Patient Stories

Tina Johnson
Tina Johnson

“As I look back over the last few months, I realize I’ve traveled a long way, medically speaking,” says Tina Johnson, a 54-year-old resident of Queens. “The journey began back in February 2006 while I was riding in a car near my home. Suddenly, I felt this huge jolt as we were rear-ended by a tow truck. The next thing I knew I was on a stretcher being carried into the emergency room at Forest Hills Hospital.” Fortunately, Tina had been wearing her seat belt, so other than some bruises and muscle soreness, the doctors initially did not find anything to worry about and released her.

But Tina began to have headaches soon after, which she related to the accident. She went back for further examinations, only this time she also mentioned blurred peripheral vision in her left eye that predated the crash. She attributed her eye problems to normal aging, but thought perhaps it was time to do something about it. Given a diagnostic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Tina learned that she had a sizable pituitary tumor about the size of a golf ball. The tumor was actually pressing on her right optic nerve, causing both her headaches and blurred vision. Tina was referred to Mark Eisenberg, MD, at North Shore University Hospital for a formal evaluation and treatment.

As a result of extensive diagnostic testing and her symptoms, Dr. Eisenberg determined surgery was her only option. On October 3, 2006, Tina underwent minimally invasive endoscopic skull base surgery with Dr. Eisenberg and B. Todd Schaeffer, MD, the hospital’s associate chairman of otolaryngology. Three days later she went home. “Almost immediately the vision in my left eye cleared up,” said Tina with amazement. “So did then headaches. And I don’t recall having any pain at all. In fact, other than a band-aid on one side of my nose where I was having a little drainage at first, I couldn’t see or feel any signs that I’d even been in surgery at all. You can call me a very satisfied patient.” Tina also has high regard for her doctors. “Dr. Eisenberg and Dr. Schaeffer were very informative, reassuring and generous with the amount of time they took to explain every step of my treatment and follow-up. Everything happened the way they said it would. Because my pituitary is still not functioning at normal levels, Dr. Eisenberg has me taking oral hydrocortisone, but he expects that to end soon. So yes, it has been quite a year, but all things considered, a pretty good one.”

A patient discusses the successful surgery that resulted in the removal of a pituitary tumor.