Gary's Story

Finding Help for Pituitary Disease

Gary_WebI first noticed something was wrong in April of 2010. I started feeling tired, and my vision was blurred. I thought it was from sitting in front of the computer too much. I was also more thirsty than usual.

I went to the eye doctor. He referred me to a specialist, who said it was a cataract; I had surgery to remove it. I didn't notice any difference. He said to give it six weeks.

Nothing changed.

When I had no peripheral vision, my primary care doctor sent me for MRI [magnetic resonance imaging]. A few days later I got the call: I had a large mass in the frontal lobe of my brain. It was a pituitary tumor. My doctor made an appointment for me at OHSU Brain Institute. I had surgery there to remove the tumor in February 2011. Thankfully, it was benign.

I had a whole team of specialists who collaborated on my care: Dr. Peter Anderson, head & neck surgeon; Dr. Nicholas Coppa, brain surgeon; Dr. Maria Fleseriu, endocrinologist; and Dr. Chris Yedinak, pituitary nurse practitioner.  The care I got at OHSU was phenomenal: mind-boggling, awesome technology. They went in through my nose to remove the tumor. My vision came back immediately; in the recovery room, I could see the clock across the room.

After my hospital stay, the team explained to me that if my pituitary did not "kick in" within six months of my surgery, it was unlikely it ever would.  Since my pituitary gland isn't yet producing the hormones it needs, I'm taking medication. They monitor everything very closely: Every three months I go to OHSU to have my medication adjusted.

The staff at OHSU Brain Institute has been great and I've really enjoyed being under their care.  They are a very friendly and caring group. They were always professional, but maintained a sense of humor. And the nurses were really nice; when I was in the hospital, I frequently craved fruit, so they kept extra on hand for when I woke up at 2 a.m. and wanted watermelon slices. They even liked to take their breaks in my room and keep me company.

Having a positive attitude helps. I also think it's important for eye doctors to be aware of this issue. If we'd known earlier, I could have had this removed sooner and maybe not have lost function in my pituitary gland.

I have nothing but good to say about OHSU. I was never nervous, the whole time. Those people are just awesome.