The happiest day of my life should have been the day I got married or the birth of my son. But for me, it was June 12, … Read More
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.
As I moved on to graduate school in the fall of 1999, I began having some skin issues, again nothing too out of the ordinary. In the fall of 2000, I became sick and unable to eat, which eventually was diagnosed as a failing gallbladder, which was removed at the end of that year. Although it’s unclear whether there is a connection between Cushing’s and my gallbladder issues, that was the first of many significant health issues I encountered over the next 13 years.
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.
I was sick for about 3 years prior to being diagnosed with Cushing’s disease in winter of 2008. Finding out that I had a microadenoma on my pituitary gland was a pretty scary thing to process as a 19 year old. The first matter of concern for me was timing. I didn’t want anything to hold me back from graduating with my newfound friends and regularly wondered how Cushing’s would further impact this phase of my life. Thankfully, I was able to have a pituitary surgery the summer in between my sophomore and junior year of college on May 20, 2009 and maintain my schooling schedule, even if it was more than a full year after diagnosis.
- Blood Tests
- 24 Hour Urine Tests
- Salivary Cortisol Tests
- Low-Dose Dexamethasone Suppression Testing
- MRI Scans of the Pituitary Region
- CT Scans of the Adrenals
- Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone Stimulation Test