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Pituitary and Skull Base Tumor Patient Stories

Our stories below profile some of the patients who came to UPMC for brain surgery.

Elsa Arce: Meningioma

A purple background with white text that reads, "It was amazing. I could barely tell I just had surgery," by Elsa.

When this busy psychologist was diagnosed with a large meningioma that was pressing against her optic nerve, the experts at UPMC recommended EEA surgery to help restore her sight.

Read Elsa Arce's story

Carol Cambridge: Craniopharyngioma

She wears a tan jacket, gray baseball cap, and sun glasses. She is holding a fish she caught.

When a large brain tumor began affecting this avid fly fisherman’s vision, she turned to the experts at UPMC to keep her passion going.

Read Carol Cambridge's story

Matthew Carls: Angiofibroma

A purple background with white text which reads "We couldn't ask for a better surgical team. They are godsends," by Jody, Matthew's family.

UPMC surgeons performed an extraordinary, nine-hour surgery that allowed this average 10-year-old to return to the everyday fun of being a kid.

Read Matthew Carls's story

Baylor Cox: Angiofibroma

He wears a brown sports jersey with the number 82 on the front. He has shaggy medium length brown hair. He is holding a football and posing on one knee.

This high school football player and his family turned to the experts at UPMC when a rare and large tumor began pushing into his nasal cavity.

Read Baylor Cox's story

Maria del Mar Minguez: Meningioma

She poses with her family.

When Spain native Maria del Mar Minguez was diagnosed with a complex brain condition, her family and friends rallied to send her to the experts at UPMC.

Read Maria del Mar Minguez's story

Allison Ferguson: Rathke's Cleft Cyst

She has long blonde hair that is partially pulled back. She wears a short sleeved orange dress. She is smiling.

After being diagnosed with a life-threatening brain cyst, this high school senior and her family turned to the experts at UPMC for treatment.

Read Allison Ferguson's story

Nickkie Findlay: Tentorial Meningioma

A couple sits at a restaraunt. She wears a gold shirt, has glasses, and has shoulder length blonde hair. He wears a gray striped shirt and black blazer jacket. He has gray hair.

When this New Zealand native discovered she had a benign tumor along the surface of her brain, she turned to experts at UPMC to handle her care.

Read Nickkie Findlay's story

Brant Gawrys: Chordoma

He has short dark blonde hair and he is wearing a blue t-shirt. He stands in front of a chain link fence.

During the search for someone experienced enough to treat a very rare and aggressive form of bone cancer in his skull, Brant found solace and hope at UPMC.

Read Brant Gawrys's story

Barbara Giaquinto: Acoustic Neuroma

She has medium length curly brown hair. She has almond shaped brown eyes. She wears gold hoop earrings.

When an acoustic neuroma began affecting her hearing and balance, this busy secretary found hope and relief at UPMC.

Read Barbara Giaquinto's story

Náture Kastroulis: Right Trigeminal Schwannoma

She has medium length blonde hair. She wears bright lipstick. She wears a black blouse.

When Náture was diagnosed with a rare neurological occurrence, she found expert care at the UPMC Center for Skull Base Surgery.

Read Nature Kastroulis's story

Conor McKiernan: Angiofibroma

Conor wears a blue baseball cap and a matching sports jersey. He poses with his sibling. They are smiling.

After being diagnosed with a grapefruit-sized brain tumor, Conor McKiernan and his family found hope across the country, at UPMC.

Read Conor McKiernan's story

Aaron McMahon: International Chondrosarcoma

A young box with reddish brown curly hair poses for a photograph with his doctor. They are both smiling. He wears a gray t-shirt.

With limited treatment options, this Irish teen found a second chance at UPMC.

Read Aaron McMahon's story

Eddie: Acoustic Neuroma

Eddie wears a striped white and tan shirt. He is tanned with short cropped brown hair.

Afraid that removing his brain tumor could lead to the loss of his hearing, this California resident chose to travel across the country for the expert Gamma Knife® care offered at UPMC.

Read Eddie Neurosurgery's story

Elizabeth: Craniopharyngioma

A purple background with white text that reads "Nothing is better than hearing 'You're doing fine'," by Elizabeth.

After two previous brain surgeries, this woman found UPMC's expert team—and long-awaited relief from an aggressive tumor growing at the base of her skull near the pituitary gland.

Read Elizabeth Neurosurgery's story

Sharon: Craniopharyngioma

A purple background with white text that reads "They made me feel like an individual, not just a number that was passing through," by Sharon.

Faced with the loss of her vision, this librarian found new hope with the EEA surgeons at UPMC, who gave her back the gift of sight.

Read Sharon Neurosurgery's story

Chester Radcliff: Odontoid Pannus

He has gray hair, wears glasses, and a red t-shirt. He is holding an infant. He is smiling.

This active grandfather, faced with chronic pain and rapid degeneration, found hope, health, and a renewed life with his children and grandchildren.

Read Chester Radcliff's story

Edith Smith: Odontoid Synovial Cyst

She has shoulder length gray hair. She is smiling brightly. She wears gold hoop earrings and silver glasses.

This busy registered nurse, faced with the threat of paralysis, found relief and a speedy recovery through EEA surgery at UPMC.

Read Edith Smith's story

Leslie Snyder: Pituitary Tumor

She wears a floral blouse with a black background. She has earrings. Her brown hair is in a bun.

When her blurry eyesight led to the discovery of a brain tumor, this busy manager was thankful to live in Pittsburgh and have easy access to the UPMC experts she knew she could trust.

Read Leslie Snyder's story

Hayley Spitznagel: Craniopharyngioma

Hayley has long blonde hair that goes beyond her shoulders. She is tan. She is smiling and wearing rainbow polka-dot pajamas.

Doctors first thought Haley Spitznagel was suffering from migraine headaches, but it turned out to be something much more serious.

Read Haley Spitznagel's story

Karina Tapia: Meningioma and Optic Nerve Compression

A purple background with white text that reads, "I can't thank the team of doctors enough, they are truly angels," by Karina.

When this Mexico native and active mother of two was diagnosed with a large brain tumor that was disturbing her vision, she turned to the experts at UPMC thousands of miles away.

Read Karina Tapia's story

Steve Washko: Cushing's Disease

He stands on the beach. He wears a black and green t-shirt. He has gray hair and a gray moustache.

When the pain and dizziness Steve had been living with for years turned out to be Cushing's disease, he was referred to the experts at UPMC.

Read Steve Washko's story

Acharya Yashovijaysuri: Meningioma, Optic Nerve Compression

He smiles. He is bald. He wears glasses and has a gray wispy beard.

When a Jain Guru with 1 million followers was losing his sight—and traditional surgery failed—his followers sought sight-saving endonasal brain surgery at UPMC in Pittsburgh.

Read Acharya Yashovijaysuri's story