My name is Clarke. (stupid name i know...like superman or something?). Im 21, and I currently live in small city of Norwich in England. Im training to be an adult nurse, and im in a long-term relationship with the girl of my dreams. As you read on you'll understand why.
Im not sure yet whats wrong with my body as im not yet diagnosed with anything, but I think its likely to be a pituitary/adrenal problem. This is my first blog, so i'lll let you know the full story first.
It has now been nearlly 2 years since i first began to notice the small stretch marks appearing across my shoulders. Coincidently , 8 months prior to this I i had ruptured my achillies tendon, and had to use crutches for nearlly 6 months prior to this, so i assumed my sudden muscle growth across my upper arms and chest was responsible. However, after i made a full recovery, and stretch marks began to sliver down my arms and across my chest, i began to get suspicious. " Its a gentic problem...a predisposotion to striae, just keep your skin moisturised", My doctor told me. Ok, looking back maybe I should have been more pushy. I was nearly half way through my training as a nurse, I should have been aware that a young, healthy 19 year old who weights just under 13 stone should not be getting stretch marks! But i guess I have faith in doctors...so I just took their advice.
Well the months rolled passed, and my clothes became tighter and tighter. I would try diet after diet, and nothing worked. I even joined a weight class with my mum...to no avail. I was getting very self-conscious now. During the summer i didnt take my shirt off in front of anyone, for fear of teasing about my stretch marks, and the spare tyre appearing round my waist. I hated this, and I was beginning to hate myself. Soon i weighed 14stone 2 llbs, the heaviest I have ever weighed. I looked bloated, and I began to notice stretch marks around my thighs and legs. This was getting riduculous now! In September 2007 I fell ill with glandular fever. This was horrible. I took nearlly a month out from my studies due to EXTREME fatigue. (little did i know at the time the excess cortisol streaming through veins was exacerbating my already strained condition). Things went suddenly downhill from here.
My healthy sex life began to suffer. 'Im tired' - is that really a thing the GUY says?! Thank god my girlfriend is so understanding. She is an angel to me, and has never once complained throughout my whole ordeal. The weight piled on, topping 15 stone by the beginning of 2008. I would have sudden onsets of wanting to starve myself, wanting desperatley to look thin. I would stare for hours in the mirror, pulling at grotesque areas of fat. I have two huge stretch marks around my shoulders. I looked as if i had been mauled by a tiger. I began to feel breathless on mild excertion. i was a pretty healthy guy a couple of years ago. My girlfriend would even make fun of the way my hip bones stuck out I was so skinny! How i pined for those days again...!
Another trip to the GP...'Asthma'. ...Ok, well ill try the inhaler...hmmm...well it helps with the breathlessness a bit, but then bronchodilaters do tend to, you know, help with breathlessness. It was the weight gain and stretch marks i was concerned with. I seemed to have more and more allergic reactions, especially to animal. I had never felt anything like this before. Next...Chest pains...an aching, especially when I had been on my feet alot. The symptoms were becoming more common. I would wake up in the night and feel my heart palpitating. i would sweat, and the fatigue in the morning and evenings was extreme. My muscles began to ache all the time. I began to take caffeine pills like sweets. August 2008, another trip to the GP. I sat down, took my shirt off, and bared all.
'This is indicative of an 18 stone man or a pregnant man, not a young lad like yourself!'. The doctor was brilliant. He was a new one I had registered with after moving house to another location within Norwich. An outpatient appointment was made for me at the hospital. At last...soemthing is moving along! I had glanced over the issues of cushings in my training, but to no great detail. After boffing up with all text books, I was fully aware of the condition and its implications. I think the book knew more or something...it described exactly how i was feeling.
After 4 24 hour urine cortisol tests (all indicative of cushings) and dexamethasone suppression test (inconclusive), I have been referred for an inpatient stay the hospital for further tests and an official diagnosis. Im now out of hospital, and have completed all the tests for what they called 'a cushings work-up'. This included: 2 more 24 hour urine cortisols, 5 9.00AM cortisol blood tests and 2 00.00AM cortisol blood tests. Additionally I completed a further 2-day low-dose dexamethasone suppression test, with subsequent 9AM cortisol blood tests. These had previously come back as inconclusive, 'borderline', so im hoping that things might be a bit more conclusive this time. Im hoping to get them back monday 1st...maybe a bit later.
This may sound shallow, but my main concern is my weight gain. I am VERY interested to find out other peoples experiences of weight gain, and in particular, weight loss following any treatment, and what kinds of treatment Ill try and get some photos on sometime to show you the stretch marks ive suffered across my chest/legs. has anyone else suffered this? How well have they healed?
I will continue to write this blog as my results come in, and the next stage in my diagnosis. Dont hesistate to contact me, would love to hear from others in the same boat.