Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Cushie's Job: Trudging through the Medical Literature

If you have spent any amount of time on this blog, you will know that I am patient advocate who encourages you to be the most informed and self-aware patient you can be.  For us Cushies, especially us cyclical Cushing's patients, it is imperative to be up-to-date on the medical literature.

You also know how difficult that task can be as we fight to keep our energy up for basic daily tasks and chores.  You also remember how Cushing's causes cognitive impairments that just don't give us the right state of mind -- clarity or positivity -- to take on a project this big.

So, I decided to just post stuff here, as I find it.  It may be a repeat (sorry, I probably forgot), or it may be new. Regardless, it will be stuff I am stumbling through as I relearn everything I have to know about Cushing's in order to make my decision.

I am reading through the medical literature for articles like Long-term remission rates after pituitary surgery for Cushing’s disease: the need for long-term surveillance posted by our dear Cushie friend Robin at Survive The Journey.  I am also trying to wade a list of articles my friend Susan recommended about cyclical Cushing's posted on PubMed, the government's database.  These free articles include research done with your tax dollars at the National Institute of Health (NIH). The NIH is considered an authority on Cushing's and even cyclical Cushing's. Based on what I have seen in my five years, the NIH seem to specialize in pediatric Cushing's cases more than adults, i.e. I see more pediatric patients than adult patients accepted for testing and treatment at the NIH.

So, I have to make my way through the medical literature about:
  • quality of life for patients after several pituitary surgeries vs. quality of life for those who chose BLA
  • remission rates for each type of treatment (3rd pituitary surgery vs BLA)
  • enzymes and other hormones produced in the pituitary that may vanish after repeated pituitary surgery
  • patient success stories for each
I mean, all this and a bag of chips. EVERYTHING!  I read a lot of this stuff in the beginning. It was "this could happen to me" reading, so the shock resonated longer than the information. Meaning, the scariness stuck when the facts didn't. 

Now, I find my mind so hazy that I just can't read through these medically-rigorous articles anymore. I really struggle.
I can't remember what I read already.
I can't find something I already found before.
I can't even think of good keywords to search.
I've already made a million laps around the internet.

It's a mess. I AM A MESS!

So, being that it is my blog, this is what I'm gonna do.  I plan to "store" articles here that I am reviewing for my own benefit. If you see something that you have never seen before, well, you benefit, too.