🦓 Day 27: Cushing’s Awareness Challenge 2018

People often ask me how I found out I had Cushing’s Disease.  Theoretically, it was easy.  In practice, it was very difficult.

Ladies Home Journal, 1983In 1983 I came across a little article in the Ladies Home Journal which said: “If you have these symptoms…”

I found the row with my symptoms and the answer read “…ask your doctor about Cushing’s”.

After that article, I started reading everything I could on Cushing’s, I bought books that mentioned Cushing’s. I asked and asked my doctors for many years and all of them said that I couldn’t have it.  It was too rare.  I was rejected each time.

Due to all my reading at the library, I was sure I had Cushing’s but no one would believe me. My doctors would say that Cushing’s Disease is too rare, that I was making this up and that I couldn’t have it.

 

In med school, student doctors are told “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras“.

According to Wikipedia: “Zebra is a medical slang term for a surprising diagnosis. Although rare diseases are, in general, surprising when they are encountered, other diseases can be surprising in a particular person and time, and so “zebra” is the broader concept.

The term derives from the aphorism “When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don’t expect to see a zebra”, which was coined in a slightly modified form in the late 1940s by Dr. Theodore Woodward, a former professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.  Since horses are the most commonly encountered hoofed animal and zebras are very rare, logically you could confidently guess that the animal making the hoofbeats is probably a horse. By 1960, the aphorism was widely known in medical circles.”

So, doctors typically go for the easily diagnosed, common diseases.  Just because something is rare doesn’t mean that no one gets it.  We shouldn’t be dismissed because we’re too hard to diagnose.

When I was finally diagnosed in 1987, 4 years later, it was only because I started bleeding under the skin. My husband made circles around the outside perimeter each hour with a marker so my leg looked like a cut log with rings.

When I went to my Internist the next day he was shocked at the size of the rings. He now thought I had a blood disorder so he sent me to a Hematologist/Oncologist.

Fortunately, that new doctor ran a twenty-four-hour urine test and really looked at me and listened to me.  Both he and his partner recognized that I had Cushing’s but, of course, couldn’t do anything further with me.  They packed me off to an endo where the process started again.

My final diagnosis was in October, 1987.  Quite a long time to simply  “…ask your doctor about Cushing’s”.

Looking back, I can see Cushing’s symptoms much earlier than 1983.  But, that ‘s for a different post…

 

🦓 Day 2: Cushing’s Awareness Challenge 2018

You may be wondering about the zebra in the title of these posts.

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

“Give yourself, your condition, or your health focus a mascot. Is it a real person? Fictional? Mythical being? Describe them. Bonus points if you provide a visual!”

Our “Official mascot” is the zebra.

Our mascot
Our mascot

In med school, student doctors are told “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras“.

According to Wikipedia: “Zebra is a medical slang term for a surprising diagnosis. Although rare diseases are, in general, surprising when they are encountered, other diseases can be surprising in a particular person and time, and so “zebra” is the broader concept.

The term derives from the aphorism ‘When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don’t expect to see a zebra’, which was coined in a slightly modified form in the late 1940s by Dr. Theodore Woodward, a former professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.  Since horses are the most commonly encountered hoofed animal and zebras are very rare, logically you could confidently guess that the animal making the hoofbeats is probably a horse.

zebra-mug
A zebra cup my DH bought me 🙂

By 1960, the aphorism was widely known in medical circles.”

Why? Because those of us who DO have a rare disorder know from personal experience what it feels like to be dismissed by a doctor or in many cases, multiple doctors. Many physicians have completely lost the ability to even imagine that zebras may exist!  Cushing’s is too rare – you couldn’t possibly have that.  Well… rare means some people get it.  Why couldn’t it be me?

Although one of my signature images has a zebra, many have rainbows or butterflies in them so I guess that I consider those my own personal mascots.

I posted this in 2010 in 40 Days of Thankfulness: Days Twenty-Two through Thirty

I have a special affinity for rainbows. To me, a rainbow is a sign that things are going to be ok.

