I worked out like a crazy person, three hours a day. I lived off of salads and yogurt! I never thought this would be my life...
In April of 2010 I was starting to have blackouts. I've always struggled with migraines, but these were really bad. I was even forgetting who I was, where I was, how I got places, nothing was making sense. In May, I went to the emergency room because I started to black out while I was driving for work. I asked for a CT to be done on my head. The ER dr just gave me tylenol and told me to go home, that my headache was was just that, a headache and I was just stressed out. He told me to take the next day off of work to rest, so that's what I did. Maybe I was too stressed out from work, I mean, I was a county caseworker, I had a crappy boyfriend. Maybe I was just too stressed out and that's what was getting to me.
Bring me to the following week where I blacked out, fell down the inside steps at my house, went out the front door and went out the outside steps. How this happened, I still don't know, but that's what happened. My brother took me to the er and they said i had a bad sprain so I had to miss work. AGAIN. And of course the rumors were flying. The girls at work were saying that I was missing work because I wanted to spend time with my boyfriend, that, get this, he was going to take me to the beach ON A SLED and pull me around. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? DO YOU NOT KNOW WHAT A DOUCHE HE WAS? I swear. I worked with some AWESOME people! So, resting I was. And then I was walking on it. But, I was walking funny. A couple of the girls at work convinced me to go back to the foot doctor, so I did. Guess who actually had a BROKEN foot? yeah. the hospital MISREAD the xray. Nice, right?
So, he casted me and told me to stay home for a few days. AGAIN. I was home AGAIN. They were really starting to love me at work. So, after being at work for a few weeks, I started to get charlie horses in my leg. I called the drs office and the receptionist told me that they were normal and to take my painkillers. Did she put me through to the nurse? No. She decided to take it upon herself to answer my questions. Well, a few days later, I had a fever and was throwing up so I DEMANDED to be seen. He saw me, actually had no idea I was even coming in and took my cast off. Did a pressure test and sent me across the street to have a dopplar done. Turns out, I had BLOOD CLOTS in my leg. So, the dr gave me some shots, taught my mom how to do it and then sent me home. Told us that if I had pain in my chest that I should go right to the emergency room. Well, I was an asthmatic. I ALWAYS had chest pain, so how would I know the difference?
I took advantage of having my cast off. I gave myself a pedicure, shaved my legs and then the next day, we went BACK to the emergency room, where... you'll never guess what! BLOOD CLOTS in my LUNGS! YAY ME! So, I was there for a week. Then, I was home for two because I still had a broken foot and my dr was on vacation and he couldn't clear me to go back to work. So, I FINALLY went back to work and the headaches were starting again. I called the pharmacy where my sister worked and her pharmacist told her to have me call my dr right away. (I was on coumadin and they wanted to make sure I wasn't bleeding in the brain) So, I called my Dr and he had me come in right away to do a catscan. Well, no brain bleed. But, I did have a tumor on my pituitary gland and brain atrophy. What a great day I was having. So, I went for an MRI to confirm what we already knew. My dr, my NEW dr (the one who discovered the blood clots, the brain tumor, the man who, in essence, SAVED MY LIFE, Dr. Degler) had put a call into the neurologists office and set me up with an appointment to see him in a week or so. I can't remember. What I DO remember is having a headache so bad that I had my parents take me to his office and FORCING him to see me. (It didn't hurt that his nurse was my lifelong best friends mom) So, he saw me and do you know what he told me? That THE HOSPITAL MISREAD MY CATSCAN! The tumor had been there the entire time! He had no idea how they hadn't seen it and it had continued to grow! (now we're in July) He gave me a shot of tramadol and then gave me a list of tests that I needed to have done. He told me that I had plenty of time to have them all done.
Yeah... so much for that theory.
*Funny story. As I was walking around on my misdiagnosed BROKEN foot, I had gone to six flags and ALL of the upside down roller coasters were not working.*
He sent me to his brother in law, the endocrinologist, who was worthless. He told me that there was no way I could have cushings. No one had cushings. And that I was just fat. I needed to stop eating. Gosh, I just love these doctors!
And then I come to find out that the tumor isn't gone! First, he told me that the MRI was completely clear, that he got it all and that it wasn't going to come back. But, I wanted a second opinion. We sought out a new neurosurgeon at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia and found Dr.Moshel (who has since moved to a different practice). He was a godsend! He did a new MRI on me and found out that I still had a tumor, that the MRI that Dr. Daneshdoost (old guy) did still had a tumor on it and that this one had grown and wrapped around my carotid artery and down my sinus cavity. He was going to save me! He and Dr.Degler had directed me to Dr.Vengrove at LVPG Diabetes and Endocrinology and he was a godsend! He listened to me, he diagnosed me with cushings, he had no idea why no one didn't before. His entire staff was so kind and caring. I actually started to cry when I met him because I finally met someone who was listening to me. I finally had a team of doctors who were going to work together who were going to save me! So, I had my second surgery in April, a transphenoidal sinus surgery. He had to leave some of it in because if he didn't and pulled it the wrong way, I would have lost all facial movement. Our next step was Proton Lindic radiosurgery. Well, it killed my tumor, but didn't kill the Cushing's. I had to wait two years to see if it worked. Nope. So, That brings us to December 6,2013. The day I supposedly got my life back. I had a bilateral adrenalectomy. (had both of my adrenal glands removed) You can't live without your adrenal glands so now I'm living on replacement hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone. The weight started to fall off, but now I'm at a plateau. I still feel like garbage. Some days, I wonder if the surgery was worth it, even though, I know that it was. The Cushing's is gone. I'm praying that it stays gone. I don't say I'm cured, I just say that I'm in remission. One day there will be a better cure for Cushing's than destroying us. I can't work. Some days I can't even get out of bed. This disease is nasty. And now? Now I'm primary adrenal insufficiency, which is scary in itself. This disease could kill me, too. Some days I wonder why I was chosen to live this life, but if I keep sitting around and wondering why, I'll never live. So, I just have to keep pressing on. One day there will be a cure. I just hope that maybe my case was one that teaches the doctors something new, maybe helps them find something that can help them find that cure, or maybe help someone who is struggling with this disease better understand it and be able to get the answers that they need.