Cushings Disease: The Obesity Tumor

19 12 2007

Pregnancy can do strange things to a woman’s body. I had my son more than 4 years ago & my body has yet to return to normal…

When my son was about one, I gave up on losing the 40+ lbs of pregnancy weight. I’m a fitness instructor & know how to eat right & lose weight, but nothing I did seemed to have an affect.

Over the next 3 years, I started experiencing symptoms related to Cushings disease. Individually, these symptoms don’t appear to be all that alarming, but collectively they can become life threatening.

All this time, I thought the symptoms I was experiencing were over exaggerated figments of my imagination…The inability to lose weight & continually gaining weight, bloating & water retention, puffiness in the face, insomnia, hot sweats, bruising, extreme fatigue and my favorite – a buffalo hump (my husband pointed this out to me about 6-8 months ago, concerned that I had poor posture spending so much time on the computer).

About 3 months ago, I decided to try to reclaim my body again and started working with a personal trainer. Two & half months passed with NO change. WFT?! I was at the end of my rope & came to the conclusion that something has to be wrong with my body. I was weight training for 40 min. 3x/wk and doing cardio 45 min 3 or 4x/wk. I had even resorted to eliminating carbs from my diet. Basically starving myself.

I went to my doctor to get a full check up. She took my blood pressure & it read 180/92! I was a stroke victim waiting to happen. I explained my exercise routine & my inability to lose weight. What’s wrong with me???

My blood work came back abnormal…Based on the initial results, she suspected it might be Cushings disease. She requested that I undergo more testing. Apparently Cushings disease is rare, affecting less than 200,000 people in the US population and is often times misdiagnosed.

After nearly a month of testing (blood work, urine collection and a MRI), it’s been officially confirmed that I have Cushings disease.

I’m bitterly conflicted. Apart of me feels relieved to have an answer as to why my body is the way it is. It validates all of the symptoms I tried so hard to brush off. For the same reasons, I’m frustrated that I lost more than 4 years with my body (Prior to getting pregnant, I was in the best shape of my life & loved to be active. I had completed my first Olympic distance triathlon in 3 hrs & 33 min and was training to climb Mt. Rainier).

There are two types of tumors that cause Cushings disease: pituitary tumors & benign adrenal tumors. Good news is that this disease is fully treatable with surgery. Preliminary MRI results show that I have a 3 cm benign adrenal tumor.

I still have a long road ahead, with more testing, additional doctor evaluations and eventually surgery. My doctor has informed me that once the tumor is removed, my body should return to normal, what ever that means…

My greatest hope is that my body will feel good on the inside AND outside. I’m ready to conquer my next triathlon…

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4 responses

19 12 2007
Jody

Kristin,
What a learning experience and a scary one too! I can’t imagine what relief and anxiety you must be experiencing, all at the same time. If you two need a night off sometime you can drop the lil’ monster off at my house and go catch a movie or dinner. Serious life is short and unexpected things find way to pop up no matter what. I fell cut my face open, ripped a good chuck out of my cheek and all of it was just to wake me up to all the time I had wasted on trivial things. I see you taking this and making it a positive thing. I can already see you campaigning for the cause! Let me know if I can help, my heart is with you and your family!

19 12 2007
Christian

I’m oh so glad that you have the “good” type (not to say it’s “good” good, but one is certainly better to be diagnosed with than the other) and that it’s operable. As you already know, everyone here @ Amplify is behind you and will support you to the fullest. Plus hey, you’ll have some good opportunities for telecommuting :)

But seriously, glad that everything will be OK (with an operation here and some recovery there).

19 12 2007
Your husband

If anyone can weather a storm like this, it’s you Kris. And I will be with you 100% of the way! This situation is scary and challenging, but knowing what we are up against gives us a sense of direction and purpose.

22 12 2007
Your Sister-in-law (Kat)

I always wondered about that because I knew how fit you were before the pregnancy and that after, you were doing everything right to loose the weight! Barry’s right. If anyone can fight this, it’s you and I know that you won’t be alone. Your family members in Indiana are all here for you if you need anything…just hollar!

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