⁉️ Would *YOU* Do This?

I remember someone on the House TV series trying a stunt like this on the episode titled Deception.

At a betting parlor where House happens to be, a woman collapses and House makes sure she gets to the hospital. He thinks she has Cushing’s syndrome while Cameron starts to think she has Münchausen syndrome, a syndrome at which the patient creates the symptoms of a disease, guaranteeing them attention and sympathy.

Rare Case of Woman Manipulating Saliva Tests to Support Cushing’s Diagnosis

Late-night measures of cortisol levels in saliva may not be all that helpful in diagnosing Cushing’s syndrome, a group of physicians discovered upon learning that a difficult to diagnose patient had manipulated the samples.

Although this behavior is extremely rare, the research team from the University of Calgary in Canada, argued that — when a diagnosis becomes difficult — it may be advisable to confirm suspicions using another and more reliable method that can distinguish natural from synthetic glucocorticoids.

The study, Factitious ACTH- dependent, apparent hypercortisolism: the problem with late night salivary cortisol measurements collected at home,” was published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology.

The case report described a woman who was admitted to a specialist clinic after two endocrinologists had failed to diagnose what they suspected was cyclic Cushing’s syndrome.

The woman had complained of fatigue and weight gain over the past four years despite weight loss banding surgery, and declined taking steroid medications. The examination did not reveal particular Cushing’s symptoms.

Physicians started an investigation, including overnight dexamethasone suppression tests and late-night salivary cortisol tests, which indicate increased levels of cortisol likely caused by abnormal functioning of the ACTH hormone.

Imaging did not show any suspected lesions in the pituitary and adrenal gland, and all further examinations did not reveal any disease changes that might have contributed to the increased cortisol.

The woman was put on a dopamine agonist. This treatment triggered a loss of eight kilograms (almost 18 lbs) over six months, and the woman said she was satisfied with it. But two late-night cortisol measurement showed continuing high cortisol levels.

When the clinic started using a new type of analysis to measure cortisol, however, findings changed. The new test, which was more sensitive, indicated massively higher doses of cortisol in re-analyzed saliva samples compared to the older results.

The new test could detect synthetic glucosteroids, but could not indicate if synthetic steroids were responsible for the higher levels seen in the retest. So the team used a method called liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. This technique can identify specific molecules, and revealed that the women had manipulated the samples using prednisone.

The woman’s physician also paid a surprise visit to collect a new saliva sample, which turned out to have normal cortisol levels.

The woman neither denied or confirmed manipulating the samples. And the team was contacted two months later by her new physician, requesting confirmation of her Cushing’s syndrome and details on her case.

The researchers believed the woman most likely has what is known as Munchausen’s syndrome, a mental illness that leads patients to feign physical disease. A 1995 report by the National Institutes of Health showed that 0.7 percent of all people investigated for too high cortisol had this syndrome.

Despite the rarity of this case, the team argued that chemical analysis is a valuable tool for both determining sample manipulation in difficult Cushing’s syndrome cases, or a different potential problem.

They also cautioned against putting too much trust in very elevated late-night cortisol, particularly when the symptoms do not match the cortisol increase.

From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2017/10/05/rare-case-of-woman-manipulating-late-night-saliva-cortisol-tests-to-get-cushings-diagnosis/

 

Steve Owens (sowens) returns to talk about support networks and agencies

 

Steve Owens (sowens) returned on May 29, 7:30. His topic was building up support networks and using available agencies to get back to work (rehab, PT/OT, job coaches, etc).

Steve was diagnosed with HyperBeta Adrenergic Syndrome in August, 2005. Doctors thought he might have a pheo, now they’re checking for ACC cancer.

Listen at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cushingshelp/2008/05/29/steve-owens-sowens-returns-to-talk-about-support-networks-and-agencies

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Day 22: Cushing’s Awareness Challenge 2017

Today’s Cushing’s Awareness Challenge post is about kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma). You might wonder how in the world this is related to Cushing’s. I think it is, either directly or indirectly.

I alluded to this earlier ago when I said:

I finally started the Growth Hormone December 7, 2004.
Was the hassle and 3 year wait worth it?
Stay tuned for tomorrow, April 22, 2017 when all will be revealed.

So, as I said, I started Growth Hormone for my panhypopituitarism on December 7, 2004.  I took it for a while but never really felt any better, no more energy, no weight loss.  Sigh.

April 14, 2006, I went back to the endo and found out that the arginine test that was done in 2004 was done incorrectly. The directions were written unclearly and the test run incorrectly, not just for me but for everyone who had this test done there for a couple years. My endo discovered this when he was writing up a research paper and went to the lab to check on something.

So, I went off GH again for 2 weeks, then was retested. The “good news” was that the arginine test is only 90 minutes now instead of 3 hours.

Wow, what a nightmare my arginine retest started! I went back for that Thursday, April 27, 2006. Although the test was shorter, I got back to my hotel and just slept and slept. I was so glad that I hadn’t decided to go right home after the test.

Friday I felt fine and drove back home, no problem. I picked up my husband for a biopsy he was having and took him to an outpatient surgical center. While I was there waiting for the biopsy to be completed, I started noticing blood in my urine and major abdominal cramps.

There were signs all over that no cell phones were allowed so I sat in the restroom (I had to be in there a lot, anyway!) and I left messages for several of my doctors on what I should do. It was Friday afternoon and most of them were gone 😦  I finally decided to see my PCP after I got my husband home.

