Home

Kristin T, Undiagnosed Bio

1 Comment

undiagnosed4

Currently undiagnosed but I am a medical professional, and not stupid.

All through my adulthood (age 21ish to now at 43) I have had the following symptoms: B12 deficiency, Vitamin D deficiency, the depression/anxiety/irritability, major loss of emotional control (I can cry at the drop of a hat, sometimes in very inappropriate situations (like at work).

I can gain weight like no tomorrow (60 pounds over about 8 months. The only way I’ve been able to lose it is either gastric bypass (which created a whole other set of issues and had to be reversed) or an entire month on IV nutrition (TPN), in short abject starvation.

I have stretch marks all over the place, a fat abdomen (in spite of a tummy tuck), fat upper arms, fat thighs, back fat (oh yes, the ubiquitous hump between my shoulders and fat pads above my clavicles). I am weak to the point that a two mile walk has me in bed for the rest of the day. Forget working out, I drop from exhaustion. my back hurts, I have horrendous posture and get muscle spasms and a backache when I try to remind myself to stand up straight. I am always thirsty, and subsequently pee nonstop, I have a seemingly insatiable appetite usually for carby type stuff (although I really try to pay attention to what I eat).

I’m a total klutz and oh yes, the crowning glory: I have hair on my inner thighs, heavy hair on my lower arms and I can win a beard growing contest with a bunch of guys, although testosterone levels have been tested and are unremarkable. I’ve got a bit of hypertension (although also a little decreased kidney function, which may explain that.) I had a total hysterectomy for the heavy bleeding and constant ovarian cysts (but not the string of pearls pattern indicative of PCOS. Libido?, yeah right. I have the sex life of a nun and am frankly not interested. This is not genetic because I am the only one in my family that is like this.

Over the years I have been diagnosed with PCOS, major depressive disorder, and more recently some kind of unspecified eating disorder (apparently just because I’m fat). I have been treated as such over the years with totally no change. Birth control pills just made me bitchy, the cocktail of antidepressants seem to help minimally (I can still cry over nothing), and this is now having a huge impact on my professional life (like nearly destroying my career).

If all this crap isn’t a good reason to at the very least, look at Cushing’s, then I don’t know what is. Incidentally I had a doctor, some 13 years ago start the workup for this (had 24 hour urine, dexamethasone suppression test and a brain MRI) but this was pre-nursing school and I did not realize the seriousness of what he was suspecting, so I never followed up.

I finally have a primary care doctor who has immediately referred my to an endocrinologist. I appointment in 2 weeks and well…to be continued….

Updated January 9, 2016

still searching for a doctor who gives a ***. I’m quite peeved. It’s been a while since I updated because, well, just busy.

I went to the appointment and the doc pretty much just blew me off. i said that in my opinion, it was worth at least running the tests. I could be wrong but please humor me and run them. Well, he sent me off to the lab and all he did was a one-time single cortisol level. It was normal. His diagnosis, “weight gain due to excess calories” and recommended a medication that costs $1200 per month and was NOT covered by my insurance!!!!! Seriously????? Jerk!! I came into some money, so I ponied up for 2 months worth of the medicine and thus far I’ve lost 12 pounds and now I am plateaued. My new insurance covers it, so i’ll keep at it, but I’m finding a new doc. How hard is it to just run the bloody tests!!!

Have to go now, it’s time to shave the hair on my chin and go to my therapy session for depression. Someday, maybe someone will believe me, hopefully before I die!!!!!

HOME | Sitemap | Adrenal Crisis! | Abbreviations | Glossary | Forums | Donate | Bios | Add Your Bio

Stephanie (Steph), Undiagnosed Bio

3 Comments

undiagnosed2

Hi. My name Steph, and this has been a long journey for me so far, and I see a long road ahead. Hopefully their will be a rainbow once all these clouds have melted away.

I just turned 33 years old (this month) and have been dealing with symptoms of Cushing’s since I was a pre-teen without even knowing it. I was diagnosed (or possibly mis-diagnosed) with PCOS when I was about 11. That’s when the irregular (to almost non-existent) menstrual cycles, hirutism (chin, upper lip, upper and lower thighs, fingers, toes, basically everywhere) and weight problems began. I was immediately put on birth control to regulate my periods, which only made my life a living nightmare. They forced on a fake (non-ovulating) period and made my moods a disaster. I went on to be on birth control until from the age of 11 until about 3 years ago when I just couldn’t take it anymore, and took myself off. I’ve been using herbal supplements for menstrual regulalation since then, and feel MUCH better.

