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Melody O's Story

My name is Melody O. I live in Michigan and found out about this site from an article written about SuziQ in the local paper.

I had Cushing's Disease. My surgery was in 1984. The doctors told me I had a very large tumor on my Pituitary gland. They said I was probably born with the starting of it. I had two children while I had Cushing's Disease. One is 28 and the other is 23. I also had two children after the disease. One is almost 11 and one is 13.

I had weight problems most of my life. I still do. I got up to around 600 pounds when I had Cushing's. Now I'm around 280. My weight still isn't where I would like.

For a long time I complained I didn't feel very good. I had menstrual problems and for a year before my surgery I had no period at all. I grew a man's beard and mustache. I developed acne and had never had it before. I developed the buffalo hump and gained a lot of weight. The doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. I became depressed and did things I wouldn't believe others said I did. I went crazy.

They checked my cortisol levels in Jackson and it showed very high levels in my blood and urine. I felt awful most of the time. The doctors weren't sure if I had Cushing's or not so they sent me to University Hospital for medical research.

I was at University Hospital for six months. They did a lot of testing on me. It was months and months of testing for different labs. I was a live guinea pig to them, students and all. They couldn't get blood at times and they just kept on poking until they did.

My memory would come and go. They kept me in the hospital for several months after the surgery, and they put me in the mental ward as I was so depressed. I also forgot how to do many, many things. They said I was the worse case of Cushing's they had ever seen. After all of this I was placed in a care home. I had to learn how to walk, talk, read, write and everything all over again. It was two years before I was able to go out on my own in a program.

I still have chronic depression, hormonal imbalance and some facial hair growth. I still have memory problems, too. I also have no cartilage in one knee. I know I'm different. I tire out easily. I used to work, but with the chronic depression and my health I'm not able to work any more. I do volunteer work as an FIA advisory member, I volunteer for Greater Jackson Habitat for Humanity and I volunteer in my church nursery.

I have so many problems still. My depression plus asthma, which I never had before, bursitis, tendonitis, slow to heal.... I still have to have my cortisol levels checked to make sure it isn't returning. It can return at anytime I was told. So far my levels have been good, or at least not high enough to worry about.

I thank God I am alive. And I'm thankful for as far as I have come. I have my days, will probably not be completely recovered. Like they said, I was at the worse stage of Cushing's they'd ever seen. I'm a survivor and am thankful for every day I live.

Melody O

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