Spring 2005 Issue

A Rare Pituitary Tumor Was The Single Cause Of Multiple Health Problems
A Day At The Beach Shed Light On This Patient’s Condition.

When Susan Jarrett went on her family vacation in the summer of 2004, she never expected how much a week at the beach would change her life. During one of the last days of her trip, she was out on the beach when her husband shared an interesting conversation he had just had with another vacationer.

Susan Jarrett
“A man who was also on vacation with his family had approached my husband, introduced himself as Hunter Dyer, and said he was a neurosurgeon from Charlotte. Dr. Dyer explained that he had seen me on the beach during the week and observed possible symptoms of acromegaly, a type of pituitary tumor,” said Susan. “He suggested a specific blood test I should have when I returned home. As soon as I could get in front of a computer, I went online and researched acromegaly. I immediately recognized I had experienced about 80% of the symptoms.”

Susan’s symptoms included arthritis, swelling in her legs, gall bladder problems and growth in feet and hands. She had gotten to the point where it was difficult to wear shoes and she’d had her rings resized twice. These were all symptoms that Susan had thought were unrelated to each other.

“The growth in my hands had started about eight or nine years ago. I just thought it was a part of getting older,” said Susan. The Monday after returning home from vacation, she called her doctor to get the blood test that had been suggested. It came back positive for acromegaly. She immediately called Dr. Dyer at Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates.

“After talking to him I immediately felt better,” said Susan. “Even though I live near Greensboro, I knew I needed to go to Charlotte and see Dr. Dyer.” After an MRI confirmed the size and location of the tumor, surgery was scheduled for the end of September. Once the tumor was removed, Susan began to see a dramatic change in her appearance and the way she felt. “Within a week after surgery I lost 10 to 12 pounds of fluid, and in two to three weeks I could see the bone structure in my face returning,” said Susan. “My energy level was up and my chronic sinus problems and headaches were gone because the tumor was no longer placing pressure on my sinuses. The swelling and puffiness in my feet and hands went down and I no longer had pain in my joints.” Susan will require periodic follow-up to check for any future tumor growth, but today is happy with her outcome and still a bit amazed at how her story unfolded.

“It’s pretty incredible to think that one day I’m sitting on the beach, living with what I thought were several unrelated health issues, and then a neurosurgeon I didn’t even know points me in the right direction to find the answer to my problems,” said Susan. “I’m very grateful.”

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