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Renee (rmaxwell), Undiagnosed Bio

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Originally posted December 5, 2008

My symptoms began when I was about 21 years old. At the time I worked as a Martial Art instructor so I was very physical and in good shape, weighing about 120lbs. Suddenly, and I do mean SUDDENLY, I gained about 60lbs or so. It was as if my clothes fit one night and then didn’t fit in the morning. The weight is mostly in the middle area. My face shape changed and I developed a second chin almost.

I also started getting some whiskers on my chin and neck. Not a lot, just a few, but it was strange.

I was under great stress at the time because I had lost both of my parents in the same year, to two different medical things. So as you can imagine, it was very difficult for me. I developed extreme fatigue, and anxiety attacks. Friends were sure all my physical and mental symptoms must be from depression over losing my folks. One friend advised I see a psychiatrist, so considering everything it sounded reasonable, and I did.

I was placed on Paxil, which caused me to gain even more weight. Since then I’ve tried so many antidepressants I can’t even begin to name them. I went through many SSRI’s, then SNRI’s, then tricyclic, and most recently as a last resort an MAOI.
But in spite of this, over the years my depression has only gotten worse. I’ve had two suicide attempts and been hospitialized a few times. My depression seems to follow a pattern or cycle, two weeks of barely being able to function, followed by a week of doing a little better, then a day or two of feeling good, then back to two weeks of misery, etc. I am not bipolar or anything like that.

I continued to gain weight, developed stretch marks on my belly and arms, got a lot of dark hair all over my belly, and the few whiskers that appeared on my chin and neck have become like a beard. I developed insulin-resistance, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. I can seldom sleep at night. I experience such deep depression and fatigue that I haven’t been able to keep a job or finish collage, I barely function.

For many years I just thought I had really bad depression and continued trying whatever psych meds I was prescribed. I thought all my physical symptoms were my fault for being so depressed and not getting enough excercise, etc. And most of the time, I was on so much medication I didn’t really care, I was so out of it.

Finally I found a great psychiatrist who truly cares about me and wants to see me happy. After having little or no success treating my depression, fatigue, and panic attacks, she did some research and told me not long ago that she felt I must have something biological going on with me that wasn’t any type of clinical depression. She said she had tried hitting all the different receptors in my brain (seretonin, norephinepherine, dopamine, etc..) and I should have responded to something. She suggested I might have Cushing’s Syndrome. I went online to find out about Cushing’s and I was like “Wow I really match a LOT of these things!”

Now I am on quest for getting tested. It’s difficult as I do not have any health insurance. But I am making a little progress and hope I start to get some answers soon.

I either have Cushing’s syndrome, some other endocrine problem, or the most treatment-resistant depression ever.

That’s my story, thanks for reading. I’m open to any comments or advice.

-Renee

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Raquel O (Raquel8a) Adrenal Bio

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undiagnosed2

 

I’m not sure how long I’ve had Cushing’s. I think it’s been a slow progression for about 20 years.

In April my father passed away and we were on our way to Church for his mass. We got smashed from behind turning into the Church’s driveway, we ended up in an ambulance. At the hospital they did a full body CT scan. (I would have never gotten one if the accident never happened.) They found a growth on my adrenal gland. That started the ball rolling. I believe my father was responsible for helping me discover the problem.

I started looking on the internet about adrenal tumors. It talked about Cushing’s. Each and every symptom they described I had. It explained soooooo much. I thought I was going through early menopause. I was suicidal, and severly depressed, on 2 different medications to help. I chalked everything up to being “fat”. I didn’t go to the doctor because I didn’t want to hear “you just need to lose some weight.”

I went to an endocrinologist, she started me on the first urine test and some blood work. Two weeks later, I went back to get the results. I told her about Cushing’s and that I had all the symptoms. She said the results were abnormal but it could be a number of different things. She wanted to repeat the urine test and said that I SEEMED to be convinced that it was Cushing’s Disease. Needless to say I felt pretty stupid. When the results came back guess what?

