#TellUsAnything: Caregiver Blues and Adrenal Tumor Discovery

#TellUsAnything: Caregiver Blues and Adrenal Tumor Discovery


Hello.  My name is Pam and I am 47 years old.  I am a mother and a grandmother, and my job is that of a caregiver.

I am a diabetic type 2 and I have a thyroid condition. A few months ago I was having a lot of pain on my right side (too much stress on my body from my job) and I tried to live with it for a few weeks but one day it got really bad too where I couldn’t walk.  I went into the ER and they took a lot of tests and a MRI, that is when they found something else on the other side.

It is funny when you go into the ER with one thing and come out with two things wrong with you, just by taking a lot more tests.

I have a tumor on my adrenal gland. The tumor I have is called Pheochromocytoma (they don’t know if it is cancer yet since there is NO fatty tissue around it so they have to wait till it is taken out to determine if it is or not). My plasma metanephrines are very high similar to a urine test which makes adrenalin-producing tumor.  (sorry about the big medical words).

When I sit down, my blood pressure goes down, but when I stand up it goes way up, much more than it should. I have to have the tumor and my adrenal gland removed. I will be having the surgery next month (March).

There are days when I get an episode and it really throws me for a loop.  And being a diabetic, I do get those episodes and it really takes over. I am finding out that since I am a diabetic and that the tumor I have does produce a steroid into my system, that after I have this surgery my blood sugar counts will be lower than what it is now.

I take oral med’s and insulin twice daily and I am really hoping that this will help it in someway. I started taking sodium pills 5 times a day and then blood pressure med’s once a day. Before the surgery I will have to take a beta blocker.

Starting Monday, I have to get two blood pressure readings twice a week and heart rate tests to see how things are going.  There are a lot of symptoms, most of which I already have, but if they get worse I need to see my doctor.

I took the sodium pills for the first time this morning, and I should have dranked it with water like they said instead of coffee, because instantly I was sick.  But thank the Lord it lasted for five minutes.

I will be having a laparoscopic done but just in case I had to sign a form in case they have to open me up. Wow, that is a lot and you know I am kind of scared. I will be out of work for a month. The doctor’s said since it is going to be laparoscopic, I shouldn’t feel too much pain.  I don’t know what I am going to do in that time frame.  I hate being not able to do anything day in and day out.

I never had anything “serious” like this before.  Sure, I had a broken ankle and arm. I was semi attached to my twin, but my twin never formed and of course didn’t survive.  But my left side is smaller than the other about 4 in.

I had to have surgery on my right knee to turn the bone to slow the growth for the left side to catch up to the right side. And now I have this, and even though I am scared, I can’t wait untill it’s all done because of all the stress that is going along with it.

Thank you for letting me share my story.

– PG

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