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Patti's Story...

In 1966 after having my third child, I quit having periods and started gaining weight, even though I didn't change my diet. It was frustrating because Dr.s couldn't tell me what was going on in my body. My temperement changed, feeling uptight and anxious all the time. At one lab testing the lab tech chewed me out saying I was jus eating too much. People thought I was pregnant. My face was very read and my hair was thinning.

After 5 years a new Dr. came into the clinic and told me he thought I had Cushing's disease. He asked if I would go to Providence Hospital for some testing and Providence hospital sent word of my condition up to OHSU where I was used as a research patient, one time staying in the hospital on thier diet for 30 days. This was difficult because I had 3 young children at home. The results of all the testing was that I had a pituitary tumor and I was sent back to Providence Hospital where they did a bilateral adrenalectomy. This occured March 21, 1971. I lost the weight quite rapidly and one of the things I remember well is the first time I could cross my legs...sitting in the car. Such a simple thing brought me great joy. You know when you have a disease like that and you go for years being undiagnosed, then getting some results really does bring relief and joy. Being a research patient, I wished I would have signed that I wanted copies of the books they used my pictures in. The reason for this, is that it has been 35 years and my memory isn't so good. I would like to know about all the tests. I was just so happy that someone was finally figuring me out, that I didn't think to ask about getting the research information into my hands.'

I have live a fairly healthy life, raising a family and working full time as and instructional reading assistant. I loved being a wife and mom and I enjoyed my job.

I can't say my life has been crisis free (After the surgery, the Dr. said I needed to avoid stress if possible. Well as you all know, avoiding stress is not easy. I believe mental stress is more difficult for me than physical, because the physical pain is exacerbated by the mental stress.

In 1972, soon after the bilateral adrenalectomy, I lost a baby which was very truamatic. In 1983 my husband died in an accident and that was extremely difficult. He was a wonderful man who put up with all the ups and downs in my health.

Camping, hiking, babysitting and playing with the grandkids, sewing all bring joy into my life. Although I have a lot of health issues going on now, partially due to age and genetics, I'll get by.

I think the Cushings was worse that the Addisons because of all the affects the disease had on our bodies and mental status...I don't think I was always the nicest person because I didn't even understand my self. With the Addison's I know more about my condition. How stress, heat and anxieties in life affect me.

I like to stay fairly active, especially when we get to go camping, because that takes my mind of me and the pain I have been dealing with.

It's late and I can't sleep, so just was browsing around and found this site.

Thank You so much for listening. There is so much more I could say, but I need to turn this puter off, read awhile and see if I can doze off.


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