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Lisa B (Lisa/FNP2B2017), Adrenal Bio

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adrenal_glands

 

Hello,

Where do I start? I have had Cushing symptoms since the late 1990″s. I was tested for cushings and was told that I did not have it.

Then in 2007 I was diagnosed with a tumor in my adrenal gland, mind you I still had symptoms off and on since the 90’s. I went to every endocrine in the Fredericksburg area and was on the OR table to have my adrenal gland removed when the Endocrine said that Cushings was not completely ruled in as what was going on with me, despite 3 24 hour urines showing elevated cortisol levels.

Then I went to this doctor then that doctor…….still saying they couldn’t confirm my diagnosis. In October 2007 I was admitted to the hospital with a pneumonia and did an MRI of my head (again) because I was having severe headaches which showed a lesion of some kind.

After 6 weeks of IV antibiotics and a repeat MRI I decided that I should go see a neurosurgeon. As soon as I walked into his office and never saying a word with medical records in my hand he said “Have you ever been worked up for something called Cushing Syndrome? I replied yes and he said you are very sick and need to have it taken care of and sent me to Georgetown Hospital in Washington DC….where I saw a surgeon and had my right adrenal gland removed 12/29/2008.

I have been pretty healthy until about 18 months my primary doctor was concerned about my heart rate being so high and my brother had just had a quad bypass surgery and sent me to the cardiologist. My heart rate has never been lower than 100 since I can’t remember…..and back in March 2014 I started having weakness going up the stairs, then in September my hips and back started hurting and I was having problems falling asleep and staying asleep.

My HbgA1c was 13.7 and I could not figure out why my blood sugars were spiking despite being on a diet and insulin. My cortisol level was normal in October. I started a really strict diet and not cheating the week of Christmas…..yes I know crazy…..I was only eating veggies, protein and 2 fruit servings a day…to detox my body….I gained 6 pounds.

When January came and I had to see my cardiologist for a follow up my heart rate was 128 and I i had gained 17 pounds in four weeks and guess where it all was…..my abdomen…..I felt like my Cushings had been causing havoc on my body. I was noticing the thin skin and bruises that wouldn’t heel. But I was thinking this can’t be returning until my cardiologist ordered that dreaded 24 hour urine and my levels were 98….2 times the normal….

I just did a repeat last week and had a MRI of my abdomen which the urine was guess what positive for elevated cortisol and the real shocker came today when my doctor called and said my MRI showed both adrenals….but how can that be I had the right one removed in 2008 that had a 4cm tumor in it??? My doctor is wondering if there was residual tissue left behind and what seems to be an adrenal is really a tumor??? Has anyone experienced a re-growth or Cushings for a second time….

My doctor is trying to get me into Georgetown asap because obviously the beast has returned.

Thank-you for your support and understandings in advance!!!!!

Lisa

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MSU Docs Help Local Teen with Rare Disease

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A team of MSU doctors has helped a Leslie teen overcome a rare disease of the pituitary gland.

19-year-old Sydney Kandell was diagnosed with Cushing disease about a year ago. Doctors say the disease is often mistaken for obesity.

Kandell gained 100 pounds during her senior year in high school. She struggled with headaches, high blood pressure, acne, and dark stretchmarks. Her face also appeared very round. Kandell knew something was very wrong. “I was very depressed. It was very upsetting because I went to the doctor multiple times about my weight gain, and acne, and they all said the same thing, ‘Write a food journal, exercise more, it will solve all your problems.'”

But a visit to the Emergency Room for an intense headache, lead Kandell to a MSU Resident Physician who recognized Kandell’s symptoms. Dr. Tiffany Burns said, “I was very sure that she had Cushing disease. We ruled out the more common things. Cushing disease is very uncommon. We ruled out the uncommon things first, but once we got to testing her urine for the steroid level, that’s when I knew I had to call Dr. Aldasouqi.”

Dr. Saleh Aldasouqi, a senior endocrinologist at MSU confirmed Burn’s diagnoses. “I rushed to MRI because I had a strong belief and a gut feeling that she has a pituitary tumor and perhaps a big pituitary tumor. Usually these tumors that cause Cushing disease are small in the pituitary and they are very difficult to detect. Her tumor was big.”

A neurologist removed the tumor a few weeks later. Kandell now controls the disease with cortisol. She’s lost 60 pounds and is thankful someone listened. “I can’t even explain how that felt in words how that felt to have an answer.”

Kandell has a tattoo on her wrist as a reminder of her journey with Cushing disease. She is very passionate about spreading the word about the disease often mistaken for obesity. She plans to go to medical school to study endocrinology.

Cushing disease is caused by small benign tumors in the pituitary gland that increase levels of the hormone cortisol.  The disease and growths can go undetected.  Doctors say the disease can be mistaken for depression or obesity in its early stages.

Symptoms Include: Weight gain, fatty deposit between the shoulders (buffalo hump), pink or purple stretch marks, Thinning fragile skin that bruises easily, acne.  Women may experience irregular menstrual periods, thicker or more visible body and facial hair.

From WILX.com

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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Sherry, Undiagnosed Bio

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A Golden Oldie

I am a Veteran who goes to the Veteran Clinic for my healthcare.  I have been going there for a little over a year.  I go to a womens clinic for both my primary care and gyn.

Backing up a bit…Since my youngest son who is turning 18 next month was about 3, I recall the onset of many of the symptoms of Cushing’s Disease.  However, I didn’t realize what was going on. I believe a lot of my symptoms started when I fell down backwards down a flight of stairs breaking my elbow and wrist.  I really haven’t been the same since. I have slowly put on 120 pounds over the years, all of it being in my mid-section.  I have suffered off and on migrane headaches. My arms and legs are thin as rails compaired to my mid body.  My skin has gotten transparent and dry.  I have the thick cushion of fat tissue between my shoulder blades.

Then in 2007 I had a severe hysterectomy due to massive bleeding/clotting and cysts.  I had serious complications which include blood clots in my legs and also a PE.  I have gone down hill from there.  My bones, muscles and joints ache so bad and can barely get up and down.  I can’t hardly stand more then a few minutes at a time. I have fluid retention so bad that my current doctor finally put me on lasix daily. Finally I suffer from depression and anxiety and I hate to go out in public because of my condition.  Though my husband gets frustrated with me he is still very protective of me and helps.

