 pounds.  Her facial features are so distorted from her moonface appearance that she does not even look like herself.  She has a Buffalo Hump and purple stretch marks on her rotund abdomen.  She has almost no energy and when not in class, she is sleeping in her dorm.  She has a brown stripe of skin in  the crease of her neck which prompted her roommate to ask her if she had worn a necklace with copper in it.  Her vision is poor and her periods are now very irregular.  She has excessive thirst and urination.

About a year ago, she had her wisdom teeth extracted and ended up with a life-threatening infection which included a second surgery emergency surgery and she was placed on a ventilator in ICU for three days, due to the possibility of the infection (swelling) occluding her trachea.  The doctors were so perplex how a healthy girl could have such a poor outcome from this surgery.

I looked up some of these symptoms and it seemed rather clear what she likely had.  I took her to an internist and expressed my concern about Cushing’s when she was home for Christmas break.  The physician ordered blood tests, including a CBC and metabolic panel, thyroid panel, and prolactin.  She also ordered a 24 hour urine for Cortisol.  Her CBC was normal as was the prolactin and thyroid.  Her liver enzymes were elevated about three times normal.  She then followed up with a Hepatits panel and an abdominal ultrasound, both of which were normal.  The 24 hour urine Cortisol was elevated and we are now waiting on a referral to an endocrinologist.

My daughter’s university is about 350 miles from our home, therefore I requested the endocrinologist be in her college town.  I plan on going there for her appointments and my husband and I have discussed moving there if necessary.  She has a very kind roommate who is dependable and helpful.  I still do not like her being so far away, knowing that she likely has a very serious condition.  My daughter’s spirits remain high and I think she is looking forward to beginning treatment, whatever it may be, and feeling better.  I know that the weight and the fatigue are the most troublesome for her.  I appreciate this site which has allowed me to express my concerns to so many who have been there.  God bless you all!

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Kim, Undiagnosed Bio

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golden-oldie

Hello, everyone. Below is information from my introduction at Cushings-Help.

“So, about me…I’ve had various non-specific symptoms since I was a child and various specific diagnoses as an adult … hypothyroid, fibromyalgia, adult ADD (misdiagnosed and treated as bipolar from 2005-2008), chronic atrophic gastritis and chronic duodenitis (diagnosed via biopsy), colon polyps, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, sinus polyps, insomnia alternating with hypersomnia (sometimes I sleep up to 15 hours a day), plus an REM sleep disorder (REM sleep latency 287 min/378.5 total sleep time, REM sleep 37.5 min with 12 upper airway resistance episodes during that time) … and the list goes on. I have multiple vitamin deficiencies too (C, D, zinc and iron) and other abnormal blood levels (low arginine and dopamine, and high folic acid, glutamine, glycine, norepinephrine and ornithine). The levels that made some people suspect Cushing’s (vs. PCOS) were my DHEA and Testosterone. My highest DHEA was 1342, lowest Free T is 0.2.

From a CT scan of my abdomen in August 2011, I know there’s a “probably benign” lesion on my liver, a cyst on my kidney (plus medullary sponge kidney), a 10 mm cyst on my ovary and an umbilical hernia. My PCP considers all of this normal. Also, I’ve had four fractures as an adult (two in 2008 alone, one that required surgery) partly because of poor balance and coordination (frequent trips and falls, dropping things, etc.). I was through an EEG and 24-hour EKG because I fainted and collapsed on the sidewalk outside of my kids’ school at the end of December 2011. Those tests were normal.

…In terms of my physical appearance, I don’t have stretch marks but the shape of my face changes almost daily. It’s been hard for me to piece together a visual timeline since I hate having my picture taken and therefore, steer clear of camera lenses. (NOTE: I did manage to put a timeline together…You can find it here. http://cushings.invisionzone.com/index.php?app=gallery&album=408) How sad is it that I have very few pics with my kids because the person I see in the mirror is a stranger! I don’t even resemble the person I once was…my weight just continues to creep up regardless of how little I eat or how much I exercise. The fatigue has gotten REALLY bad lately and my tolerance for any physical activity is gone. I have regular shortness of breath and my blood pressure and heart rates are all over the place. Just the thought of doing stairs to throw in a load of laundry is overwhelming. And after showering to get ready to go somewhere, the only place I’m ready to go is back to bed. I also have a small buffalo hump and my neck is very thick. 16″ necklaces that used to fit comfortably won’t even close now.”

January 30, 2012

Today I had an initial appt with an endo who ordered the following tests:

Gave blood today to measure:

UR/CS/CBC/FT4/T3RIA/TSH (have confirmed hypothyroid; TSH has been remaining high even on 125 mcg Synthroid)

GONAD #1

Thyroid Antibodies

Vitamin B12/Folate

IGF-1 (have two kids with GHD being treated, third child is being tested; endo suspects IGF-1 may come back low)

IGF-BP3

ACTH

Cortisol

Cardio CRP

DHEA (history of high DHEA … 554, 717, 1342)

Ferritin

Prolactin

Free Testosterone (history of low Free T)

Vitamin D, 25 (have confirmed Vitamin D deficiency, rechecking levels)

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B6

Vitamin C

Tuesday, January 31 having DEXA scan of spine, hips, and right wrist and ankle (have had multiple fractures on right side…cuboid (foot), anterior process (heel), elbow, wrist).

