Successful Surgery

Posted under: health.
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The transsphenoidal surgery to remove my pituitary macroadenoma went well, and I am happy to be home. Dr. Florman anticipated my hospital stay to be at least three to seven days, but I was discharged after only two days.

Dr. Oppenheim, the endocrinologist following me during my hospital stay, wanted to closely monitor my urine output and my salt-water balance. I stayed in the unit for post-operative and head trauma patients. It was a long corridor of beds separated by curtains. A head trauma patient was in a separate room next to me. She had been there a month after having been in a car accident. The nurse said that being young (early 20s), this patient would recover fairly quickly. She was still confused though, and was constantly yelling out which made it difficult for me to read or sleep. The nurse was kind enough to give me earplugs. :-)

Pituitary TumorI believe I benefited from having an ENT surgeon, Dr. Makaretz, assist in the nasal portion of my surgery. I was very apprehensive about his removing the nasal packing the next day because I still remember the painful, drawn-out process it had been when my neurosurgeon had done it a couple years ago. But when Dr. Makaretz removed the packing, it was hardly worse than a sneeze! After my first operation I had a cerebrospinal fluid leak which put me flat in bed for a week. Prior to my operation this time Dr. Makaretz took a fat graft from my abdomen to block my nasal sinus in order to prevent the leak. I don’t know how significant the fat graft was, but I did not have a CSF leak this time. When Brent asked why he left such a big scar on my belly, Dr. Makaretz explained that he had to dig deeper because there wasn’t enough fat. Sure, I bet that’s what he tells all the patients. ;-) I will see him in a week so that he can remove the sutures and shunts from my nose.

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Comments (12) May 23 2009

One Down, Many More To Go

Posted under: health.
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Sometime in early 2005 doctors discovered in me a small pituitary tumor. After a year and a half of drug therapy failed to reduce the tumor it was removed transsphenoidally in August of 2006. My neurosurgeon said it would probably not recur. It has.

A recent MRI scan revealed the tumor has grown to 2.5 cm, which is larger than it was before surgery in 2006. Due to the location of the tumor there is pressure on and deformation of the optic nerve. To check for damage an opthalmologist performed a Visual Field Test a few weeks ago. The results of this test are normal. Vision loss typically begins from each side of the field of vision and leads to tunnel vision and then blindness.

Dr. Jeffrey E. Florman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey E. Florman, MD

I was referred by my endocrinologist to a neurosurgeon, Dr. Florman. Dr. Florman is very personable and candid. My previous neurosurgeon assured us that the portion of tumor he was unable to remove would be cauterized and, therefore, unlikely to grow. Dr. Florman said these tumors always grow back. This tumor is growing very fast: about one centimeter in diameter per year. At the current rate I will require surgery every two years. Because of scarring and a weakening of the tissues, each successive surgery is more risky than the previous operation.

Dr. Florman advised me to consider radiation therapy after surgery. Radiation can significantly reduce the tumor’s rate of growth which would mean fewer surgeries. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (9) Mar 29 2009