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Thread: Has anyone else gone through a cushing’s fear?

  1. #1
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    Has anyone else gone through a cushing’s fear?

    Hi,

    On my other post that was back from 2016 I had been taking about a hump on my lower neck/ upper neck. I was 16 at the time and I know it was there before I was 16 because after I noticed it I looked at pictures from when I was 15 and I had it then too. It is what doctors call a “Buffalo hump” looking at pictures online.

    When I was 16 and first noticed this I panicked, thinking it was a huge tumor growing there. I remember crying and begging my parents to take me to a dr, but they did not see the need to. I eventually had calmed down about it, accepting it must be a part of my body. I’m going to be honest and this is SO embarrassing to admit. My younger years through middle school/ high school I went through a time of really bad depression. My hair was in a pony tail literally every single day. I only messed with it to take basic care. One day I cut it all off, and that is when I noticed the fatty pad/ hump on the back of my neck. My hair was so heavy on me and i also always had my head down at school because I was so worried my head was too big for people to see. So I wonder if part of it really was my posture, I’m sure the extra weight on my head and constantly having it downwards couldn’t have helped. When I cut my hair off I couldn’t believe how light my head was.

    Anyways, Flash forward to 5 years later I suddenly was reminded of it. I have been on google for the past few days and I have found that this is common with cushings disease. I looked up the symptoms and I have a LOT. My gynecologist had thought that I had PCOS, which causes similar symptoms. ( irregular periods, excess hair growth etc) which I DO have. But.. she wasn’t able to see any cysts on my ovaries when I had an ultrasound last year. My thing is.. this hump on my back is making me think it’s cushing’s disease which apparently is caused by a tumor in your brain. Apparently 10 to 15 people per million are diagnosed with it per year. And I am so scared that I will be one of the rare cases.

    I know it’s rare. And I know that I had a lot of heavy hair on my head for a couple of years and I constantly had my head down and I hear a chiropractor say that fatty tissue can develop there from bad posture, but I have so many symptoms of this cushing’s disease. I have 100% convinced myself that I have this and will either suffer my entire life with a low quality of life and/or have to have risky brain surgery. I’m going to make an appointment with a dr soon, in the mean time I just am driving myself into a hysterical mess. I have so many plans for the future for myself. My boyfriend and I are talking about getting engaged, I’m trying to figure out a career path and I feel like my life is just about over right now and I think that’s the hardest part. My anxiety is telling me I’ve already been diagnosed and I won’t ever get to live out my life. My boyfriend tries to contort me, and when I hear him talk about our plans anymore I feel like I will break down in tears and I have to hold them back because I’m so scared I won’t be there.


    Has anyone else gone through this fear? I feel so terrified to even call and make an appointment. Especially since I just recently stopped seeing my pediatrician who’s known me my entire life. If I do have it and have high cortisol levels always maybe that explains my anxiety... but how will they know if mine is high due to constant anxiety and stress or cushing’s?

    I read online that if this goes untreated the median age of survival is 5 years. I had this hump at least since I was 15 and since I’m 21 that’s been 6 years. I don’t really think I gained any crazy amount of weight in a short amount of time. I’ve been a bit heavier the majority of my life. I also don’t really think I bruise easily or have abnormally thin arms or legs for my weight. It also said it’s hard for people with this disease to lose weight, but I went on a diet last year before covid hit and I was doing pretty well with losing pounds.

    I have also re-enrolled in an online therapy as I can tell I’m spiraling. I really thought I had kicked it this time. And I know it’s normal to have concerns over health things, but reading this back to myself I think I’m a little over the top. ( as usual)
    Last edited by UserName20; 17-05-21 at 20:26.

  2. #2
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    Smile Re: Has anyone else gone through a cushing’s fear?

    Yep, I've been there. After I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 17, I was convinced that it was a misdiagnosis and that I really had Cushing's instead. I had gained a massive amount of weight on only 2 months (50 lbs. Yeah, that's a LOT). Because of this incredibly rapid weight gain, I had insane bright red stretch marks across my belly from navel to nether region and even down across my thighs. Accompanied with this, I completely stopped having my period and started developing facial hair along my side-burns/chin. Needless to say, I was convinced that the rapid weight gain and red stretchmarks and fuzz on my face was due to Cushing's rather than PCOS. I even noticed that fatty hump. I went to doctor after doctor convinced that this was what I had for a good year, and all that ever came up was elevated testosterone (from PCOS), NEVER cortisol (which would point towards Cushing's).

    Eventually, my worry lowered once I realized that my rapid weight gain had stopped and that my stretch marks were turning to a normal skin color. With Cushing's weight gain doesn't stop, you keep gaining until you are obese/ morbidly obese and the stretch marks never fade into a healthy skin tone, they remain a livid red/purple because of cortisol. I also realized that my fatty hump is probably the result of poor posture when reading/looking at my phone. I am still alive today at 23 and my worry about this began when I was 17. All of my symptoms were due to PCOS and poor lifestyle choices, NOT Cushing's.

    Also, I know a few people with fatty humps, and none of them have Cushing's. A fatty hump can definitely be caused by poor posture + weight gain (or just being slightly heavier at all). I think that you are probably fine!

  3. #3
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    Re: Has anyone else gone through a cushing’s fear?