Years ago, our little family was in Florida. I felt guilty about going because my dad was terminally ill with his second bout of colon cancer. I was worried about him and said a little prayer for him.

I was lying on the beach while DH and our son were in the ocean and I looked up and saw a rainbow. It was a perfectly clear, sunny afternoon. I even called the people out of the water, in case it was something I wanted to see that didn’t really exist. They saw it, too.

Where in the world did that rainbow come from, if it wasn’t a sign that everything would be ok?

Butterflies are something else again.  I like them because I would like to think that my life has evolved like a butterfly’s, from something ugly and unattractive to something a bit easier on the eye.

My Cushie self was the caterpillar, post-op is more butterfly-ish, if not in looks, in good deeds.

From July, 2008

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved butterflies for their beauty and what they stood for. I’ve always wanted to shed my cocoon and become someone else, someone beautiful, graceful.

One of my first memories as a kid was knocking on the back door of my house and when my mom answered, I’d pretend to somehow be an orphan, looking for some kind person to take me in. And I would try to be that different child, with new habits, in the hopes that my parents would somehow think better of me, love me more as this poor homeless kid than they did as their own.

The butterfly was trying to emerge but it never got too far. Somehow, I would slip into my original self and be a bother to my parents.

Hope springs eternal, though!

Day 29: Cushing’s Awareness Challenge 2017

People often ask me how I found out I had Cushing’s Disease.  Theoretically, it was easy.  In practice, it was very difficult.

Ladies Home Journal, 1983In 1983 I came across a little article in the Ladies Home Journal which said: “If you have these symptoms…”

I found the row with my symptoms and the answer read “…ask your doctor about Cushing’s”.

After that article, I started reading everything I could on Cushing’s, I bought books that mentioned Cushing’s. I asked and asked my doctors for many years and all of them said that I couldn’t have it.  It was too rare.  I was rejected each time.

Due to all my reading at the library, I was sure I had Cushing’s but no one would believe me. My doctors would say that Cushing’s Disease is too rare, that I was making this up and that I couldn’t have it.

 

In med school, student doctors are told “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras“.

According to Wikipedia: “Zebra is a medical slang term for a surprising diagnosis. Although rare diseases are, in general, surprising when they are encountered, other diseases can be surprising in a particular person and time, and so “zebra” is the broader concept.

The term derives from the aphorism “When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don’t expect to see a zebra”, which was coined in a slightly modified form in the late 1940s by Dr. Theodore Woodward, a former professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.  Since horses are the most commonly encountered hoofed animal and zebras are very rare, logically you could confidently guess that the animal making the hoofbeats is probably a horse. By 1960, the aphorism was widely known in medical circles.”

So, doctors typically go for the easily diagnosed, common diseases.  Just because something is rare doesn’t mean that no one gets it.  We shouldn’t be dismissed because we’re too hard to diagnose.

When I was finally diagnosed in 1987, 4 years later, it was only because I started bleeding under the skin. My husband made circles around the outside perimeter each hour with a marker so my leg looked like a cut log with rings.

When I went to my Internist the next day he was shocked at the size of the rings. He now thought I had a blood disorder so he sent me to a Hematologist/Oncologist.

Fortunately, that new doctor ran a twenty-four-hour urine test and really looked at me and listened to me.  Both he and his partner recognized that I had Cushing’s but, of course, couldn’t do anything further with me.  They packed me off to an endo where the process started again.

My final diagnosis was in October, 1987.  Quite a long time to simply  “…ask your doctor about Cushing’s”.

Looking back, I can see Cushing’s symptoms much earlier than 1983.  But, that ‘s for a different post…

 

Day 3: Cushing’s Awareness Challenge 2017

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

“Give yourself, your condition, or your health focus a mascot. Is it a real person? Fictional? Mythical being? Describe them. Bonus points if you provide a visual!”