After the accident the tumor seemed to have gotten aggravated. I was having a lot more confusion, loss of focus, etc. I chalked it all up to the accident, maybe it was a concussion. Since then it’s become worse. I get frustrated and depressed because I’m experiencing a lot more forgetfulness, and confusion. My depression meds are holding me up but barely. I’m tired all the time. My husband sometimes, I feel, doesn’t believe me and gets frustrated. My kids are always asking me if I’m okay (and usually the answer is no). I don’t want them to grow up remembering how I was always so sick and tired.

My next step is to get the tumor removed. The neurosurgeon is busy and my tumor is not life threatening so I had to wait a long time (couple of weeks) for a consultation. I finally saw him an now I’m waiting for the ENT to get back from vacation to set a date. So, I’m in limbo. Not helping!

My next step is to get the tumor removed. The neurosurgeon is busy and my tumor is not life threatening so I had to wait a long time (couple of weeks) for a consultation. I finally saw him an now I’m waiting for the ENT to get back from vacation to set a date. So, I’m in limbo. Not helping!

After the surgery am I supposed to be “normal?” I’m afraid of “normal.” I don’t know what it’s like to be “normal.” Will I be a different person? Will I no longer be fat? Will I get rid of the hypertension, and diabetes? the redness everyone thinks is sunburn? will I be able to get into a standing position from the floor? I’m very FRIGHTENED of the “normal” that I’m supposed to become.

The surgery, no problem, my dad’s watching over me. I’m convinced he’s responsible for finding the tumor and will help me through.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, although this bio only scratches the surface.

 

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Julie M (Jules), Undiagnosed Bio

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undiagnosed4
I am here because I believe my 26 year old daughter has cushings.

She went through puberty late, just as it started she had a strange episode where she couldn’t speak, walk and was confused. I took her to the ER, the ran different tests and sent us joke with b vitamins? Since that time (11 years ago) her behaviour has been bazaar, she had put on about 6 stone.

After the birth of her child 3 years ago she had gone a lot worse. Aggressive, numbness in both legs, depression, tingling in fingers, ties and around mouth, exhaustion, insomnia and the buffallo hump which she has had for years. I thought at first she had pernicious anemia but her b12 level is ok.

The haematologist is asking out gp to run tests he mentioned cortisol, I looked it up and couldn’t believe she has exactly the same symptoms, she has constant headaches and her legs are also covered in bruises because when she does eventually go to sleep she wakes up in another part of the house due to sleep walking.

She has just been given anti depressants and sleeping tablets which she does not take. I requested her medical records and went through them found out that she had lesions in her frontal lobe 11 years ago when they ran the tests. I also discovered that she had normal low TSH and very low t4 which points to the pituitary gland

Some days she feels ‘ok’ which is very rare. Most of the time she is suicidal and stressed. I’m waiting for her to be called for her cortisol tests, I just hope they are done at a time that she is going through her cycle.

Contact Jules

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Jordiyn (Jordiyn), Undiagnosed Bio

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undiagnosed2

Hello my name is Jordiyn and i have not been definitively diagnosed with Cushing as of yet. Im not really quite sure where to start so ill start at the beginning.

At the age of 19 i started to notice that I was gaining weight very rapidly for no reason. I was very active and I weighed about 120 and then within about 6 months I gained 60 pounds. Then from there I started to gain more weight every month/year. All in all iv gain over 100 pounds in the last 4 years even though i eat pretty healthy and exercise.

With the excessive weight gain I started to notice these pinkish/purplish stretch marks on my hips, stomach,arms and thighs. Plus I gained a lot of weight in my face and my upper back. And then I started to notice that I was so tired and weak all the time.

I think the worst part has been the back pain and that I always feel like I need a nap even though I have a very hard time sleeping. My moods started to change dramatically. I get irritated very fast and I can just start crying and the most random things, I also have really bad anxiety so much so its crippling. My depression is threw the roof.

Last year in October I even tried to kill myself and then 4 months later I tried again. I do have Bipolar and i’m on medication but it feels like none of the medication are working. My psychiatrist just has no idea what is going on with me but he did tell me he thinks there’s something going on that doesn’t relate to my bipolar.

