- CASE FILE
Help me get my life back! Gained 130lbs in 8 months, muscle spasms, high blood pressure, diabetes, aggressive teeth loss, swollen lymph
ABOUT THIS CASE FILE
When I was 19 I had a miscarriage at 20 weeks, I did not receive a D+C, and had no insurance while working a low wage job so I finished my shift, took public transit home, and then finished my miscarriage before going back to work the next day. Afterward I got into an abusive relationship where I experienced extensive sexual violence which caused me to develop PTSD. After I left that relationship about 3 years later I had to move cross country with no money, as my ex was trying to kill me. When I moved, it was as if I collapsed, and my entire body shut down for 2 months. I went from running every day, to barely having the energy to walk on a treadmill. I decided to go back to school, and joined a work study IT program in Atlanta. Every day I would have a 14 hour commute on public transit, leaving home around 4 am, and getting back home around 10 pm. I ate one meal a day plus the occasional snack, with minimal processed sugars and would often have to walk or run to make sure I could get home on time. 9 months later I got a desk job, and would still have a long commute. Eventually, even though my diet did not change I started gaining weight, putting on more than 100 pounds in the first 8 months and ultimately went from a muscular 145 to 275 pounds. I had a flushed face, high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, sodium intolerance, extreme fatigue, I lost 3 teeth in two months, and had insomnia with chest pain and muscle spasms. Concerning the lost of my teeth, I asked the dentist what could be causing this and they believed that my saliva may be more acidic, which when paired with constant infections and my compromised immune system pointed to high cortisol. At first I assumed that I was just lazy and getting fat, so I joined a gym and tried to push myself to work out more. As a former athlete, I started doing my old track warm up. This accelerated my weight gain and fatigue, and I started researching potential diagnosis. Unfortunately, I was illegally fired when I started to access my healthcare, which meant that I lost my healthcare and had to essentially manage my pain on my own. Eventually I learned that I may have had Cushing's Syndrome, but since I did not have health insurance and was no longer able to work I had to find solutions that could alleviate my suffering. Using this as a working diagnosis, I was able to find some medical studies that pointed to the use of ashwagandha for cortisol, so I took an herbal supplement with ashwagandha and phosphatidylserine daily. Although the package says to take 1 or 2 maximum pills daily, I took a minimum of 6 as needed. It had an immediate help and in addition to starting a keto diet helped me lose 40 pounds and 10 inches off my waist. Since then my blood pressure, insulin, and cholesterol went down, while my muscle spasms and muscle loss/atrophy became more visible. I signed up for a study that allowed me to get a free MRI of my brain, where I and the doctors did not see anything that was glaringly a problem. After moving to Birmingham, I was able to get an endocrinologist who gave me a cortisol test, which came up within a normal range. I explained how I had been self treating with herbs to manage my symptoms, showed the studies that I read to support my decision, showed pictures of my body changes, showed my symptom, weight, mood, and measurement trackers, and they ultimately put me on metformin even though my A1C was in range. Metformin made me suicidal, so I stopped it after a month and looked for a new doctor. At this time my muscles continued to deteriorate, and I had a huge gap in my left thigh. Additionally, I had developed some kind of lymph node issue, as a lymph node in my right cheek was large and hard, over the size of a quarter. It has now shrunk down to the size of a nickel, and I went to an ENT who had me get a ct scan and they suggested that I wait it out. It is still nickel sized over a year later, and it still hurts and occasionally gets really warm to the touch. I also had to stop taking my birth control as it gave me intense nausea, headaches and pain. Since stopping my birth control I have had severe non stop heavy vaginal bleeding with blood clots. This bleeding triggered severe anemia where my hemoglobin stayed at 8, until it recently dropped to 6 which triggered my needing iron infusions. This severe long term anemia (which I have been dealing with since my miscarriage when not on birth control) has triggered heart attacks/angina that was incredibly painful and scary. Since my infusions I have tried to get back on birth control. Combination birth control makes me incredibly sick, while progesterone only birth control has not stopped my bleeding or blood clots. My current doctor has tried to find solutions and has sent my case to UAB, but I have yet to hear back and I am tired and afraid. Mentally, I am incredibly depressed, and have had to work extremely hard to not develop any eating disorders or to have any nervous breakdowns. I am constantly experiencing depersonalization and disassociation in order to get through the day. My world has constantly shrunk, where most of my life revolves around my bed and my phone, but I still struggle with looking in the mirror and seeing my new body and face as my own. I know that Cushing's is mostly seen through a tumor in the adrenal gland or pituitary gland, but because my cortisol is suppressing as expected, my doctor couldn't approve my getting these other areas looked at. I am terrified. Even though I am trying to exercise again and am managing my diet and walking daily, I have not lost any new weight. My deepest fear is that I have clawed my way into a semi health (or at least I am in way less pain than i was even though my quality of life is still poor) I am terrified that whatever triggered this health issue to begin with may come back. Instead of gaining 130 pounds I'll gain twice that, and instead of being able to somewhat resolve it on my own I will die. I don't know what to do, but I want to do something.When I first got sick I immediately started planning, and did all this research and studying. I measured all my food, stuck to a very restrictive diet, and daily found the energy to track my measurements and mood even if that was all I did that day. I am just ready for this to be over and to find a solution. I miss my body, I miss running, I miss hanging out with friends. I even miss working if you can believe that! I would give anything to have my health back and I am hopeful that someone can help me find a solution. If selected I will provide all my medical data including the data I tracked in between doctors and when I did not have health insurance.