Monday, April 21, 2014

A Year of Thanks

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...
Yeah I know...crazy thing is that wasn't even at my worst.  But there came a time when I just quit allowing people to take my picture.  The above shot is from 2010 (September) on the left and today on the right.

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's not a pretty thing.  It's not something people want to show or talk about (thus the "missing years" of photos.)

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.
Here is one from December...

And again, here is today.
80 pounds later with perfect blood pressure and a new lease on life.  My Cushing's syndrome diagnosis came around mid-April last year and I had my tumor and left adrenal gland removed on May 1st (a long day for friends and family.)  It's amazing how something so small can make you so sick.

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 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!


  1. SUPER Janet!! You did so great and healthwise it is th best thing for YOU!! And I know how hard it is. Congrats on the weight loss!!

  2. Thanks for sharing your journey. I know it's been hard physically and mentally but your determination and hard work had been an inspiration. Thank goodness for family and friends that helped you along the way, and for doctors that got to the bottom of it. You look fabulous and should be proud of how you've pushed through this difficult time. Enjoy your new lease of life!

  3. Wow, thanks for sharing your journey with us. What a long road this has been.
    Have a wonderful trip to Alasksa.


  4. Proud of you. You are definitely an inspiration

  5. What a fantastic, honest testimony of your success on this long, arduous journey. I'm so proud of you and all that you have accomplished. Welcome back, dear Janet!!! We loved you all along the way.

  6. Oh janet, I know exactly what you have been going thru. I also tried to convince doctors that I was very sick and for 1 year everyone of them blew me off, often getting mad at me because I wouldn't let it go. Ended up having 2 heart attacts and double bypass before they beleived me. Praise Jesus that I was spared, you too. Doctors know what they read and when we send them a curve ball the blow it off because they haven't studied it. I thank God that you are on your way to recovery and I will be praying for you.Don't worry about the extra skin. My dog is part shar pei and I love the extra skin. It's lovable and we love you just the way you are. Will always have a special place in my heart for your and your family, Barbara Cassady

  7. Oh, by the way, I also have to fight my weight and It's winning. I am on 7 pills for my heart. 6 cause weight gain and 1 causes rapid weight gain. Oh well...........

  8. "Welcome back, dear Janet!!! We loved you all along the way." Tricia has said it for me, but I am Mom and No One is as grateful to God as I am that He has given us the Gift of You for the 2nd time in your life.
    Beth M, aka Mom

  9. Janet, I'm so sorry I really didn't know what was going on with you. I hadn't seen pictures, so I didn't realize what a struggle you had. I only saw the funny blog hop posts and assumed you were just living life. So happy you were able to get diagnosed and have gotten the help you needed. You're probably going to be so busy doing life you won't have time to craft! :)

  10. Praise God that you are on this side of your recovery! You look fabulous! We are so happy for you and hope that you have a wonderful Alaskan cruise!
    Pam and Richard

  11. Bless you Janet for sharing your story with us and being so open and honest about your journey!!! We love you!

  12. Wonderful job Janet. Just keep up the good work.

  13. Janet I am so proud of you and so happy for you! You are beautiful inside and out and now you just radiate! Love you!

  14. This is our beautiful granddaughter and we are so proud of her we could bust. She has fought a really tough battle and mostly by herself because for so long no one had any idea what might be wrong. It is so easy to say "she should lay off the potato chips". We would love her no matter what, but we are so grateful that she had someone who cared enough to do some real checking medically and finally get her some help. A correction to 'Mom's" note above, We are that grateful too, but that is a family thing. We love you Janet and pray for you every day.

    Mimi & Papa aka Pat and Dale

  15. You made me tear up. I'm so glad that I've had you as an inspiration & friend as I've gone through the same process. You look absolutely amazing! I'm so happy that we've gotten our lives back & can live the adventure the way it should be lived! You have become so dear to me over the last year. Congratulations!!! <3

  16. So happy that you persevered until you found out what was wrong!!! And so very happy to have 'YOU' back!! Congrats!!!

  17. You look wonderful! So glad things are going your way!

  18. I was able to read your blog entry since Melissa commented on it via Facebook...what an adventure the last few years have been for you! I'm glad you did not succumb to living as a recluse, as you clearly have inspired & surely been a source of strength to others with your diagnosis. God bless you! Stay strong <3

  19. So glad to hear you are doing so well! I know when we visited at the August Retreat you were on the mend, but things have even improved since then. I hope you have a great time in Alaska! It's a wonderful trip!!

  20. Sorry to hear about your health challenges, but glad to see you've regained your health and vigor.