My name is Teri. I am one-year post-op/in recovery from endoscopic trans-sphenoidal resection of pituitary adenoma, which is brain surgery to remove a benign tumor on my pituitary gland that causes Cushing’s Disease.
Cushing's disease is a serious condition. The patient has an excess of the steroid hormone cortisol in the blood, caused by a pituitary tumor that is secreting adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH is a hormone produced by the normal pituitary gland. ACTH stimulates the adrenal glands (located on top of the kidneys) to produce cortisol, commonly referred to as “the stress hormone”.
I live in Alabama, and my long journey with Cushing’s began 11 years ago before I knew I had the disease. I was a 39-year-old woman, living life in the fast lane. I was a busy wife, a mother of 3 active teenagers, and worked full-time. I was generally healthy, except for a mild case of hypoglycemia, extremely low blood pressure, and seasonal allergies. I only weighed 130 and was constantly on the go with my kids, being involved in school, sports, and church activities. But one Saturday in 2005, it seemed everything changed for me. While out running errands, I began experiencing some tingling in the left side of my face and left arm. I became very tired. I brushed off the feelings as just being run down and tired from a busy week and a day of chores and errands that had been done. I went home and rested, but when I awoke, I had no feeling in the left side of my face or my left arm, and my left leg was heavy. My speech was slurred, and I was very confused. My husband knew immediately that something was wrong. I was taken to the emergency room to seek help and given blood thinners and told I was possibly having a stroke. I was admitted to the hospital for a series of tests. After the tests were completed, I was diagnosed with having Bell’s Palsy (a mild stroke affecting the face) and carpal tunnel syndrome (damage of nerves in the wrist.) Physical therapy was ordered for me to repair the damaged muscles in my face and strengthen my arm. I was also given steroids as treatment. I was in hopes that this was just a one-time thing, but little did I know, over the next few years, life as I knew it would be turned upside down.
This month’s PNA Spotlight focuses on Paul A. Gardner, M.D., an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Neurosurgical Director of the Center for Cranial Base Surgery, as well as Executive Vice Chairman for Surgical Services for the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Dr. Gardner studied biochemistry during his undergraduate years at Florida State University. He received his M.D. at the University of Pittsburgh, where he went on to complete his residency and then his fellowship training in endoscopic endonasal pituitary and endoscopic and open skull base surgery. He was kind enough to answer a few questions from the PNA, and his answers are below.
This month the PNA Medical Corner features an article co-written by PNA member Dr. George Chrousos, from Athens, Greece. The article, called Early-Life Stress: From Neuroendocrine Mechanisms to Stress-Related Disorders, was published in the Journal of Hormonal Research in Paediatrics. It looks at the effects of childhood stress on the structure of the brain. Here is the abstract:
Knowledge is power and we believe keeping abreast of news on the research front is imperative. Each month in Highlights we feature a few of the top news stories, which you can read below. In addition, we update our website on a regular basis with the latest breaking news related to pituitary and hormonal disorders by gathering stories we think you'll be interested in from MD Linx, Medscape, MedPage Today, PubMed, Touch Endocrinology, News-Medical.net and WebMD.
An article on ABC.com tells the story of two sisters in Alabama who had their children just a few hours apart on the same day. And this is the second time it's happened, as their first children were born nine years ago around the same time. It's just a happy coincidence - no assisted reproduction involved! Read more here: https://abcnews.go.com/US/georgia-sisters-give-birth-day-hours/story?id=55885466
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Disclaimer: PNA does not engage in the practice of medicine. It is not a medical authority, nor does it claim to have medical expertise. In all cases, PNA recommends that you consult your own physician regarding any course of treatment or medication.
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The Pituitary Patient Resource Guide Sixth Edition is now available! Be one of the first to have the most up-to-date information. The Pituitary Patient Resource Guide a one of a kind publication intended as an invaluable source of information not only for patients but also their families, physicians, and all health care providers. It contains information on symptoms, proper testing, how to get a diagnosis, and the treatment options that are available. It also includes Pituitary Network Association's patient resource listings for expert medical care.