Cured of Acromegaly?
Wow – what a headline – “Cured of Acromegaly?”, but in true sensational newspaper-type hype, it is alas but a headline. The word “Cured” should of course be “remission”. Any tumour or growth there is a chance that they will grow back in time.
Random Growth Hormone Day Curve
Anyhow, on Thursday I had blood tests to measure my Growth Hormone (GH) randomly over the day. Normal people produce very little GH during the day
(most of it is produced over night), with just a few pulses of GH due to events such as stress. Somebody with acromegaly will pump out GH through the day whilst their tumour keeps on producing it.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
On Friday I had an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). This involves having a glass of water with a measured amount of glucose in it, after fasting over night.
In a normal person any GH would be suppressed (go down) after the glucose drink. In a person with acromegaly the GH would remain the same, or paradoxically go up or some random response.
Not so Quick!
The results in my case have to be treated with some caution. The drug I was on to suppress my GH (octreotide) could still be in my system. I stopped taking it twenty days before the operation (and I stopped taking the long-acting ‘monthly’ version of the drug about three months before the operation).
Another bit of caution too is that I’m temporarily on a steroid/hormone called Hydrocortisone to cover me against an adrenal crisis after the operation. Research has shown that this suppresses GH in people with acromegaly. On Wednesday I was on 50/50/50mg HC (i.v.), on Thursday, 20/10/10mg HC, and on Friday I was on 10/5/5mg.
Beaming from Ear to Ear
The surgeon came himself (again, beaming from ear to ear) to give me the very promising good news, which initially appears that the surgery was a success and that against the criteria set shows remission. He emphasised caution though in regards to these results due to the octrotide that might be still in my system, and that I would have a follow-up at Christies in about six weeks time.
Unfortunately, despite me being such a zealot for data, I didn’t write down the figures of the results (or criteria) due to the sheer excitement. The surgeon did repeat the figures a few times to me, and I made a determined effort to remember them, but they flew out like moths from a cupboard. I do however remember thinking that there was a large margin between the values I had and the maximum values that were being tested against.
The great thing for a surgeon treating somebody with acromegaly is that they get great big handshakes off their patients! (KG – You’ll be using that line to amuse your staff now!).
Despite the caution of the results, I’m absolutely delighted, absolutely over the moon. Friday night I went home with my wife, and she was absolutely lovely.
The hospital “Immediate Discharge Summary” for me had the simple, but welcome words of: “GH results showed remission, so he was sent home“.
Last night (Saturday) I walked to the local Chinese takeaway to get us a banquet to celebrate.
So do I have remission from Acromegaly? Well we don’t quite know yet, but it’s looking rather promising!