Day 18: Cushing’s Awareness Challenge 2019

Cushie Crusader, that’s me…and many others.  I think we all have an opportunity to be Cushie Crusaders every time we tell others about our illness, share our story on or offline, post about our struggles – and triumphs – on the message boards, write blog posts in this Cushing’s Awareness Challenge…

I have brochures printed up that I’ll sometimes give to people who look like they might need the info.  My husband carries business cards since he’s getting pretty good at recognizing Cushies.  Robin made a great information card that anyone can print out and share with others.

When we have prayer time in my handbell practice or choir rehearsals I try to mention issues that are going on in the Cushing’s community.  People are slowly but steadily learning about Cushing’s week by week.

A piano student mentioned that a person in a group she is in has Cushing’s, a non-Cushie friend mentioned last week that she had gone with a friend of hers to an endo appointment to discuss Cushing’s.

Get out there and talk about Cushing’s.  Let people know that it’s not just for dogs and horses (and sometimes ferrets)!

After you’ve been diagnosed, don’t just forget all about Cushing’s – stick around the boards and help others who are just getting started.

Here’s something I had made for Sue with SuperSue embroidered on the back.

Picture your name instead:

🦓 Day 15: Cushing’s Awareness Challenge 2019

Blue and Yellow – we have those colors on ribbons, websites, T-shirts, Cushing’s Awareness Challenge logos and even cars.

This is the yellow PT cruiser I had rented for the Columbus, OH meeting in 2007.  I didn’t ask for yellow.  That’s just what the rental company gave me.  Somehow, they knew.

This meeting is the one when we all met at Hoggy’s for dinner although some of us travelers stayed at this hotel.

I’m the one in yellow and blue.

Later in 2007, I bought my own truly Cushie Car.  I even managed to get a butterfly on the tags.

So, where did all this blue and yellow come from, anyway?  The answer is so easy and without any thought that it will amaze you!

In July of 2000, I was talking with my dear friend Alice, who ran a wonderful menopause site, Power Surge.  We wondered why there weren’t many support groups online (OR off!) for Cushing’s and I wondered if I could start one myself and we decided that maybe I could.

This website (http://www.cushings-help.com) first went “live” July 21, 2000.  It was a one-page bit of information about Cushing’s.  Nothing fancy.  No message boards, no blogs, no wiki, no image galleries…  Certainly no Cushing’s Awareness Challenges.

I didn’t know much about HTML (yet!) but I knew a little from what Alice had taught me and I used on my music studio site.  I didn’t want to put as much work <COUGH!> into the Cushing’s site as I had on the music studio site so I used a now-defunct  WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) web editor called Microsoft FrontPage.

One of their standard templates was – you guessed it! – blue and yellow.

TaDa!  Instant Cushie color scheme forever.  Turns out that the HTML that this software churned out was really awful and had to be entirely redone as the site grew.  But the colors stuck.

Now, in this day of mobile web browsers and people going online on their cellphones, the website is being redone yet again.  But the colors are still, and always, blue and yellow.

 

 

🦓 Day 14: Cushing’s Awareness Challenge 2019

 

Because it’s a Sunday again, this is a fairly religious post…

After I was finished with the Cushing’s long diagnostic process, surgery and several post-op visits to NIH, I was asked to give the scripture reading at my church. The man who preached the sermon that week was the survivor of a horrific accident where he and his family were hit by a van while waiting at an airport.

I thought I had written down the scripture reading carefully. I practiced and practiced. I don’t like speaking in front of a crowd but I said I would. When I got to church, the reading was different from what I had practiced. Maybe I wrote it down wrong, maybe someone changed it. Whatever.

The real scripture turned out to be Psalm 116. I got very emotional while reading this and started crying when I got to verse 8:

For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death“.

Others in the congregation who knew part of my story were very moved, too.

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Psalm 116 (New International Version)

1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.

2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came upon me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.

4 Then I called on the name of the LORD:
“O LORD, save me!”

5 The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.

6 The LORD protects the simplehearted;
when I was in great need, he saved me.

7 Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you.

8 For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,

9 that I may walk before the LORD
in the land of the living.

10 I believed; therefore I said,
“I am greatly afflicted.”

11 And in my dismay I said,
“All men are liars.”

12 How can I repay the LORD
for all his goodness to me?

13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the LORD.

14 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people.

15 Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints.

16 O LORD, truly I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your maidservant;
you have freed me from my chains.

17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
and call on the name of the LORD.