Then last year in October I stopped having my period and this lasted until june of this year so about 9 months. In those 9 months I gain 25 pounds, I literally thought that I was pregnant but every test was negative. After tons of tests and blood work It later turned out that I have PSOD. While I was at my Gynecologist he told me that I look like someone who has Cushing’s and that i needed to talking to my primary care doctor and talk to her about it.

So as of now im waiting for my doctor to send me to an Endocrinologist. I am very nervous that I have Cushing’s. Last year while I was doing some research about all out my symptoms Cushing’s popped up and so I talked with my old doctor about it and all she did was dismiss it. So after I couldn’t get any doctor to listen to me I gave up. Then a doctor finally says to me you may have it and i feel like it a sign from God telling me that I maybe i do have Cushing’s.

I would love to make some friends and actually have someone to talk to about this. Ill keep everyone updated and I’ll also post some pictures too.

I hope to hear from all of you soon.

Jordiyn

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Patrick, Undiagnosed Bio

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A Golden Oldie

Hello everyone,

My name is Patrick and I live in Montreal, Quebec, and I’m 35 years old. I’m not very good in english so my bio will be as short as possible. Sorry about that, and let’s hope that you will be able to read my bio without any problems.

I have found this web site (cushings-help.com) because I was doing some research a few weeks ago on the internet about hypogonadism. Back in April, my new GP (one of the many I’ve been seeing for the last 10 years) wanted to test my testosterone levels and finally find out that I was indeed suffering of hypogonadism. Based on those results, he did recommended to me a Testosterone Replacement Therapy for a few months which I did start immediately.

Three months after the beginning of the TRT, I’ve been tested again to see if any improvements were noticed but, surprisingly my testosterone levels were lower then before I’ve first started the TRT (twice as low to be precise).

So, he then ordered a CT Scan of my pituitary gland to make sure everything was okay with my pituitary gland. I received the results of the scan two weeks ago and, according to him, everything is “normal”. He suggested that I should try some testosterone injections insted of both gels I’ve tryed so far. During my last visit, I talked to him about some ressemblance between the symptoms of Cushing disease and my symptoms which are :

– Rapid weight gain (70 lb in 18 months mainly at the torso)
– Severe depression for the last 7 years at least
– Broken vertebrae in 2005 for no apparent reason
– Circadian rhythm completely out of whack (can’t sleep without  my 15 mg of Zopiclon each night for the last 5 years)
–  Suicidal thoughts (one attempt in 2004)
– Hypogonadism (total and biodisponible testosterone levels of 4.32 nmol/L after three months of TRT)
– LH and FSH deficiency
– Higher cortisol level at 4 pm than 8 am
– Stretch marks
– Changes of my skin (thinner and dryer, take longer to heel)
– Deacreased libido
– Lost of strength, body mass and stamina
– Joint pain (especially in the knees and hips)
– Headaches
– Congnitive difficulties
– etc. etc. etc.

He did try to reassure me that it wasn’t Cushing, but because I know that Cushing is often misdiagnosed, I ask him to see an endocrinologist anyway. Thankfully, I have an appointment next December 3rd.

I will try to update my profile as soon as I will have any further developments. If you have any questions or advices, please feel free to let me know.

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ORKitty, Pituitary Bio

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Another Golden Oldie, this bio was originally posted 01/22/2008

Hi, I’m ORKitty. I live in Portland, OR, with my wonderful husband and kitty. I just turned 50 in 2005.

I began this journey quite possibly 17 years ago when I had some isolated panic attacks and then suddenly had panic 24 hours a day. I also kept crying and didn’t know why. I was eventually put on Xanax and then found a psychiatrist who put me on the anti-depressant imipramine and weaned me off the Xanax. It worked well for both the panic and depression for about 10 years. I gained some weight which I attributed to the anti-depressant. During this time I was still able to work and ran my own home-based business for 3 years. About seven years ago my anxiety worsened and my psychiatrist added Klonopin to deal with it. About this time I began gaining even more weight.

