Christy Burdette, a home health nurse from the Charleston, West Virginia, area, visited her optometrist in January 2014 for a regular checkup. This visit was anything but regular, however. When Christy viewed an image through a testing machine with her right eye covered, she couldn’t see parts of it.
After a visit to a hospital, the local ophthalmologist was near certain that the damage to Christy’s optic nerve was from a meningioma, a tumor that arises from the membranes that surround your brain and spinal cord. He wanted her to see a neurologist and recommended a few to her.
Christy did her research and concluded that Daniel Prevedello, MD, and Ricardo Carrau, MD, skull base tumor specialists at the OSUCCC – James, were the best choice.
Christy was especially impressed that both doctors are internationally renowned leaders in the surgical treatment of skull base tumors. “Their credentialing is incredible,” she said.
The skull base tumor team wasted no time scheduling Christy’s appointment, and she arrived in Columbus to meet both doctors the following week, and her surgery occurred the week after that. It took nearly 12 hours but “the nurses kept my family updated every two hours,” she said. “They knew exactly what was going on,” Christy said.
The surgery, called the endoscopic endonasal approach, removes tumors like Christy’s through the patient’s nose instead of through the patient’s skull and around the brain. In fact, Dr. Carrau and Dr. Prevedello were part of a team at the University of Pittsburgh that developed the special surgery in the 1990s.
After the surgery, Christy spent a few days in the ICU and on the OSUCCC – James neurology unit before heading home. Her mother-in-law was a great help, watching Christy’s three-year-old daughter. “I couldn’t bend over or put pressure on my head for a month,” she said.
Five months later, Christy is getting back her sense of smell and taste, which she lost for a while. Her vision is also returning to where it was before the surgery, which means that removing the tumor stopped the progression. She plans to continue following up with Dr. Prevedello to make sure the tumor doesn’t come back.
As for her treatment and care at the OSUCCC – James, Christy said, “I couldn’t ask for better.”
In addition to her doctors, she said, she was grateful for other treatment team members, like Dr. Prevedello’s nurse, the ICU nurses and a resident physician who helped her and her husband find Dr. Carrau’s office for a pre-op appointment. “He didn’t just tell us how to get there,” Christy said of the resident. “He took us there.”