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Chantal's Story...

My name is Chantal Pinnell and I am now 34 years old. I was diagnosed with cushings syndrome in 2001 and had an adrenalectomy in 2002. My normal weight was about 135 - 140, but at the time of my surgery I weighed 248lbs.

My symptoms had started about 7 years before being diagnosed. My second child was about 1 year old when I started noticing some changes. Nothing major at first. I had some depression and I was losing a lot of hair. The doctor tested my thyroid and it was normal, so there was no more testing done. Two and a half years later I was pregnant with my 3rd child.I felt terrible during this pregnancy. I could barely get out of bed to take care of my other two children. My OB doctor did some blood work and found out I had gestational diabetes. After I delivered I lost some weight, but then quickly gained it back.

My feet began to hurt so bad that I went to see a podiatrist and he began giving me cortizone shots in my feet, which I would later find out that was the last thing I needed. My hips began to hurt and I saw an Orthopedic doctor. He said it was because of the way I was walking. I had fallen down my stairs and broken my ribs twice. I could not sleep at night, but was exausted during the day. I had huge dark purple bruises and I had no idea how I got them. My mother was very concerned about the hump on my upper back, but every doctor I saw tried putting me on anti-depressants. I had ulcers under my arms and down my sides and I was told that it was adult acne. My skin was turning pink and I had stretch marks everywhere. I would cry and tell my husband that I felt like I was being poisoned. My husband started researching on the internet after someone had told him about cushings disease. He had me look at the symptoms on a web site. I had all but one symptom. I scheduled an appointment with an endocrinologist and the first time he saw me he said he was fairly certain I had cushings. The testing confirmed it.

I could not understand why none of the other doctors I had seen did not recognize the symtoms. My OB doctor appologized when he found out my diagnosis saying that it had never crossed his mind that I would have cushings because he had never seen it and that it was so rare. I had a right adrenalectomy that took 6 hours because I had gained so much weight that it was difficult to find.

I was on steroids for about a year and a half because my left adrenal gland had stopped functioning, but it slowly began working again. I lost 105lbs. without even trying. People that knew me before I had cushings would see me before I had surgery and not recognize me, and people that I have recently met can't belive it's me when I show them pictures of when I had cushings. I am now having tests done because I have lost too much bone density and will probably be put on medication for osteoporosis. I am so thankful for my husband who during all that time never said a word about my weight or how tired I was all the time, even when he did not know there was anyting wrong. Thank God I have a wonderful endo. Dr. My kids think they have a new mom!!!

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