I have had so many doctors imply  that my problems are phycological or due to my obesity and I am simply tired of that.  I am on 17 medications now due to blood pressure, fluid retenstion, thyroid, diabetes, neuropathy, depression and anxiety, cholesterol and to insure against a heart attack.

I am 52 years old and I feel like my life is coming to an end.  I just recently was reassigned to another primary doctor as my old one left the clinic.  I didn’t like her at first, her personality was so different from my last doctor.  But Friday she did a completed physical and gyn exam.  She asked me if I had ever been diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease.  I had never heard of this disease.  She started pointing out all the classic signs. She decided she wanted me to have a blood test and was very determined I had it done.  I went home and researched it and indeed I have all but maybe one of the symptoms.

I am a little bit nervous about it and realize its a waiting game as far as tests and more test.  On the other hand I feel like I can finally put a name to what’s been going on and hopefully feel better.  I am glad I found this support group and would enjoy talking to others

UPDATE March 6, 2012: Also, additional systems include excessive hair growth on my face, foggy vision, inability to concentrate, red patchy marks on my arms and I have been told I am slightly bi-polar as well at suffering from anxiety and depression.

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Angela Marie (Angela M), Undiagnosed Bio

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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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Adrienne, Steroid-Induced Bio

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Another Golden Oldie.  The last update Adrienne submitted was October 7, 2005.

~~

I recently wrote this and thought it is pretty good for a bio as it explains the diffrent types of diagnoses and problems I have, and not just Cushing’s. I can get very technical in my writing but this is not. Somehow, I find enough brain power to write; and since it’s been so long since I was first diagnosed with Cushing’s, I do know a lot of meds, etc. And kidneys. Ha. Always happy to help see email at bottom. Thank you MaryO!

I. In the Beginning

I’ve fought against this for so long that now, at the precipice of acceptance, I am reluctant even to write the words that are playing havoc with my mind. Three words, or one if you prefer the modern version- well, in a minute. I can’t say them yet.

Asthma before-after

Asthma before-after (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the past eleven years I have been dealing with the mental effects of my illness. The illness and mental manifestations began as soon as I ingested my first corticosteroid pill while living in Indiana in 1994. Given to me for severe ‘adult onset asthma’ the steroids were the result of many emergency room visits, failed ‘breathing treatments’ for said asthma, and most probably the doctor’s unwillingness to be ‘bothered’ with such a common ailment as asthma and as such not inclined to research my symptoms further. I had never had any signs or symptoms of asthma in my 22 years of active living. I loved hiking, tennis, volleyball, basketball, you name it, I most probably did it at least once.

During this time of breathlessness and pain from breaking two ribs while violently coughing, I became severely depressed. I didn’t recognize it at the time, at least not until the asthmatic symptoms receded (due to the steroids or simply time, I do not know). I had been working three jobs for the holidays, one more than usual. I was a typical workaholic in low-paying dead-end jobs as was fitting my age and lack of degreed education. I quit all three jobs, hoping to move out of state to stay with my father for a while. I wanted a change, I was still on the steroids, was still sick and growing increasingly scared. I didn’t want to move back home to my mother in California: I felt she had had enough of me and deserved a break.

With my truck packed and my three jobs no longer a worry, I was all set to leave. I was looking forward to getting to know my father better. But the night before I was to leave, my stepmother called and said it just wasn’t a good time to come stay with them. My father had broken his ankle and was undergoing extensive surgery and therapy; but all I wanted was to be with him. I was not just discouraged from visiting, but was told in no uncertain terms that I was not welcome ‘at this time.’ I was devastated.

I moved in with a friend and I just lost it. I stayed for days on end in my bedroom, my only companion my cat, Fantine. When I wasn’t sleeping, I was writing feverishly on my old Brother word processor. I wrote the most horrible things- stupid stories, neurotic thoughts and poems. There was no internet for me at the time; no way to research information on my symptoms and medications but for the public library, which I didn’t even consider visiting as it involved leaving my bedroom. I even answered some personals and went out on two dates- something I would never normally have done. What a disaster! So much for going out… I became even more solitary.

It’s important here to note that I was once considered quite stable. Unlucky in love and a poor judge of men in general, still, I was happy on a day-to-day basis. I smiled at everyone, I laughed– I mean really laughed– regularly. I was considered ‘bubbly’ if not downright ‘giggly.’ In fact, ‘Giggles’ was my nickname! I had nearly forgotten that. I always saw the positives in any given situation, I never was depressed or sad. Well, almost never. I really enjoyed living; I got up each day with a can-do attitude. I cheered up those around me and was the optimistic one in my family as well as among my friends.

Those three words… nope. Forget it. I’m not even close to being able to write them here. Not yet.

Back to Indiana, where each day seemed bleaker and more hopeless than the one before. I broke out in hives on my face, upper arms, neck and chest. The hives stayed for eight years. Each day I tried to go without my steroid pill; and each day I went a little bit crazier. A little bit more depressed. A great yawning chasm seemed to exist between me and the rest of the population. My friends were worried about me, but not really worried enough to intervene as they didn’t really care about me. All they could see was that I was no fun anymore. Pity.

I stopped going to nightclubs which I once enjoyed. I lived on macaroni and cheese and soup from a can, barely eating enough to survive and always when my roommates were out of the house. I began to take more steroids to combat the hives, as were prescribed by doctors, never knowing that they were slowly killing me. The depression was so severe that if my roommates were in the house, I would urinate into a cup and keep it in my closet to dump out once they left. And at the time, it didn’t really seem crazy to me!

My image of myself really took a nosedive; my hives were hideous. I had always been complimented on my flawless complexion. I tried everything the doctors gave me, never thinking that the cure was so much worse than the symptoms. I was suddenly gaining weight, yet I honestly was eating less than I had before these symptoms began. I just figured that since I was no longer exercising the weight gain was to be expected. My hair had always been wavy and full of bounce, but it started to get curly- really curly. In the span of two months, I no longer recognized myself in the mirror. I remember removing the mirror from my room and never bothering to approach the one in the bathroom.

