Patient Story - Jerrie Stutheit
Geraldine (Jerrie) Stutheit is a mother of three and grandmother of seven who was diagnosed with a large brain tumor. She had started having difficulty in her thinking, left-sided weakness, double vision, anxiety and personality changes about four months before she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. “I was actually relieved. I thought I was ‘going crazy,’ and finally the problems I was experiencing could be explained.” After diagnosis, she and her husband of 53 years, Tom, consulted with one surgeon who wasn’t very positive about her prognosis. “A friend from our church suggested getting a second opinion and gave me the name of a someone in the Kansas City medical community.” Jerrie had an appointment to see Geoffrey Blatt, M.D., a neurosurgeon at Research Medical Center, within a matter of a few days. “Dr. Blatt explained the kind of tumor exactly like the first doctor I went to, but Dr. Blatt seemed so much more confident that I would have positive results. I trusted him immediately.”
Jerrie underwent brain surgery at Research Medical Center and spent four days in the hospital after surgery. “I really didn’t feel like myself for about six months. But, I was very happy to be able to function again—which was a big concern of mine before my surgery.” When the pathology report came back, it revealed that the tumor was a hemangiopericytoma, which is a rare form of a non-cancerous tumor that acts more like it is cancerous. Due to this diagnosis, Jerrie continued to get yearly MRI scans.
During one of Jerrie’s regularly scheduled MRI scans, it became apparent that the tumor had started to grow back again. “Dr. Blatt gave me several options for treatment, including observation, conventional surgery (another craniotomy) or Gamma Knife radiosurgery.
I chose Gamma Knife. “I was a little scared, but trusted Dr. Blatt and put it in his and God’s hands.” The Gamma Knife procedure allowed Jerrie to be treated on an outpatient basis with no general anesthesia. She felt she was back to her usual self within six weeks, which was a far cry from the six months she spent recuperating from her previous brain surgery.
Jerrie has had a total of three Gamma Knife procedures-- every time due to new areas in her brain being affected by the initial tumor. “I feel the whole Gamma Knife experience has been great. Everyone involved -- nurses, doctors and physicist -- were fun and pleasant people.” Jerrie hopes for no further recurrences of her brain tumor, but she does have trust in the recommendations of her neurosurgeon, Dr. Blatt, the Gamma Knife team and her tremendous faith.