Interview with Alicia, a Cushing’s Message Board member who is still testing. Alicia writes “But my life has changed significantly since my last interview, and I could talk about losing my job and applying for Social Security at such a young age. And the issues about self-esteem tied to a career, and risk of depression and isolation. Let me know…will be right after my disability medical screening, I should have lots to talk about!”
The story ends well through the interventions of a therapist, a very sharp nurse and the National Institute of Health (NIH). Or. as the story’s hero describes it, “a little slice of heaven carved out just for me.” This is a story of straight-forward disclosure in the first-person narrative that informs, inspires and provides one person’s path through the wilderness of family dysfunction, abusive hardships in the extreme and extraordinary insights.
Narrator Barbara’s “whole life changed” when she married the charming, intelligent and talented man named Innocent. Barbara could not have predicted how horrendously violent and abusive Innocent would become, in spite of how he provided so well for her and her three daughters and created a lovely, upscale home for them. Barbara is “drawn to putting (her) thoughts down on paper.” Her journal entries are a solace and a method of keeping track of reality. With her husband’s lies and her discovery of shocking secrets of his past life, Barbara recalls her past in order to fathom how she finds herself in a relationship with a man who brutally beats her regularly. The fact is, she remembers a childhood without love, extreme poverty and want, and with these revelations, a deeper understanding of herself. She is also well aware that her husband, too, suffered torment and abuse himself while growing up in an alcoholic family.
In spite of the kindness of a therapist and a courageous divorce in which she attains freedom from abuse for herself and her daughters, Barbara cannot shake a profound depression that leads to three suicide attempts. Deeply religious and spiritual, Barbara prays for enlightenment, or at the very least, a release from mental torment. But when she is committed to a mental hospital, she experiences a jolting loss of personal freedom and brutal treatment. It seems that she has gone from a life of torment to a life of torment in a new kind of hell. But through the attentive and kind professionalism of a nurse named Nancy, who notices markings on her body that seem to indicate Barbara has an undiagnosed medical condition, just recently discussed in medical journals, Barbara is released on medical advice to an NIH hospital in Bethesda, Md. It is at that point that her story mercifully changes for the better in her climb to effective treatments for Cushing’s disease, pituitary cancer and a chance to recover her life.
Barbara’s treatments at that time were part of a ground-breaking clinical study. The effects of high degrees of stress are just now being understood when it comes to trauma and abuse. New insights into Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome and Cushing’s disease are important medical aspects of domestic abuse situations. This book is a good resource for those in need of help and it tells of how one heroic soul faced down extremes of abuse and trauma with love and determination to recover her life.
In her post script, the author writes, “Some stories are meant to be a secret and some stories are meant to be forgotten. Some stories need to be heard to help the survivor live. There is help for women battling domestic violence, child abuse, suicide and Cushing’s disease.” There are links and resources for that kind of help at the end of the book.
Colin Harrington is the events manager at The Bookstore & Get Lit Wine Bar in Lenox. He welcomes readers’ comments at email@example.com.
I wrote parts of this in 2008 and other years, so all the “yesterdays” and “last weeks” are a quite a bit off. This year’s update is at the very bottom.
Wow. That’s about all I can say. Yesterday was possibly the best day of my life since I started getting Cushing’s symptoms, and that was over 25 years ago. A quarter of a century of feeling exhausted, fatigued. A quarter of my life spent taking naps and sleeping.
I went to the endo yesterday. Nothing has changed for me. Nothing will. He wants me to take more cortef. I don’t want to gain weight again. He looked up Provigil and it’s not indicated for panhypopituitarism. So he won’t prescribe it. My kidney surgeon probably won’t let me take, anyway, but it was worth a try.
He did mention that in “only” 2.5 years maybe I can go back on growth hormone. I don’t want to live like this another year let alone 2.5. But then, when I was on GH before it didn’t help me like it helps most everyone else.
I’m tired of catering to a kidney that may or may not fail sometime anyway, tired of being so exhausted all the time. I feel like I’ve lost nearly half my life to this Cushing’s stuff already.
So, yesterday I was supposed to go to a conference on web design for churches. My church sent me because they want me to spiff up their site and make them a new one for Christmas. I wanted to go because, well, I like learning new stuff about the web. I figured that I would learn stuff that would also be useful to me in others of my sites.
And I did!
But the amazing thing is this. My son had told me about a medication that was very similar to Provigil, that he had tried it while he was writing his doctoral thesis and it had helped him.
So, having tried the official doctor route and being rebuffed – again – I had decided to try this stuff on my own.
I was just talking to a friend today about how I’d try nearly anything – even if it ruined my one remaining kidney – to have a few days where I felt good, normal, where I could wake up in the morning rested and be able to have energy for the day.
I want to go out and have fun, to be able to drive for more than 45 minutes without needing to rest, to be have people over for dinner, whatever. I hate being restricted by my lack of energy.
My endo says to cheer up. In two and a half years I can try the growth hormone again. Whoopee. Didn’t work the first time and maybe gave me, or contributed to, cancer growth. Why would I want to look forward to trying that again?
I want to feel good now. Today.
I hate that this disease kills but I also hate that it’s robbed me of half my life already.
I wish doctors would understand that even though we’ve “survived”, there’s no quality of life there.
I hate Cushing’s. It robs so much from so many of us. 🙁
As I said earlier, I have a history of daily naps of at least 3 hours a day. It cuts into everything and prevents me from doing many things. I have to schedule my life around these naps and it’s awful.
A few years ago I went on a Cushie trip to Rockford. I’ve been there a few times and it’s always so much fun. But this first year, we were going to another Cushie’s home for a barbecue. I didn’t drive, I rested in the back of the car during the drive. We got there and I managed to stay awake for a little while. Them I put my head down on the dining room table and fell asleep. Our hostess kindly suggested that I move over to the sofa.