Due to a terrible (and terrifying) experience with a doctor, I developed a real phobia about seeing doctors. I managed to overcome this in early 2003 and have a large lump on my neck examined. An ultrasound showed normal tissue, but while I was there the doctor took my blood pressure at 160/100 and then decided to do an EKG. She found an abnormality and sent me to a cardiologist who diagnosed me with severe cardiomyopathy (next step dead). I was put on medication and had regular echocardiograms every few months and each one showed more improvement.

In fall of 2003 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and began taking Levoxyl, increasing by very small doses because it seemed to increase my anxiety every time I upped the dose. At the same time I was taken off the imipramine because there was some concern that it may have contributed to my heart problems. As my thyroid meds increased I began to lose weight and began having serious digestive problems including constant diarrhea. I had burning sensations in both arms, edema in both legs and my periods stopped. After some misdiagnoses and some doctor abuse I was finally found to have gallstones and had my gallbladder removed in April of 2004. I had hoped this would clear up the digestive issues, but that wasn’t the case.

After the surgery I noticed that my depression was getting much worse. By July I found that I couldn’t stand to listen to music or watch TV without getting anxious and upset. I was also feeling like I was in a fog and had racing, looping thoughts. I had trouble with reasoning and memory. My psychiatrist began prescribing a variety of medications, none of which seemed to help any of my symptoms. Things were so bad that I became suicidal for the first time in my life.

I finally persuaded my doctor to do a CAT scan to see what was wrong with my digestive system. Nothing showed up there but they found a uterine/ovarian mass and an adrenal adenoma. My doctor didn’t tell me about the adenoma until a later visit when she mentioned it in passing, saying it was nothing to worry about.

Oregon Health Sciences University.

Oregon Health Sciences University. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That was when I saw my first endocrinologist hoping to get help with my thyroid and an explanation of what was going on with my adrenal gland. He did a 24-hr. urine collection and my cortisol was high (200). He did an 8mg Dex test and I didn’t suppress completely so he sent me to Dr. Cook at OHSU who did a CRH/Dex test. The results were somewhat ambiguous, but he decided that the most likely source was the adrenal adenoma and recommended having the gland removed. I had that surgery in December of 2004. The day of the surgery I developed phlebitis in my right arm starting at the site of the IV. My arm became red and swollen from wrist to shoulder and all the superficial veins in that arm clotted up and disappeared. Ten months later I still can’t have blood drawn from that arm.

In the months after my surgery my heart went back to normal and my cholesterol and blood pressure improved, my periods came back and the burning sensations lessened. My legs were still swollen and suddenly became very red and hot. Doctors suggested it might be cellulitis or vasculitis. After 10 days of antibiotics the redness went away and a few months later the edema did, too. An ultrasound of my legs showed a thickened vein in my right leg that suggested there might have previously been a blood clot there. The mental fog slowly improved but I’m still not back to where I was. The anxiety and depression did not improve and have even gotten worse.

I planned to have the uterine mass removed after the adrenal surgery. This would be a total hysterectomy and my surgeon feels that my blood clotting problems need to be treated before the surgery. He is 99% certain that it is not cancerous since it hasn’t changed in over a year so I have the option of having the surgery when and if I choose. Of course there is a very slight chance that this mass could be the ACTH source.

Dr. Cook wants to do the IPSS before the MRI of my pituitary but this clotting problem needs to be dealt with before we stick 3-foot catheters in my veins. Plus I am running out of arm veins for the IVs.

Right now I’m waiting for my doctors to decide how to deal with this clotting problem before I can get the IPSS done.

I had a follow-up visit with Dr. Cook in September of 2005 and he ran all the tests again including the CRH/Dex. Since we thought the adrenalectomy had cured the problem, we were both surprised when my ACTH did not suppress. Dr. Cook wants to do an IPSS to see if the source is ectopic or pituitary. As I mentioned above, there is a slight chance that the growth on my uterus and right ovary could be the source of the ACTH. Neither my Gyn surgeon nor Dr. Cook feel that this is very likely, but it does make having the IPSS even more important than it would normally be.

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