Over the years I’ve always felt like there was something “more than PCOS” wrong with me. From the extreme inability to lose weight normally, and the ease to gain it, to the weak legs, vitamen d insuffeciency, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, extreme irritability, now non-existent cycle, shortness of breath (just from walking up 1 flight of stairs), slow healing, hoarse voice, high testosterone, male pattern baldness, blurry vision, EXTREME brain fog etc….. It has been very, very, very tough and emotional over the years. It has taken a toll on my personality, emotions, and those around me….

The way that I found out about cushing’s is rather unique. I was on a popular PCOS message board site called “soul cysters”, and I have always been EXTREMELY self conscience of my round puffy face, and was wondering if it could be a side effect of PCOS. So I searched Puffy face on the message board to see if others on the board had experienced it, and sure enough Cushing’s came up, and a suprising number of women either had both (cushing’s and PCOS) or had been mis-diagnosed, which apparently is very common with cushing’s. it was like a gigantic light bulb went off in my head when I started googling cushings symptoms. All these things that I have been experiencing almost my entire life started coming together. I’m really not crazy!! Everything is possibly related. Im almost 100% sure that this is it!!! I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing, as I see that cushing’s is curable in most cases, but it is also scary, and diagnosing it seems like hell!!

I have began my -already slow- journey to diagnosis. And, the the Dr.’s don’t seem to be all that well informed. However, I am DETERMINED. I am excited at the thought of possibly being able to get my life back through surgery or meds. I went to a well respected Endo in my area, and she is gonna test all of my hormones, including my cortisol level. Though she didn’t seem to be too informed on Cushing’s when I brought it up, along with my “dead ringer” symptoms. I’m going to a pulmonologist on the 29th as suggested by my GP (who also thinks I have cushings, but admits he’s not well informed enough or equipped to diagnose). I’m also going to an OBGYN soon (tried going to one today, and had to walk out because it was such a bad experience). But I am determined to get 2nd, 3rd, and however many opinions are needed until I am satisfied.

Also, on a side note, possibly having cushing’s, along with having PCOS, has made me look at the doctors and the medical profession as a whole in a different light. I feel like if you find a genuinely good doctor who listens, cares, takes you seriously, and is willing to test you without question, and work with you, your levels, and your symptoms, you are blessed!! I have had so many doctors try to push meds down my throat (for their own pockets/greed obviously) when it wasn’t needed or necessary without hesitation or question. And, then when I tell them that the medicine is affecting me adversely, they just tell me to keep taking it! It’s sad and ridiculous. I’ve had to learn to do my own research, know my own body well, and trust my own judgement…..

I will be praying for myself and everyone on this message board who has had to deal with this horrific symptoms over the years.

Updates coming…..

interview

Stephanie was our guest in an interview on BlogTalk Radio  Wednesday, April 29 at 6:00 PM eastern.

The archived interview is available now through iTunes Podcasts (Cushie Chats) or BlogTalkRadio.  While you’re waiting, there are currently 82 other past interviews to listen to!

HOME | Sitemap | Adrenal Crisis! | Abbreviations | Glossary | Forums | Donate | Bios | Add Your Bio

Dawn M (Lind8588), Steroid Induced Bio

1 Comment

I have suffered from severe asthma and environmental allergies since I was a young child.  They used steroids as a way to help me breathe and stop hives.

As I got older, things just got worse.  More steroids, more allergy medications, etc.

Two years ago I started losing energy, lacking the urge to eat, having daily headaches, gaining weight even with exercise and sleeping a lot.  I thought it was stress as I was finishing my doctoral degree.  My regular doctor tried everything.

Finally, she sent me to Mayo in Minnesota and they diagnosed me with exogenous Cushing’s.  I had the buffalo hump, striae and moon face.  They did not give me any medications but told me to stop taking steroids.  Also, they found that my Vitamin D was a 9 so they loaded my Vitamin D.  I slowly started to feel better for the first six months.  I now seem to be going back downhill.  I am exhausted all the time.  I have no idea where to turn.  I am starting here and also looking for a local endocrinologist, otherwise I may return to Mayo.

 

HOME | Contents | Adrenal Crisis! | Abbreviations | Glossary | Forums | Donate | Bios | Add Your Bio

Michelle, Adrenal Bio

1 Comment

A Golden Oldie

I am 37  years old and was recently diagnosed with Cushing within the last month.

adrenal_glandsIn 2010 I was injured on my left leg and for the past three years have been going through medical doctor to doctor. I was only able to return to work for a month and had to go back out on disability because of symptoms. I would get weird mysterious symptoms every month, my doctor said there was clearly something going on in my body.  I have been diagnosed with heart burns, sleep apnea, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, vitamin d deficiency, anemia, possible diabetes, now obesity, fatigue,anxiety, and fibromyalgia.

