Incredible Journey Since Cushing’s Disease Surgery

On June 19, 2023, my wife went into surgery to have a tumor removed from her head. She had Cushing’s Disease. One year later, she is tumor free and enjoying life again.

Before and after the tumor was removed.
The tumor in Kayti’s head caused an increase in cortisol production in her body which led to weight gain.

What is Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s Disease is a tumor in the pituitary gland. It causes excess cortisol to be produced. The effects include weight gain, fatigue, moon face, and extra fat around the neck, sometimes called a ‘Buffalo Hump’.  (Learn more here). Kayti suffered from this horrendouse disease.

Kayti’s Cushing’s Disease symptoms

We moved to Dallas in 2018, and shortly after, we noticed that Kayti was gaining weight without any explanation. Her eating habits hadn’t changed, and she was still active. As she gained more weight, she began sleeping more, upwards of twelve hours or more. She also started to break bones in her foot just by walking, leading to more medical treatments inluding surgery. Something was wrong, and nobody knew what.

To me, my wife was always beautiful, though I became acutely aware of rude and insensitive comments being made toward her about her weight. Mentally, this was difficult. She naturally thought she was eating too much, but when we confirmed that she wasn’t eating much at all, we knew something else was happening. But what?

Kayti’s Journey to Diagnosis

Finally, Kayti found her symptoms on the Internet, and backed up her discovery with multiple sources.  When visiting her primary care physician, she practically demanded specific blood tests, and sure enough, the results were consistent with her suspicions. She was immediately referred to an endocrinologist, and after several more tests, was able to confirm she had a tumor in her pituitary gland.

Kayti’s Surgery to Remove the Tumor

We found surgeons willing to perform the surgery. Apparently, this is not a very common surgery, but the two surgeons involved felt confident, having done this before. We made sure all affairs were in order. Kayti was less optimistic than her husband, but trying to be responsible, they prepared for the worst, but hoping for the best.

On June 19, 2023, the surgery was a success: the tumor had been removed. It was a relief for Stephen and their daughter, Alexandra, to hear the positive news from both surgeons.

Her Trek from Surgery through Recovery

Kayti had numerous follow ups with doctors after surgery to make sure everything healed properly and that the tumor was gone. Flushing one’s nose, for example, was something Kayti had to do on a daily basis. She never got used to it. When she was told she could stop, I think we all cheered.

She had to take cortisol by mouth and ween down. Her body had been creating more then three times the amount of cortisol than the typical human. It took nearly six months to get to normal levels. About two months later, we received evidence that her pituitary was now producing cortisol again, and she was able to ween off the prescription even more.

Kayti poses for a picture
The tumor that caused Cushing’s Disease had been removed.

Getting back to living

What were the effects? She lost nearly 100 pounds, and she is within about 15 pounds of her normal weight again.

Now she is active, and on the road to recovery. Her confidence continues to grow, and her ability to enjoy life has only gotten better. She has already taken several road trips to see the kids, attended numerous fan conventions, attended multiple author signings, and most recently rode in a WWII, B-29 Superfortress.

Having Fun at FanExpo Dallas 2024
Stephen takes a selfie with his wife on Day 1 at the 2024 Fan Expo Dallas.

We appreciate all those who have been so supportive. Most of all, I appreciate my wife’s persistence to get this fixed, and the initiative she took to help others help her.

During this journey, even when times were difficult, we managed to continue publishing. Check out our books here.

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