Des Plaines, IL – Cushing’s Disease is known as “the fat disease” for its rapid, unexplainable and excessive weight gain. It is diagnosed for one to three in every one million people. The condition is considered so rare, doctors are told in medical school they will likely never see a case of Cushing's in their career as physicians.
Cushing’s is caused by a tumor on the pituitary located on the base of the brain, which triggers the adrenal glands to pump cortisol, the stress hormone that governs our fight-or-flight response. Excess cortisol in the body translates into steroids, which results in physical symptoms.
Still, Dr, Karen struggled to find a diagnosis. It wasn’t until years later, after visiting with a handful of experts in Seattle familiar with these presentations that she was finally able to move forward.
Today, Dr. Karen is the founder and executive director of The EPIC Foundation, (Empowering People with Invisible Chronic Illness), a 501(c)3, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing support, advocacy, and tools to empower those affected by chronic illnesses.
Dr. Karen says living with chronic illness is not about finding a diagnosis and moving on. Even with a diagnosis, it’s going to be a constant battle.
“Unfortunately, chronic means suffering,” says Dr. Karen. “A chronic illness fluctuates in nature, so my husband and my children go through it every time I go to the hospital. Living with an invisible chronic illness is a constant fight every single day to live, so you have to fight for your most optimal quality of life. Never give up. Claim your right to thrive. Together, we are EPIC!”
For more information, visit www.epictogether.org