It’s been a year since I wrote anything on this blog, and to quote The Beatles, “Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on brah”. Today just so happens to be “Cushing’s Awareness Day,” which gives “Velociraptor Awareness Day”, “National Hairball Awareness Day”, “Sweet Potato Awareness Month” and “Workplace Politics Awareness Month” a run for their monies. Today is the birthday of the man/father of modern neurosurgery, who discovered Cushing’s, and so aptly named it after himself: Harvey Cushing.
My relationship with Cushing’s can best be described as a love/hate one. On one hand, in addition to having 4 fingers and a thumb, I absolutely hate the fact that this happened to me (I’ll never fully understand why it did), and on the other hand, it’s been a weird blessing. If I had finished my Peace Corps assignment in Ethiopia without getting sick, I imagine I would have stayed living overseas. I would have missed living with my old roommates (parents), weddings of many friends, getting the perfect rescue pup, celebrating holidays and other special occasions with family and friends, the birth of my favorite nephew (he’s the only one), eating Gulf oysters, and the list goes on.
What Cushing’s Disease means to me:
- My life drastically turned upside down
- My life that’s just fine
- Loss of identity
- Gain in self confidence
- Time spent in a psychiatric ward (1 month) for doctors thinking I was a nut
- Being grateful to get a diagnosis
- Countless medical tests, images, pokes, prods, and so many visits to so many different doctors
- Lucky to be alive
- Feeling helpless, feeling hopeless
- Feeling elated, feeling joy
- Brain surgery, brain surgery, brain surgery, radiation, medication, adrenal removal surgery
- Hatred for my body for what it did to itself, including my mind/mental state for awhile
- Appreciation for my body, after discovering how resilient it is after all that it’s been through
- Having adrenals ruin my life
- Not having adrenals saving my life
I don’t want pity, nor do I want to be told I’m brave, as having this disease was out of my control, and I did what I had to do. I DO want for all medical professionals to have knowledge of Cushing’s, and not just endocrinologists who specialize in it. I do wish that all general practitioners treated all patients with respect and dignity, regardless of their disease, disability, weight, etc., etc. And also for everyone to realize that this disease can end in death if not properly treated or caught at the right time. I encourage anyone who knows that something(s) in their body is out of sync – talk it out, get a 2nd opinion, advocate for yourself, and don’t let the haters get you down.
Let’s raise a toast to the stupidest disease on the planet, Cushing’s: (oh, and Happy Birthday, Harvey. From A League of Their Own – Mr. Harvey like your candy bars, you’re completely…nuts!)
Happy Cushing’s Awareness Day to all, till I saw you some mo’.