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Cheryl's Story

I'm a 48 year old women trying to find a diagnosis and treatment for my symptoms. In my late 20's, I was able to convince my OB/Gyn that I was having health issues and asked for a referral to someone for help. I was gaining weight, very irritable with huge mood swings, had insomnia and constipation. I was sent to an internist who later diagnosed me as having hypothyroidism and was placed on .5 mg of Synthorid. The first day I started taking it, I felt happy for a few months. My weight stablized (never lost the weight that I had gained), and I started sleeping better - still not a really good night's sleep tho and still plenty of mood swings.

In my mid-thirties, I started having significant irregular menstral cycles and found I was creating both ovarian, uterine, and breast cysts like crazy. I went to a Gyn specialist and was told to have my uterus removed which should provide some relief. So, in my early 40's I had that procedure. I found some relief for awhile, but continued to have pain and pressure in what I thought was my ovarian area. A new OB/Gyn specialist that teaches at Stanford recommended that I should remove my ovaries - which we did and helped with some of my pain - or possibly the pain pills during recovery helped?

After several more years and continued lower abdomen pain, the same OB/Gyn suggested that I could possibly have Interstitial Cystitis. So, I went to a specialist in Urology who confirmed via a very painful test, that indeed I did have I.C. (and thus probably did not need to have my ovaries out thinking this was the culprit to my pain.) I was informed that probably years of drinking Diet Coke had eaten away the lining of my bladder - and that there was no real cure for I.C. other than staying away from Diet Coke, spicy foods, chocolate, etc.

I've done just that now for several years and have much reduced bladder pain. In addition to my Thyroid medicine, I have now taking Estrogen. So, why am I writing all this? I now believe that I've had Cushing's most of my life and perhaps because of this, some of the other health issues may or may not have occured.

Currently, I'm gaining about 6-8 pounds every year (and have been since my early 20's). My calorie count is roughly 1000 calories a day. I'm 5'6" and almost 170 pounds. (My sister, who is 5 years older than I, is the same height, but weights in at only 115.) I do yoga each day and walk 2-3 times a week. I am constantly exhausted, have a very round face, a large neck, and seem to loose a ton of head-hair all the time. (Although now I seem to be growing a full beard and mustache that won't stop even with laser hair removal.) I'm also being treated for Rosacea on my face and use a daily facial cream for that! In addition to all this, I now have very swollen legs (which is a new issues in the last year or two) which are quite uncomfortable, ringing in my ears, I still am moody, and the lack of my memory has become quite the comedy in our family. I have also started developing severe muscle cramps that last as long as 10 - 15 minutes in my lower private parts...which I have yet to find anything on the internet. Thank goodness I have a very loving and supportive family!

In addition to all this, I have 8 compound stress fractures in my upper and lower back - most likely caused by too much stress and from sitting in front of a computer (I've been a computer consultant for over 20 years). I've been perscribed and taken Prenisone many, many times, and have had Cortizone injections since my 20's from various Orthopeadic doctors.

Last month, I had my yearly exam with my internist. I continued to mention all of my health issues and concerns, (lack of sleep, exhaustion, continued weight gain, facial issues, swollen legs, ringing ears, etc.) and was told to try to relax more and work less. I was also told that my internist would be willing to perscribe diet pills in order to help me loose weight. He ran some blood work and advised me to continue taking my thyroid and estrogen medicine.

From everything I've ready regarding Cushing's, I think I may have it although I do not have thin arms and legs - which concerns me and makes me wonder if I do have Cushing's or not? So, here I am at 4 am in the morning once again, unable to sleep, writing this and wondering what to do in order to feel "normal" - whatever that is!

I plan on researching specialists in this area to see if I can have the various tests regarding Cushings. I'll keep you posted!

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