Our “Official mascot” is the zebra.

Our mascot
Our mascot

In med school, student doctors are told “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras“.

According to Wikipedia: “Zebra is a medical slang term for a surprising diagnosis. Although rare diseases are, in general, surprising when they are encountered, other diseases can be surprising in a particular person and time, and so “zebra” is the broader concept.

The term derives from the aphorism ‘When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don’t expect to see a zebra’, which was coined in a slightly modified form in the late 1940s by Dr. Theodore Woodward, a former professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.  Since horses are the most commonly encountered hoofed animal and zebras are very rare, logically you could confidently guess that the animal making the hoofbeats is probably a horse.

zebra-mug
A zebra cup my DH bought me 🙂

By 1960, the aphorism was widely known in medical circles.”

Why? Because those of us who DO have a rare disorder know from personal experience what it feels like to be dismissed by a doctor or in many cases, multiple doctors. Many physicians have completely lost the ability to even imagine that zebras may exist!  Cushing’s is too rare – you couldn’t possibly have that.  Well… rare means some people get it.  Why couldn’t it be me?

Although one of my signature images has a zebra, many have rainbows or butterflies in them so I guess that I consider those my own personal mascots.

I posted this in 2010 in 40 Days of Thankfulness: Days Twenty-Two through Thirty

I have a special affinity for rainbows. To me, a rainbow is a sign that things are going to be ok.

Years ago, our little family was in Florida. I felt guilty about going because my dad was terminally ill with his second bout of colon cancer. I was worried about him and said a little prayer for him.

I was lying on the beach while DH and our son were in the ocean and I looked up and saw a rainbow. It was a perfectly clear, sunny afternoon. I even called the people out of the water, in case it was something I wanted to see that didn’t really exist. They saw it, too.

Where in the world did that rainbow come from, if it wasn’t a sign that everything would be ok?

Butterflies are something else again.  I like them because I would like to think that my life has evolved like a butterfly’s, from something ugly and unattractive to something a big easier on the eye.

My Cushie self was the caterpillar, post-op is more butterfly-ish, if not in looks, in good deeds.

From July, 2008

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved butterflies for their beauty and what they stood for. I’ve always wanted to shed my cocoon and become someone else, someone beautiful, graceful.

One of my first memories as a kid was knocking on the back door of my house and when my mom answered, I’d pretend to somehow be an orphan, looking for some kind person to take me in. And I would try to be that different child, with new habits, in the hopes that my parents would somehow think better of me, love me more as this poor homeless kid than they did as their own.

The butterfly was trying to emerge but it never got too far. Somehow, I would slip into my original self and be a bother to my parents.

Hope springs eternal, though!

Day 29, Cushing’s Awareness Challenge 2016

People sometimes ask me how I found out I had Cushing’s Disease.  Theoretically, it was easy.  In practice, it was very difficult.

Ladies Home Journal, 1983In 1983 I came across a little article in the Ladies Home Journal which said “If you have these symptoms…”

I found the row with my symptoms and the answer read “…ask your doctor about Cushing’s”.

After that article, I started reading everything I could on Cushing’s, I bought books that mentioned Cushing’s. I asked and asked my doctors for many years and all of them said that I couldn’t have it.  It was too rare.  I was rejected each time.

Due to all my reading at the library, I was sure I had Cushing’s but no one would believe me. My doctors would say that Cushing’s Disease is too rare, that I was making this up and that I couldn’t have it.

In med school, student doctors are told “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras“.

According to Wikipedia: “Zebra is a medical slang term for a surprising diagnosis. Although rare diseases are, in general, surprising when they are encountered, other diseases can be surprising in a particular person and time, and so “zebra” is the broader concept.

The term derives from the aphorism “When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don’t expect to see a zebra”, which was coined in a slightly modified form in the late 1940s by Dr. Theodore Woodward, a former professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.  Since horses are the most commonly encountered hoofed animal and zebras are very rare, logically you could confidently guess that the animal making the hoofbeats is probably a horse. By 1960, the aphorism was widely known in medical circles.”

