After massive weight gain, Cushing’s disease diagnosis saves man’s life – Health – TODAY.com

Donelle Trotman was only in his 30s when his health suddenly took a strange and frightening turn.

He was rapidly gaining weight — more than 100 pounds in one year. His upper torso was getting bigger, but not his legs. And he felt overwhelmingly tired.

“My body just started changing,” the Staten Island, New York, native told TODAY as part of a three-day series, “Medical Mysteries,” looking at people who have recovered from rare diseases.

It was especially puzzling because Trotman had never had weight issues before.

In school, Trotman was never a skinny kid, but he wasn’t overweight. He loved sports, playing both basketball and baseball.

So as he entered adulthood, he was active and in good shape. Then, three years ago, he suddenly began to gain weight.

“It was just specific places: My stomach, under my arms, my back of my neck, my face, the bottom of my back,” Trotman said. “My legs stayed the same for a long time.”

To lose the extra pounds, Trotman began running, working out and lifting weights. Nothing worked.

In the span of one year, Trotman gained more than 120 pounds, topping the scale at 366 pounds, twice the amount he weighed at 18.

“I doubled, like, I got a whole person on me,” he said.

There were other alarming changes. Trotman became so easily tired that he’d get out of breath just by chewing food. When he woke up seeing double three months ago, he knew it was time to go to the hospital.

Doctors ran a flurry of tests, but the results offered few clues, leaving everyone puzzled. Then one day, an intern noticed stretch marks all over Trotman’s body, a telltale sign that solved the mystery. Trotman had Cushing’s disease, a rare condition that affects fewer than 50,000 people in the U.S. every year.

Trotman’s weight gain was being caused by a tiny tumor at the base of his brain, prompting his body to produce too much of the hormone cortisol. He had some of the classic symptoms: major weight gain in his upper body, skin problems and acne, plus fatigue.

Dr. John Boockvar and Dr. Peter Costantino at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital discovered Trotman had steroid levels ten times higher than normal.

“In Cushing’s disease, the pituitary gland has a small growth that releases a single hormone that causes the body to live with very high levels of steroids. The skin becomes very thin. You get increased acne. You can grow hair. You start sweating. You gain a lot of fat,” Boockvar said.

There was no time to lose: Untreated, Cushing’s is a fatal disease. Trotman was getting close to the point where doctors would not be able to reverse the changes, Costantino noted. He underwent surgery two weeks ago and had the growth successfully removed.

“The tumor was no bigger than the size of the tip of my pen,” Boockvar said. “And that something so small can cause a man to grow to 350 pounds and absolutely destroy his life is rather remarkable.”

These days, Trotman is feeling much better. His main focus now is to lose the weight he gained and regain an active lifestyle. He hopes to play basketball with his son soon.

“It’s wonderful. Every day it’s just like I feel a little stronger,” he said.

Doctors say Trotman will continue to lose weight and can shoot hoops with his son in about three months. There is an 8-10 percent chance the disease could come back, but Trotman said he knows what to look for now.

One of the reasons Trotman wanted to share his story is so others might recognize the symptoms of Cushing’s, although doctors stress it is a very rare illness.

 

Watch the video here: After massive weight gain, Cushing’s disease diagnosis saves man’s life – Health – TODAY.com.

Through The Art Of Makeup, People With Rare Pituitary Disorders Now Have Unique Resources To Help Address Common Physical And Emotional Changes

Did you know that applying contour powder on certain areas of your face, like the outer rim of the jaw, along the hairline or along the hollows of the cheek, can help make enlarged features less noticeable? Seems like a basic makeup tip, right? Well, to a person with a pituitary disorder that dramatically changes one’s facial features, this type of information may make a major difference – not only physically, but also psychologically.

This is why Novartis has teamed up with Kevyn Aucoin Beauty (KAB) to bring The Highlights Project to those living with acromegaly and Cushing’s disease. The program offers a variety of virtual tools such as makeup suggestions from professional artists and video demonstrations. These resources address common concerns expressed by patients while also educating about these rare, but serious pituitary disorders.

Kevyn Aucoin, founder of KAB and famed Hollywood makeup legend, was diagnosed with acromegaly in 2001 at the age of 40 and passed away less than 12 months later. Aucoin believed in the transformative nature of makeup and saw it as a reflection of both inner and outer beauty. In this spirit, The Highlights Project features a series of makeup tutorials, tips and inspirations designed to help enhance the self-image of pituitary patients. The program also includes the perspective of a psychotherapist who specializes in helping patients with acromegaly and Cushing’s disease.

Like so many other people with acromegaly and Cushing’s disease, Kevyn went undiagnosed for years and faced both emotional and physical challenges as a result of his condition. “Through Kevyn Aucoin Beauty’s partnership with Novartis on The Highlights Project, we hope that we can inspire others living with these pituitary disorders to see their own beauty and view makeup as Kevyn did, not as a mask, but as a tool for discovery,” said Desiree Tordecilla, Executive Vice President, Kevyn Aucoin Beauty.

Acromegaly and Cushing’s disease are pituitary disorders caused by the presence of a noncancerous tumor on the pituitary gland. The symptoms often include highly visual physical changes in the body. For people with acromegaly, enlarged facial features, jaw and brow protrusions, thickening of the skin and skin tags are common. People with Cushing’s disease frequently experience uncontrollable weight gain, facial fullness and redness, a buffalo hump, acne and oily skin. Beyond the external physical changes, these conditions often also cause serious health complications such as cardiovascular issues, fatigue, muscle weakness and cognitive changes. Those living with uncontrolled acromegaly and Cushing’s disease are also at an increased risk of death. Due to the rare nature of these diseases, receiving an accurate diagnosis can be difficult and may take several years – therefore, education and awareness is critical.

The Highlights Project aims to provide support and help those with acromegaly and Cushing’s disease manage the physical manifestations and psychosocial challenges often associated with these conditions.

“As someone who was self-conscious about how unfeminine my facial features appeared, I was amazed by the impact the simple makeup tricks I picked up from The Highlights Project had on my self-esteem,” said Shannon Goodson, who was diagnosed with acromegaly in 2008. “Staying positive, educating yourself about the condition and monitoring hormone levels to ensure the disease is under control are the first steps to empowering yourself and understanding that you are so much more than your diagnosis.”

The mission of The Highlights Project is to help put a face to the challenges those with acromegaly and Cushing’s disease may encounter and serve as a vessel for learning. Novartis is committed to helping to transform the care of rare pituitary conditions and bringing meaningful solutions to patients. To help support acromegaly and Cushing’s disease patients, and learn more about The Highlights Project, visit TheHighlightsProject.com. For more information about these diseases, visit AcromegalyInfo.com and CushingsDisease.com.
Read more from Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/sponsoredarticles/health-wellness/through-the-art-of-makeup-people-with-rare-pituitary-disorders-now-have-unique-resources-to-help-address-common-physical-and-emotional-changes8087390808-251841151.html#ixzz2wtDUV9iF

 

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