After nearly a month of tests & waiting, I received a formal diagnosis from my doctor on Friday – I have ACTH Independent Cushing’s Syndrome. Ok…so what does this mean?
We have two adrenal glands, located in the abdominal cavity. One gland produces adrenaline & the other gland produces serveral different hormones such as cortisol and aldosterone. Simply stated, it’s an overproduction of cortisol in the body. Cortisol helps to maintain blood pressure and cardiovascular function, reduces the immune system’s inflammatory response, balances the effects of insulin in breaking down sugar for energy, and regulates the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
A tumor developed on one of my adrenal glands, causing it to produce too much cortisol and caused the other gland to stop producing all together. Good news is that it can be treated by the removal of the over active gland. I’ll have to be on hormone replacement therapy until the other gland can function normally on it own (long-term, short-term? don’t know yet).
Apart of me wanted to scream with joy, “Yes, I finally have an answer to this hell!” Now I know what’s wrong (and it’s not all in my head). This has to be the best Christmas present EVER – I get my body back.
Another part said, “Damn, more than 4 years of feeling like I’ve been trapped in someone else’s body.”
More than 4 years of killing myself in the gym with no results, 4 years of watching my once youthful, fit body become one that looked abused by overeating & lack of exercise, reluctantly buying the next size up in clothing (making sure to cut the tags out so I wouldn’t be reminded of the “new” size I’d become), 4 years of trying “alternative” eating regimens (only to become more obsessed with what I ate or didn’t eat).
This last year or so has been particularly difficult. I had begun to accept the fact that this is the way my body is going to look. Fine, I can deal with that. What I feel most saddened by is the decrease & down right lack of energy I’ve had. Plus, my body just f*&^ing hurt (joints, back, racing heart, hot sweats, swelling & bloating ALL the time). The list goes on & on…
Based on what my doctor has said & the information I’ve read so far, it appears that the surgery has a high success rate and my body should return to “normal” once the tumor is removed. If everything goes according to plan, the surgery will take place by the end of January. Looks like 2008 is going to be a big year indeed.