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Bethany's Story...

I have worked in the medical field since I was fifteen. I am now 25 and have seen a lot of families deal with a sudden illness. I have also seen individuals struggle. I always hoped I would never to have to go through a medical crisis. If I did, I prayed I would have the strength and positive attitude to get through it!

I have always been a size 12 in clothes and weighed in at 134 pounds. While I did not have a flat, bounce a quarter off your abs, look, my tummy was small.

Two years ago, my life started to change. The beginning of 2002 had started out well. I met my boyfriend, Kevin, in April (we are still together). Then halfway through the year I started gaining weight. All of a sudden I was a size 15 and weighed in at 154 pounds (all of it went to my breasts, face, or stomach). My face looked like someone had filled it with air. My stomach looked like I was 3 months pregnant. I went to my family doctor in hopes of finding a solution. I hadn't changed my diet, so why the sudden weight gain? My family doctor ordered a thyroid test, CT scan of my internal organs, and ultrasounds (to rule out cysts in my reproductive organs). All of those tests came back normal. My family doctor couldn't offer any answers, except that I was just getting older and my metabolism was slowing down. She referred me to a nutritionist. I became very depressed and my self-esteem, what I had left, somehow was flushed down the toilet! I began a vicious cycle of exercise and dieting but to avail! The weight gain continued and I forced myself to live with it. I always thought it was something to do with me!

In 2003 my health started to decline further. I started having migraines that sent me to the emergency room up to three days a week. My insurance wouldn't pay for the medicine to help the migraines, but they would pay for an emergency room visit (figure that one out!). My blood pressure also started to skyrocket. My normal use to be 120/60, but was finding it to be 154/100 sitting still! I went back to my family doctor with my growing concerns. Yep, I was referred to yet another doctor, this time a neurologist. That doctor prescribed a blood pressure medicine that also helps prevent attacks of migraines (Verapamil).

I am relived to say my migraines have almost disappeared but my blood pressure is still high. Then overnight I woke up with these god-awful stretch marks on my stomach (I had already gotten some on my thighs). I was sick of people asking me when I was due to have my baby. I wanted to shout out, I AM NOT PREGNANT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! I started experiencing indigestion, my shoe and ring size have gone up, acne, and I have to take a shower at least once every day because I am so oily. I also cannot stand heat! I use to crank the thermostat up to 70 in the winter. Now it is 60 with ceiling fans! Plus I wear shorts to work! I also must sleep almost 12 hours to feel rested. And energy is a thing of the past!

Just when I was about to give up hope, I took my car in for an oil change. I picked up a magazine and there was an article about a health condition that matched my symptoms. Before sounding like a hypochondriac, I went and looked it up on the internet. I was certain that I had Cushings! I bypassed my family doctor and called for an appointment with an endocrinologist. The doctor said his significant findings were Cushings as well and ran two tests. After they came back normal, he wrote me a letter. It stated that because the two tests were normal and I didn't have Cushings! And oh, he hoped I was feeling better! I wanted to knock him upside the head. Its like asking someone after surgery how they feel!

In this medical battle, I had found this wonderful website that has helped realize that I am not alone. Frustrated with the endless chain of doctors, I made an appointment with Dr. Friedman, based on everyone's outstanding applause of him. I am flying out June 30th and I have a MRI the next day. Because the CT scan of my internal organs was normal, I am guessing it is my pituitary. I cannot wait and hope that Dr. Friedman can finally give me a diagnosis! I am sick of people telling me it is in my head (well, I guess it might be!) and I am just fat. I weigh in at almost 200 pounds and am at a size 18. I am sick of living like this but I do know, that I will be off to see the wizard! Until then I thank god for this website and the people that use it! I also thank god for the continuing support of my boyfriend and my family!

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