    Thank you SO much! Your response really helped put my mind more at ease! It’s so comforting knowing others have felt the same way in a situation like this. I know they say cushing’s is hard to diagnose because the symptoms can go along with other things too like PCOS. It’s strange. I didn’t have cysts on my ovaries but the dr said that didn’t rule out PCOS especially with all of the other symptoms I had. I take comfort in knowing that I’ve had this hump for about six years and that losing weight was not a struggle for me when I began my diet last year. I lost 30 pounds right in the beginning of dieting and going to the gym. I’ve been on YouTube looking up videos for a fatty hump on the neck, with how many views it has I know that more people than I thought have this too. ( and a lot of the videos are chiropractors talking about posture )

    I take comfort in knowing that cushing’s disease is rare and that from what I’ve read it is usually treatable. ( not sure about curable completely I get different answers on that )

    I think at this point I will make an appointment once I have the braveness. I’m sure he will want to run tests and I know that I can’t panic when he orders them assuming this means he believes I have it. I also think I’m going to get back on weight watchers and start going to the gym again. ( when covid started that’s when my diet stopped and going to the gym stopped too since it was closed)

  4. #4
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    Re: Has anyone else gone through a cushing’s fear?

    Yeah, I don't have any cysts either, but I definitely have high testosterone, ergo PCOS. It's really about the hormone dysregulation more than anything. It's awesome that you've been able to lose weight. I have too, but for much less healthy reasons (I'm currently on a liquid diet because of acute pancreatitis).

    Agreed. Getting an appointment to check hormone levels would be great, at the very least to see where yours are currently at. I'm assuming they would check testosterone, Thyroid (TSH), and cortisol if you asked. With PCOS, exercise and balanced low-refined carb diet can greatly improve symptoms and hormone levels, so it's a great idea to get to the gym!

    Elevated testosterone can exacerbate anxiety in some individuals. A lot of videos I watched of people coming off of testosterone said that their main complaint was increased anxiety/panic attacks (I was watching transitioning and de-transitioning videos to get a feel for what hormones can do to the body, I am not transgender myself, but it was very informative). Elevated Thyroid hormone has a similar effect.

    Also, anxiety can naturally elevate cortisol on its own, so elevated cortisol does not necessarily indicate Cushing's. For a proper Cushing's diagnosis, I think that cortisol levels have to be nearly off-the-charts high.

    Hope everything goes well!

  5. #5
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    Re: Has anyone else gone through a cushing’s fear?

    I thought my doctor was crazy when she said not having cysts did not rule out PCOS, I am so glad you told me you didn’t have any either! I was so confused and thought “then what was the point of the ultrasound.” Lol! I looked it up and it turns its pretty common to have PCOS without cysts! Not that having PCOS is the best thing ever, but I would be happy to know that’s all that I have and that it’s manageable and also common for us women!

    I think I finally have the courage to make the dr appointment. It’s a brand new doctor so I’m not sure how his mannerism will be. I know some doctors run lots of tests and others don’t as much. I guess if he isn’t a good fit I will find another ( but not for the same issue, I need to work on accepting a diagnosis )

    I have been googling a bit more ( I’m ashamed to admit ) but I am more so looking for symptoms I don’t have. I think cushing’s has so many symptoms that are related to PCOS or just being overweight in general. For example for things I don’t have - I don’t think my arms or legs are thin for my body size, I don’t bruise easily, I read that with cushing’s losing weight is almost impossible with diet alone because of the cortisol, but I lost 30 pounds last heat pretty easily! My doctor was even more impressed with me.

    I think PCOS in my situation makes perfect sense. I think the one thing holding me back and weighing me down ( literally lol ) is the fatty hump on my upper back / lower neck. I’ve been watching videos from chiropractors on YouTube about this. I read through all of the comments and see the thousands or even millions of views and it bring me comfort knowing others have this too. And I know for a fact my posture is bad. That is an absolute fact. Then there’s always the few comments urging everyone to get checked for cushing’s which raises my anxiety back up a bit.

    I have definitely felt more calm about this the last day or so. I know that when that appointment rolls around I will be panicked all over, but in the mean time I think I will focus on eating healthy and making my way back to the gym. 😊

  6. #6
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    Re: Has anyone else gone through a cushing’s fear?

    I have been tested for cushings for many years and still am being.

    It is done with 24-hour urine collection tests.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Has anyone else gone through a cushing’s fear?

    Oh wow you have?? It must be a more common thing that doctors look for than I initially had thought! I have set up an appointment, but they couldn’t get me in until June 7th which is 19 days away.. my anxiety is going to be so bad for the next few weeks as I wait.

  8. #8
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    Re: Has anyone else gone through a cushing’s fear?

    I really don't think I have it but the urine tests keep coming back borderline so they keep repeating them.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Has anyone else gone through a cushing’s fear?

    I am back in therapy. However, it has almost raised my anxiety. I was explaining to my therapist how I am convinced I have this and how it’s taking over my life. She said “you do have a disease but probably not cushing’s.” I do have a disease?? I’m not sure why she would say something like that. Now I’m worried what disease she is saying I have. She was also going into detail saying people who have diabetes in their family will get it almost for sure no matter what they do. I don’t know how to feel about that?? She also told me to Google my symptoms on Mayo Clinic because that will give me accurate information...?

  10. #10
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    Re: Has anyone else gone through a cushing’s fear?

    Quote Originally Posted by UserName20 View Post
    I am back in therapy. However, it has almost raised my anxiety. I was explaining to my therapist how I am convinced I have this and how it’s taking over my life. She said “you do have a disease but probably not cushing’s.” I do have a disease?? I’m not sure why she would say something like that.
    The disease she's speaking of is a mental health illness called HA.

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