When Tom was done with his testing, his doctor took one look at me and asked if I wanted an ambulance. I said no, that I thought I could make it to the emergency room ok – Tom couldn’t drive because of the anesthetic they had given him. I barely made it to the ER and left the car with Tom to park. Tom’s doctor followed us to the ER and instantly became my new doctor.

They took me in pretty fast since I was in so much pain, and had the blood in my urine. At first, they thought it was a kidney stone. After a CT scan, my new doctor said that, yes, I had a kidney stone but it wasn’t the worst of my problems, that I had kidney cancer. Wow, what a surprise that was! I was admitted to that hospital, had more CT scans, MRIs, bone scans, they looked everywhere.

My new “instant doctor” felt that he wasn’t up to the challenge of my surgery, so he called in someone else.  My next new “instant doctor” came to see me in the ER in the middle of the night.  He patted my hand, like a loving grandfather might and said: “At least you won’t have to do chemotherapy”.  And I felt so reassured.

It wasn’t until later, much after my surgery, that I found out that there was no chemo yet that worked for my cancer.  I was so thankful for the way he told me.  I would have really freaked out if he’d said that nothing they had was strong enough!

My open radical nephrectomy was May 9, 2006 in another hospital from the one where the initial diagnosis was made. My surgeon felt that he needed a specialist from that hospital because he believed pre-op that my tumor had invaded into the vena cava because of its appearance on the various scans. Luckily, that was not the case.

My entire left kidney and the encapsulated cancer (10 pounds worth!) were removed, along with my left adrenal gland and some lymph nodes. Although the cancer (renal cell carcinoma AKA RCC) was very close to hemorrhaging, the surgeon believed he got it all.

He said I was so lucky. If the surgery had been delayed any longer, the outcome would have been much different. I repeated the CT scans every 3 months, just to be sure that there is no cancer hiding anywhere. As it turns out, I can never say I’m cured, just NED (no evidence of disease). This thing can recur at any time, anywhere in my body.

I credit the arginine re-test with somehow aggravating my kidneys and revealing this cancer. Before the test, I had no clue that there was any problem. The arginine test showed that my IGF is still low but due to the kidney cancer I couldn’t take my growth hormone for another 5 years – so the test was useless anyway, except to hasten this newest diagnosis.

So… either Growth Hormone helped my cancer grow or testing for it revealed a cancer I might not have learned about until later.

My five years are up now.  In about 3 weeks I will be 11 years free of this cancer!  My kidney surgeon *thinks* it would be ok to try the growth hormone again. My endo says probably not. I’m still a little leery about this, especially where I didn’t notice that much improvement.

What to do?

Interview with Jackie (samsmom) & Jordan

 

 

Jackie (samsmom) & Jordan: Cushing’s in young people, the fight to diagnose, the amazing gift of a GOOD endocrinologist. Jackie has appeared on Discovery Health discussing her fight for a cure for her younger daughter, as well. Later, the gene responsible for Sam’s illness was found. Her father carried the gene as did her two sisters. Jordan, Jackie’s oldest daughter, has recently had her adrenals removed.

Listen at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cushingshelp/2008/05/15/interview-with-jackie-samsmon-jordan

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Interview with Steve Owens, adrenal patient

 

Steve was diagnosed with HyperBeta Adrenergic Syndrome in August, 2005. Doctors thought he might have a pheo, now they’re checking for ACC cancer. Steve also has a newspaper article written about him. Steve’s daughter may also have Cushing’s.

Listen at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cushingshelp/2008/04/10/interview-with-steve-owens

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Myth: “All types of Cushing’s are the same”

Myth: “All types of Cushing’s are the same”

myth-busted

Fact: In the words of our dear friend and advocate, Robin Ess, “There are many genetic varieties with quite a few discovered in the past couple of years. Plus, there are several types such as adrenal, ectopic, and pituitary. And so on”….Amazingly, some doctors do not realize that there are different varieties of Cushing’s and that the symptoms can come from a different source.

For instance, a doctor might rule out a pituitary tumor and completely dismiss the patient, even with biochemical evidence of Cushing’s. That doctor, instead of dismissing the patient, should thoroughly look for other potential sources, such as an adrenal tumor, or yet another source. Did you know that tumors on one’s lungs can even cause Cushing’s? Most people don’t know that.

For more information about the different types of Cushing’s, please read: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cushing-syndrome/basics/causes/con-20032115

Another great article regarding ectopic Cushing’s can be found here: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199809243391304#.VH-80v5f2s8.facebook

MaryONote: Folks might be interested in listening to this podcast episode with Jayne, a Cushing’s patient who had pituitary surgeries and a bilateral adrenalectomy before finding the true source of her ectopic Cushing’s – lung tumors.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cushingshelp/2008/01/31/tentative-date-an-interview-with-jayne-cyclical-cushings-patient

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Myth: Cushing’s Syndrome/Disease can be healed or cured

Myth: Cushing’s Syndrome/Disease can be healed or cured through change in diet or exercise.

myth-busted

Fact: NO! Caloric intake or lack of exercise has NO impact on weight gain and/ or loss in persons with Cushing’s.

Saying that someone “cheated” on their diet may seem reasonable to some as a reason for weight gain but I assure you that a candy bar or a piece of pie does not make a person with Cushing’s gain weight or get sick. Excess cortisol is the reason for Cushing’s symptoms. Treating the disease is the only way to alleviate symptoms.

The first line of treatment with the highest rate of remission is currently surgery to remove the tumor (s) from the pituitary, adrenal gland, or ectopic source.