Pituitary Surgery - Testimonials

From My Perspective

by Edwin E. Suman Jr.

Pituitary SurgeryHaving lived the better part of a half-century in San Diego, California, I knew that I enjoyed good health. Both of my parents lived well into their nineties, so why shouldn’t I. Then, very slowly, I noticed a slight problem with my eyes. As I am in my early seventies, I thought this was quite natural. I decided it was not natural, and was off to see a very fine ophthalmologist. The good doctor said look here, look there and at last said, "Ed, your eyes are fine, but you have a problem." With that, he phoned another doctor and said, "He’ll be right up." The second doctor, a specialist, said, "You have the symptoms of a pituitary tumor." I didn’t really know what a tumor was. All I know is that a cold shiver ran up my spine. The second doctor said, "Go right now and have a peripheral eye test." Well, I didn’t know what that was either. With a peripheral eye test in hand, I returned to the ophthalmologist. He took one look at it and said, "I’ll call Kenneth Ott, he’s a very fine neurosurgeon, one of the best." By this time I was thoroughly confused and went home.

I stood before the receptionist, in the office of Dr. Kenneth Ott, M.D., F.A.C.S. The last time I filled out that many papers, I was in the United States Navy. Entering the inner sanctum, I sat before an amiable, smiling, gray haired man. After looking at the eye test he said, "Ed, I think you have a pituitary tumor and I want you to have a CAT Scan." Once again I filled out papers, as the nurse said, "We will have to take a blood sample." I asked why, and she said, "We will inject a little dye in your blood, which will be carried out of your body through your urine. We need to know that your kidneys are good." With CAT Scan in hand, I returned to Dr. Ott. So far, nothing to it.

Once again I was seated before the good neurosurgeon, and I knew the chips were down. "You have a pituitary tumor. If it is not removed, you will be blind within a year." Once again a cold chill ran down my spine as I said, "You certainly have a way with words. Take it out." After an EKG, chest x-ray and the drawing of more blood, I sat in Scripps Hospital. Daylight was just breaking, as I changed into a hospital nightgown. Someone said, "Follow me." After entering a large room, my guide said, "Hop up on this gurney." As my guide placed a warm blanket over me, a nurse said, "I will be with you all of the time." An anesthesiologist stopped and said good morning. Then, down the hall, into a room and onto the table. The nurse smiled and held my right hand. Above me loomed a large figure shrouded in white. "Are you doctor Ott and are you going to take out a tumor?" I asked. "I don’t want you to cut off a leg, or something." The figure laughed and said, "Yes. I am Kenneth Ott and I am going to take out a pituitary tumor." With that, the lights went out. I awoke in the recovery room and the nurse was standing by me. "How do you feel?" she asked. With a large bandage over my noise, I blurted out, "Fine. No pain at all."

I was placed in a comfortable bed, on the fourth floor of Scripps Hospital. The IV was placed in my left arm and I could relax. I was certainly surprised, because up to this point, the operation was painless. With the two drainage tubes in my nose, and a bandage over the end, I was a little uncomfortable. But, all in all, there was no pain. I spent the night in the hospital, and in the morning went home. This is just to check that you don’t have a problem. Three days later, I saw Dr. Ott. He took the bandage from my nose. As he surreptitiously removed the tubes from my nose with his right hand, he covered it with gauze using his left. I could now blow my nose. Assuring the doctor that I had been in no pain at any time, I headed home. Of course, there is another CAT Scan; to be sure the tumor is gone. In a summation may I say, there was no pain at any time. My only problem was that I knew nothing of the operation, and had a great foreboding of the unknown. If you are placed in the same position, with a pituitary tumor, have no anxiety. Ask me on the E-mail and I will give you my prospective. esuman@pacbell.net

Ed Suman recently authored this book of short anecdotes from his life as a tuna fisherman in the Galapagos Islands and the coast of Central America after World War II. He colorfully narrates further adventures as a deck officer aboard small banana boats and smuggling in Central America. Visual loss from a pituitary tumor recently brought him to our clinic. Following his surgery, Ed graciously volunteered to write yet another anecdote...his own pituitary surgery!

Edwin E. Suman, Jr. The Absolutely True Sea Stories of a Wily Sailor. Sea Stories Publications. 1996 P.O.Box 664, La Jolla, CA 92038.