Hello! I'm new here, and I've been reading over other's posts trying to find some helpful information for my mother in law. She's 58 years old, and up until 2yrs ago, her only "true" health concern was diabetes. She was diagnosed with Temporal Arteritis and PMR almost exactly 2yrs ago after an extensive headache/face pain. Her rheumatologist treated her w/ an initial dose of 20mg prednisone. Over a six month course she gained 50lbs, but was able to wean herself off the prednisone completely. She was symptom free.
About a month later she started developing other symptoms, new symptoms popping up daily! No exaggeration! She started having severe nausea, extreme fatigue, weakness all over, dizzyness, she lost cognitive function, was very slow to respond if she was even able, she stopped being able to write! The simplest of tasks became the most difficult for her. She vomitted up everything she ate, even though she was on a "cocktail" of anti-nausea meds. Her doctor sent her back to the rheumatologist. He told her this was NOT the previous auto-immune disorders that she was dealing with, and that she was in an adrenal crisis and needed to see a specialist for that!
She went back to her PCP. The PCP brushed it all off sending her to a GI specialist. The GI specialist ran every test she could, and found nothing. Back to the PCP, who decided she must have gastroparesis!
Our family got fed up! When I weighed her to find that she had lost 90lbs in 4mths, and was now refusing ALL food and drink, I loaded her up and took her to the local ER. They admitted her. Started her on TPN. Still no improvement...due to a slightly elevated Sed rate they decided to give her a low dose of steroids over a 5 day period. This is when we started seeing change!
Within 24hours she was able to eat a (small) meal and keep it down! She started communicating w/ us again (in short periods). She'd had an appt at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) w/ a GI specialist. We kept that appt. They looked her over, talked to the family (she was not able to communicate), and decided that they knew what was wrong. They admitted her to the hospital and had the Internal Medicine team take over her care. They ultimately tested her cortisol and found that it was low. They started her on 7.5mg/day. She was doing AMAZING w/ this...up until 3mths ago.
Her PCP told her to go ahead and wean herself off the prednisone, "Cause she didn't need it anymore!"
Two weeks later she was in the ICU at the local hospital w/ a whole new mess of issues! They decided to up her prednisone to 10mg/day. That got her back on her feet and going, but only for a minute!
Currently she's suffering from:
Insomnia at night
Short term Memory Loss
Diabetes (not controlled)
Extreme dizzyness (she's fallen 5x's this past week alone!)
Thirst throughout the day and night
She was in a car accident that SHE caused. No injuries to anyone, but she was so confused that she didn't know what to do. She sat in the car and acted like nothing had ever happened. *Back to the PCP*
PCP says: It's alzheimer's. We need to have her tested.
I think different. I think that her "low cortisol" has developed into Addison's. We're trying EVERYTHING we can to get her into the Endocrinologist that specializes in Adrenal Insufficiencies. It'll be about 2wks before she can get in though. And she's going down hill faster everyday.
Now that you have the background, my true question is:
Can low cortisol develop into Addison's?
Could the recent weaning of the prednisone + the severe UTI have finished off the rest of her own cortisol production?
If so, how would they do the testing w/ her on the prednisone?
With just one missed dose she is in BAD shape.
We have family member's alternating days w/ her while her husband works. We're afraid the next fall could be fatal.
Do we just take her back to OHSU ER?
I'm asking for help from you all here, as you have the disease, and you know how it affects you. Would you wait, if this is where you were at? She's unable to even make these decisions on her own anymore, so we kind of have to outsource right now!
Thank you, in advance!