So, doctors typically go for the easily diagnosed, common diseases.  Just because something is rare doesn’t mean that no one gets it.  We shouldn’t be dismissed because we’re too hard to diagnose.

When I was finally diagnosed in 1987, 4 years later, it was only because I started bleeding under the skin. My husband made circles around the outside perimeter each hour with a marker so my leg looked like a cut log with rings.

When I went to my Internist the next day he was shocked at the size of the rings. He now thought I had a blood disorder so he sent me to a Hematologist/Oncologist.

Fortunately, that new doctor ran a twenty-four hour urine test and really looked at me and listened to me.  Both he and his partner recognized that I had Cushing’s but, of course, couldn’t do anything further with me.  They packed me off to an endo where the process started again.

My final diagnosis was in October, 1987.  Quite a long time to simply  “…ask your doctor about Cushing’s”.

Looking back, I can see Cushing’s symptoms much earlier than 1983.  But, that ‘s for a different post.

Day 4, Cushing’s Awareness Challenge 2016

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

“Give yourself, your condition, or your health focus a mascot. Is it a real person? Fictional? Mythical being? Describe them. Bonus points if you provide a visual!”

Our “Official mascot” is the zebra.

Our mascot
Our mascot

In med school, student doctors are told “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras“.

According to Wikipedia: “Zebra is a medical slang term for a surprising diagnosis. Although rare diseases are, in general, surprising when they are encountered, other diseases can be surprising in a particular person and time, and so “zebra” is the broader concept.

The term derives from the aphorism ‘When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don’t expect to see a zebra’, which was coined in a slightly modified form in the late 1940s by Dr. Theodore Woodward, a former professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.  Since horses are the most commonly encountered hoofed animal and zebras are very rare, logically you could confidently guess that the animal making the hoofbeats is probably a horse.

zebra-mug
A zebra cup my DH bought me 🙂

By 1960, the aphorism was widely known in medical circles.”

Why? Because those of us who DO have a rare disorder know from personal experience what it feels like to be dismissed by a doctor or in many cases, multiple doctors. Many physicians have completely lost the ability to even imagine that zebras may exist!  Cushing’s is too rare – you couldn’t possible have that.  Well… rare means some people get it.  Why couldn’t it be me?

Although one of my signature images has a zebra, many have rainbows or butterflies in them so I guess that I consider those my own personal mascots.

I posted this in 2010 in 40 Days of Thankfulness: Days Twenty-Two through Thirty

I have a special affinity for rainbows. To me, a rainbow is a sign that things are going to be ok.

Years ago, our little family was in Florida. I felt guilty about going because my dad was terminally ill with his second bout of colon cancer. I was worried about him and said a little prayer for him.

I was lying on the beach while DH and our son were in the ocean and I looked up and saw a rainbow. It was a perfectly clear, sunny afternoon. I even called the people out of the water, in case it was something I wanted to see that didn’t really exist. They saw it, too.

Where in the world did that rainbow come from, if it wasn’t a sign that everything would be ok?

Butterflies are something else again.  I like them because I would like to think that my life has evolved like a butterfly’s, from something ugly and unattractive to something a big easier on the eye.

My Cushie self was the caterpillar, post-op is more butterfly-ish, if not in looks, in good deeds.

From July, 2008

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved butterflies for their beauty and what they stood for. I’ve always wanted to shed my cocoon and become someone else, someone beautiful, graceful.

One of my first memories as a kid was knocking on the back door of my house and when my mom answered, I’d pretend to somehow be an orphan, looking for some kind person to take me in. And I would try to be that different child, with new habits, in the hopes that my parents would somehow think better of me, love me more as this poor homeless kid than they did as their own.

The butterfly was trying to emerge but it never got too far. Somehow, I would slip into my original self and be a bother to my parents.

Hope springs eternal, though!