TODAY – When a swarm of seemingly unrelated symptoms disrupted Angela Yawn’s life, she thought she was going crazy.
She gained weight — 115 pounds over six years — even as she tried to eat less. Her skin tore easily and bruises would stay on her body for months.
Her face would suddenly turn blood red and hot to the touch as if she had a severe sunburn. She suffered from joint swelling and headaches. She felt tired, anxious and depressed. Her hair was falling out.
Then, there was the racing heart.
“I would put my hand on my chest because it made me feel like that’s what I needed to do to hold my heart in,” Yawn, 49, who lives in Griffin, Georgia, told TODAY.
“Even when she ate just 600 calories a day — consuming mostly lettuce leaves — she was still gaining about 2 pounds a day, she recalled. A doctor told her to exercise more.”
“I noticed it during the day, but at night when I was trying to lie down and sleep, it was worse because I could do nothing but hear it beat, feel it thump.”
Yawn was especially frustrated by the weight gain.
In all, Yawn went to a dozen doctors and was treated for high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, but nothing helped. As a last resort, she sought out an endocrinologist in February of 2021 and broke down in her office.
“That was the last hope I had of just not lying down and dying because at that point, that’s what I wanted to do,” Yawn said.
“I thought the problem was me. I thought that I’m making up these issues, that maybe I’m bipolar. I was going crazy.”
What is Cushing disease?
When the endocrinologist suddenly started listing all of her symptoms without being prompted, Yawn stopped crying.
Blood tests and an MRI finally confirmed the doctor’s suspicion: Yawn had a tumor in her pituitary gland