Having Cushing’s Disease Was a Struggle, but It Helped Me Support Others

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by Paris Dancy |

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As a child, I always envisioned myself helping people. This is reflected in some of my earliest memories of getting ready for Halloween: I always wanted to be a doctor or a ninja. As I grew older, my career aspirations changed, but they always centered around saving lives or helping others. It has taken a while, but I truly discovered my purpose in life because of my own trials.

Before doctors discovered I had a pituitary tumor, I was thriving in my career as a child investigator for the state of Florida. Although my job was stressful, it was a place where my skills were being enhanced and I was helping to protect and save lives. In 2015, when I had to have surgery to remove the tumor, I didn’t realize it would halt the progress I’d been making in my career.

Although my two surgical procedures — transsphenoidal and gamma knife — were successful, returning to the same type of work environment was no longer an option for me, regardless of how much I’d enjoyed it. I thought I could work from home as a care manager, but that job also was too stressful and required me to travel to four different counties to work with clients. Due to the demands of the job, I wasn’t able to keep up with the responsibilities. At the time, I was also working on regulating my hormones. (I believe I returned to work too early and didn’t give myself enough time to recover.)

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For two years, I was unable to find a job, no matter where I applied. I’d constantly receive rejection letters or emails, or simply no response at all. It was discouraging and disheartening. Then one day, I decided to join a Facebook support group for people with pituitary tumors and Cushing’s disease.

The posts and comments I read there helped me to realize that I wasn’t the only one dealing with the effects of these conditions. I noticed many others who are also scared, tired, recently diagnosed, awaiting a diagnosis, or just wanting to know that things will get better. As angry as I was about having to deal with these conditions, I began to feel a sense of responsibility to share my own journey and experiences.

Not working allowed me to spend time on self-improvement, although it was a difficult process. I needed to learn what the books and my degree didn’t teach me about battling and overcoming depression, anxiety, and questions about my worth. I needed to process what it’s like to struggle financially and in my marriage. I needed to understand the physical pain and the weight gain I had no control over.

These specific symptoms and areas of struggle have given me firsthand experience. Today, I help people from across the country. I can speak from a place of freedom, and I also have knowledge and understanding of how to overcome these situations. The journey has been difficult, but more importantly, it has been purposeful. If you’re facing a similar situation, please don’t give up. I see you.

Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.


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