Officially it's called an adenoma

You can Google Non-Functioning Pituitary Adenoma if you want detailed information but in a nutshell it’s a benign tumor in my pituitary gland.

Three times, it's grown to the point where it affected my optic nerves and pituitary function. Surgery was performed Feb. 2007 again in Feb. 2009 and yet again Nov. 11, 2010 to remove as much of it as possible.

My vision was preserved in each case however I've lost Growth Hormone production and am on thyroid medication to help those levels.

I had radiation after my last surgery. The risk is I could over time loose all pituitary function. The hope is it will slow or stop the persistent tumor's aggressive growth.


MRI & Hormone testing

It's hard to believe it has been eight months since my last visit to OHSU.  Originally scheduled for my standard six month check in March but there was too much upheaval with MIL's ongoing health issues and at home with my husband's so I put it off.  Now that hubby is doing better and MIL, well,  her's continues to deteriorate.  She bounces between the hospital and assisted living with heart attacks and infections but we're come to the point of finally accepting you can't make someone do anything they don't want to do.

MRI results were 'consistent' with previous scan which means nothing changed.  YEAH!  That's what I want, boring nothing to talk about.  That silly little tumor continues to stagnate.

My hormone testing went mostly okay however both GH and Thyroid, the two I take medications for were off.  One was my fault.  Stress levels at home were high and I wasn't taking care of myself properly.  I was skipping doses of the genotropin and my growth hormone level was low.  Doctor wanted to up my dose so I had to confess.  Neither doc or hubby was pleased but both were understanding as long as I promised to take my daily shot from now on.

Thyroid was also low but that wasn't from me not taking my morning pill.  It just was.  So doctor bumped me back up to 125mg.  I'm not looking forward to the next few weeks.  As I've stated before for some reason my body hates it when the thyroid medication is adjusted up or down.  It almost feels like I have a flu, achy and tired.  I'll be glad when I'm past that.

Because of the low hormone levels and medication adjustments the doctor wants me back in 3-4 months to retest.  :(  Odds are I'm fine, just need to take my medication as I'm supposed to but anytime there is a change they watch me a little closer.  There's always the chance that my pituitary will give up the ghost, cease to function so even though I'm sick of tests, really don't want any more blood drawn for the rest of my life, I'll go get it done late August or September.



After my MRI instead of heading home, we drove in the opposite direction. Chris had a nagging sense that he needed to see his father.  It was a good but hard visit.  Good in that we chatted, told stories, shared my good news, showed him silly pictures of the dogs and boys on the cell phone.  Hard because Mike wasn't doing well and wanted to discuss what needed to happen when he died.

September 9th, 2012 in the early morning hours that still seem like night, my father-in-law passed.  He'd been in poor health for a number of years - heart attacks, yes plural, congestive heart failure as a result, a stroke, diabetes and many infections.  Our loss wasn't unexpected.  Still he'd survived countless operations doctors warned he wouldn't and so despite logic the family almost came to believe he'd continue to defy the odds, almost.

Reaction to my good MRI is muted, we're pleased but can't muster enthusiasm.  When something cool or funny or maddening happens, the thought - hey I need to call Dad, share this - still runs through Chris' head - then he remembers he can't.

That finality is hard.


Move forward at last

It's always amazing to look back and have the impression that time flew.  Twenty two months have passed since my last surgery, this is the point, this is the MRI that for the last six years has brought all progress to a halt.  The hope was that the radiation succeeded in retarding the tumor, making it not grow.  The wait to know if I can continue on or not is over.

My MRI findings were stable.  Post-surgical changes are again seen in the sellar supraseller region.  (scar tissue from the surgeries and radiation)  The mass lesion (the tumor) is stable, no evidence of progression.

My blood work was also stable.  No new function loss and both hormones I take replacement medication for tested in normal ranges, so no changes in dosage, no adjusting!

I cannot express how relieved I am, Chris and the boys are.  I still have to test again in six months because my tumor was so aggressive but if that one is stable then I can go a full year between them.

Bottom line for the first time in six long years my pituitary tumor isn't growing!