Fighting Murphy’s Law

“I’m very happy with the quality of the treatment.”

Steve Murphy was on a business trip in North Carolina, busily working at his computer when, without warning, he suffered a seizure. The next thing the then-58-year-old remembers is lying in a hospital bed. After undergoing a battery of tests, Steve was diagnosed with a meningioma — a brain tumor that develops from tissue covering the brain and spinal cord.

Symptoms from a meningioma, while rare, can include seizures, headaches, vision problems and memory loss. In 90 percent of meningioma cases, the tumor is noncancerous, which was the case for Steve. But because of the tumor’s size and location near his optic chiasm, it required immediate and aggressive treatment.

All of a sudden, it seemed to Steve as if Murphy’s Law — the adage that says whatever can go wrong, will — was in full effect. For someone who’d always been in good health and never spent a night in a hospital before, being diagnosed with meningioma was a frightening and confusing experience.

Choosing the Gamma Knife Center

One thing Steve wasn’t confused about, however, was where he’d go for care. As soon as he returned home, Steve made an appointment at the Gamma Knife Center.

“My wife, Dale, worked for The Valley Hospital for 35 years, so I trusted Valley,” he says. “I went in for an MRI, and Dr. D’Ambrosio confirmed the diagnosis I’d received in North Carolina. He recommended surgery to remove the tumor.”

On January 31, 2014, the Center’s Co-Director, Neurosurgeon Anthony D’Ambrosio, M.D., performed the surgery, during which time he was able to remove more than 99 percent of Steve’s tumor. Over the next two years, Steve would visit Dr. D’Ambrosio and the Center’s Co-Director, Radiation Oncologist Chad M. DeYoung, M.D., for checkups. In December 2015, during one of these routine visits, an MRI revealed that Steve’s tumor had regrown. This time, Dr. D’Ambrosio recommended gamma knife stereotactic radiosurgery followed by 25 days of external beam radiation to target the regrowth. Undergoing any type of treatment for an extended period of time isn’t fun for anyone, but it’s especially nerve-wracking for someone, like Steve, who is prone to panic attacks.

Top-Notch Care

“I was pretty nervous,” Steve says. “But everyone at the center was so caring and accommodating, they made a difficult situation a lot more bearable. I was even able to bring in my own CDs, which helped me relax.”

Steve says that the side effects (mostly fatigue) weren’t anything he couldn’t handle, and he felt able to go back to his job right away. “I didn’t feel like I was 25 again, but I didn’t expect to,” he says. “I feel pretty good for my age. I’m very happy with the quality of the treatment.”

A follow-up MRI will confirm the tumor hasn’t regrown. In the meantime, Steve says he’s staying optimistic. “With a last name like mine, I’m fighting against Murphy’s Law, but I believe they got everything.”

* This procedure may not be suitable for every patient. All patients must be evaluated by a physician as to the appropriateness of performing the procedure. The above testimonial represents the individual's response and reaction to the procedure; however, no medical procedure is risk-free. Associated potential risks and complications should be discussed with the physician rendering this procedure.

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