For those who are as anatomy deficient as I was up until this gem of disease forced me into alternative Med School. The Pituitary Gland is a little nubual gland much like the "punching bag" looking thing that hangs in the back of your throat (Uvula). However, it is located dead center of the skull. Directly behind the eyes centered at the nose and directly between the ears. It occupies a small cavity just below the brain. The dictionary reference:
"the major endocrine gland. A pea-sized body attached to the base of the brain, the pituitary is important in controlling growth and development and the functioning of the other endocrine glands"
Not a very "convenient" location, when the discussion of surgeries begin to arise!
Though there are a number of symptoms that seem to occur as variant and unique to the individual themselves, there is a list of symptoms that seem to be tell-tale as they collectively manifest. These symptoms include:
- Unusual, uncontrollable excessive weight gain. Particularly accumulated around the abdomen.
- Weight gain in the face and neck generally referred to as "moon face".
- Accumulation of fat in the back of the neck generally referred to as a "buffalo hump"
- Pink or purple tiger striped stretchmarks (striae) on the abdomen, thighs, breast and or arms.
- Thinning, paper-like skin that tears or bruises easily.
- Persistent and or often times recurrent skin rashes or infections.
- Onset of Acne
- Thicker or more visible body and facial hair (hirsutism) (women)
- Irregular or absent menstrual periods (women)
- Decreased or absent libido
- Decreased fertility
- Erectile dysfunction
- Severe fatigue
- Muscle atrophy resulting in weakness
- Bone fragility (Osteoporosis) particularly in ribs and feet
- Unusually high blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Excessive, continuous hair loss
- Depression, anxiety, irritability, mood swings
- Cognitive difficulties
- Chronic headaches
- excessive, unwarranted sweating especially at night
If you have noticed a gradual increase in and especially as an accumulation of, any of these symptoms, I would strongly suggest that you mention Cushing's to your Primary Physician and ask (demand) that a test be run for urinary Cortisol levels.
One thing worth mentioning here is that unfortunately, as of this time, Cushing's is still considered a rare condition and is most often dismissed initially as a probable diagnosis. In my case, I quickly found myself head-to-toe with just about every turn and mention of the idea. I have yet to put to words my drama filled story of the various trials, tribulations and victories just to get a foothold on the consideration of testing for Cushings. However, I plan to do so very soon.
The IPSS test results that I mentioned at the beginning of this post in conjunction with the long line of tests leading up to this procedure, suggests very strongly that I, in fact do have the tumor and that it is definitely located in the pituitary. The procedure is also instrumental in giving more precise location information giving the surgeons a sort of map or GPS coordinates for getting to the tumor for extraction. I was a bit surprised to find out that, supposedly, there is no app. for that!
So, as it stands, this is where I am in my journey with all of this. It has been a longtime coming to finally find myself here. It is almost surreal and hard to accept. Honestly speaking, there were many a time where I did not think that this day would actually arrive. And then there is the odd sensation of realizing that you have been routing for a diagnosis of a terribly dreadful and debilitating disease. Today, and every day at this point has become overwhelmingly significant and the individual steps toward treatment and recovery have gained a greater stride!