In Winter of 2007, Dartmouth Medicine Magazine put out a special issue dedicated to Dr. Harvey Cushing. Kristine’s story was featured on pages 7-8. For the 2021 Cushing’s Awareness Day campaign, Kristine shared this issue with her story, and the update below:
Since this article was written in 2007 I have thankfully had no sign of tumor regrowth, no issues managing my daily medication with minor tweaks along the way, and no incidences of adrenal crisis. I completed my PhD in Computational Genetics in 2010 and soon thereafter, met the man I would go on to marry in 2014! I have always known I would want kids, but honestly was not sure about my ability to have kids now given my current health situation. While open to adoption, we consulted the fertility clinic at Dartmouth-Hitchcock to learn that I was a great candidate for IVF since everything internally was in check, but really I just lacked the hormones needed to ovulate and ultimately sustain a pregnancy. The car just needed gas to run!
Fast forward to a 28 egg harvest, 14 fertilized eggs, 8 embryos, 1 implantation, and our son, Asher, born May 14th 2016. I never adjusted my hydrocortisone during pregnancy, however I went off growth hormone injections, and thankfully my blood pressure naturally lowered and I was able to go off blood pressure medication. Would I be able to go into labor naturally? It was unknown, but I was induced at 40 weeks because my BP began to creep up. I was given prostaglandins, and that did the trick! I never even needed pitocin! I did go on a stress dose of hydrocortisone during labor, but the whole process was about 12 hours. Would I be able to breastfeed? While Asher was a pro-latcher, within 24 hours it was obvious I was not producing milk. Since birth also, there have been no complications or issues other than I am just getting older, but unfortunately can’t change that.
While I never got my hopes too high during this journey not knowing how my body may respond at each step, I never gave up hope either and tried to stay extra in tune with how my body also felt. It was really unexpected how well everything went, but without the support of not only my husband, family, and friends, but the wonderful doctors and community, I wonder if I would ultimately be here, happy, and healthy. We still reside in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire where I work as the Director of Academic and Student Affairs for the Quantitative Biomedical Sciences Program at Dartmouth and continue to share my story openly and yearly in undergraduate and medical school classes with the hope it may help in shaping some of our future doctors who will hear their patients voices, be involved, be attentive and as caring and my doctors were. You know your body best, you are your own best advocate, and to have a doctor who truly listens makes a world of difference!