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Publication: Waukesha Freeman (Conley)
June 17, 2006
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Student hopes to rebound from brain surgery
Rare disease caused teen to double weight in a year

by LAWRENCE SILVER Freeman Staff

WAUWATOSA – Sitting in her hospital bed just two days after brain surgery, Claudette Ingold felt positive about her chances of returning to school.

Ingold missed parts of the last school year due to excessive drowsiness and weight gain caused by Cushing's disease, a rare syndrome that causes the pituitary gland to send out abnormal amounts of certain hormones.

“My goal is to get back to school," Ingold said. “I want to see my friends."

Thanks to a recent successful brain surgery, Ingold has a new shot at a normal life.

The past year has been anything but normal for the 14-year-old, however.

Dr. Glenn Meyer, a Medical College of Wisconsin neurosurgeon, said Cushing's disease is characterized by a growth near the pituitary gland that causes an abnormal amount of the adrenocorticotropic hormone to be released by the gland into the body.

Meyer, who performed the surgery on Ingold, said the disease causes excessive weight gain, hypertension and diabetes among other problems.

“It affects the body in many complex ways," Meyer said.

Ingold’s mother, Maureen, said her daughter’s weight nearly doubled from 110 pounds in the last year.

The rapid weight gain caused stretch marks to form on the adolescent’s skin from head to toe, Maureen Ingold said.

“She was unrecognizable," Maureen Ingold said.

But initially, Maureen Ingold said, doctors were hesitant to diagnose the disease. They felt she just needed more exercise and a better diet, she said. But the more she dieted, the more weight she gained.

Maureen Ingold said parents should learn about Cushing's disease if their child has hypertension or is developing diabetes.

“Parents need to realize and push when they are sure their child is not just overweight," Maureen Ingold said. “Children shouldn’t have those problems. Their body should be on the way up, not the way down."

Meyer said he was able to successfully remove the growth during the surgery.

He said Claudette Ingold’s body should be on the way up.

She’ll mature naturally, he said, but she will have to take hormone supplements for the rest of her life.

“She will need careful followup," Meyer said. “Time well tell."

Maureen Ingold said she hopes her daughter will take something away from the adversity of the past year.

“I hope maybe there is some direction of life she can take from this," Maureen Ingold said. “I hope she will want to go help somebody after this."

Claudette Ingold said the first thing she plans to do when she gets healthy is spend time with her friends.

“I believe I am going to get better," Claudette Ingold said. “I just have to hope."

Submitted photos Due to Cushing's disease, 14-year-old Claudette Ingold of Waukesha gained nearly double her approximate 110-pound weight from March 2005 to April 2006. Ingold had surgery Tuesday to remove the benign tumor in her brain that was causing the problem.

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