It has been a very long process to get to the Cushings diagnosis. Prior to all of this I did not have any serious health problems, I was a litigation attorney, every day I was in court running around with no health problems. I am hoping that I am on the road to recovery since I have been finally diagnosed.

HOME | Contents | Adrenal Crisis! | Abbreviations | Glossary | Forums | Donate | Bios | Add Your Bio

Patty L (Answer hungry), Undiagnosed Bio

1 Comment

I’m a 33 year old female.  I have 3 young boys ages 8, 5 & 2.

About 1 year ago I started suffering from chronic fatigue to the point of crying halfway thru my work day not knowing how I was going to make it thru the rest of the day.  I went to my primary physician who stated I might need to have my thryroid rechecked.  I was previously diagnosed with hypothryroid but on a real low dose of Levothryroxine.  He ran some blood work and the test came back normal but with deficiencies in my B-12 & Viamin D.  He suggested I try a multivitamin.  I went out and splurged on the best vitamins I could find but they were of no help.

I returned after experiencing palpitations and dizziness.  I was then diagnosed with Vertigo and given meds that only made me more sleepy so I stoped taking them.  I noticed I was gaining weight even though at this time I was running 3 miles 4X/wk and loging in my meals.

My PCP thought I was suffering from depression because I cried at one of my appointments out of frustration because I just waned to make it thru a day without feeling tiered.  He suggested I take a sleep study test to check for insomnia.  The test came back cleared saying other than fallling asleep faster than usual patients nothing else was wrong.

I was referred to a cardiologist becasue I was also feeling extremely cold  and had a difficult time performing the same tasks I was able to do wihtout any problems months earlier.  I kept insisting I had a lot of the syptoms I had previous to start on meds for my hypothyroidism but because the blood work came back normal they said they could not change my meds.

I read somewhere about secondoray hypothyroidsm and requested a referal to an endocronologists.  My PCP felt there was no reason as everything came back normal but I pleaded until he gave in and authorized my referral.

I went to see my endocronologist for the first time and for some reason after telling her what I was experiencing she told me my issues could range from anemia to Multiple Sclerois but she also wanted to check for something extremely rare…..did not give me a name.  She requested blood work and sent me home with 3 cottong swabs she wanted me to saturate between 11 pm – 12 am, stick them in the fridge and return to their lab as soon as I was done.  I did this and she called me stating the tests came back abnormal and she wanted me to do another tests.  She was very vague about providing me with information other than assuring me that what she was testing me for was extremely rare and it was probably false results.  She told me not too panic and just go about life as usual.

I came home with a 24 hour urine collection container and another round of saliva tests.  I got a call from her nurse stating everything was normal.  I insisted I wanted a f/u visit with the Dr.   At the time of my visit she stated she was happy I had insisted on another appointment because the saliva test came back abnormal, but only on one of the swabs.

This time I came prepared with a list of symptoms and my own depression screening test (I’m a social worker and knew my some of my symptoms were similar to those of people suffering from depression), she took copies but again told me not to worry.  Well the more she told me not to worry the more worried I became and started researching Cushing’s the extrme rare disorder she had been telling me not to worry about.

