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February 14, 2017

Life After Cushing’s Disease

by Sharmyn McGraw

Sharmyn McGraw 2017My Life Is Up To Me

The experts say that 80 percent of any kind of success starts with personal participation. Therefore, all of you reading the Pituitary Network Association’s Newsletter are 80 percent better off in the game of life for your simplest of personal efforts. Improving your own quality of life takes participating 100 percent to the best of your ability – even when it’s not easy.

Recovery from an illness or in some cases still having to deal with an illness is extremely difficult; not only for the patient but their family and friends as well. An illness affects everyone’s quality of life and getting your life back is not always easy. But with the right tools and the willingness to try, each of us can make an extraordinary difference in our own life as well as in the lives of others.

That’s why this article is about you. Everything in your life is about you, peace is about you, joy is about you, and a better quality of life is about you. If we want to stop child abuse, world hunger, or change the way our medical system is set up or whatever it is – it’s about you. Whatever is going on in your life is about you. Because we tend to think when things break down in our lives it is so not about us. We tend to think; it’s about the circumstances around us, like who said what on Facebook, no one understands what I’m going through…and so on.

The good news is that it’s just not true! I personally had to come to this same realization in my own life after my pituitary surgery. I had been sick for so many years, that I had forgotten how to be well and to live my life again. I had been very ill for so many years – my life had been on hold. I literally had to start over and figure out what to do with myself once I had the Cushing’s pituitary tumor removed and I wasn’t sick anymore. After all, I was surgically cured from Cushing’s disease, but what about the seven years of living with an insidious, debilitating illness? As happy and grateful as I was to be in remission, I was equally as depressed and scared because at 38 years old I had forgotten what it was like to enjoy life.

In my twenties I would have created some good old drama to give my life meaning but through Cushing’s I learned there was no room in my life for any more drama. My new life free from Cushing’s was the real deal. I was done with the limited boundaries caused by the horrible effects of my misunderstood illness. But first I needed to find a way to forgive all the medical doctors for missing my diagnosis for more than seven years, and I had to find in my heart how to forgive my friends, family and society for blaming me for gaining more than 100 pounds and my laundry list of poor health issues. I needed to step beyond my anger and find happiness and meaning in my life. That’s when it hit me – my life is about me and if I really wanted to be healed and take my life back, if I really wanted to live a life worth living, it was going to be up to me. There wasn’t a magic pill I could take or a book I could read, it was going to take me participating in my life 100 percent, because living my life was not up to anyone but me. I had to come to the full understanding that if I wanted to sit back and let the circumstances that happened to me in my life hold me back, then I might as well have given up years ago when I first got Cushing’s. While living with Cushing’s, I realized there were things in life I couldn’t mess with any more. Being real and showing up in my life as me and sharing my talents, sharing my gifts with others was always 100 percent my responsibility. Standing in integrity, taking responsibility for my thoughts and my actions was all up to me. Finally, I realized, we invite people and situations into our life and can certainly invite them out – because my life is about me.

But once I realized it was up to me I also had to realize there is a price to pay for everything. And making changes in my life was not going to be easy. Because living life most of the time is not easy and it can really be challenging when your body hurts like you have been run over by a car, you don’t have any energy, your hormones are wacky, and what I found extremely disturbing was the lack of support from friends and family, simply because they just didn’t begin to understand, even after I was diagnosed with a serious disease. However, because my life is about me, I decided it doesn’t matter who gets it or who doesn’t get it, just so long as I get it. I realized that in the past I jumped out of my life the minute things got hot or they did not go my way. But living with Cushing’s taught me persistence, compassion, and the passion to make a difference for others and myself.

I’d been waiting for tomorrow’s happiness for so long I’d almost forgotten how to enjoy today. I had almost forgotten to dream big dreams, to set my bar lower for others so I won’t be disappointed, set the bar high for myself because I’m the only person I can control. I’d nearly forgotten that the passions burning inside of me are a gift from God and cannot be stopped by anyone but me.

We are all here to share our gifts. The Divine Creator drops a dream into our hearts, our thoughts, our souls, to give us the strength and the courage to show up in our life, even when what we believe and stand up for is not what other people may agree with. But that’s why our Creator gave you the dream not them. Our dreams and desires, with our efforts, can truly change our world.

And the most joy and freedom you will ever feel is when you truly understand that the peace, the love, the joy on this planet come from inside you. Once you understand your own greatness and truly value your own uniqueness, you see the world through its limitless perspective.

So it’s time to ask yourself, what’s that song you have to sing that no one else can sing? What’s that book you have to write – the story only you can tell? What’s the part you are here to play in this wonderful world?

Please join us Saturday February 25th, 2017 for Pacific Pituitary Disorders Center‘s Pituitary Patient Support Group Meeting. Dr. Pejman Cohan will be speaking and if you’ve never met Dr. Cohan before, you are going to be in for a huge treat. He’s an amazing pituitary neuro-endocrine expert and always loves to open his talks up to discuss patients’ questions and concerns. The meeting will start at 10:00am and we’ll serve a continental breakfast. After the meeting around noon, we will serve lunch so everyone can chat with each other and have fun. Please download our pdf flyer for more details.

We are also going to Live Stream on Facebook. I hope that many of you can make it either in person or on Facebook.

Please email me to RSVP if you can make the meeting in person.

Sharmyn McGraw
Patient Advocate, Published Author, and so much more!


Article originally published in Pituitary Network Association blog, February 7, 2017.

About the Author

Sharmyn McGraw

Sharmyn McGraw

Sharmyn McGraw is a patient advocate, charismatic professional speaker and published author. She has first-hand experience as a Cushing’s disease survivor and often collaborates with nationally-recognized neuro-endocrine experts, sharing the speaker’s platform while educating patients and doctors about neuroendocrine hormonal disorders and their impact on our health as a nation. Sharmyn facilitates the largest pituitary patient support group in the country for the Pacific Neuroscience Institute.

Last updated: October 11th, 2018