My journey with Cushing’s Disease started in high school, though I didn’t know what it was at the time. From my junior to senior year, I gained over 100 pounds and didn’t know why. My doctors and parents attributed it to depression caused by my parents’ divorce. I started having awful migraines and was diagnosed with menstrual migraines. They thought maybe my hormones were out of whack. Little did they know how close to the actual cause they were.
I continued to struggle with health and weight issues throughout college, though I was able to lose some but not all of the weight. In 2007, after a long-term relationship ended, I packed on twenty pounds. By the following April, six months later, I had packed on sixty. By the time I was diagnosed with Cushing’s in September 2008, I had gained 100 pounds. I suffered from cluster migraines, profuse sweating, male pattern hair growth on my face and arms, muscle fatigue, body fatigue, feeble bones, digestion issues, hair loss and severe depression. Several doctors accused me of lying when I told them that I ate well and exercised four times a week. I did Zumba and kickboxing three times a week and hiked every Saturday, and I kept gaining; no “diet” programs helped. In fact, I gained 17 pounds on Weight Watchers. By the time I went to Vanderbilt’s Eskind Diabetes Clinic in September 2008, I was worn out and had given up hope. My doctor, Kathryn Dahir, knew what was wrong with me at first sight, listened to my story for over an hour, and diagnosed me on the spot. Tests confirmed her diagnosis three days later.
I had my first pituitary surgery at Vanderbilt in December 2008, but suffered immediate health problems and was hospitalized twice on my way to healing. In August 2011, I was diagnosed with a recurrence after struggling for sixteen months with the same symptoms I had prior to my first diagnosis. I went to Swedish Cherry Hill in Seattle, Washington to have my second surgery and got my “cure.” I have not had a BLA, and now, 26 months after my second surgery, I am becoming Cushingoid again. It’s a tough battle, and I’m still waiting for my forever cure. I have great days and I have bad days, but I am trying to stay the course so I can get my cure and fight for others who have the misfortune of developing this awful disease. I have blogged since I received my first diagnosis and received approximately 75,000 hits in 2013 alone. It’s an incredible feeling knowing that my experiences help people all across the world.Please check out my blog at: http://cushieworld.wordpress.com
Newsletter: Spring, 2014