My husband came across a website called Cushing’s with a Moxie, when I started reading the blog I started to cry I felt like finally someone understood me.  I still don’t have an answer by my Endocronologist but in my head I think I’ve figured it out and as silly as it sounds I’m wishing this is it, finally an answer to my symptoms.

~~~

| Adrenal Crisis! | Abbreviations | CushieWiki | Glossary | Forums | Donate | Interactive | Bios | Bios Listed by Date | Add Your Bio |

Genevieve (JenNYC), Undiagnosed Bio

Leave a comment

to-do-diagnosis

 

I have many Cushings symptoms. I developed severe, often incapacitating IBS nearly 12 years ago and believed I had Crohn’s or Celiac Disease. All tests came back negative.

Around 5 years ago my symptoms got worse, and my normally thin to average weight shot up, despite normal diet and exercise. I became depressed, anxious, and had painful joints and flu-like symptoms. I also had irregular periods and skin problems (dry skin/eczema, acne, frequent brusing and skin infections and bug bites that never healed). My blood pressure at times was high and other times normal, my face would flush, and I had kidney infections and kidney stones.  My hair started to thin. The worst part was the weight gain- all in the face and stomach area; although my arms and legs were thin by stomach was bloated and very heavy.

I was told by several doctors to excerise and diet and have– nothing works. I had blood tests done and they found low ferritin, very low iron/Vitamin B/Vitamin D, alternating high and low blood pressure & thyroid. I was diagnosed with anxiety or fibromyaligia, depending what doctor I went to. I was told I did not have IBS, although I have diarrhea almsot daily.

I also have low muscle tone, poor energy, insomnia, chronic fatigue during the day, and wake up in night sweats.

The one test that was finally ordered for high cortisol (24 hour urine test) came back ‘normal’ range– so either it was a fluke or I really am crazy.

I don’t know what to do. Doctors, family and friends, tell me “just diet and exercise”–thinking weight gain is just a willpower issue– but what about all these other symptoms? I feel like I have flu every da y and miserable. My joints ache severly and although I have been working out, calorie counting, and doing Weight Watchers, and (alternately raw vegan and liquid diets) for months I don’t lose any weight and look 7 months pregnant.

I need advice.

Lavane V (lvowell), Pituitary Bio

Leave a comment

The pituitary gland

The pituitary gland

I was diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease in September 2012.  I started my search for a diagnosis back in March.

So here is how my story goes… in January of 2012, I decided that i was going to change my diet and exercise.  I had weight to lose from a previous pregnancy.  I began working with a nutrionist and personal trainer.  I spent a lot of time working out and logging everything that went into my mouth.  I even tracked my water intake. It became very obvious that for a hard as I was working that something was wrong.  i was gaining weight instead of losing.  I was also feeling very run down.  I had also started noticing that I did not have very many patience for much of anything and I felt very uptight about silly stuff.  I decided to go have my hormones checked.

At first the doctor told me that I was extremely deficiet on vitamin D and needed to drink a lot more water.  He said we need to run more tests.  He did a salivary test and some bloodwork to check my corisol levels.  On my follow up with him he said that i had very high cortisol levels and wanted to run more test.  He then went on vacation for a few weeks.  I was unable to get answers from his nurse and then he was so behind when he came back that i could never get an appointment.

I started researching on the interenet about high cortisol levels.  Everything that I was reading sounded like me.  Weight gain (i had gained 100 lb), exhaustion, stretch marks, blurred vision, high blood pressure, water retention, etc.  I found another endocrinologist and made an appointment.  I told him all my symptoms and what I felt was wrong with me.  He asked me what i wanted him to do.  I suggested some of the tests that  I had read about because I thought i might have cushings and he said, “ok, let’s get started but, cushings is very rare and I doubt that is what is going on”.

After running blood work, 24 urine test, plus many more test, he told me that I had Cushing’s Syndrome.  He indicated that this was very rare and that he had not seen but one case before.  He ordered an MRI.  The radiologist that read my MRI said that he did not see a tumor.  However, he did say that he saw “sinus disease”.  Now I have never hear of that so i questioned it.  I was told that I would need to go to a ENT doctor for learn more about that.

The endo doc wanted to proceed with the IPSS test.  I keep studying on the interenet about the disease and all the testing.  I even watched a few pituitary surgeries.  I just felt like I need to know everything possible besides, I could not sleep so this was a great way to spend hours.   I also kept reading all that I could on this site as well. I met with a local neurosurgeon and he scheduled the IPSS test.  I asked him about how we would proceed if my test results showed positive for a pit tumor. I was basically told since no tumor was seen in my MRI that the IPSS test would help them to decided which side of my pit they would take.  I was totally not comfortable with just losing part of my master gland.  I kept my scheduled test but started to research experts in cushing’s.  Then I researched which were covered by my insurance.

In the meantime, I kept the appointment for the IPSS since I didnt want to lose any time.  I checked into the hospital and got prepped for my test only to have the doctor come in to tell me that we would not be doing the procedure because the company that made the medications used for testing no longer was making the mediation.  Now then, how do you not know this before you prep someone for the procedure?!?!  I told the doctor that there were other hospital that were treating cushing patients and were performing this test.  I had been reading about them on the boards.  He told me that there was not anyone in the US that had the meds.  That was when I really knew that I was going to have to leave my state to get treatment.

I called my endo and explained what had happend and asked for a referral to MD Anderson in Houston, TX.  I also went online and did a self referral.  I just kept following up with them.  They have a pituitary tumor board that reviews cases.  My case was approved and I had my first appointment in Sept 2011.  I spent on day running tests, having an MRI and meeting with the a new endo.

Within 48 hours, he confirmed that I did have cushing’s disease and showed me the tumor on my pituitary.  In November 2011, I underwent transphenoidal pit surgery.  An 8mm tumor was removed.  There was some concern because the tumor was right up against my cavernous sinus cavity.  This is where your carotid artery is and the surgeon did not want to get close to this artery.

Unfortunalely, I did not experince a “crash” after surgery.  My levels did indicate they were in the normal range so the doctors sent me home with a perscription of hydrocortisone.

English: Cavernous sinus

English: Cavernous sinus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

for me.  He is going to confer with my endocrinologist and then I will go from there.

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: