Have you ever been sick and doctors could not find out what was wrong with you? Well that is what happened to me in the summer of 2005. I had just started a new job, which I absolutely loved. My co-workers displayed a mutual spiritual belief. I always rely on God to guide me in the right direction of every aspect of my life, and I think he placed me in this job to be in surroundings where I could claim my Christianity and witness to others.
Unfortunately, the company was facing some financial hardships and my position was eliminated. Needless to say I was worried and distraught, as I had always worked. My husband has a very well compensated position with his company, however, being remarried and my daughters only being his stepchildren I felt it was my responsibility to help in supporting us.
With the time off, I thought I would get some things done I had procrastinated in doing because I was always too busy with work, kids, etc. I decided this was time God was giving me to spend with my children, and I should be thankful. I decided to have a check up with our family doctor; I had not had a routine physical or checkup in several years. While at the doctor they noticed my blood pressure was very high and questioned if I normally had high blood pressure? I said no, not that I am aware of. I also noticed and brought to my doctor’s attention I had multiple bruises on my legs for no apparent reason. She initially thought maybe I had unknowingly bumped into something. I couldn’t recall doing that, so I kind of said well they would probably go away. She wanted to do a complete blood work up, test everything. I said fine. Well two days later I receive a call on my cell phone and it is from my doctor. I immediately had a bad feeling, because how many doctors phone their patients directly, let alone on a cell phone.
She said I need you to go to immediately go to the emergency room at the hospital. Of course I was now shaking and wondering what in God’s name could be wrong. She told me my blood tests came back and I had hardly any potassium in my body and I needed to get there soon. Well I immediately referenced potassium with bananas, baked potatoes, and stuff like that. She told me your potassium controls the electrolytes of your heart. I could have a stroke or heart attack at any given time. I arrived in the E.R. to be immediately hooked up to an EKG, IV, and blood being taken. The E.R. doctor wanted to make sure the lab had not made a mistake. The lab did not make a mistake, I had hardly any potassium. They immediately started administering potassium in my IV. All this time my blood pressure is being taken and it is very elevated. Six hours later they advise me after numerous blood draws I can go home, but to immediately follow up with my doctor the next day.
My husband and children are in shock and of course wondering why I didn’t have any potassium in my body. Going back to the doctor was not how I wanted to spend my time off from work. I wanted to spend time with my girls and take my time in searching for another ideal position at a reputable company. Again the next day I am back at my doctor’s office, blood pressure still very high. She immediately puts me on potassium pills and blood pressure medicine. She then informs me she is going to consult with other doctors as to what might be causing this. I am now going to the doctor every week and to the lab each week to have blood drawn for a potassium check. The following week she is referring me to a liver specialist, wants to see if there is a tumor or something going on in my liver/kidneys? After hearing all of this I knew this was happening for a reason, God is in control and will see me through anything.
This is now my second doctor, he orders more blood work, ultra sound, and a “angiogram” which is an out patient surgery in which they insert a very long needle into your groin (and filling you up with a dye, to see my intestines) This showed nothing wrong with my liver/kidneys. Now the bruises are more intense and my arms are now bruising, I am also loosing weight very rapidly, going from 122lbs one week to 113lbs 7 days later. I also notice my hair is becoming very thin and there are some patches where it looked like my hair was falling out. I also notice my body hair has stopped growing. I was showering and going to shave my legs and noticed I had no hair on my legs, under arms, etc.
