Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tanya W, undiagnosed bio

On my birthday, my new endocrinologist gave a name to my tormentor of the past 8 years - cushing's. I still can't believe it, I am stunned.

Eight years ago I was in pharmacy school and I had just had a baby. I never could breast feed after I had the baby, my milk never came in. I remember reading that it usually involved the pituitary when women can't breastfeed and I remember reading about cushing's and I thought 'Oh no, I cant possibly have cushing's! '

I was trying every crazy crash diet on the planet and couldn't lose weight. I never could get any sleep, I had night sweats, hot flashes, irregular periods, skin boils, acne, my teeth were falling apart, I started looking more pregnant than when I actually was pregnant, and I had what I thought was a knot at the base of my neck from reading text books all day long. I thought all my problems were due to having the baby.

When I complained about not being able to lose weight to my family doctor, she said "well if you are only cutting back a little and just walk arounf the block , you are not going to lose weight." I was so pissed. She assumed I wasn't doing all I could to lose weight! Meanwhile I was starving myself & exercising daily.

Several months later I met a patient with Pcos in a clinc while I was on rotations and she had irregular periods like myself. I thought aha! Pcos, that's what I have. I begged my family doctor to test my hormones. At first she wouldn't, then she finally relented. My labs were all messed up - I low testosterone and zero estrogen!

She referred me to an endocrinologist who gave the diagnosis of pcos after labs & an ultra sound. He put me on yasmin, spironolactone, and metformin. I did lose some weight on metformin, but I still felt crappy. Several years pass by, I've graduated pharmacy school, and I am working in the crazy healthcare system in a demanding high stress fast paced job in a busy hospital. I get pregnant again and stop my pcos meds.

Now my body REALLY goes off on me. My face starts to bloat, my skin and face become unrecognizable to me. After I have the baby, my teeth really start falling apart like crazy, my face turns golden orange, I get cold when everyone is hot, and hot when everyone is cold, I start having back pain, I start getting strange headaches, I become very forgetful, my periods become non existant, I become really irritable (almost insane really), I get yeast & vaginal infections every other month, the 'knot' on my neck is getting bigger (from bending over a computer monitor, I assumed) and my hair was falling out by the handful. What really scared me was my hair & teeth. I know it sounds crazy but I always had long super thick hair and perfect teeth (at least my dentist always said so) So I knew something was really wrong, but I thought it was PCOS and/or I was becoming diabetic.

I went to my family doctor who told me that it was all in my mind or due to stress and aging. At that time I was only 31 years old. I couldn't except that I was supposed to be geriatric at 31. Meanwhile I was seeing an incompetent endocrinologist that wouldn't even restart my pcos medications for me. I still get the feeling that she was waiting for me to slowly become diabetic so she could treat me for diabetes, because that was her specialty.

Any way, this past february 2009, my throat developed a lump that was rock hard and I could not swallow with out choking. My family doctor diagnosed me with 'thyroiditis'. I got fed up with my endocrinologist and switched to a new one. When I came to the first appointment, she read my chart, listened to my list of problems. took one look at me and said "Cushing's". I felt like I was slapped in the face or kicked in the stomach. I thought it was my thyroid, or diabetes, or pcos! I didn't even remember much about cushing's at that point, but I vaguely remembered from school that it was a disease that you did NOT want because it is not easy to treat.

Now I am in the wonderfully looong process of being tested, poked and prodded. My husband is a wonderful man, but he still doesn't fully understand. My family thinks I am crazy & making everything up, I feel like no one fully understands except for the women & men here. I pray for cure soon.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28

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