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Anne's Story...

I am 43 years old and I have two children ages 3 and 5. They are the only reason I keep fighting. I have actually been very fortunate if that is possible with this illness.

When I started gaining weight 2 years ago, I went to my primary care physician and after a few attempts with diet pills she referred me to an endocrinologist. I was first tested for thyroid problems. Everything came back normal. The doctor that was treating me mentioned testing for cortisol levels but then decided it was just too rare to have Cushing's. It was only after she consulted with an older doctor who came in and asked to look at my driver's license that they decided to go ahead and test. I tested high on all three 24 hr.urine tests. My levels aren't extremely high but enough to make me have all the classic symptoms. I then changed doctors to be closer to home.

The first blood test he did came back high. When trying to suppress with Dex., only one suppressed out of three. I just took a large dose of dex. and am waiting to see if that suppresses the level. I think he is trying to see if a MRI should be done or if my is pseudo-cushings caused by stress.

I thought all this was a long, tedious process, but after reading most of the bios posted at this web site, I see I have nothing to complain about.

This illness has completely changed my life. I've am no longer employed. I look terrible. My personality has changed. But it hasn't been all bad. There are some positive things. It has forced me to slow down and start realizing what is important. I am basically restructuring my life. I feel like an empty shell and I am slowing filling it up with the new me. The new me has learned to simplify life. I'm reading every book on simplification I can find and I'm adapting the ideas that work for me. Material things aren't important anymore. I go for comfort and enjoyment. (One of the symptoms that Cushing's caused for me was obsessive shopping)

It appears that before Cushing's I had a tendency to be obsessive/compulsive which I could always control and wasn't even aware of. High cortisol levels made me lose complete control! Also, I've learned to say "NO" without any guilt. Before I tried to please everyone. Now if it doesn't directly involve my children or husband, I don't worry about it. I am learning to be assertive and to express my needs. I'm doing this with a therapist. Before I would try to do anything to avoid a conflict.

I'm determined to have this illness change me for the better. And I'm determined not to let past stessful situations come back to haunt me. I believe so much of Cushing's is stress-related and caused by tramatic events. At least, I think that is what caused my to appear. I don't know if stress can make you grow a tumor but who knows?

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