No More Brain Tumor. No More Problems.
For about ten years, Mike experienced increasingly odd and unexplained symptoms that he never really considered to be “symptoms” of anything in particular.
He assumed he was just getting older and more short-tempered. But his wife, Gayle, and his adult children were worried about his anxiety, nervousness, edginess, and panic attacks, which seemed to be brought on by enclosed spaces, plus the headaches, fatigue, and overall bad moods. He just kept telling them to stop picking on him.
Failing an eye exam was a blessing
One day he needed his contact lens subscription renewed so he went in for a standard eye exam. He failed the peripheral vision test, and his eye doctor told him he needed an MRI. Despite the fact that he thought it seemed excessive, he got one. Shockingly, the MRI revealed a brain tumor on his pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is considered the body’s “master gland,” controlling the release of essential hormones which affect your brain, energy, mood, vision, and much more. And Mike’s tumor was not small — it was about the size of a walnut. Thankfully, most pituitary tumors are noncancerous.
Finding the perfect brain surgeon
Mike knew he needed to find a neurosurgeon—and fast. He searched online and found a video featuring Richard Williamson, Jr., MD, a neurosurgeon at AHN. He knew right away that this was who he wanted to remove his tumor. After an ophthalmologic exam and some bloodwork to evaluate his pituitary gland function, Dr. Williamson decided to use an innovative, minimally invasive technique to remove Mike’s tumor, rather than traditional brain surgery. An endoscope, a thin rigid tube with a tiny microscope, light and camera built into it, is inserted through the nose to guide the surgeon in the precise removal of the tumor. His surgery took only three hours and he spent three days in the hospital before returning home. He has regularly scheduled follow-up appointments with Dr. Williamson. Mike said, “I just can’t believe how much better I feel now than I did a year ago.” Now he’s back in control of his life and feeling like himself again.
Innovating for better outcomes
When we think of brain surgery, we often envision large incisions and scars. And while that is sometimes necessary, more often than not, AHN neurosurgeons are turning to more minimally invasive alternatives. Many malignant and benign tumors, like Mike’s, even ones in traditionally difficult-to-reach places, can be safely removed through the nose, eyelid, or through tiny incisions in the head. These less invasive approaches often lead to quicker and easier recoveries.