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Karen C's Story...

I am so happy to report a successful Cushing's story. I am a 51 year old single working Mom of one teenage daughter.

I started getting sick several years ago. First, high blood pressure, then diabetes, significant weight gain no matter what I tried to control it.

It was getting difficult to climb stairs or get out of a chair. My skin looked terrible and I felt awful most of the time. The symptom that pulled it all together was increased facial hair. I was getting electrolysis for an hour once a week for almost a year. Finally, the technician told me my hair growth was getting worse and she suspected hormonal problems. I went to the doctor with the hair growth issue. He suggested I be tested for Cushing's disease. Initial testing was inconclusive but enough off base to have him send me to an endocrinologist.

Endo's first comment was that Cushing's was very rare and I probably didn't have it. But he had me do a dex-suppression test, 24 hr urine which indicated Cushing's. Had an MRI and BINGO there it was a 2mm adenoma on my pituitary. I had transsphenoidal surgery Jan 18, 2002 followed by a full hysterectomy for a large ovarian tumor in April, 2002.

All the follow up testing since the surgery has shown no evidence of Cushing's and I thank the good Lord everyday. Because of the hysterectomy the steroid taper has been slow and because of the steroids the incision healing has been complicated. But all is going in the right direction . I have to admit the steroid taper was terrible. Very, very difficult. Pain and depression and anxiety.

Be sure you get all the help you need. I was fortunate to have good friends, family and a wonderful priest to help me through it all. It is withdrawal at it's worst and you can't do it alone.

I hope to return to work in September ( elementary teacher) I lack stamina at this time but it is improving. Still have pain in hands, feet and joints. I just started using CPAP breathing apparatus for sleep apnea. It is wonderful to be able to sleep for six hours straight. If you have sleep troubles like severe snoring see your doctor about getting a sleep study for apnea. You can't heal if you don't get enough oxygen. If you are facing Cushing's surgery or recovering I will be happy to chat with you. THERE IS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!

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