I eventually took a job with a do-it-yourself warehouse as a head cashier. I had to pay for the new truck I had and my roommates were the most fiscally irresponsible people I have ever known, so I had to earn a living. Unfortunately, I was too far behind to ever get ahead and knew that I needed to go home to my mother because I was just getting sicker. I had no energy, I slept whenever I wasn’t at work. I was having trouble concentrating, had problems with coworkers as I was a bit- how shall I say- ‘pissy.’ Conversely, I would break into tears for no reason. But the day I was to drive back to California, my truck was repossessed. I booked a flight, packaged up my boxes for cargo shipment, and was gone within a week.

What followed were two years of emergency room visits for ailments I had no previous experience with. I was gaining weight still, I had hives, headaches and such a deep sadness I didn’t know what to do, where to turn. So, I just continued on the path of work. Work had always seen me through the day; work took up the hours, made me feel needed and like a responsible citizen. Through it all, I continued to take the steroids, eventually upping the dosage according to how I felt each day.

The better jobs I landed, the better medical insurance and more willing I was to submit to seeing specialists. I had been misdiagnosed as having SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus); FMS (Fibromyalgia Myofacial Pain Syndrome); and being just plain old crazy. My symptoms were starting to range quite literally in the dozens, and the list only grew as the years passed. (I was going to post it but chickened out- it’s mind-boggling, even to me).

Back to those three words. Nope, still can’t say them. Maybe tomorrow, when I shall continue my self-indulgent pity party. No, it isn’t even that: I’m trying to get to the heart of the matter but I’m taking the scenic route

II. Cute Professors and Straight Jackets

So, how about those three little words- am I any closer to disclosing them today? Maybe a little; I’ve thought of nothing else really. But for now, where was I?

I re-enrolled in college. A poor high school student, I excelled in college and enjoyed it immensely; especially the literature courses. There was this one professor too… ah never mind; this isn’t about him [giggles]. So, as of 1996 I was taking fifteen semester units of college coursework, working at least forty hours a week, and still trying to figure out what was wrong with my body. Then, the humdinger of all symptoms began worming its way insidiously into my life- the dreaded ‘uncharacteristic rage’.

It started out as simply ‘flying off the handle’ at the little annoyances in life but was so uncharacteristic of my personality that my family noticed. In fact, I was fired from a job due to this anger of mine. Sure, it wasn’t something that was said but I stayed on, daring them to fire me when I knew my position was not working out. I wasn’t working out. I saw a doctor, not a shrink mind you, just a normal primary care physician. He prescribed an anti-depressant, and even though I no longer felt crushingly depressed but angry he said it would help. And the medication did help; I was grateful for it because I hadn’t known such an angry existence since my marriage, and it scared me.

Who was I? What is happening to me? I didn’t have the answers, but I refused to give up looking for them. So, I continued my search for an accurate diagnosis by seeing all manner of specialists, and still no one knew what was wrong with me. The tests were getting too invasive and painful to be so well tolerated; I was losing hope. In fact, I think I gave up just a bit at this time; pushed it all away to a dark corner where I couldn’t see it staring me in the face.

Time passed in much the same way until the year 2000. I was firmly ensconced in a position of great authority (well not really- I was a high level secretary) at an ivy league college (yes, really). I loved this job! I finally had a position with very low stress, wonderful coworkers and a great boss. I had the perks that most people wished they had (free tea and goodies every afternoon, retreats to fabulous places, freedom to come and go as I pleased, all the time off I needed for appointments, and a helluva benefit package from day one). I ADORED the professors I worked with on a daily basis. The intelligence and wit of the staff, faculty and students was refreshing and really allowed me to be myself. I even got opportunities to edit books from the professors, something I considered to be extremely fun. And the money was the same amount I was getting practically running my former city’s IT department (my manager had a problem showing up to work and the ‘sys admin’s’ weren’t too brilliant on the day-to-day operations of the department, as you can imagine).

However happy at work I was, I continued to gain more weight. I was a little bit horrified and determined to exercise- and so I did. Rather, I tried. Everything. And nothing worked. Not only did I not lose weight when I should have, I was again out of breath. I had to use the elevators on campus, which was terribly embarrassing as most people on campus were young, fit kids (not to mention professors ) and I couldn’t even make a delivery to a symposium without frequent stops to catch my breath. By this time, I had a nurse who was frantically testing me for any and all ailments she could think of; she cared but still, nothing clicked. I was on about 15mgs of Prednisone then. Prednisone is the corticosteroid I was given; the one that still unbeknownst to me was killing me. Slowly.

Bet ya didn’t know I was half dead. Okay so it only thought it was going to kill me. Personalization of inanimate objects hmmm [scratches her head] uh-oh call in the cuties with the straight jackets if you must, but this is how I deal.

I’m really getting closer to uttering those three words… I really am.

III. He Didn’t MEAN to Forget Me

Now I want to shout the three words from a mountain top; I am tired of skipping around and through them. But I must bring this to the current day before I can do that, or those three words simply won’t mean anything.

My health came to a crises point, as such things eventually will, just four months into my wonderful job with cute professors and tantalizing bennies. For two months I had been in and out of emergency rooms, even going so far as to switch health insurance plans to try to get some decent care. It was said I had pyelonephritis, just a fancy word for a kidney infection. My kidney hurt so much, but I was used to such agonizing pain and continued to work while taking all the antibiotics I was given faithfully.

Soon the nausea, fevers and other signs of severe infection caught up with me and I went to the emergency room again, this time receiving an injection of a new, very strong antibiotic. The wanted to admit me but I refused. It wasn’t until the following week, about two months into the infection, that I allowed myself to be admitted. I knew it wouldn’t be fun and the tests were bound to be extensive because I only have one kidney. Yes, I had a congenital birth defect of extra tissue growth in my right ureter, the tube that drains to the bladder. I suffered through the pain of a diseased right kidney until, pregnant and in increasing pain at the age of sixteen, I was properly diagnosed and scheduled for surgery- but only three months after my daughter was born. That was fifteen years ago.

