I Still Struggle With Invisible Scars Left Behind by Cushing’s Disease

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by Paris Dancy |

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When I was younger, I was very active as a two-sport athlete. I also spent a lot of time outdoors with friends. I was constantly getting bruised and scarred. Sometimes I knew where the scars came from, while other times, I’d notice them later when someone pointed them out.

Scars are reminders of a period in our life. But there are also invisible scars that often come from a place of emotion.

One reason emotional scars are so impactful is due to the personal relationships that often are associated with them. These types of wounds heal differently than physical ones, but both go through a similar process. I’ve had a few emotional scars.

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After finding out I had a pituitary tumor in late 2015, I was in shock. The little knowledge I had about tumors wasn’t good, and I always associated them with being cancerous. I was relieved to find out my tumor was benign. The surgery I had to remove it left no physical scarring. I did experience physical changes, but what haunted me most were the things no one could see.

One thing I still sometimes struggle with is the appearance of my body. Sometimes when my wife and I go out to eat, we’ll be seated in a booth, which is very uncomfortable due to the tight space. No matter how much I try to adjust to the space, it’s still unpleasant. This causes me feelings of insecurity, and I think people are looking at me. In reality, it’s all in my head. I still struggle with this, although I have been making progress in changing my thinking. It also helps to have a supportive spouse.

Another invisible scar has been adjusting to my clothing. I have a closet full of clothing I can’t wear because of the physical changes to my body due to my experience with Cushing’s disease. “Discouraging” is almost too nice of a word to describe the way I feel at times. I feel like my clothes fit me oddly now or that my body shape is odd.

These might be considered superficial feelings, but they have led to an emotional struggle I never had to experience before my diagnosis. I am still a work in progress, and I will continue to improve both physically and mentally. But it is important to acknowledge these feelings.

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.


Alison Harris avatar

Alison Harris

I sympathize with you as totally understand. My physical body was so badly affected, I become a totally different person due to the destruction of my body that I had battled to gain medical help for.I gained 25kg while virtually starving myself. I was basically told nothing was wrong as I continued to present with numerous medical problems for over 4 long years,
I finally managed to get to specialists who helped me, a neuro surgeon who operated, and continue help and care from a wonderful endocrinologist and other specialist doctors. I am ever thankful to them, but will never forget the total neglect and dismissal over that lengthy time of scoffing from the gp whose usual response was go on holiday, join a gym. Then when told I could have cushings brushed it off like some common cold. An operation and that would cure that. If only!!
I am alive, but with multiple medical problems which if my long term General Practioner had bothered just once to look and listen to me I would be able to live a much more normal life,

Zoann Murphy avatar

Zoann Murphy

I had never thought to use the term "scarring" to describe how I feel as I go through my life with exogenous Cushing's Syndrome, but I love it! I gained over 150 lbs in 2010 before I was diagnosed, and have never been able to lose more than 25-30 lbs since. I have been fortunate with my primary care provider and endocrinologist who are very supportive, but when I go into the Emergency Room with a problem not related to the Cushing's, I get "those looks" from the staff and feel the pain from the emotional scars.

Candy S avatar

Candy S

This is so familiar for me too!


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