With Cushing’s, Work Can Be Difficult but Doable

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by Paris Dancy |

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On Saturday, I will turn 39 years old. Six years ago, I wasn’t sure what my life would look like after being diagnosed with a pituitary adenoma.

Every year since my transsphenoidal surgery, I reflect on my personal growth. It has taken me about five years post-op for me to get to where I am today. My journey has included ups and downs.

One thing I have noticed is that people who are diagnosed with Cushing’s disease or a pituitary adenoma can experience difficulties at their workplace. Or, perhaps they don’t work at all.

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Physical and psychological struggles

The stigma often attached to those of us with health issues is that we don’t want to work, which isn’t true.

There seems to be a notion that if you can’t see what a person is physically dealing with, then there must be nothing wrong with them. Many Cushing’s symptoms aren’t visible to those who are uneducated about the disease. Physical signs may include weight gain, the “buffalo hump,” and purplish marks on the abdomen, to name a few. Physical limitations may exist due to joint aches, stiffness, migraines, or vision issues.

Then, there’s the psychological impact, which is often overlooked and misunderstood.

Those of us with Cushing’s tend to deal with a wave of emotions daily. Most likely, we aren’t intentionally trying to offend anyone with our behavior; in fact, we may not be aware of it until it’s brought to our attention. Combine this with the physical struggles, and it would be difficult for anyone to do their job and fulfill expectations.

Depending on one’s role, this can be extremely taxing on the mind and body. Prior to my diagnosis, when I was dealing with all the symptoms, I had to navigate high-stress situations while also demonstrating self-control.

My advice

I realized that the company I worked for would carry on, whether I worked for them or not. For a business, the bottom line is whether the numbers are being met and the people are staying safe. But as a colleague of mine pointed out, I can’t achieve this at the expense of my health.

If you find yourself in a similar position, I would encourage you to be honest and let your immediate supervisor know you are dealing with a health condition. You don’t have to provide details or specifics, but it can help to give them a heads up.

Also, know what your limits are and what you can handle at the time. Don’t try to overcompensate or be apologetic about what you are dealing with.

And finally, make sure your work environment is suitable for you. Not every job will be exactly what you want, but you don’t have to subject yourself to constant chaos. There are plenty of work-from-home positions available, if that suits you better.


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.


Sandra Johnson avatar

Sandra Johnson

Yes it is so true my pituitary tumor was removed in 2003, at 64 yrs of age now I suffer from weight gain growing buffalo hump and terrible muscle weakness in my thinning legs and feet
My MRI’s does not reveal the tumor has returned,it is not fully visible because it is under spinal fluid, there is something is wrong, I need some help to find out why I am still suffering as if I have the tumor,


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