Friday, September 5, 2008

Not so much a brain tumor

Fingers crossed, but just in case you, or someone close to you, ever need to have an MRI done, I'd strongly suggest that you go to Cardinal Santos MRI Center. It is highly recommended by my neurosurgeon, Eric Legaspi. Dr Legaspi, btw, graduated summa cum laude from UPLB for his pre-med and topped (read: First) the medical board the year he took it. I chose him after asking around and doing some research on the best neurosurgeons available.
Cardinal Santos MRI Center produces clear plates distinctly locating where the problem is. Aside from this, you’d have a better degree of confidence in the findings as only two very reliable doctors, Drs. Ison and Cheng read the plates.
I had my third MRI (of the sella/pituitary) last 25 August. My first was done in 2007 at Medical City, which took almost an hour. At Cardinal Santos, it takes much less, around 40 minutes, may be even less! I tell you, when you're there encapsulated in a rocket-like machine, ears bombarded by loud sounds, and made to stay perfectly still (with very limited movements allowed between imaging sequences), one hour would seem like forever! You’d itch and want to scratch but if you do so, chances are they’d have to repeat the whole sequence.
My first MRI revealed a 7mm tumor in my pituitary gland. Just for reference, the pituitary gland is about the size of a pea (very small!) located at the base of the brain. Calling it a brain tumor may not be technically accurate, but it's also not totally incorrect to name it as such, as it is still lodged in the brain area!
So there, I had a brain tumor! I had it removed Feb 07. It was producing excessive growth hormones (GH). If you had read my previous posts you would have come across the word "acromegaly." That's the condition that I have. A very rare disease in that only three to four out of every million people develop acromegaly each year and about 60 out of every million people suffer from the disease at any time. Now, don't you think that having this disease kind of makes me extraordinary!!! Some consolation! (Please click on the hyperlink to learn more about acromegaly.)
But I have good news! The tumor’s now reduced to approximately 1-2mm. Dr Ison gave this impression:
"Interval decrease in the size of the tiny hypoenhancing lesion immediately superior to the right cavernous internal carotid artery. Imaging finding likely relate to resolving post-operative granulation changes. No definite residual or recurrent adenoma is identified. Nevertheless, continued follow-up is recommended."
Whew! Yes, we’re quite relieved. As you would probably know, I just had my second pregnancy; I gave birth last 24 June. I was apprehensive that the pregnancy could trigger a tumor regrowth. Good thing that it looks like I’m still ok post-op. The blood tests did not turn up very ideal results but so far my symptoms have been kept at bay. Will have a repeat of the blood work after 4 months as my endocrinologist said that my hormones might still be affected by the pregnancy. I’m keeping my fingers crossed…


Alecia E. said...

I am so glad you posted an update. I was wondering how things were going after the baby and I am so happy for you - what a relief and such good news.

Princess said...

Thanks, Alecia. MRI result was good. But, I'm still not totally relieved as my IGF-1 increased to 404. But then I think what's important for now is that I don't feel sick. May have not reverted to how I looked prior to acro but still much ok than I was before the surgery. Best regards.

polarchip said...

I say, if you feel good, that's what really counts! Numbers go up and down, and really they are just a reference. Every body is different. Glad you are feeling better!

Starbucks Addict said...

Glad to hear surgery went well. And congrats on your new little one ;-)

Princess said...

thanks ellen & jenny!