My doctor is even more dumbfounded. She said to go see a dermatologist for my hair concern, as it may be an infection of the scalp, etc. I am now at my third doctor, he examines me and he doesn’t think my hair loss is from a dermatology problem. I have now lost 7 more lbs. At this point I am frustrated, my husband and girls are upset, worried, frustrated. Each time I talk to my family only to tell them they don’t know what is wrong with me. A friend of my husband’s suggests I see an internal medicine physician. This is now my 4th doctor. She examines me, orders additional blood work, (I am still going to the lab each week having my potassium checked) my arms looked like I shot up (drugs) (On top of getting weekly blood draws there was two occasions when my blood tests showed I still had low potassium, so there I am off to the E.R. each time for an IV and potassium administered. I am now taking 8 horse size pills for potassium, blood pressure medicine, an anti depressant (as I am so ready to loose my mind not knowing what is wrong with me) sleeping pills because my mind just races and races. I still knew God would never leave me, all of this was happening for a reason. My husband is now questioning when someone will find out what is wrong with me, my doctor mentions the “Mayo Clinic”, after hearing this, and I am in disbelief. I reference the “Mayo Clinic” for rare diseases, (Shirley I couldn’t have a rare disease?) She also tells me she is going to inquire with her colleagues as to what might be wrong with me.
I am now becoming physically exhausted, I am loosing weight, and my hair is now noticeable in the shower of falling out. Walking up my stairs at home becomes a challenge, driving, walking in a grocery parking lot exerts me. I cannot sleep as my mind was just racing in circles, therefore, I was a walking zombie. Unfortunately, this doctor didn’t know what was wrong and referred me to a world-renowned internal medicine specialist. This is now my 5th doctor. She listens to my story and examines me, and decides she would like to admit me into the hospital to do a complete work up (blood tests, scans, etc) This is now becoming so hard to tell my girls and husband I will be gone for a few days and they still don’t know what is wrong with me. My family and in laws are becoming very concerned and very frustrated. I dreaded talking to people only to tell them they still didn’t know what was wrong with me.
While in the hospital, I was visited my a doctor who specialized in blood pressure control, causes of high blood pressure, etc. (now my 6th doctor) Each morning at the hospital I was loosing weight, as they were weighing me every morning. It was becoming very critical in finding what was wrong with me. They did cat scans, MRI”s looking for tumors in my brain, my pituitary glands, my and renal glands, nothing showing up on films.
My 7th doctor while in the hospital became my savior, my rock and my hope, She is an endocrinologist, My body was covered in bruises, my hair was still continuing to fall out, I was now salivating more when I talked, I started stuttering, I lost my short term memory completely. My children would tell me things or asked where I had put something only to forget. I lost my car during a doctor visit, going to the grocery, and forgetting what I needed, all of this making me more and more frustrated. I began to have fits of anger, snapping at people constantly, then minutes later going into a crying stage and being apologetic for what I had said and done. After tests and more scans, my endocrinologist has discovered I have what is called “Cushing’s Disease” this affects 10 people out of a million each year, just think only 10 out of a million and it looked like I was one of them.
I had NEVER heard of Cushing’s Disease. She immediately told me do not get on the Internet and start reading things about this, as it would only upset me. Of course this is like telling a child do not touch that piece of candy. She wanted to find out what was causing the disease? There had to be a tumor somewhere in my body. I did research the disease and became very, very upset, as what was happening to me was devastating and was only going to get worse. I learned my body and bones were deteriorating I would develop a “hunch back shape in my back” normal Cushing’s patients become extremely obese gaining anywhere from 50-100 lbs, however, my body was doing just the opposite, I was rapidly loosing weight. More scans, a P.E.T. scan did not show anything, an MRI of almost every part of my body, and nothing showed on film. She then decided to send me to a doctor who specialized in Cushing’s disease; only he was in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Now even more news to tell family and friends, I have to go out of state to see yet another doctor. My husband and I received a call from my endocrinologist; she told me she had been in touch with a hospital in Maryland called the NIH, which specializes in treating tumors and Cushing’s disease. This was now scaring me more, thinking I would have to leave and go so far away from my children and family.
