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Joanne's Story

Hello. My name is Joanne, and I live in Sunrise, Florida with my wonderful husband Vincent. My story doesn't have a happy ending yet.

I started gaining weight in my senior year of high school. My eating habits hadn't changed and I was pretty active, so I didn't understand why, but all my friends and family just kept "encouraging" (and I use that term loosely) me to lose weight and exercise more. I found it so hard to stay motivated when I was depressed all the time. In class one day I had a "nervous breakdown". My parents were called and I was sent to a psychologist for treatment of clinical depression.

In the years that followed, I never actually recovered from the depression, I just learned how to hide it in public.

Shortly, after high school I went on a weight loss program, and I did reach my weight goal. During that time, I started to date my now husband, and as the years rolled on I gained back the weight plus more and more. I went on every diet imaginable but nothing helped. I'd loose my enthusiasm because of depression and low self esteem and give up. I could never understand why I was so overweight. I don't feel as if I eat so much worse than most normal sized people.

It's been almost 15 years since I graduated high school and my weight battle drags on. Additionally, my husband and I have been trying to conceive with no luck. In researching infertility, I learned about PCOS. I thought, this is it. I've got to have this. I have the typical body type associated with PCOS, I have the skin tags, the excessive hair growth, irregular menses, and many other symptoms attributed with the syndrome, as well as being diagnosed as hypoglycemic. I was tested, and the test came up negative. I didn't believe the test, so a year later I requested to be tested again, still negative.

I wasn't until recently that I learned about Cushing's and I am absolutely convinced that I have it.

I was at work one day when my manager was talking to me about trying a new weight loss product called Cortislim. He thought I might be interested in it and he gave me some literature on the product. That's went I learned how, under stress, a body might over produce the chemical cortisol and that causes weight gain mostly in the abdomen. I was intrigued. My weight gain was mostly in my tremendous stomach. I decided not to try this product until my manager had good results with it.

The following week I was having my hair colored. While under the dryer, I picked up that weeks issue of Woman's Day magazine. While flipping through the pages my eye caught the word cortisol. I thought, "WOW! I never heard this work before last week and now here's the second time I'm reading about it. The article was a about a woman who was struggling for years with illness, like myself, who had been diagnosed with Cushing's. As I read my interest in this grew more and more. The next work day, I searched every sight I could find about Cushing's. Some even showed pictures of patients with the disease. When I saw them I cried. I saw myself in their eyes. I heard my story in theirs. I knew God had lead me to this. I have been praying that God would heal me and I believe he is leading me to a cure. So, I immediately called the Doctor and made an appointment.

My husband accompanied me to the urologist and sympathetically listened as I rattled off my symptoms. He observed my buffalo hump, and concurred that we should do a 24 hour urine test. But he told us that this test was definitive. If the levels were elevated, Cushing's, if they were normal, no Cushing's. I didn't see the need to argue. I was so glad, after reading so many horror stories about patient who wait for years for a doctor to believe their claims, that he was willing to test me. I happily took home my jug and peed my little heart out.

I had to wait 2 weeks to get a follow up appointment to hear the results of my test. I was on such an emotional rollercoaster. I couldn't wait to know. It's so funny. You never want a Dr. to tell you that you have a life-threatening disease. But, your so glad to know you will finally have an answer to your questions. Unfortunately, that was not to be.

The test came back normal. I couldn't help myself. I cried right there in his office; and I felt so ridiculous for crying because I didn't have a disease. He said that I did show many characteristics of the disease but I simply didn't have it. He told me it might be Pseudo Cushing's. I cringed thinking I would have to live like this for the rest of my life.

I went home deflated, but not defeated. I got back on the net. I've learned that some patients with mild Cushing's can test with normal cortisol levels. I'm back baby. I called and made an appointment to see the Endocrinologist. And this time I am demanding additional testing.

I struggle on a daily basis with joint and back pain, horrible bouts of depression, exhaustion, and infertility. But I'm worth the fight, and so are you. If you think you have this don't give up. I won't!!!!

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