Cushing’s Disease

According to WebMD, if you google “Tumor” – it is defined as an abnormal growth of cells that serves no purpose.

In the summer of 2018, we decided one last attempt at another cycle of Clomid trial.  After all, it was something tried and conceived.  It was my decision to not pursue alternative options that are more invasive at this time.  It was difficult to try and maintain a positive attitude at first but what life experience taught me as an immigrant child being raised by a single mother was that nothing worth having comes easy.  Josh had to remind me of my own mantra when I had moments of “I see the glass half full…but of poison” attitude.  (Gold star for whoever can figure out where that reference came from)

This time it was different. My dosage had to be increased and I was still not ovulating after the first two cycles. The last cycle I felt so sick that I was seen at Urgent Care twice in a month for hypertension. This led to my endocrinology referral and subsequent diagnosis of Cushing’s Disease. My endocrinologist said I did not look “Floridly Cushing’s” Oh but I do… Clinically, I had all the signs and symptoms of Cushing’s Disease for about 5 years. The symptoms got worse in the last two years which coincided with taking Clomid for fertility. I had abnormal weight gain, terrible skin, my hair keeps falling out and growing in places that I do not particular want it to and my energy levels best described as an iPhone 5 with a shitty battery. The diagnosis of Cushing’s Disease lifted a lot of unwarranted guilt around not being able to exercise and eat a proper diet. I was always craving terrible foods. My bone density scan revealed that I was pre-osteroprorosis at 32 years old and at a higher risk of fractures (I guess I do not regret my decision to stop snowboarding a couple years ago) I creaked and struggle to get out of bed every morning like a senior and could not understand why other than blaming myself for not putting more effort into exercising instead of lying around like Darwin. Although, owning a French Bulldog do naturally make you less incline to leave the couch, just ask any Frenchie owners.

The physical symptoms gave me more appreciation for missing my work with seniors at the hospital. You can see them struggle but to be relatable usually takes time…like you have to be old to appreciate being old. And I was told 32 is not old.

The psychiatric and psychological disturbances caused by my Cushing’s Disease was perhaps the worst of the illness. As I got closer to a confirmed diagnosis of having a corticotroph pituitary adenoma (waiting for test results, trying to get an MRI in a timely manner so I actually paid for a private one…) increased my already high cortisol levels – while continuing work at the clinic where I only get to listen to other people’s problems all day. I was increasingly depressed and anxious. I basically looked at myself in the mirror and saw myself as a patient on unit 48 except with a 32 year old face.

To be Continued…

#memoir #stories #medicalstories #nonfiction #lifestories

Planning Life

Josh and I have been trying to start a family the last four years.  We got married in 2014 and went on our honeymoon to Japan in 2015…  Shortly after our honeymoon we felt like we were in a good place in our lives to start taking on more responsibilities instead of being just a “DINK” – Dual Income No Kids.  Darwin, our French Bulldog also wanted to be a big brother so he could lick baby’s feet and nap with baby (he told me this with his big yearning yellow eyes…)  After a year of no luck, I went to my family doctor and was diagnosed with PCOS and subsequently referred to the fertility clinic.  That first year of trying to conceive on our own was so frustrating that led me to think about what else I want to do with my life instead of devoting all my time and effort in trying to be a mother. My revelation was to be Dora the Explorer!  These stories will be in a different post later.    

One of my favourite Woody Allen quotes: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans”  Things didn’t go exactly according to plan the next three years of my life.

Being a nurse, and most of my nursing friends would concur that we are “Planners” We love to plan! Plan trips, parties, and life. We take comfort in calculated certainties in how things will go smoothly as long as it goes according to our carefully crafted care plans. And most of my nursing friends (if not all) would know that in reality…the above Woody Allen quote is most fitting in our life circumstances.

The fertility clinic gave me a plan to follow. Great. I love planning. I knew that having PCOS – the odds are stacked against me. I just have to beat the odds and how hard could it be to beat the odds when you are calculating how much sex you are having, when to have it and testing to see if Josh “hit the back of the net” as he calls it. And so I followed the plan…take some pills, eat a healthier diet, and minimize stress with activities that I enjoy. Well if you thought sex was one of them…you were wrong. It eventually became a chore when both of us continue to work full time (I was doing shift work and Josh was working 12 – 14 hour days running a company basically) We were exhausted. The first two trials of Clomid and carefully timed romantic intercourse with jazz music on Spotify and scented candles yield no return. Yet, I still thought to myself, third time’s the charm?

Third time was the charm. We found out I was 5 weeks pregnant and Josh was doing a hula “look I have a watermelon in my belly” dance. For some strange reason though, I was not as elated and actually had a terrible feeling of doom (I didn’t say this out loud though) Also, I had a trip planned to Oslo in 2 months! This was not in my plan! How am I going to travel on my own with morning sickness?? Josh called my traveling partner Princess Pea because by week 6 the size of the embryo would be a Pea. As it turns out, my intuition was right and I lost the pregnancy the following week just as I was starting to feel hopeful about my potential traveling Pea.

To be continued…

#nursing #memoir #nonfiction #lifestories #story