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Jason, Adrenal Bio

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adrenal-medulla

 

Growing up, I was always quiet and withdrawn. I struggled in school with memory issues and was always embarrassed by my excessive sweating. I continued to have issues growing up and then something happened in 2001. I would have fits of rage, massive sweating, psychotic episodes, periods of major highs and periods of massive lows.

In 2003, a psychiatrist labeled me bipolar, schizoaffective, ADD, ADHD, and major drepressive. I took their cocktail of meds to only get worse. I would end up in a mental hospital (5 times).

In approx. 2005, I was done with them and I stopped everything and I just hid behind closed doors so to speak. Also in 2003, I just found records(2015) of bloodwork I had done in 2003 which showed high Hemoglobin and also high Hematocrit levels with high WBC count. Nothing was mentioned to me about this. I keep struggling to get answers.

In July of 2014, I started massive pains in my stomach with rectal bleeding and major flank pain. I went to the doctor and he ordered a CT of my abdomen. The CT showed bilateral Adrenal masses(left was 2.2cm and right was 3cm). He said these were “incidental Adenomas”. I am waiting two more weeks to have my low dose cortisol test performed. When I did the 24h urine to rule out pheochromocytoma , all was fine except plasma metanephrines which was slightly elevated and the doctor said there was a “near zero” chance of me having a Pheo.

I am still having these symptoms: weight gain (20Ibs. since 2014), “moon face starting (2015), thinning, fragile skin that bruises easily, slow healing of cuts, bites and infections, decreased libido, Fatigue, Muscle weakness, Depression, anxiety and irritability, Loss of emotional control, Cognitive difficulties and worsened high blood pressure and pulse.

I now have a new mass in my right armpit. An ultrasound was inconclusive.

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Louise (Louise), Iatrogenic Cushing’s disease Bio

4 Comments

steroids

 

I am a 52 year old wife and mom of 4 who has had strange symptoms which will be a year this coming August.

My first symptom that I noticed as something strange was brusing beneath the skin on my left arm and then noticing that the skin easily tore. My doctor ran some bloodwork but still couldn’t figure anything out.

Later my best friend researched my symptoms and suggested I ask my doctor, which I did at my next appointment. Oddly at that next appointment the nurse checked my vitals and everything seemed ok. When the doctor came in I was leaning on my husband’s arm and my systolic # was 92.

From there he referred me to an endocrinologist. We discovered, after many blood test, that my issues were caused due to ACTH issue with my adrenal glands and that was caused due to taking varying amounts (usually 9 mg) of Entocort for around 12 years.

Now that I have been researching some of the symptoms I realize I have had them for at least a year. I have weaned down to 3 mg and want to get off of the Entocort but the doctor says that I will die if I just stop the medicine. I am due to have bloodwork July 13, 2015 and meet the doctor to discuss the results on July 23, 2015.

My FEET are killing me! I have felt SO alone and I am very thankful to find this support group….now I just need to learn how to use the message boards, so please pardon me if I flub.

Any help and advice is appreciated! Can this go away? I am PRAYING that it does!

