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Joanna's Story...

All my life I have had all of these mysterious symptoms. I went to all of the doctors, but they could never find out what was wrong. I had tests for thyroid, anemia, diabetes, and everything else that would cause my severe fatigue. They finally labeled me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome produced from allergies. When I turned 21, I gain 50 pounds in one month. This puzzled me and the doctors because I have not had food or lifestyle changes. Shortly after that I started to have severe depression that centered around my “time of the month”. I was diagnosed with hormonal depression. My family and friends were also convinced that the weight gain was also contributed to hormones. When I was 26, I was diagnosed with ADHD and Fibromyalgia. I went on Ritalin to help my concentration while attending the last 2 years of college. I graduated with a BSBA double major in Accounting and Management Information Systems in 2004.

At the end of 2004, I started having these really bad headaches and shaking all over. I never had headaches before so the doctor was alarmed. In March 2005, I was sent to a neurologist. The doctor found that I have a pituitary tumor. I have the following symptoms: obesity, moonface, buffalo hump, severe fatigue, severe depression, severe acne, hair on chin and around mouth, purple stretch marks, joint pain, muscle weakness, hot flashes. These symptoms possibly suggest Cushing’s. I also have symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus because I have to go to the bathroom maybe 2 or 3 times in one hour. I also have excessive thirst. Preliminary tests show a high cortisol level which does suggest Cushing’s; however, I am currently undergoing further testing. Meanwhile, I have found that when I have a sufficient amount of protein with each meal (I can not eat cereal, have to eat meat), my headaches are not as bad. Also, the Doctor has me on a seizure medicine that is also supposed to prevent headaches (Zonegran).

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