Would You Remove Cushing’s Disease From Your Life Equation?

How Cushing's has affected one columnist's trajectory and sense of purpose

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by Paris Dancy |

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Someone once asked me, “What would life be like if you never had Cushing’s disease?”

I then wondered, if I could time travel and erase my Cushing’s diagnosis, would I?

I thought my answer to the latter would be swift and obvious. It’s not.

I ponder my life eight or nine years ago, when I started experiencing symptoms of a pituitary tumor. Although I worked in a good, stable career, I was intensely stressed. I was actively moving toward a role as a senior child protective investigator, but one thing was missing: I wasn’t happy. I possessed the skills necessary to feel confident in my job, but my work-life balance was awry.

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How Stress and Cushing’s Disease Forced Me to Rebuild My Career

Unfortunately, Cushing’s pulverized my ability to generate sustainable income. But this dilemma forced me to examine ways I could use my newly available time and energy to improve my quality of life outside of work.

Before, I’d focused on honing skills I’d learned from previous jobs as I waited for a rewarding opportunity that fit my ambition. Now, I directed my energy toward learning how to emotionally cope with situations I had no control over, while also doing my best in the areas I could control. For example, I had to grapple with the unchangeable reality that I had Cushing’s, but I also worked hard to improve my rest and exercise habits so I could better combat my symptoms.

Cushing’s also affected my perspective on time. Although many of us are told we have the opportunity to do anything and everything we want in life, we’re not guaranteed the time. Cushing’s proved to me that change can be abrupt, sharp, and violent. Today, my appreciation for life is unmatched; I took so much for granted in the past.

At the height of my condition, before having transsphenoidal surgery to remove my tumor, I’d accomplished some things in my 30 years, yet I didn’t feel my life was fulfilling. As important as accomplishment is, it can’t be all that fills our sights. There’s more to life: moments, beauty, family, love. These read like cliches, but when time is rapidly slipping from your grasp, they’re the stuff of satisfaction.

Would my mindset still be the same if I never had to deal with Cushing’s? No. Before my diagnosis, I was living day to day without enjoyment, caught in cycles of dissatisfaction. But in the sharpness of realizing my life might be cut short, I recalled all of the experiences I’d once dreamed about that had been left untouched.

Time doesn’t wait on anyone.

Let that really sink in, as it did for me. Now, I live with urgency to experience all that’s truly good and important.

What would my life be like if I’d never had Cushing’s? My simplest answer is this: I don’t believe it would be fulfilling. This has been a painful journey, yet persevering through each obstacle has given birth to purpose. And when purpose is born, a collision with destiny is inevitable.

I welcome this destiny.

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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