Happy Birthday Helen MacGregor!
The PNA would like to extend happy birthday wishes to acromegalic member Helen MacGregor. Helen has been a longtime member and supporter of the PNA. She will be turning 92 years young on January 1, 2020 and is the oldest living pituitary patient that the PNA knows of.
Helen was diagnosed with Acromegaly and MEN1, she suffers from a little bit of memory loss, but is otherwise healthy. Helen has always been an avid supporter of the PNA and still makes it a point to thank the PNA and our founder Bob Knutzen for the work that we do.
Helen was born in Minnesota in 1928, but summered on Cape Cod every year. She studied ancient history at Wellesley College, graduating in 1949. She then became the first female graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California in 1953. She taught history and archeology at Macalester College in Saint Paul Minnesota for a time. She married Donald MacGregor in 1957 in Brewster and they raised two daughters, Heather and Jillian.
By her early 30's, in 1973, Helen began noticing some strange symptoms. Her teeth were spreading. Her hands and feet were growing. In the late 1970's she had x-rays done – but later found out the x-rays had been misread. Finally in 1987, after 13 thousand dollars in dental work, her general practitioner sent her to Mass General Hospital in Boston, where she finally received the diagnosis of acromegaly and multiple endocrine neoplasia type one. Helen underwent transsphenoidal surgery at Mass General in 1987 and later had tumors removed from all four parathyroid glands.
Helen says she supports the PNA because "It has been such an enormous help to me and other people. And because I have never heard of a support organization that has leapt forward the way this one has. Patients are so exhausted from acromegaly that they have been too tired to get together like people with other diseases do. So it had to be done for them - through the PNA. It's been done for us and we should all be so grateful for what the PNA has done."