Career: Customer service representative for a telecommunications company
Medical History: Type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, pituitary adenomas, recurrent Cushing syndrome
Treatment History: Insulin medication, antihypertensive medication, pituitary adenoma removal surgery
“The weight gain was very noticeable, and then I noticed facial hair. I started to feel less attractive, which ultimately caused me to become depressed and distant. This was just the beginning of my roller-coaster ride.”
Charsetta used to be upbeat, highly social, and an active member of her church—that is, until hypercortisolism hit. That’s when Charsetta’s life became a roller-coaster ride. Her usual optimistic mood plummeted to one of depression. Her dynamic social life dwindled due to low energy and a lack of interest in her usual activities.
During her early 20s, Charsetta began to notice a flurry of odd symptoms. She started to develop facial hair, difficulty expressing her thoughts, extreme headaches, lack of menstruation, and rapid weight gain, especially in her abdomen. She began attracting unwanted attention from others, who mistook her protruding belly for pregnancy. Her quality of life deteriorated. She felt overweight and unattractive, amplifying her already depressed state.
Charsetta also began to develop several serious health issues, including hypertension and type 2 diabetes. She visited several doctors, each of whom prescribed different medications and insulin, to no avail. Finally, after sharing her story with doctor after doctor, she was diagnosed with Cushing syndrome caused by multiple pituitary adenomas. Although Charsetta was relieved to finally have a diagnosis, she was anxious about treatment. She had never met another Cushing patient and was unclear of what to expect. She underwent intricate neurosurgery that lasted more than 6 hours. Over time it seemed her symptoms had vanished. She finally had her body under control and was beginning to feel like herself again.
Unfortunately, Charsetta’s symptoms have resurfaced and she is now faced with the possibility of needing a second surgery. Although her Cushing syndrome has recurred, Charsetta remains optimistic. She now knows the cause of her symptoms and is hopeful that she will be able to control them.
"I still feel hopeful and blessed that I have survived. However, on a roller-coaster, there’s always a twist or turn that you never see coming. I now have recurrent Cushing syndrome, so the roller-coaster I thought was coming to a halt has only made a turn."