Updated: Mar 15, 2019
I was a junior in college when I noticed something was off with my vision. I was walking across the street, and didn't see the bus barreling down the road. My primary care doc recommended I go to the ER just in case it was more serious than suspected vertigo, as I had just returned home from spring break in Cancun. I had a CT scan done, and about a half hour later or so, four docs came into my tiny ER room to tell me and my very recently engaged fiance that I had a tumor in my brain. My world stopped, and I knew that it was extremely serious when those for docs walked in. Thoughts ran through my head. I had just gotten engaged, my world was about to start and now this? I was scared that I would leave him and my family. I had so many unanswered questions. Was I going to die? Would they have to shave my head? Was it cancerous? I was diagnosed with a pituitary macroadenoma. Three centimeters. They presumed benign, but wouldn't know until my scheduled surgery three weeks later. In that quick three weeks my vision rapidly deteriorated. I was seeing everything double.
My mom and sisters took me wedding dress shopping to have a good time and cheer me up, but there were so many mirrors and sparkles, I kept falling down. That's when I learned about tumor humor. Meaning, the situation is so stressful, you have to laugh at all of the little things or you'd cry. That is something my mom taught and did for me, I will never forget it. It had and has helped me cope tremendously throughout this crazy journey.
The surgery was a success, despite the tumor bleeding (that was my reason for the symptoms, it the tumor and blood were pressing up against my optic chaism - the biggest eye nerve in the body/brain). They thought they removed all of the tumor with just a tiny scar under my nose where they cut to expose the sella (place where the pituitary gland sits in the brain). Thankfully the lab tests revealed that the tumor was benign. And I really had very little pain - a huge and welcomed difference from the spinal surgery.
After that, the doctors started looking at my labs and hormones. See the pituitary gland
regulates sex hormones, the thyroid, the adrenals which regulate corticosteriods, and more. They thought that I was peeing to much, so they started treating me for diabetes insipidus (which I still fully don't understand) - which could have bad effects on electrolytes, so they gave me shots to prevent me from peeing extra.
About a day or two after I was transferred out of intensive care, I called my mom and told her something wasn't right, she immediately got in the car and drove to the hospital. I tried to tell the nurses and docs there was something wrong, but no one was listening. By the time my mom got there, I was out of it, nauseous, and very anxious. It turned out the medicine that they were giving me diluted the sodium in my blood to a point where I passed out and had a very serious seizure. I woke up 3 days later with a PICC line in my chest, and an extremely worried and traumatized mother - she had witnessed the whole seizure, and when the call button wasn't working, she had to run to get help.
When they finally made sure my electrolytes and hormones were stable, I went home a few days later on synthroid because my pituitary gland was already causing secondary hypothyroidism. But my story didn't end here. With all things Kate brained, the plot twists kept on coming, so I had to keep up the tumor humor, and stay afloat.