Amy Girling's Cushing's Journey

Hello, my name is Justin Phillips and my wife is Marissa Phillips. Recently one of our closest friends was diagnosed with Cushing's disease. Amy and her family could use all the support we can provide as her journey to recover begins.

Cushing's Disease 

I will keep my entry short and you can read her story below:

If you know me you may know a little bit of my story. The past few years have been quite the journey - starting with my pregnancy. During this time I developed unmanageable high blood pressure and ended up on bed rest, delivering two months early and in the ICU. My BP wasn't your "typical" pregnancy pre-eclampsia. The doctors really didn't have an answer as to why my body was behaving the way it was. We were eventually able to manage it, but little did I realize this was just the beginning and only one of the noticeable changes that was going on in my body at the time.

As a new mom you expect to be tired, fatigued and live off of no sleep, but as my son got older allowing for more "me" time including sleeping through the night, I was still not sleeping. I was unable to rest and relax, constantly feeling fatigued. My anxieties weren't getting better they were getting worse, and we're not talking just the mom worries, we're talking straight up panic attacks. Fear for no reason. I've always been an emotional wreck but these ups and downs are unreal. I also kept gaining weight. Why was I heavier now than I was when I was pregnant? And what are these purple stretch marks about? Can someone also explain the fat deposit on the back of my neck and the extremely round face? Oh and why does this 30 year old suddenly have the complexion of a pre-pubescent teen? My BP keeps getting higher. Why? I am not a lazy person. I am eating well. Did I forget to shut the garage when I left this morning? Where are my groceries... shoot I left them at the store. I literally forget everything. Ugh, if I have to wake up with a headache one more day I may just lose it. Not to mention it hurts to get out of bed, my body is constant sore. Where are all these bruises coming from? Somethings got to give.

Honestly, I told myself this was just the "new me" the "new normal". I tried not to complain or show my mental and physical discomfort. I'm not here to be a burden. Plus, would anyone really believe me if I was honest about what I'm feeling. Does anyone else even see these changes? It's probably all in my head.

Turns out, it is all in my head. It's in there in the form of a tumor on my pituitary gland that is secreting extra cortisol causing all of these symptoms and changes to my body. Cortisol is the stress hormone and I've got about 10x more than usual flowing through me. Essentially my body is in constant hyper drive - fight or flight. That's why I'm exhausted, that's why my blood pressure is so high, my heart won't stop racing and my weight can't be controlled. I have Cushing's Disease.

After over two years I have answers. I'm able to come to terms and acknowledge that what I've been experiencing is real and something out of my control. Not something I caused. There is an evil little culprit inside of me whose been forcing these things! Now that he has been revealed I can begin my journey to heal - to get back to my old self (or the real new me!). Having a diagnosis truly brings so much relief, but it is also scary. I mean, I don't think anyone ever thinks they're going to get a tumor, let alone one in their head, near the brain. But hey, I've always had a flair for the dramatics so of course out of all the diseases I'd get this rare endocrine one. I've been lucky enough (if you want to consider a large tumor lucky) to have had my tumor appear on my MRI. A lot of these tumors are very small and unseen through imaging. Typically if they're unseen a sinus sampling, catheter procedure is required to determine the location. I prayed I would not have to have this and the Lord heard those prayers. I do however still need to have the removal surgery. My tumor is actually large enough that it has displaced my pituitary gland and is pushing against my right sinus. The process of healing is just beginning and I've been forewarned that the post-surgery recovery is harder than what I'm experiencing now.

As my journey back to health is just starting I wanted to share my experience with my family and friends. I want to be a testament to Gods faithfulness.This whole ordeal has already increased my faith in unimaginable ways. The Lord continues to be so good as I feel His hand in mine walking with me in this. This story, this path He's leading me down is one I could have never imagined. While I have good days and bad days, I continue to try and find the joy in all circumstances. With surgery in my near future, I ask that you would partner with me in prayer. Prayers for peace, perseverance, emotional and physical stability and an easy successful surgery.

Oh and in order to keep from crying (which I do a lot) I’m trying to laugh. To lighten things up my wonderful husband has named my tumor, Todd. So, Todd my not so dear friend, it's time to get out. You're no longer welcome to occupy my mind in any way shape or form!

Here’s to getting the new Amy up and running! Deuces Todd  ✌

#cushingsdisease #peaceouttodd #whatdoesntkillyoumakesyousteonger#godisfaithful #gettinghealthy #mycushingsjourney
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Justin Phillips 
Oregon City, OR