Wednesday, November 3, 2010

40 Days of Thankfulness: Day Twenty

Today is a very special day for me.  I am thankful to so many, named and unnamed.  This is the 23rd anniversary of my pituitary surgery at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland.

I couldn't have gotten to surgery without a myriad of books from the public library, my parents who watched my son while I was at NIH for 6 weeks pre-op, an oncologist, the endo who got me there... So many, and so many years of sickness just trying to get diagnosed.

I won't bore anyone with my "story" but if anyone is interested, it's available here.

The short version is that I knew I was sick starting about 2003.  No doctors would offer any help.  A chance description of Cushing's convinced me that this was what I had.  Even when I presented Xerox copies of medical texts to doctors, they would all say that I couldn't have it.  It was "too rare".  I was fat.  I cheated on my diet.  I was depressed.  Go away.  Take drugs.

I finally got to an endo who got me into NIH in 2006.  During six weeks away from home as an in-patient, they diagnosed me with pituitary Cushing's.

For those who don't know, here's where the pituitary gland is:

I had a 7 year old son and I was sure I was going to die during surgery, if not before. I wrote letters "just in case".  I was terrified of what could happen and also what would happen if I never had surgery.  I knew I couldn't live with the Cushing's.

A college contempory of mine wasn't so lucky.  Luckily, I didn't read this in the Alumni magazine until after my surgery. She had the same operation. She came from my home town. We  had the same major at the same college, we were the same age. We had the same surgical and medical team. I recovered. The other woman died during surgery.

So, today, on my 23rd anniverary, I am thankful that I saw my son grow up, that my husband stuck with me, that I'm still alive, that I'm able to help others beat Cushing's...

Thanks to Dr Edward Oldfield, NIH, nurses, doctors, Fairfax County Public Library and how it all worked out in the end.