Jump to content

Woman Beats Rare Disease


Recommended Posts

  • Chief Cushie

arubiana caught this local TV show on Cushing's and PMd it to me. Of course, I submitted a response :)




Woman Beats Rare Disease

posted 4:38 pm Wed March 19, 2008 - FAIRFAX, Va.



A Fairfax woman has beaten a rare disease that made her gain weight and caused her body to start breaking down.


Just last summer, Barbara Fitch weighed 247 pounds and barely squeezed into size 26 pants.


She had high blood pressure, a bright red face and severe diabetes that required three insulin shots a day.


"It was just so frustrating because I didn't know what was wrong with me and it was driving me crazy to be sick," said Fitch.


Barbara visited seven doctors before one discovered high levels of a hormone called cortisol, in her blood. Cortisol is the body's natural stress-fighting and anti-inflammatory hormone, but too much of it in the body causes a number of problems.


The excess hormone plus her other symptoms pointed to a diagnosis of Cushing's disease.


According to INOVA Fairfax Neurosurgeon, Dr. Joseph Watson "One of the most difficult things about Cushing's disease is making the diagnosis, or being sure about it, because often these tumors are hard to see even on an MRI."


People with Cushing's disease have a tumor the size of a BB in their pituitary gland that secretes the extra hormone, wreaking havoc on the body.


According to Dr. Watson, "Your muscles become weak, your bones become soft, your skin becomes thin, you become susceptible to infections, you gain weight in your abdomen and you lose weight in your extremities."


Barbara underwent surgery in July to have her tumor removed; after which her diabetes disappeared, her blood pressure returned to normal and she lost more than 90 pounds.


She's now a size 10 and thrilled to feel healthy again.


"It's a whole new life for me. I feel like a brand new person," said Fitch.


Doctors say once Cushing's disease patients have their tumors removed, there is a 90 percent cure rate. Most of the time, the patients' diabetes and hypertension subside and the extra pounds shed gradually over time.


Video: http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/0308/5050...l?ref=newsstory

(I'll save a copy in case this page disapears...)




My Response:


I would like to thank you for running the program on the woman who had Cushing's Disease. I was also diagnosed with Cushing's Disease over 20 years ago and had pituitary surgery at the National Institutes of Health in 1987. Because there is so little known about Cushing's and because it is still hard to get a diagnosis, I started a large (currently over 4 thousand members and growing daily) online support group for patients nearly 8 years ago at www.cushings-help.com


It is very important to get the word out. So many patients go decades without being diagnosed and years or excess cortisol wreak untold permanent damage to their systems.


Many thanks to WJLA for helping to spread the word on this potentially fatal disease.


Mary O'Connor Fairfax

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting. It did seem odd to hear "Cushing's Disease" on a news program.


The other day on the Today Show they were going to talk about reasons you cannot lose weight. I was really dissapointed when it turned out to just be diet tips.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Mary,


Thanks so much for sharing this. It's only too bad that we don't have a way to FORCE all endo's to sit and watch this video, and to read all the excellent material that you and others have collected over the years. Wouldn't that be great?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Again, why did the other seven doctors not have a clue? I find

this so hard to believe! Didn't cross their mind? Didn't learn enough

in school to trigger anything? I'm sorry , excuses I can't buy. I

still think it is prejudice against heavy people and the idea most of

us cannot control ourselves in eating and getting enough excercise.

The Todays show and all the other diet segments prove this. They totally

dismiss illness as a cause. I directly ask my pcp and first endo is there any

disease that makes you not be able to lose weight and was told absolutely

not! Well, there you go!! Wish more local shows showed this type of

segment to spread the word around and to "educate" the "highly

educated medical profession." Thanks for sharing this show. Maybe if

it had a catchy and alluring title it could go on U TUBE, get many

many hits and people would become informed about it! Just a thought.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Over 2000 Posts

What a great story and I am so glad you wrote in

But 90%? Where did they get that stat... and man, I want to lose all my weight, too. Waaaaah!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...