So, I have a long history of daily naps, not getting through the day, yadda, yadda.
So, I was a little nervous about yesterday. I really wanted to go to this conference and was afraid I’d have to go nap in my car.
I got up at 5:30 am yesterday. Before I left at 7:15, I took my Cortef and then I took my non-FDA approved simulated Provigil. (Although it’s not FDA approved, it is not illegal to possess without a prescription and can be imported privately by citizens)
I stayed awake for the whole conference, went to a bell rehearsal, did Stacey’s interview, had dinner and went to bed about 10:30PM. NO NAP! I did close my eyes a little during the 4:00PM session but it was also b-o-r-i-n-g.
I stayed awake, I enjoyed myself, I learned stuff, I participated in conversations (completely unlike shy me!).
I felt like I think normal people feel. I was amazed. Half my life wasted and I finally (thank you Michael!) had a good day.
My kidney doctor and my endo would probably be appalled but it’s about time that I had some life again! Maybe in another 25 years, I’ll take another pill. LOL
Well, the energy from the Adrafinil was a one-day thing. I felt great on Thursday. Friday and Saturday I slept more than usual. Saturday, today, was one of those days where I sleep nearly all day. Maybe if I took the drug more it would build up in my system, maybe not. But it was still worth having that one day where I felt what I imagine normal to be.
While I was being a slug today, my husband painted the entire house.
I’m not sure if I would have been this tired today or if I was somehow making up for the nap I didn’t get on Thursday. Whatever the case, I’m glad that I had the opportunity to try this and to experience the wonderful effects, if only for one day.
Information from a site that sells this:
Alertness Without Stimulation
Adrafinil is the prototype of a new class of smart drug – the eugeroics (ie, “good arousal”) designed to promote vigilance and alertness. Developed by the French pharmaceutical company Lafon Laboratories, adrafinil (brand name, Olmifon) has been approved in many European countries for treating narcolepsy, a condition characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and other unusual symptoms.
Non-narcoleptic users generally find that adrafinil gives them increased energy and reduces fatigue, while improving cognitive function, mental focus, concentration, and memory. It has been reported that quiet people who take adrafinil become more talkative, reserved people become more open, and passive people become more active.
Of course, many stimulant drugs, ranging from caffeine to methamphetamine, are known to produce similar alerting/energizing effects. Adrafinil has been described by some users as a “kinder, gentler” stimulant, because it provides these benefits but usually with much less of the anxiety, agitation, insomnia, associated with conventional stimulants.
Adrafinil’s effects are more subtle than those of the stimulants you may be used to, building over a period of days to months. They appear to be based on its ability to selectively stimulate 1-adrenergic receptors in the brain.2 These receptors normally respond to norepinephrine (noradrenaline), a neurotransmitter linked to alertness, learning, and memory. This is in contrast to conventional stimulants, which stimulate a broader spectrum of brain receptors, including those involving dopamine. Its more focused activity profile may account for adrafinil’s relative lack of adverse side effects.
It’s interesting that that snipped report that people become more talkative. I reported that in the original post, too, even though I didn’t realize that this was a possibility.
A good quote that I wish I could relate to better:
“Time is limited, so I better wake up every morning fresh and know that I have just one chance to live this particular day right, and to string my days together into a life of action and purpose.”
Lance Armstrong (1971 – )
Cyclist, seven-time Tour de France champion and cancer survivor
2011 stuff starts here:
A while ago I went to a handbell festival. I took a bit of adrafinil on the main day to try to stay awake for the whole day. It didn’t seem to keep me as on as it did before. I can’t be used to it already. Maybe I’m just that much more tired than I was before.
Our son lives in New York and every few years he gives us tickets to see a Broadway show. A couple years ago we took the train to NY to see Wicked. Usually, my DH wants to go out and see sights while we’re there. I usually want to nap.
This time we got up on Saturday morning, went out for breakfast. I wanted to take in the whole day and enjoy Wicked so I took some Adrafinil. We got back to the hotel and got ready to go to a museum or other point of interest.
But, DH wanted to rest a bit first. Then our son closed his eyes for a bit…
So, I found myself the only one awake for the afternoon. They both work up in time for the show…
Sigh It was a great show, though.
A recent Christmas I was going to get my son some Adrafinil as a gift. The original place we bought it didn’t have any more stock so I tracked it down as a surprise. He was going to give me some, as well, but couldn’t get it from the original source, either. So he found something very similar called Modafinil. GMTA!
Saturday, 4/23/16 really was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time.
Suffice it to say, we arrived at the Tattoo and I got no nap at all, all day!
We just came home from a great weekend in New York City with our son. I haven’t written about it yet in my Travel Blog but will soon. I did put a bit about it in my Little Free Library blog (do I have too many blogs??) I was amazed to make it through the entire weekend with no Adrafinil – sadly, there’s nowhere to get it anymore. I carried extra cortisol, just in case. And slept all the way home on the train.
We went back to the Virginia International Tattoo again and it was everything I remembered from 2016. A wonderful, but very exhausting time!
This time around we went to some of the band competition, then went back to the hotel for a nap before the show. Fortunately, most of the afternoon events were live-streamed on Facebook so I didn’t miss much.
All of the 2018 Tattoo is on YouTube already.
A couple of my favorite acts:
And the Finale:
When they showed the videos of the Medal of Honor recipients, I thought it was amazing. There is no way I could do any part of what they had done.
Just before leaving, I bought a teeshirt which said More Bagpipes.
When we got home this afternoon, it was a 4-hour nap.
Last but not least, 2019 – my best day was Tuesday, April 23. I just got a cortisol shot in my knee and I’m starting to feel hopeful for the future…