18 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people,

19 in the courts of the house of the LORD—
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD.

 

This Psalm has come to have so much meaning in my life.

When I saw a book called A Musician’s Book of Psalms each day had a different psalm. “My” psalm was listed as the reading for my birthday, so I had to buy this book!  For a while, it was the license plate on my car.

I used to carry a print out of this everywhere I go because I find it very soothing. “when I was in great need, he saved me.” This print out is in a plastic page saver but now I have this info on my phone and iPad.

On the other side there is an article I found after my kidney cancer.  You can read that article in another post.

 

 

🦓 Day 3: Cushing’s Awareness Challenge 2019

 

This is one of the suggestions from the Cushing’s Awareness Challenge post:

What have you learned about the medical community since you have become sick?

This one is so easy. I’ve said it a thousand times – you know your own body better than any doctor will. Most doctors have never seen a Cushing’s patient, few ever will in the future.

If you believe you have Cushing’s (or any other rare disease), learn what you can about it, connect with other patients, make a timeline of symptoms and photographs. Read, take notes, save all your doctors notes, keep your lab findings, get second/third/ten or more opinions.  Make a calendar showing which days you had what symptoms.  Google calendars are great for this.

This is your life, your one and only shot (no pun intended!) at it. Make it the best and healthiest that you can.

When my friend and fellow e-patient Dave deBronkart learned he had a rare and terminal kidney cancer, he turned to a group of fellow patients online and found a medical treatment that even his own doctors didn’t know. It saved his life.

In this video he calls on all patients to talk with one another, know their own health data, and make health care better one e-Patient at a time.

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❓Can You Help?

Guest Question from the message boards: Low TSH, Low FT4, buffalo hump and many other symptoms

I have been struggling with progressive symptoms of extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, increased anxiety and depression, rage, acne, weight gain, and sweating just doing small tasks over the last 3 to 4 years. I also have a very hard time controlling my body temperature. I get really cold, turn the heat up, get really hot, turn the heat down, over and over throughout the day. (I’m 36 years old) If I’m sitting I’m freezing. If I’m up moving I’m on fire and sweating. Just such dramatic ends of the spectrum. Anyway, for a long time my GP was only checking my TSH. (Hypothyroidism runs strong in my family). My TSH has always been on the low end of normal. I was feeling so awful, I insisted they were missing something and asked them to check my FT4. That has also always ran at the lower end of normal. They treat me with Levothyroxine to try to increase my FT4, but in doing so, cause my TSH to go even lower. I googled what it meant to have a Low TSH with a low FT4 and it said it could be hypothyroidism caused by a pituitary tumor. I then came across Cushing’s which started showing pictures of the classic “buffalo hump” and my jaw hit the floor.

About a month ago, I caught myself in profile in my mirror and was completely taken aback by my appearance. My husband and I aren’t sure how long my neck has looked this way. Either way I was just wondering what others thoughts were. My GP has ordered some kind of cortisol test thus far that I’ll go for tomorrow. I would also like an MRI of my pituitary and possibly adrenals. I’m just tired of sleeping my life away and have been searching for answers for so long. Please let me know what you think of the hump.

Are there other causes for this appearance? Thanks

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❓Guest Question: Cushing’s in 15 year old male

Jess asks on the Message Boards:

Hello, – a little back story. I have a 15 year old son who over the past couple of years has gained 60 pounds and has increasingly become angry, depressed, anxious- to the point where he was having thoughts of suicide. We went to a behavioral health specialist who put him on anti-anxiety meds, but his aggression has become worse and worse. I literally found myself last week saying, never in my life would I think this kid would act so violently towards me or his siblings. He was a good, sensitive kid. His mood can change in the blink of an eye. He also is very withdrawn and anxious to the point where he now does online school. We have contributed all of this to puberty and life experiences, just typical teenage stuff… but last week, when i was able to actaully have him come out of his room… i noticed a “lump” on the top of back, base of the neck. I am not sure if a buffalo hump can be caused by playing video games and sitting in a computer chair for 18 hours a day? Or if this is considered a buffalo hump??

Respond to Jess here: http://cushings.invisionzone.com/topic/54467-cushings-in-15-yo-male

❣️The Message Boards Turn 18 Today!

 

 

Today  is the birthday, or anniversary, of the boards starting September 30, 2000 (The rest of the site started earlier that year on July 21, 2000)

As of today, we have 72,796 members who have made countless posts.

Find the message boards here: http://cushings.invisionzone.com/