It's been a long time since I've posted here. So much as changed...
In short, I know now that I do not have Cushing's. It is indeed Poly-Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). It's symptoms are very similar to Cushing's - so much so that, often times, Cushing's gets misdiagnosed as PCOS. But in my case, it really is PCOS.
How have I come to this conclusion? The drug Metformin plays a key role in all of this. Back in March, my endocrinologist basically stated if the increased dose of Metformin continues to help me lose weight and alleviate (or at least *cope*) a lot of my symptoms, then this is most likely PCOS and not Cushing's. Why? Because there is no known medication that helps control Cushing's, nor help 'control' it. At least with PCOS there is a measure of control, with insulin-sensitizing medication like Metformin. Again, I was doubtful it would help, but I continued to take the increased dose of 2000mg/day since it was prescribed to me in February.
Eight months later, and almost 25 lbs. lighter, I can honestly say my endocrinologist was right. *gasp* I know! This doesn't happen often! But the proof is in the pudding. I have shed almost 10% of my body weight with no real change in my already healthy lifestyle, due to a drug that helps treat PCOS symptoms. It really has been a "miracle drug" for me, not because it's made me lose weight (it is not a weight-loss drug!), but because it's helped control my hormones enough to allow me to lose weight like a normal person, thanks to healthy eating and exercise. This would not have been possible if this were Cushing's Disease. As for the other symptoms it's helped there too. I rarely get cystic/hormonal acne anymore, and my libido has improved. My immune system seems stronger as well - frequent UTI's are a thing of the past (I was told that regular UTI's are often linked to high blood glucose levels, and sure enough my uncontrolled diabetes at the time was no doubt the culprit there.) I have taken up running and my PCOS belly has finally started to shrink a great deal.
But as one battle ends, another begins. I will always have PCOS. Unlike Cushing's, there is no cure (no tumor to remove, anyway). I will almost always struggle with my weight and the symptoms that PCOS brings with it. So while I can heave a huge sigh of relief that this isn't Cushing's, I now have other things to deal with: PCOS and PCOS-related insulin resistance which has led to Type II Diabetes, and a sluggish thyroid (borderline hypothyroid). Also, due to increasing troubles with my cycle, endometriosis has been mentioned as a possible culprit of my daily pain, in addition to a fibroid. I am currently on a waiting list for a total hysterectomy.
But... I don't feel hopeless. I'm already seeing improvements. I've come a long way in just a short period of time. Although I know I'll never be rid of PCOS, I can at least lead a somewhat normal life, and regain a measure of health.
So that's why I've not been to the Cushing's message board lately, nor have I updated my Cushing's blog. I have a blog that will track my "road to health" - it's called Operation: Hourglass. It is a fitness and health blog which I've kept for a while now. Please feel free to join me on my journey. I would love to see you there!
To all of you who helped and supported me through all of this, while I was still looking for answers, thank you so much. You are the best! This is really an amazing forum, and such a wealth of information. And to those of you still struggling for a diagnosis or answers to your health problems, keep up the fight. You're worth it!