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December 3, 2015

PATIENT STORY: My Pituitary Surgery was Truly a Team Approach

by Sharmyn McGraw

Gerald, a retired Neurologist, from Hawaii, developed a recurrent pituitary adenoma in December 2014. His success and experience with the Pacific Brain Tumor Center and Pituitary Disorders Program team have allowed him to go home back to his active lifestyle.

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I am very pleased to have had my pituitary surgery with Dr. Daniel Kelly’s group at the Pacific Brain Tumor Center (PBTC) and Pituitary Disorders Program at Providence Saint John’s Health Center. In December 2014, I developed a recurrent pituitary adenoma, which showed up on an MRI. My initial tumor had been operated on in 1997 at another hospital with many complications and so I was anxious to find a facility with an excellent track record this time around.

During my search for a full-fledged specialty Pituitary Center, I received an email from the Pituitary Network Association detailing an award ceremony honoring Dr. Daniel Kelly. I noted there were conferences attached to the ceremony both for doctors and for patients and so I attended both. As I jumped back and forth from the meeting rooms (as a patient and a doctor), I was struck by the unanimity of the accolades for Dr. Kelly and all of his staff. After further research, I found that the doctors had performed over 600 cases and are highly regarded in their fields. The center is part of the world-class hospital at Providence Saint John’s, which has state-of-the-art technology in their operating rooms.

The more I learned the more comfortable I felt traveling from my home in Maui to have the evaluation and potential surgery in Santa Monica, CA. My first contact at the PBTC was with Riley Schaefer who was very helpful and had me promptly lined up with an evaluation with the doctors. My confidence in the PBTC was confirmed after my brief (!) in-patient stay at Providence Saint John’s with a successful removal of the tumor and no complications. The doctors, nurses, techs, and volunteers were all very professional and I was made to feel comfortable and relieved.

While Dr. Kelly expertly performed the neurosurgery, Dr. Chester Griffiths led the way in via my endonasal approach and was truly charming with his humor and expertise. I have to thank Dr. Garni Barkhoudarian and Dr. Lobo as well as Nurse Practitioner, Amy, and office staff, Maricela, Annie, Marilou, and patient support specialist, Sharmyn for watching over me and easing my concerns. Dr. Niloufar Ilani made sure my endocrine status stayed in balance and was “patient” with my many questions. What a great team!

Gerald-Pituitary-Adenoma-2Since returning to Hawaii, I am feeling stronger and have gotten back to my bicycling and paddling activities. My family and friends have all remarked how healthy I am looking and I thank the excellent gang at the PBTC for putting me on the road to recovery. I strongly recommend the Pacific Brain Tumor Center at Providence Saint John’s Health Center for their excellent care of patients with pituitary tumors.

Gerald, MD
November 2015


About the Author

Sharmyn McGraw

Sharmyn McGraw

Sharmyn McGraw is a patient advocate, charismatic professional speaker and published author. She has first-hand experience as a Cushing’s disease survivor and often collaborates with nationally-recognized neuro-endocrine experts, sharing the speaker’s platform while educating patients and doctors about neuroendocrine hormonal disorders and their impact on our health as a nation. Sharmyn facilitates the largest pituitary patient support group in the country for the Pacific Neuroscience Institute.

Last updated: October 11th, 2018