The Conley Cushing's Disease Fund was established on July 17, 2014. Funds raised will be used in part to create awareness and advocacy for patients
After more than two years of symptoms that didn’t seem connected (including four bouts of bronchitis, pneumonia, strep, shingles, a fractured hip, a “hump” on my back between my shoulder blades, a mysterious umbilical hernia and foot problem as well unexplained weight gain of over 70 pounds in less than 15 months), I finally had an answer to what was causing my body to go into a downward spiral. I had seen 10 different specialists and had hundreds of tests. Now even though the diagnosis was devastating, at least we had a name for it.Learn More About Marie's Story
Most of my Cushing’s journey has circled around important milestones in my life. I guess that’s what happens when you start to get sick during your transition into college. This was the time I was supposed to be learning, growing, becoming independent and finding myself. In a way, I suppose all of these things were still a part of my college experience, however, I also had to balance regular doctor’s visits and 24-hour urine samplings all while starting a new life in a new city on a college campus that was 6 hours away from home.
My Cushing’s story started long before I realized it was being written. It is hard to say exactly when I exhibited my first symptom, but looking back at pictures, I began displaying a rounded “Cushing’s face” during my undergraduate studies in the late 1990s. I began dealing with minor anxiety at that time, but that didn’t seem too abnormal given my busy and intense schedule.
It was like finding a needle in a haystack. It was Friday, June 26, 2015, one week after I was discharged from Brigham and Women’s Hospital where I had brain surgery to remove a pituitary tumor. My parents and I were back at the hospital to hear the outcome. I was very optimistic that day. I knew it was a success; it had to be. I hadn’t endured a brain surgery and three days of blood tests for nothing. We were called by the receptionist to one of the exam rooms, where we met Dr. Laws, my neurosurgeon.