I'm getting this up a few days earlier than I originally planned but I wanted to re-cap some of my health updates and thank some folks for helping with my amazing year of recovery. So here's a start...
Here is what I looked like before everything just went so wrong...(2006)
Here is one a little closer to my diagnosis and surgery date. This was May 2012.
It also didn't fix itself overnight, here is a picture from August when I felt so much better but was still a long way from where I am now.
And again, here is today.
But really the point of this post is two-fold. First I would like to thank the countless people who have helped me this year.
Thank you to Leslie, my rock, my work-mate, my helper with everything, my best friend. Who kept his patience when I looked like the first pictures and couldn't do anything and felt like junk ALL the time. I think if he had heard "I'm SOOO HOTTT!!" one more time he might have freaked out. I can't wait to LIVE life with you again!
Thank you to my family, who was here to help, who sent cards and notes all the time and were so encouraging even when I felt horrible.
Thank you to my work friends who understood when I was dragging at a meeting or was late responding to an e-mail.
Thank you to all of my friends and neighbors and extended family who sent cards and notes and posted encouraging things on Facebook, they really did help! My Club Scrap family has been super supportive as well!
Finally thank you to Melissa Johnson, my trainer who helped me when I was sick and for 2 years worked with me even though I was struggling and didn't know why I couldn't lose weight or get stronger. I think she kept me out of a wheelchair. She has also been a huge factor in getting my strength back. I can do things now that I never could have before. She has been an inspiration and a friend.
The second thing I want to stress here is that I knew something was wrong. Countless doctors telling me I needed to lose weight or be more active. People assuming I was a lazy fat person, it can really bring you down. The last 6 months before my diagnosis I can honestly say I wanted to become a recluse. I didn't want to see anyone or go anywhere (or have anyone see me.) I knew I was sick but no one seemed to be able to help me. A year or so before everything finally went down a neighbor said to me, "You know Janet, I think you have a tumor or something." I'd like to say thank you to Kim King because she was right. Leslie's brother Phil said towards the end to him, "You know, Janet just looks bad, I think something is wrong with her."
Maybe if more people had told me they thought I was sick I would have been able to find better help sooner? I'm not sure. I know it's hard to confront people about a problem you think they have. You assume they know something is wrong. A co-worker even told me this summer, "Well we knew something was wrong with you be we assumed you knew what it was." I'm forever grateful to a suspicious cardiologist who finally said,"You know...you seem like a healthy person, I think something is really wrong with you." Also to a surgeon that didn't brush me off and had me scheduled for surgery about a week after my CAT scan.
It hasn't been a super easy year, there have been some set-backs and some other issues associated with my rapid weight loss (what do I do with all this extra skin?) And I'm trying to hold onto my gallbladder (he's pretty upset with me lately.) Also I'm still hoping my "red face" will keep improving. But without this diagnosis and surgery I would have had a stroke in probably a year or so. Most Cushings patient live 5 years and from the 2010 picture you can see I wasn't that far off. It is a tricky illness to get help for and I'm just for the rest of my life lucky that some people helped me. I read stories everyday on support websites where people literally die waiting to be properly diagnosed.
Well I've gone on long enough but there were just so many things I wanted to say...Thank you again everyone. We are headed to Alaska in May to celebrate my new lease on life!! When we get home I hope to take my medic-alert bracelet off for good!