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Mary F's Story

At the age of 37 I had my last period. That is how I remember the realization that I had some definite medical problems.

I had been gaining weight, yet I didn't ever eat very much at all. In the next few years I started losing my hair, hair began to grow on my face, I had all the classic symptoms of Cushings. Moon face, enlarged trunk, diabetes, a hump below my neck, striations, and the worst paper tissue thin skin. By the age of 40 I knew what was wrong with me. My sister called me a hypochondriac.

All my children ever heard was I don't feel well. I was late to work, I was exhausted, my feet wouldn't support my weight. I could never lose the weight no matter how much I dieted. Exercise was out of the question. I couldn't walk long distances, I couldn't bend over for any length of time, because I could not breathe in that position. Plus, I had to stretch my legs out like a giraffe to even bend over.

In July of 2007 I ran into a drawer that was left open. My leg sliced open a good 4 inches wide and 2 inches deep. I refused to go to the ER, I didn't believe that my sking would hold stitches anyway. Two years before I had tripped over a cord, chasing a gecko, and had split my knee open. Just my knee hitting the carpet left me with an open gash six inches wide. It didn't bleed. The wound from the drawer on my lower left leg did though. After seven days the doctor insisted my stitches come out. I had an infection. I frequently had infections. Everything took a long time to heal. My mother doctored my wound after I hit the drawer for the next two weeks. The pain was excruciating. The day before I was to go to Palm Springs to see a specialist about possibly having blood clots in my legs, my wound and leg turned black. I seriously think that if I had gone to our local ER I would not have a leg today.

For the last five years I could not get any doctor to agree with me that I had Cushings. A visiting endocronologist agreed that I was Cushings goid, but no cortisol could be found in my urine or blood. That's because I had developed arthritis. Celebrex just didn't work for me. I live 22 miles from the Mexican border. I went to Mexico and bought a strong arthritis medicine that the pharmacist suggested. I couldn't read the label, it was in Spanish. And guess what. It was the culprit that had caused my Cushings for the last nine years.

I was put in the hospital and finally someone who listened. My vascular surgeon was Dr. John G.O. Miller, my specialist in antibiotics was Dr. Michael Somero, and the endocronologist was Dr. Elke Jost Vu. Dr. Jost Vu was diligent about my mother bringing in the box of the arthritis medicine. When she finally saw the box she determined that this was what caused my Cushings. An oral arthritis medicine from another country. She monitored my diabetes and and had it under control before I left the hospital after a six week stay.

After six months my wound was healed and the Cushings is no more. The wonderful doctors at Eisenhower Medical and the nursing staff can take full credit for the fact that I still have a leg.

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