💉 Helpful Doctors: New York

Robert Heller, M.D., has joined Albany Med’s Department of Neurosurgery and has been named assistant professor of neurosurgery at Albany Medical College. He specializes in the surgical treatment of pituitary tumors, meningiomas, acoustic neuromas and gliomas. He is also skilled in stereotactic radiosurgery, a precisely targeted form of radiation therapy to treat tumors.

As a cranial and skull base surgeon, Dr. Heller will work with a team comprised of neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, and ear, nose and throat surgeons who make up Albany Med’s Pituitary and Minimally Invasive Cranial Base Surgery Program.

Dr. Heller completed a complex cranial and skull base neurosurgery fellowship at Tampa General Hospital and University of South Florida in Tampa. He completed his residency training at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, where he also received his medical degree. His research interests include clinical outcomes in minimally invasive approaches to skull base surgery, and he has authored or co-authored nearly two dozen journal articles and book chapters. His professional society memberships include the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the North American Skull Base Society.

He resides in Delmar.

Dr. Heller is seeing patients at Albany Med’s Department of Neurosurgery at 43 New Scotland Ave. To schedule an appointment or for more information, call the Department of Neurosurgery at (518) 262-5088.

 

 

Media Inquiries:

Sue  Ford Rajchel

fords@amc.edu

(518) 262 – 3421

💙 Post-Op Pituitary COVID Injection 1

 

Quick takeaway: I have adrenal insufficiency (one adrenal was removed with my kidney due to cancer, steroid-dependent (post-Cushing’s Disease), growth hormone insufficiency, panhypopituitary.  I had some issues after my first COVID-19 injection (Moderna) but not too bad.  My second injection will be March 15.


January 12, 2021 my Mom’s doctor called and offered her the vaccine but she didn’t want it. She said she didn’t go anywhere.  True but my DH and I do – and she has a friend visit once a month.  I joked to a friend that I could put on a wig and go as her since we have the same first name.

I have been doing the COVID-19 Patient Monitoring System through my doctor’s office since it was first offered.  Just a few boxes of how I’m feeling, if I wore a mask and so on.  I am a strong believer in helping to participate in medical trials, as I mention below.  This one is very easy and takes about a minute out of my day.  Easy-peasy.

I’ve been on the Fairfax Waiting List since January 19, 2021.  As of right now, they are still scheduling people from January 18 – I read somewhere that 41,000-some people registered on the 18th, so it may be a while to get to my date.  They have set up an interesting dashboard to track how things are going  https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/novel-coronavirus/vaccine/data

I got a link from a friend when CVS opened up clinics in my state – https://www.cvs.com/vaccine/intake/store/covid-screener/covid-qns

I kept the CVS link open and checked it every morning.  Everything was full until Saturday, February 13.  I was able to register at about 5 am.  When I went back about 20 minutes later, everything was gone.

 

CVS sent out an informative email with directions, dates, ics file to easily add to calendar,

On the day of your appointment:

•Please arrive early enough to check in before your scheduled appointment. Arriving late for your appointment may result in an extended wait time.

•Bring your ID and insurance card, voucher or other coverage

•Don’t forget a face covering—wearing it throughout your visit is required

•When you arrive, please check in at the pharmacy area inside the store or follow the signs for the COVID-19 vaccine

CVS tips for vaccine shots:

•Wearing short sleeves makes getting a shot easier and faster

•If you must wear long sleeves, dress in layers with the short sleeves underneath

Review the patient fact sheet about the specific vaccine you are receiving

What to do if you feel sick or have COVID-19 symptoms:

•Contact your health care provider immediately

•If your provider recommends it, get tested for COVID-19

Cancel your appointment

•Don’t come to the pharmacy

•Schedule a new appointment when you’re well

After your vaccine:

•Be prepared to stay for 15 to 30 minutes after the COVID-19 vaccination so you can be observed for side effects.