Thursday, February 3 having nerve conduction study because of peripheral neuropathy in hands and feet

Friday, February 4 meeting with opthamalogist for vision testing (peripheral vision is diminished, causing dizziness, balance issues, resulting in falls)

I’m waiting for endo’s order to have an MRI of the pituitary. Endo reviewing report from the CT scan I had in December 2011 after my fainting episode/collapes on the sidewalk outside my kids’ school. The report says nothing except there were not hemmorages, so anticipate order for MRI will be coming soon.

This seems like a lot of tests, but I think the endo wants to determine where to dig deeper. The nurse practitioner asked a lot of questions that led me to believe she may have been suspecting Cushing’s and/or growth hormone deficiency. And they were interested in a timeline I’d put together demonstrating my eight month experience on Ketoconazole, which allowed me to shed weight and caused an improvement of symptoms. (The weight went back up and symptoms flared off Keto as posted above.)

I guess I’m in a waiting pattern now as the endo pulls together the results of all these tests and decides which tests will be next. The only next test that was discussed was GH stim testing, again leading me to believe the endo may think he’ll uncover that issue, especially since I have two kids who are GHD. (My son also has smallish pituitary and chiari malformation and my daughter has a Rathke’s cleft cyst.) I know a lot of the standard Cushing’s tests are missing from the above list, but this is a starting point. I’ve never had such a full endocrine workup, so at least I’ll have a baseline.

I’ll post more about my journey as my test results start coming in.

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Mallissa F, Undiagnosed Bio

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A Golden Oldie

Hi all:)

I am in a pickle, and i feel its time to take my head out of the sand and get this Cortisol thing sorted. So here goes.. My son is 7 – i breastfed for 2 weeks as only a tiny drop would come out and we just could not get it to work…. But 7 years on i still have white/milk like discharge from right breast, and clear from left. Mainly right breast. I informed my doctor for the last 7 years everytime i went that it was odd it was still coming out- and that i was literally tired ALL the time. I was also depressed – so i was put on medication for this, and each time i mentioned this, it was always put down to depression. Or how is your diet? etc. I grew tired of this old answer because life was good- i had nothing to be depressed about- and my lifestyle and eating habits are really good.

So the doctor ordered several blood test, a full looking over. And scan for my breasts- which were normal. But the blood test came back with high cortisol.
I do bruise easily yes, lower back pain, sever fatigue- but the doctor said bec i didnt not have the swelling etc it could not be cushings.

Next test was 24 hour urine collection and dex suppression (not sure if thats spelt right) test.

Still cortisol came back high. but prolactin was not high?

My doctor then refered me to a endo – which gave me an appointment almost 9 months away- (major shortage in endos where i lived- and i was not considered a risk)

IN this time i seperated from my partner and just got stuck into work- put my head in the sand and when i wasnt working or looking after my son i slept. Not normal.

I went back to the doctor again finally a year later – ready to sort this out- breast scan again- still fine. Blood test- cortisol still high, little higher than last two tests she said, but not alarmingly high.

I cant take any contraceptive pill etc as they make me crazy. Something is up with my hormones. I had a miscarrige 2 months ago, followed with severe abdo pain- for a month and a half. I am not one to make a fuss and very high pain tolerence so no ultra sound was given at first just antibiotics and assumption it would cure it.

I lived with it for one more month- then went to doctor again- scan done- ovary bleeding and other in wrong place- shrugged off and told come back in 8 weeks to see if on going problem.
Arhhhh

And now i have to get back into Endo and be placed in another waiting list to be seen. Because i am 28 – i think they do not see me as a person who needs help the quickest. Its just i dont carry on about my symptoms and moan- i get on with it, i have to, i am a mum- i am so frustrated now tho- something is not right.

Any advice. I dont know- any reassurance or explanation – help anything would be appreciated greatly.

I feel like i am some kind of person to the doctor who is one of those ones who is looking  for an illness. But i am looking for an answer to my symptoms.

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Liberty, Undiagnosed Bio

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Liberty is not yet diagnosed, but possibly has a co-secreting tumor that is secreting prolactin and cortisol. She was told she might have a small tumor on her pituitary gland.  Her bio was last updated 6/17/2008

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My first symptom was that I was still lactating after a year of not nursing. I had looked on the computer to see if that was normal. I found a sight that said it was so I didn’t give it much more thought.

Then in July 2003 I was 5 days late having my peroid which has always been normal. Every month since then I have either been late or skipped it all together. I also started getting really bad acne and gaining weight.

The worst symptom is what I thought was PMS. It starts two weeks or so before my period and lasts about two to two and a half weeks. It is so bad I can hardly function. I can’t keep my house clean, I can’t bring myself to cook dinner, I lose my patience with my kids very easily. Then it goes away and just about the time I get back into the swing of things, it starts all over again.

So, I went to the doctor about 3 weeks ago and she said she would put me on birth control to regulate my periods. But first she wanted to run some blood work. So she did the blood work and two weeeks later I was told that my prolactin was high and that I might have a small tumor on my pituitary gland.

Then I was scheduled with a endocrinologist in February. I am going nuts waiting for this appt. I have been on the computer alot. I happened across a website for a pituitary unit in Oregon. I emailed the Dr. and he emailed me his # and told me to call. So, I did. I told him my symptoms and he asked me a few questions. He said he thinks I have a co-secreting tumor that is secreting prolactin and cortisol.

So, I just have to wait now.

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