Thank you in advance! Louise

~~~

update

Updated based on Louise’s comment.

My name is Louise. I am NOT a technogical person and cant seem to figure out how to get the most out of this forum, and I KNOW it is a good one. I desperately need contact with others who understand because they are going through this. Someone please tell me how? I just need some help. My bio says that I am “undiagnosed” but that is not longer true. The end of June I was officially diagnosed with “Iatrogenic Cushing’s disease”. I felt badly for 3 days, one of which was Father’s day and I was NOT going to the ER on that day. The second day I packed up a necessary bag, but still did not go to the ER. The third day I’d had all I could take and asked my husband to take me to the hospital. My stomach and my head hurt and had been hurting. The ER doc told me that my potassium and my sodium levels had bottomed out and that it could cause neurological damage and / or seizures. Scared me. I was admitted to the hospital for 4 days.

My Cushing’s was caused by long-term use of Entocort, or budesonide. No one could make sense of my “crazy bloodwork” because my cortisone level was “non descernable”, yet how was I alive? The second visit with my endocrinologist, just as she walked out the door, it hit me and I asked her if it could be the budesonide. She immediately recognized what was causing my Cushings. No one had picked up on the medicine because it was listed under the generic name and did not have a “cort” in the word of the generic. I have weaned completely off of the Entocort and it was not easy but I was determined. I have been on a maintenance dose of Cortisol beginning at 20 mg per day and I am not down to 15 a day. I want to go to a lower dose but need surgery on my thumb and so I know I will have to go back up to 50 mg for a while as I deal with the surgery. It will be the second surgery on my thumb, a surgery to correct the first surgery. Long story on the thumb, which I will skip….however, I originally messed up by thumb because I could not sleep. I asked my dr about Ambien and he said that would be good. I wanted to be sure it would not cause crazy behavior in any way, but once I took it, within 5 minutes (because I knew after taking the medicine I had to go immediately to bed within 10 minutes. I had a HORRIBLE fall and remember none of it. Once diagnosed with Cushings I realized that not sleeping, like for a day and a half being wide awake, was a result of Cushings.

My GI dr who prescribed the Entocort was kind and professional, truly caring but he didn’t ask me about ANY side effects, saying this drug was “the best” and that it really never had any side effects. I went in with skin on my arms so thin, brusied and bleeding, but he was only interested in the GI issues, even after I TOLD him I had Cushings. I finally had to tell him flat out that the Entocort he prescribed for me beginning 09/26/07 was what CAUSED my Cushings.

I ACHE, my lower back and feet, often my hands. It is hard to feel like an attractive woman when I am shaped like an apple with a moon-shaped face, but I decided I’ll just say heck with that…..there are other worse parts I am dealing with, yet, not being vain, that still matters to me self-esteem wise.

As I weaned from the Entocort my blood pressure went crazy up and down, but mainly high, which was some to begin with. Now it drops down and I feel like a wet rag. I am sleeping a LOT and when I get up during the night or in the morning I feel like I walk like Herman Munster. It is getting to me because it is hard to do things with my kids because I don’t have the energy or the ability to do things with them (the youngest 2 are 17 and 15 and they live at home. We also have a 22 year old and an almost 20 year old who are living on their own working, or on their own in college. I miss some things because I just “fall out, or hit falldown as I call it”. Maybe someone here can understand what I mean when I say I “hit falldown”. Others don’t understand. I have not told people in my community about my condition due to a former friend who is just plain nosey and called other friends to find out why I was in the hospital. I am not ashamed of the Cushing’s, but I don’t want to be gossip fodder either.

I did break down and asked my dr for a handicapped tag so that I don’t have to walk so far. I still have swelling in my legs, but hopefully that is better, but the pain is not. My balance is off and I have to steady myself when I stand up.

My cortizol levels have gone from “non descernable” to 2.4 to 4.3, so at least I am heading in the right direction. It is baby steps but I am thankful that it is going in the right direction, however slowly.

I would appreciate anyone getting in touch with me and have checked the “notify me of new comments via email box”. It is hard because people don’t understand and those I DO tell in confidence, I have a hard time describing it.

I don’t know that I used this forum correctly, but I am trying. Does anyone else have those “fall down” got to lie down NOW, moments where you lie down for hours? Somedays I feel like I get nothing done.

Thankful to have a place to voice my feelings. God bless each one of you. Louise.

 

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After gaining 120 pounds in 1 year, rare diagnosis saves man’s life

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Donelle Trotman was only in his 30s when his health suddenly took a strange and frightening turn.

He was rapidly gaining weight — more than 100 pounds in one year. His upper torso was getting bigger, but not his legs. And he felt overwhelmingly tired.

“My body just started changing,” the Staten Island, New York, native told TODAY as part of a three-day series, “Medical Mysteries,” looking at people who have recovered from rare diseases.

Donelle Trotman, right, reached 366 pounds at his heaviest.

It was especially puzzling because Trotman had never had weight issues before.

In school, Trotman was never a skinny kid, but he wasn’t overweight. He loved sports, playing both basketball and baseball.

So as he entered adulthood, he was active and in good shape. Then, three years ago, he suddenly began to gain weight.

“It was just specific places: My stomach, under my arms, my back of my neck, my face, the bottom of my back,” Trotman said. “My legs stayed the same for a long time.”

To lose the extra pounds, Trotman began running, working out and lifting weights. Nothing worked.

In the span of one year, Trotman gained more than 120 pounds, topping the scale at 366 pounds, twice the amount he weighed at 18.

“I doubled, like, I got a whole person on me,” he said.

There were other alarming changes. Trotman became so easily tired that he’d get out of breath just by chewing food. When he woke up seeing double three months ago, he knew it was time to go to the hospital.

Doctors ran a flurry of tests, but the results offered few clues, leaving everyone puzzled. Then one day, an intern noticed stretch marks all over Trotman’s body, a telltale sign that solved the mystery. Trotman had Cushing’s disease, a rare condition that affects fewer than 50,000 people in the U.S. every year.

Trotman’s weight gain was being caused by a tiny tumor at the base of his brain, prompting his body to produce too much of the hormone cortisol. He had some of the classic symptoms: major weight gain in his upper body, skin problems and acne, plus fatigue.

Dr. John Boockvar and Dr. Peter Costantino at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital discovered Trotman had steroid levels ten times higher than normal.

“In Cushing’s disease, the pituitary gland has a small growth that releases a single hormone that causes the body to live with very high levels of steroids. The skin becomes very thin. You get increased acne. You can grow hair. You start sweating. You gain a lot of fat,” Boockvar said.

There was no time to lose: Untreated, Cushing’s is a fatal disease. Trotman was getting close to the point where doctors would not be able to reverse the changes, Costantino noted. He underwent surgery two weeks ago and had the growth successfully removed.

“The tumor was no bigger than the size of the tip of my pen,” Boockvar said. “And that something so small can cause a man to grow to 350 pounds and absolutely destroy his life is rather remarkable.”

These days, Trotman is feeling much better. His main focus now is to lose the weight he gained and regain an active lifestyle. He hopes to play basketball with his son soon.

“It’s wonderful. Every day it’s just like I feel a little stronger,” he said.

Doctors say Trotman will continue to lose weight and can shoot hoops with his son in about three months. There is an 8-10 percent chance the disease could come back, but Trotman said he knows what to look for now.

One of the reasons Trotman wanted to share his story is so others might recognize the symptoms of Cushing’s, although doctors stress it is a very rare illness.

via After gaining 120 pounds in 1 year, rare diagnosis saves man’s life – TODAY.com.

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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

2 Comments

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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