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Dr. Hrayr Shahinian Patient Resources

Patient Testimonials and Pituitary Tumor Resources

 Pituitary Tumor: Success Stories

Glenn M., Golden, CO
My feelings of thanks and gratitude for the work and care of Dr. Shahinian can’t be fairly expressed.

Here’s the story: I was playing golf with friends. My buddies thought it was hilarious how I kept missing the ball. Later that day, I realized I was having a vision problem. I couldn’t quite pinpoint the problem but realized that I could not see right of center out of my right eye.

A few days later, a visit to the ophthalmologist revealed nothing but an ominous "see your regular doctor". I knew this couldn’t be good. So when my doctor told me it was probably either MS or a lesion on my brain, I wasn’t surprised. Two days later an MRI confirmed a pituitary adenoma, ironically, the size of a golf ball.

One week later I was in surgery, having the standard translabial transsphenoidal procedure. I had two surgeons that day. An otolaryngological surgeon did the approach, and a neurosurgeon performed the resection. The morning after my surgery, the neurosurgeon came and told me that he could only safely get half the tumor and that I would need to have a second procedure. This time he would perform a gross craniotomy where he would "gently lift my brain" and complete the resection. As he was speaking these words, I knew I wouldn’t let this happen.

Thankfully, that afternoon the endocrinologist visited and told me that my prolactin level was 2001, a fact the surgeon apparently missed. Perhaps surgery was still needed, but his preparation assumed a different type of tumor.

Over the next year, I fought to get my life back on track. I realized the monumental impact that my stratospheric prolactin levels had had on my marriage. I spent four years with my ex-wife in counseling trying to save our marriage, and the entire time this unknown enemy had been lurking inside me. I worked with my endocrinologist to be put on testosterone replacement. He refused, saying it might permanently stop my body from ever producing this hormone naturally. Additionally, I was on a microscopic dose of Dostinex. My prolactin never fell below 650.

Finally, I’d had enough. I "fired" my endocrinologist and started doing research on my own. I realized that my Dostinex dosage was way too low and I probably should be on testosterone replacement. I also wanted to address my chronic fatigue. Soon after that, I read a book called Man Made: A Memoir Of My Body, by Ken Baker. Mr. Baker wrote about his experience with a prolactinoma. He also told of how his tumor was removed by a new procedure by Dr. Hrayr Shahinian of Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. I kept this in mind.

By this time, I had a new endocrinologist and was finally on a reasonable protocol. The tumor seemed to be shrinking but not as fast as expected. I consulted with my internist and endocrinologist and told them I was seriously thinking about another procedure to get the entire tumor out. I showed them both Ken Baker’s book and information from the Skull Base Institute website. My endocrinologist told me the tumor would probably shrink down in time and suggested I wait. My internist thought my plan was a good one. I’d known him for years, and he knew about the personal hell I’d gone through. I wanted to feel like a man again and I think he wanted it for me too.

The next day I called the Skull Base Institute. After sending some documentation I was told I was a candidate for Dr. Shahinian’s endoscopic procedure. I was elated! I met Dr. Shahinian the day before my surgery. He explained in detail how my procedure would be done and answered all of my questions. I immediately liked his warm and friendly demeanor. He was open and friendly and was glad that I had done so much preparation and research. This was radically different from my previous experience.

I had my second pituitary surgery. I woke after the procedure as if from a deep nap. I had no pain; my nose wasn’t bleeding all over the place like last time; and I felt great. The nurses and doctors told me I was the healthiest looking patient they’d ever seen in the ICU. My "recovery" was entirely uneventful. I played golf 8 days post-surgery and jogged a mile two weeks out.

Dr. Shahinian visited me later that morning and told me my prolactin level was 22. I was absolutely overjoyed.

The past few years have been the greatest of my life. I’m 43 years old but feel like a young man again. I have a girlfriend, I have packed on a bunch of muscle weight, and I can grow a beard. I feel extremely powerful at work. Most important, I feel like a man. Without a doubt, Dr. Shahinian saved my life. His incredible expertise, compassion and legitimate concern for the welfare of patients like me are something I have never experienced and will never forget.

I hope that his efforts will continue to evolve so he can help many, many others like me.

Glenn M.
Golden, CO

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