Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pituitary Problems 2: Surgery OR Out Damn Spot

Since the last post, there have been some developments. After a review MRI done in April, I got back to see the neurosurgeon, just last week, for his assessment. The drug I was prescribed back in December, Dostinex (cabergoline), which I take weekly, has done wonders for suppressing the prolactin that I was over-producing. Sadly, it has not had the effect of shrinking the tumour.

If anything, it's grown marginally - they are known to be slow-growing, so this in itself is not a major problem.

So, the tumour cannot be described as a prolactinoma; it's more likely to be a non-functioning tumour. Put simply, this means that it doesn't produce excess hormones, in and of itself. The raised prolactin levels actually demonstrate that it is the pituitary stalk producing prolactin  - think of it as a protest at being squished up out of the way by this rogue growth.

After mulling a few options over in the consultation, I decided to get it out. The surgeon offered the 21st of July as the nearest date, which I was happy to take. He says that it is fairly straightforward. It's called a transsphenoidal surgery, and basically he goes in just above my front teeth in a line back to the skull/brain base, breaking a small hole in the sphenoid bone, and using endoscopic techniques he'll go in and (hopefully) take it all out. I'll only be in hospital for a few days, and willl recover at home in about 2-6 weeks. Hopefully in time to make it back to work in September.

In myself, I'm seeing a gradual improvement, week on week. I have a bit more stamina, lasting the day and only feel whacked if I've overdone it - but so often I don't realise I've overdone it, until I've overdone it! But compared to my last visit to this blog, I can really see a difference - and the good weather recently has really helped too.

Yesterday after visiting the endocrinologist, he agreed that it was probably the best course of action to have it out, but warned that it was unlikely that I would regain any lost hormonal function. So I could well remain on cortisol (steroids) and growth hormone injections for the rest of my life.

But hey, it will be nice not to have this bump in my head, and it pressing on my sinuses, giving me headaches and vision problems and all the other problems; as well as having histology and pathology done on it to ensure there's no nasty surprises.

So roll on July 21st!