I am rare, but I am a mom. Here’s my story…
I was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease in August of 2019. I had been experiencing an array of debilitating symptoms for years – the most pronounced being severe anxiety and unexplained weight gain, especially in my face (moon face).
Though the road to a diagnosis was not easy, actually receiving a diagnosis was one of the highlights of my journey. The diagnosis proved that I wasn’t crazy and gave me a roadmap to try to get better.
I’m extremely grateful to say that in October of 2019, I underwent a successful surgery to remove the Cushing’s tumor in my lung. It was a rare ectopic Cushing’ case, and on top of that, the tumor was malignant. The surgeon removed the entire lower left lobe of my lung since the tumor had spread to a local lymph node.
The next year of recovery was much more difficult than I had anticipated. Between constant extremely low energy levels, one scary adrenal crisis, and incessantly wondering if I really was “cured” of this disease, it’s tough to say if that first-year post-surgery was an improvement from life with Cushing’s. However, during that year, I noticed my mental health started to improve as my physical appearance began returning to normal, and my test results and scans continued to confirm that both the Cushing’s and cancer were gone.
Throughout this journey, the thought of a “normal” life seemed so out of reach. I often doubted that I’d ever feel like myself again, return to my normal energy levels, or be able to have any children. After my first year of recovery, my doctor predicted that having ectopic Cushing’s shouldn’t affect my ability to get pregnant or carry a baby, however, I was still skeptical. I became so accustomed to my body not functioning the way that it was supposed to, I simply couldn’t imagine myself having a successful pregnancy.
Fortunately, my body proved me wrong. I gave birth to a healthy baby girl on October 31, 2021 – exactly two years and one day after my surgery. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t marvel at the drastic change in my quality of my life and functioning of my body and mind without Cushing’s. The days that I had Cushing’s have been the most difficult days of my life thus far – but those days make experiencing life’s wonders, like becoming a mom, that much sweeter.
Lastly, I’m forever grateful to my support system who helped me return to my new “normal”. I appreciate the unwavering support of family and friends; and the brilliant doctors, nurses and staff who have devoted their livelihoods to helping people like me.