Nuclear imaging tests proved to be inconclusive, and no one knew what was causing such pain and infection in my remaining left kidney. A specialist was brought in from another hospital to assist the puzzled internists treating me. In the meantime, I was undergoing serious personality changes. I was angry, often belligerent and on so many medications for pain that I figured I just wasn’t myself. I was eventually given morphine, but it scared me because it didn’t work. Nothing would stop the pain.

I felt like I had ants crawling all over my skin; my thoughts were seriously disjointed, more so than would be expected with the medications. My family was scared of me, and for me. My doctor said there was nothing wrong with me, I was given every test in their charts and my kidney was fine- it was just a bad infection. But the medical history of my past was impossible for him to grasp, and he refused to consider that anything other than depression, weight gain and a kidney infection were present. He was only angering me to the point of boiling rage, so I completely ignored him as my mother fought for me. Apathy was my middle name, as I retreated to my own internal hell.

I hadn’t slept for than four days when my neighbor decided to play with my mind. At least, that’s what I thought at the time. Suffice it to say that after the Urologist specialist told me he couldn’t find anything seriously wrong with my kidney (but that he was concerned about my overall health), my mother bundled me up and despite my protests had me discharged. I wanted to stay and fight with the gang-banging girl next door. She woke me up from my first sound sleep in over four days! I was ready to kill her.

What had occurred while I was in the hospital was later revealed to me as an adrenal crises. In addition to that, I had a psychosis brought on by the adrenal crises, and a severe allergic reaction to the anti-nauseants used to keep me from damaging my kidney by throwing up so violently. It was also thought that my immune system was very weak from the years of taking corticosteroids (did you know they are used to shut down the immune system in transplant patients to prevent rejection?) At the time, I was truly as clueless as everyone else.

I went back to work for three days and it was obvious to everyone I wouldn’t be able to work until a proper diagnoses was found. I was exhausted; I had zero energy. My head was so fuzzy it felt like I was underwater, trying to do my job which was normally easy, yet suddenly seemed impossible. I couldn’t remember names, details, phone numbers even. I remember picking up the phone to call home and not knowing what the number was. They put me on temporary disability. Unbeknownst to me, I had the primo of disability plans and was to all concerned considered a professor, even though I was only a secretary! I was really too out of it to notice at the time how very lucky I was to have worked for such a generous establishment.

I continued to seek answers. I wasn’t given much choice in the matter because in order to continue to receive my benefits I had to be labeled disabled every two weeks. Oh the mountains of red tape I went through! On a return appointment to the internist who saw me in the hospital, I reached an all-time low. This doctor, one who is supposed to help or certainly to ‘do no harm’ said just one sentence to me, but it was a doozie. He said, “You have only to look in a mirror to see where your problems lie.” I wrote him a nice two page letter (faxed of course, then mailed) telling him exactly what I thought of his advice. He was so fired he was nothing but charcoal when I had finished with him.

But those words put me into such a deep, dark place; a place where only fears reigned, a place that I now consider to be the true hell. I was left without hope. I just felt useless. I had to give up my job, my beautiful apartment that I had worked so hard for, my freedom all but gone as I moved in with my mother. I was, oh, twenty-eight (I think).

With my mother’s help, I finally got an accurate diagnosis: Cushing’s Syndrome, exogenous. Such a rare disorder it is said only two in one million people in the world are diagnosed with it each year. All those lovely corticosteroid pills I was taking had caused my cortisol levels to be so incredibly high that my body’s endocrine system was shut down. Cortisol is essentially adrenalin, and without it the body cannot live. But too much of it and it shuts down the adrenal glands (remember, I only have one anyway as the other was removed with my right kidney many years ago).

This massively high amount of cortisol causes the body to be completely unable to regulate its own metabolism; resulting in excess weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes and other such wonderfully fun symptoms that I’ll not continue to bore you with the details. Bottom line was, this was not my fault. Back in 2000 when I was diagnosed, the endocrinologist I was referred to ‘just to rule out an endocrine problem’ took one look at me and said, ‘You have Cushing’s syndrome.’ He said we’d do more testing to be sure, but I was a ‘classic case’ and need look no further to the answers I had sought since 1994.

But ah this wonderful doctor whom I adored made a very bad, bad mistake. This doctor put me on the corticosteroid dexamethasone to see if my adrenal gland would suppress the drug. But the drug ‘dex’ as we call it is five times as potent as the steroid I was already taking, prednisone; and he, uh, forgot to take me off the drug. The test is only ever run for a maximum of two days. In addition, the test should only be used for other forms of Cushing’s (like those that have brain tumors and adrenal gland tumors) and not for exogenous, or steroid-taking Cushing’s such as I have. I was on this highly potent drug for two months and it was killing whatever endocrine system I had left. It was later found out that the doctor was on loan from another hospital, and his mistake just caused me to receive an updated diagnoses- from exogenous Cushing’s to iatrogenic or ‘doctor caused’ Cushing’s. It is thought that without this mishap I would have recovered normally from the illness through the timely and slow withdrawal of the corticosteroids. As it was, it nearly killed me.

During this time, I was unable to sleep for more than one hour at a time, and for a maximum of three hours a day. This lasted for three months straight. Hard to believe isn’t it? Such sleep deprivation was not allowing me to recover. I was in constant pain from the extreme edema (swelling from water retention) that I was on painkillers around the clock. I gained a total of one hundred pounds in two month’s time; without overeating! I developed a hallmark symptom of Cushing’s: deep, purple colored stretch marks known as straie. The scars from this straie will always be with me. They are like potholes in my once smooth skin. The skin itself is thinned, like that of an older person.

Yes, I considered suing the hospital and the doctor that had complicated an already bad situation. Quite frankly, I just didn’t have the heart or the energy to do anything about it. Besides, he didn’t mean to forget about me. Right? Right. Too bad I didn’t know then what I know now.

I couldn’t get up from my bed because I wasn’t used to being big as a house, so I spent all my time on the living room couch. During my time on the couch, as I like to refer to it, I considered suicide. I had to rethink that as it completely went against all I knew and believed in, religion wise. It wouldn’t have been a nice thing to do to my mom either, the only one who always believed in me and was always there. Through the pain, through all the tears, she was there. She’s still there for me, every single day. My father helped me a lot in this as he too knew such extreme pain.

But this life wasn’t all it was cracked up to be if it could take a healthy, normal girl, and turn her into a decrepit old woman before the age of thirty. Right? I mean, what kind of justice is there in that? They even gave me a wheelchair and a cane when the steroids ate through the ball joints of my hips. Of course, I refused to use them. I still won’t. So, I had to find that justice; figure out why I got this illness, what I had to learn from it, so I could move on with living. This isn’t living you know- it’s existing. Surviving.

So, I withdrew into my mind to search for the answers. After all, I no longer had work to fill the hours with. I had to find something to do. I became obsessed with reasoning out my illness and my continued existence. I mean, people younger than me were dying from Cushing’s. Mother with four kids, kids… just people dying from something I had, too. It was and is such a sad motivator to live. I thought my past pain and subsequent healing from the removal of my right kidney was sufficient for one person to go through, but I realized I was wrong. So wrong.

Maybe now those three words have retreated just a bit; further into the back of my mind where they are safer for not having been spoken this day. A dear friend told me today that people would be touched by my writing this series. I don’t know about that, but I hope so. I think it’s pretty obvious I’m doing this for me but God knows I’m not the only one who can understand such soul angst. Through different reasons, and many seasons, we all remain able to learn from the hell that life can sometimes be. But then, this isn’t about my physical health, it’s about those three damned words.

IV. Revealed: Three Blasted Words

I spoke those three blasted words to someone very dear to me today. He wasn’t surprised; why did I expect him to be? I’m glad though. It was a hurdle; but on to the story.

Since first being diagnosed in 2000, I’ve been through a lot of changes. I have ‘latched’ onto people that have proven to be untrustworthy. Yes, I did that before but not to such an extent. I seem to lack the judgment I once had, unable to build it further as would befit my age. I haven’t ‘grown’ in ways I believe I would have without Cushing’s. See, I think the Cushing’s has tripped a wire in my brain- and I’ve no idea how to fix it. If I can. Or, if it will happen magically when I am well, or at least completely detoxed from the steroids.

Steroids are known to change the chemistry in the brain. They eat healthy brain cells, much as, say, marijuana will; hence the medically recognized states of confusion, memory loss and lack of concentration and cognitive abilities. If a ‘Cushie’ (which is what we Cushing’s patients refer to ourselves as, and consider an endearment) is in adrenal crises, psychosis can be present, and a confused state is the norm. An adrenal crises occurs when there is a sudden ‘dip’ of cortisol in the body, usually from a stressful event as the cushie body cannot distinguish from good and bad stress, and the body is not able to secrete hormones accordingly.

But this fascination with the inner workings of my mind is new to me. Not that I only just started looking within for answers without, but that I am aware of it. Aware that is isn’t quite… normal. I dismissed the doctors who once said it was ‘all in my head’ with good reason; it isn’t all in my head, it is real, this Cushing’s. But there’s more to it than that. This brings me to those three blasted words. Well, I really shouldn’t rush at this point. They’re coming no matter what (like a Mack truck head-on, more like).

Ah, what the hell they’re only words: ‘Manic Depressive Disorder’. ‘MDD’. Or, the one-worded definition ‘Bi-polar’. There. I said them. I’m crazy, in a way. Extreme highs and extreme lows: who would have ever thought what I’ve been feeling isn’t normal? Not I. It isn’t as easy as taking a pill to regulate the moods of this thing, because they don’t always work. I have no medical insurance. Still, I have found a good psychiatrist and shall pay to be labeled with this… this… ‘MDD’; because I can’t not be treated, now that I’m aware of it. I have to try to get better; try to be able to function on a more even keel. If not for myself, then for those who care about me!

I just never considered this. I always thought I was oh, you know, obsessive a little bit, compulsive a lot, and more introspective than most as my illness and solitary life demanded. But the evidence is conclusive, at least to me. My mind is not helping my health; such extreme highs and lows bring about their own stress, and my body already cannot function well without regulating good and bad stress on a daily basis. But I do know that I won’t continue to treat this as something that will one day go away; I need to be courageous in the face of such adversity and just deal with it. Being open about it is, I think, the first step. Perhaps, hopefully even, the hardest step.

And, so I am open. This… this angst-ridden pity-party writing is how I deal.

What else did you think the three words would be? [smiles]

AND, a little word [ha ha] about my struggle for Social Security:

Well I had my social security appeals hearing on July 15. So I think I can finally talk about it now. I first applied oh four years ago. I had to reapply two years ago or has it been three? Anyways. So I had been denied on paper four times to get to the hearing. I had appeared twice before the judge. Once, I wasn’t prepared and she said get an attorney. Second time, I had moved and lost my attorney so then I moved back she said go get an attorney I will reschedule you. So I did.

The attorney assured me she would get records that were more up to date. She did not do so. When asked if there was new information by the judge, she said no. Anyways, my diagnoses on paper are: Fibromyalgia (which I don’t have), Cushing’s Syndrome, Avascular Necrosis of both hips from steroids. Oh and glomolumerlonephritis something like that of the kidney. I don’t know if I have that, but my last doctor put it down on their paperwork.

So, the judge had an Endocrinologist on the phone to ‘consult’ her and had previously stated that he was only to help her understand the medical things, but that’s NOT how it turned out. I have never seen him before! He knows nothing of me. Her questions were really skewed. She was looking for documentation that doesn’t exist I mean COME ON I haven’t had medical insurance since 2002! How the HELL am I supposed to have MRI’s of the hips that are newer, xrays, all these tests do they THINK I’m made of money?

The endocrinologist wasn’t too bad. He said obvsiouly being given a dexamethasone suppression test for 4-8 weeks [I can no longer remember!!!] it had made my Cushing’s so severe and most of my problems could be attributed to it. He couldn’t at all understand how it happened but I told him- the doctor forgot about me and told me to keep taking the dex. I didn’t know any better. Then the doctor left the hospital, and left me.

He said according to my records my blood pressure was under control. Well it is NOW- I was hospitalized within the past year in CA and given emergency medicine to lower it as it was so out of control. How is THAT controlled? Oh but WAIT the records weren’t there that documented this. Wow- what a neat thing to find out.

My diabetes I should be on medicine for and I could go down on the steroids quicker, according to this doc who doesn’t know me. Huh? I only GET diabetes when I go down or up! Otherwise, giving me meds would only screw with the sugars. I cannot take their ferking Glucophage it makes my IBS off the charts no way, no how I’d rather inject insulin. I do think some injections when tapering might help but HOW I ask can I do THAT without medical supervison? I can’t. I’m not God!

He said I could work sedentary work. Ack ack ack! I told him of my extreme swelling but heck I guess if someone is dumb enough to hire my sorry ass then they could also give me an expensive fully padded ottoman like I have under my desk. To limit swelling. Not to mention that I’d have to call in sick about 99% of the time. Sure, I’m an employers DREAM.

But then he said I would have lifelong problems relating to the Cushing’s and steroid use. He doesn’t understand the kidney at all. The severe IBS is ‘controlled’ with Codeine even tho I told him nothing else works only codeine and I cannot take enough to control it really as it turns me into a zombie. Didn’t listen.

Said my hips when last tested were in stage I [thank GOD but that was 4 years ago!] and would likely progress as it usually does and I could expect lifelong operations. Like DUH, ya think?

But the whole problem was… the judge thought I have REFUSED to go down because I was using steroids like an addict. She asked the endocrinologist if anyone would use them recreationally AH HA HA HA! Maybe she thought I was using anabolic steroids? Yeah, I’m a jock all right. Sheeesh.

The Endocrinologist said with a giggle, “No. Can’t think of one person EVER wanting to take steroids.”

And my attorney? Basically, she said nothing. NOTHING. She hugged me at the end, and said she was sorry it didnt look good. Really? Ya think? I even spoke up for myself very respectfully and intelligently, but the bottom line is no one will listen to me; I’m only the patient.

I didn’t want their fliping money. I get a stipend until I’m 65 or no longer disabled from a private company. But NO ONE will insure me. I just wanted medical and dental. I need medical, I need dental. And I need a divorce. Erm nvm.

Appeal? HA HA HA I had to laugh at my attorney. Not with her sorry ass. She’s a nice lady folks but she doesn’t get paid unless I win. And I’m quite sure I did not, but will find out formally within ninety days. The evidence was what they wanted. I have had no doctor in my corner for two years. I have had to doctor myself.

All I can afford to buy are the main prescriptions I really need. Everything else… it just isn’t going to happen.

Ain’t life grand? It’s ok. I’ll get thru this. I want to go down now but I don’t want to get crazy in the head, or too exhuasted in the body before my sister comes down to visit me on 8/11. I’m looking forward to it.

How does anyone get disability without records??? I guess I could try on my newly diagnosed bipolarism. [shrugs]

UPDATE: I found an advocate. Waiting… to be formally denied. Current dosage: 20mgs. I went down. Yes! AND, I fixed my puter. Yay.

POEM: I’m a Fruggie Queen

I take big drugs and I can not lie
You normal people can’t define
The pain I got that makes me pop a pill cause I’m ill
Got codeine freaking me out
Dark dreams, blank stares and that ‘flat affect’
Cool for when I need to shut up
Talking everyone’s ears off
Normally ‘Speedy Gonzalez’
Stupid mouse doesn’t even do frugs
I mean drugs [eyes cross]

There’s serious frugs for days
Excruciating; pain unending. Stronger frugs
Endocet. Yeah
I take big drugs and I can not lie
How many druggies
Have fallen from doctor’s prescriptions
Fruggies I declare
Constantly cautioned for
Popping pills
But they’re so needed to drown out those

Normal people, un-frugged
Envious their vitamins
The only drugs they take, their bodies, minds, whole
My neurons forcing more
Drugs when I once needed none
Ability to function impaired
Big drugs can not lie; their purpose not evil
Lucky you, I see
Frugs really aren’t funny.
Oh well. I’m a fruggie queen, what did you expect?

POEM: Red Tape Kills

I exist on self-enforced life support, but I’m not dead.
Each day dutifully swallowing poisoned pills.
Heart and mind- basic functions- supported in this life not fully led.

Finding joy in once normal things, hopes for a life ahead.
Bottled dreams deaths only antidote, my anthem is still:
I exist on self-enforced life support, but I’m not dead.

The world whizzes past me, medicated.
So weakened, even fun is exhausting. Pain alone enough to feel
Heart and mind- basic functions- supported in this life not fully led.

Stubbornness saves me, as I will not dictate my life from Death’s bed.
Good intentions rarely enough for others to see what’s painfully real-
I exist on self-enforced life support, but I’m not dead.

Without insurance, there’s no doctor’s guidance, no caring if I live or die. Med-
students know nothing of my complexities- they simply write on my unpaid bill:
Heart and mind- basic functions- supported in this life not fully led.

Without my knowledge and persistence, my epitaph would read instead:
Here lies Adrienne- So young, such a shame. Left behind a hill of bills. Red tape kills.
I exist on self-enforced life support, but I’m not dead.
Heart and mind- basic functions- supported in this life not fully led.

I have TONS of writing, mostly about Cushing’s. If you’re interested, I am usually known under the following link at All Poetry:
http://allpoetry.com/AdrieWonky

Regular email addy is: fayrenysa-boards@yahoo.com

Update October 7, 2005

I have received a very basic health plan insurance through my state. It covers appointments and medications which is more than I’ve had these last three years, so I am happy. I do not know that it really covers hospitalization or many tests, but we shall see.

When I was at the urgent care for pneumonia last week, the doctor there told me where the nurse that I love is now practicing. He helped me get off a lot of medications that were hurting my kidney and since, I have been had fewer infections and almost no kidney pain. He quit his old practice I was seen at about one and a half years ago; I was never able to find him again.

Anyways, he opened up his own medical clinic complete with internist, and two other doctors. So, I called my disability worker and she told me to ask what plan the practice takes. So I called my nurse’s office and left a message to see what plan he accepts, and he called me RIGHT back. He was SO excited to hear from me. He said he’s been putting ads in the local newspapers in hopes I would find him (and other patients of his, of course). Knows the doctor I saw that gave me his card. He would love to treat me.

Told me to ask for the ‘family care’ plan so I called my disability worker back and I’m all setup (they just have to do the paperwork)!!! I made an appointment with my beloved nurse for 10/25/05. I cannot believe I get to go to a doctor and have meds again for nothing! Well, some are 3.00 and others are 2.00. And he knows Cushing’s of course and he looks forward to treating me. How… wonderful a feeling that is to hear. He is a nurse by choice; the practice is his. He has over 25 years in the medical field; we talk medications like two old friends. I’m so happy!

I change names often, so I will just update this as I can. My current website address link is: http://allpoetry.com/poets/Fix%20it%20Fae. I write there. Some funny, most sad. Lurkers welcome lol.

Debra LF (DebraLF), Undiagnosed Bio

2 Comments

Hello, I  am in search of opinions please.

I present with most of the outward physical characteristics: age 57 “weight gain (obese which began about 1991 with a sudden 60 lb increase in 2 months and no explanation, physician had wanted me to go to a Mayo clinic for eval but at the time I could not spare time nor expense…and more recently continuring weight gain, easy bruising, (menses stopped at age 50, but don’t recollect too many probs except migraines), ravenous appetite, occasional trouble sleeping, depression or mood swings, anxiety, fatigue and altered mentation which is trouble concentrating or decreased memory and now diagnosed ADHD.

1-3. Physical abnormalities include new onset obesity, mine is more recent weight gain, primarily in the abdominal,  buffalo hump which presented suddenly a few summers ago but has been brushed off by doctors…, rounding and reddening of the face which began about ten years ago, thin skin, decreased muscle strength, high blood pressure, and excess hair growth on face, have to shave every day, some times twice, have 5 o’clock shadow, but I have already been to a local endocrinologist in Billings, Montana, there are only a couple in this sparsely populated area, and none of the lab tests showed anything particularly abnormal…open to suggestions, thanks so much…

Jenny (Jenny), Adrenal Bio

10 Comments

Hi I am a 34 year old female who has just been diagnosed with Cushing’s Syndrome.  I am married with two children ages 10 and 4.  My husband is an active duty Marine and I am a former Marine.

I’ve always been healthy up until now.  I had pretty much a yawn worthy medical history and I wish I still did.  I guess it started two years ago when I started having to use the bathroom frequently at night.  I did go to the doctor and they just told me to quit drinking before bedtime.  I chalked it up to having children and maybe just a weak bladder.  I wasn’t thinking rare disease.

Then I noticed that I started to gain weight and my close weren’t fitting right at all.  I chalked that up to sitting at my desk job all day and not getting enough exercise.  I did go to the doctor to have my thyroid tested and it came back normal.  So once again I am thinking it is me and I just need to exercise more.

My husband received orders to California and we moved here in July of 2012.  By this time my emotions are all over the place, my weight keeps creeping up but I think it is just stress.  Determined to get back in shape I start exercising everyday at 630 in the morning.  Normally I am not a morning person by any means but since we moved here I find it hard to sleep.  I worked out for three months following an exercise regiment but the weight stayed on.  My periods started to be further in between and would only last a couple of days, I went to the doctor for that as well.  I was told there is “irregular” periods and then there is “irregular” periods and mine were not that bad.  I had them test my thyroid again, it was normal.

Once again determined to beat the weight I started walking vigourously and watching my calorie intake.  I noticed that I would have tingling in my toes at times and that my calves seemed weak.  I thought I pulled a groin muscle but I didn’t let it slow me down I just kept going.  My face started to get rounder and puffier, my skin seemed so thin that I could see all of the vessels.  I knew something was wrong but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I started to do my research on the internet and that is when I discovered Cushing’s.  But I thought it is so rare I can’t have this.  I started going to a Chiropractor for neck pain and when they took my blood pressure they were so alarmed they took it a couple of times to double check.

In March I went back to the doctor and told them to test my cortisol levels.  My husband was due to deploy in April so he planned a surprise vacation to Angel’s Camp in Northern California.  By this time I can hardly walk because of my pulled groin muscle, but I was determined to have fun with my family.

The second day we were on vacation I could hardly walk so I went to prompt care and had x-rays done.  The x-rays did not show anything so they sent me on my way with crutches.  By the 4th day of vacay I stayed in bed resting because I really couldn’t walk.  I got up to use the restroom and I had the crutches and fell backwards.  I ended up fracturing my hip.  I had surgery and told the doctors I was currently getting tested for Cushing’s and that my 24 hour urine test came back abnormal.

They had a really hard time keeping my blood pressure under control during my hospital stay.  While I was on vacation the endocrinologist office had called me to schedule an appointment but first I had to have another 24 hour urine test and dexamethasone test done before the appointment which was scheduled for April 23.  Well upon our arrival back home I was referred to Orthopedics because of my hip.

Ortho took x-rays and it was determined that after the surgery my hip was not aligned right and a second surgery ORIF was needed. It was conveniently scheduled for April 23 (the day I was supposed to see Endo).  I had my second hip surgery done and while I was in the hospital they were so concerned with my heart rate and blood pressure they did a CAT Scan for pulmonary embolism.

Well thankfully I did not have a PE but they did discover a nodule on my left adrenal gland.  I am having it removed on June 11th and from what I’ve read I am terrified of the aftermath.

Is there any good news out there?  I really hope so, I just want to be healthy and enjoy life again!

Grace (Grace), Undiagnosed Bio

1 Comment

Hi Everyone

I suspect I may have cushing’s syndrome or disease but all I know for sure is I’m sick, I don’t know what’s wrong with me……..and I want to get better.

I just turned 25 in March but looking back i think i’ve been showing symptoms for the last 13 years.

At the age of 13 over the school holidays I gained a bunch of weight (14 kg in a month and a half) and since then my weight just keeps climbing up. I also became lethargic, depressed, unmmotivated, struggled with my concentration and continue to do so. The  stretch marks followed the weight gain.  I definitely have a really round face, which I guess could be moon face. My face gets really red and flushed. I have very little body hair but its quite strange that i have hair growth on the lower part of my fingers and toes. I have a significant amount of foot pain especially when I get up in the mornings. I have lower back pain too. I wouldn’t say my periods are highly  irregular but they are often off from my usual 28 day cycle by about 5 to 14 days. This is becoming a more frequent occurrence.  My skin is really thin, soft and doesn’t heal well. Small cuts and bruises take longer than usual to heal and almost always leave scars. I feel hungry and tired all the time.

The depression and fatigue is by far the most debilitating of all the symptoms I have suffered from. My grades in school and later on University have steadily dropped since the age of 13. I find it really hard to concentrate. It was only when I began failing in uni that my parents finally allowed me to see a doctor who was a psychiatrist in 2009.

I had an abnormal EEG showing evidence of seizures. The evidence was not sufficient enough to diagnose me with epilepsy but he called it seizure equivalent depressson. I was then put on heavy rounds of anti-depressants and anti-convulsants which kept on being adjusted. Different dosages and combinations would work for awhile then stop so that meant  more combinations, stronger drugs and higher dosages. To cut a long story short I finally quit the meds in Dec 2011 and began to see a new psychiatrist in May 2012 who ordered blood tests, a thyroid test, sleep-deprived EEG and an MRI.

My blood sugar and cholestrol is normal but heading towards the high range which worries me but not suprising given that I’m obese. The EEG again showed slight evidence of seizures but when I was referred to a neurologist he said I show no evidence of seizures and that normal people have abnormal EEGs all the time(?????) This is despite a history of epilepsy on my Dad’s side of the family. What about non-convulsive seizures-could this explain the lack of poor concentration?

The MRI came out normal, only showed that I  suffer from chronic sinusitis. But then again it wasn’t done by a specialist in the diagnosis of pituitary tumours and they most definitely were not looking for one so if there is a microadenoma, its flown under the radar. The blood tests showed I have a low white blood cell count (neutrophils and monocytes). My cortisol level was normal but then again it wasn’t a 24-hour cortisol test.

From my own research I found that chronic sinusitis could be linked to the depression but my Psychiatrist seemed to be unwilling to explore these leads any further and advised me to stop researching so much online. At the same time he put me a new round of anti-depressants and anti-convulsants which left me feeling weak, tired and drained. For the first two weeks I slept all day and could barely get out of bed. I quit these too in September 2012 and since them haven’t seen any doctors but symptoms remain and its a struggle to live with them every day.

I am still financially dependent on my parents who are tired of my constant “depression” which they feel is an attitude problem so I don’t even speak about it with them any more. They feel I should just try harder. I hope to graduate from  Uni this year but due to my health problems I’m  3 years behind and my grades have suffered. I have health insurance which makes it very difficult to get referrals to specialists and they hardly covers pre-exisitng conditions. All treatment described above was paid for by my parents and not health insurance. They are retired now and don’t want to spend a ton of money they don’t necessarily have, looking for a phantom condition. I understand their point  of view but I feel if I had a child I would do all I could to help them get better.

The more time that passes the more difficult it becomes and the more paralysed I feel. I have a part time internship at a law firm that is even becoming too much now. I can barely study. I’ve lost almost all my friends either because I isolate myself or am too tired and depressed to be there for them like a good friend should.

As of March 2013 I went to see a gynacologist about my irregular periods he ordered another thyroid test, prolactin test and a Pelvic scan so i’ll see how that goes….maybe its PCOS.

Anyway I have no one to talk to . I don’t know what to do next. I wonder if anyone else has been/is in a similar position.

Thanks for listening

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Dana E (Dana), Undiagnosed Bio

3 Comments

Hello, my name is Dana. I am a 43 year old female. I live near Dallas, TX. I attend college and spend allot of my time taking care of my crazy family, whom I love very much. After reading posts on this site I decided to document my symptoms and experiences.

A couple of days ago I was discussing my endoscopy and colonoscopy results with my mother-in-law. They showed I have GERD, esophagitis, stomach erythema, duodenitis, hiatal hernia, hemorrhoids, nine polyps, and IBS. Wow. After all that she asked me if I was checked for goiter. GOITER? I told her I was just fat. Over the last several years I have gained weight. I did the Atkins diet in 2000 and lost 70 lbs, but gained back 100. Most of my weight is in my abdomen, face and neck. I have relatively small legs, hips and rear. I have had several people think I was pregnant and told how disproportionate my body is. Recently my kids and even my 4 year old grandson have commented on my weight and health. I have noticed that my neck is getting larger, despite being the same weight for a while now.  I have poor eating habits, which I am trying to change. I only eat once or twice a day and I am an active person. I do not exercise except for walking. After my mother-in-laws comment I decided to do some research.

I have almost every symptom of Cushing’s. Central obesity, thinning skin and bruising, especially on my hands. Oral candidiasis, axillary and cervical skin tags, round, fat, red face and neck, oily skin and hair with recent increased acne, headaches, fat pad on back of neck, blurry vision, fatigue, back pain, arm weakness, heat intolerance, pain in joints and swelling in hands and feet, thirst, facial hair, and increased heart rate at weird times. I have been treated for depression/bi-polar for several years now. It took two and a half years of experimenting to find something that would keep me stable. I still have emotional instability, depression, cognitive difficulties, and mood swings. I have many stretch marks but only a few are red. I have very fair skin so my coloring is not the same as others. The only symptoms I do not have are irregular periods. I do have what feels like a soft mass under my chin fat. There are lymph nodes under the area, so this could be the cause.

I pray I am able to find a doctor who will not dismiss my symptoms as some of you have experienced. My first appointment will be next week with my primary care physician and we will go from there. Wish me luck and I will update regularly.

Does anyone know of a good endocrinologist in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area?

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