After arriving in Milwaukee (now my 8th doctor) he told me I had full blown Cushing’s disease, he also told my husband and I that I would be back to normal in about a year or so once the tumor was found and removed. (I just sat and cried, as I really thought they were not going to be able to find the tumor) To find the tumor they were going to take blood samples from my pituitary glands (this was the last resort in trying to find the tumor) the next day I met my 9th doctor (he was doing the procedure) the procedure went well. He told me they would have the results in approx 4-5 days, and they would be in touch immediately. I prayed they would find the tumor then I would know finally what was causing all of this. I kept my faith, I knew God was with me at all times I realized going through all of this was strengthening my faith in God, I was witnessing to everyone that he would NEVER leave me and I was going to be fine.
Unfortunately, once I was back home, I had lost my balance while walking and fell onto some rocks in my driveway. I heard every bone in my back crack, I lay there trying to figure out what to do, no one was around; I finally laid there and prayed asking God to help me get up. I did get up and I knew I had really hurt my back. I just happen to receive the phone call from Milwaukee confirming there was a tumor in my pituitary glands. I was so excited, because I now knew a surgeon would be able to remove it. I then visited my 10th doctor, a well renowned neuro surgeon. Since this tumor did not show up on any films, he would have to go in to the pituitary gland and find the tumor; he felt he would be very successful. I was so excited (I know how can you be excited about having surgery) I was so excited to know I was going forward, there was hope. God is still with me.
Well the night before the surgery, my doctor wanted to do one more MRI of my brain area. I arrived at the hospital ready for surgery knowing it was not going to be easy finding this tumor and could be time consuming. My doctor just happened to look at the latest MRI right before going into surgery and saw the tumor on film; he knew where to go once in the pituitary gland. I just lay there and cried, as I knew God had been there the whole time and allowed the doctor to know where to go immediately to remove it. The surgery was successful, the tumor was removed. I went home two days later. I finally slept a sound sleep, something I had not done in so long. This was now the 7th month since discovering I was sick. My back was still hurting, they decided to send me to a back specialist (this is now my 11th doctor) after doing a bone density scan and MRI of my back, they discovered I had 3 fractures in my back and I now had osteoporosis from the disease.
I was now being placed on medicine for the osteoporosis, and a steroid as my pituitary glands are not working on their own, and my not, only time will tell. I had a procedure done on my back for the fractures in which a cement type substance is placed into the fracture to seal them, as my fractures were not going to heal with the osteoporosis. My hair started growing back, and the bruising went away. I just recently visited my family dentist for a routine cleaning to find I had lost 2 inches of my bone in my gums from the disease, and I had a cavity on all the top of my teeth as my teeth were rotting as well. Needless to say, if they had not found the tumor, I would be completely immobile (as everything was shutting down in my body). It took God’s hand to heal me and bring me through all of this. Without him I would never have made it. I thank God everyday for each new day he has given me. I look at my children and family and I am so grateful. I don’t regret having to go through all of these things; it has only strengthened my faith in God. I never hesitate to tell anyone God is my savior. I still have blood draws every few weeks and things may not ever be back to normal, but I wouldn’t trade anything for what I came through and I know God has a bright future ahead for me.
I want to add something else, what God has done for me and how he never left me. While having the scans and tests, there were two occasions while being placed into the machines, the medical staff was listening to local radio stations, and as I was going into each test, I asked God to send my angels to watch over me. Each time, different staff and different time intervals/dates a song came on each time “Calling all angels” I just laid there and cried each time as I knew God was telling me they were there and he was there the whole time. He also showed me through me hearing the name Jeremiah many, many times while I was sick, and I finally said, hey God are you trying to tell me something? So I looked at the first chapter in Jeremiah. There it said something like I knew you before I placed you in your mother’s womb. He was telling me he knew me before I was formed, and he would NEVER leave me no matter what. It went on to say he had a big plan for my life. I have had several more confirmations of this as well, post surgery, I have been driving and had seen a restaurant called Jeremiah’s place and then seeing a for sale sign in someone’s yard with Jeremiah real estate. God still reminding me he knew me before and he knows me now and always will.
God is with me right now while I write my story; he is guiding my hand and thoughts. I am so thankful to have gone through what I did. I am a stronger and more devoted person of God.
Submitted by Robin Mitchell