•If you experience side effects from your COVID-19 vaccine dose, you may find some guidance at Coronavirus: Vaccine, Prevention Tips & FAQs

•The CDC has created a way for you to report how you feel after the COVID-19 vaccination through a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to check in with you. Learn about v-safe and sign up today.

And a short survey, which I took – just add up to 5 stars and write a short paragraph.

Monday, February 15, 2021: When I got to CVS, I found that everything was very well run.

I got a text from CVS asking me to click a link when I arrived at 3:30 and it gave me directions on where to go.

I was met by someone at door who checked my name – I showed him my phone screen – he showed me where to walk following arrows on floor.  Then I was met by so someone who checked my name and he asked if I had done the texting thing (yes!).

There were 4 people ahead of me that I could see.  It went very fast.  I was in the little room within less than 10 minutes.

The nurse asked if left arm was ok to use.

She told me to treat the little quarantine form like gold.  Take a picture on my phone, just in case.  Maybe laminate after second shot.  Keep it with passport.

She said that old folks (like me!) didn’t have as many issues after second shot.

The shot was very fast – I never felt it.

The nurse said if I get a headache, take Tylenol only.  I said that was all I could take anyway because I have only one kidney.

I sat in the waiting area for 15 minutes to be sure there were no problems  There were about 10 or so people sitting around the store that I could see at various stages of their 15 minutes.

I was glad to see that it was Moderna (MRNA) although I would have taken either.  I have a long-standing issue with the other drug company, unrelated to COVID vaccines.

I posted on FB that I had done my first injection and a friend told me about registering at vsafe.cdc.gov for them to keep track of me after the vaccination.  I signed up for that right away – and I noticed that CVS had also given me that link.

About 12 hours later (3:30 am) I got up to go to the bathroom and noticed that my arm was a little sore. No biggie.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021:  I just got my first dose of Moderna yesterday – sore arm, so far.

The nurse told me yesterday that older people like myself (I’m 72) had fewer side effects since we had been exposed to more things over the years.  I’m not sure how accurate that is but I’ll hold on to that hope until I get my second dose on March 15!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021:  I had weird dreams overnight but I got up about 4:00 am.  I did some work and fell back asleep until 10:15.

We didn’t go to water exercise. I decided at the very last minute, walking out the door. Reaction to Monday shot?  I had a little headache, dizzy, congested, very tired.  I should have taken more cortisone at this time but didn’t remember until 8:30 pm.

I slept more until about 2 pm and had very weird dreams – I don’t know if the dreams are part of it or not but I reported them to the safe.cdc.gov questionnaire.

I cancelled piano lessons for the day.  I wrote to my students:

I am so sorry but I need to cancel today’s lesson.  I had the first COVID vaccination on Monday afternoon.  I was feeling fine yesterday so I assumed that I wasn’t going to have any side effects but they caught up with me today.  It’s just a headache , a bit of congestion and fatigue (I’ve been sleeping all day so far) but I don’t think I would be at my best during XXX’s lesson.

See you next week…

After cancelling lessons, I went back to sleep until time for Pender’s 7 pm Ash Wednesday service.  I was felling cold but I don’t know if it was chills or really a cold.  I started coughing a little.

At night, I remembered I should have up-dosed. I told my DH that night if he ever noticed me like this again, it was the perfect time to tell me to stress dose.  It never occurred to me during the day.

At that point, I realized I hadn’t eaten all day.  I had dinner (I was surprised that I could eat it) at 9:25 and did my growth hormone injection.

I went to bed at 11 p.

Thursday, February 18, 2021: I’m a little more tired than usual but ok.  I spent time napping and working alternated through the day.

Friday, February 19, 2021: Just the normal tiredness.  Hooray!


Info below from https://medshadow.org/covid19-vaccine-side-effects/  I’ve had the bold ones so far after the first injection.

Moderna

Moderna started Phase III clinical trials for its vaccine candidate in July. In earlier trials, nearly half of patients experienced common adverse effects like injection site pain, rash, headaches, muscle soreness, nausea and fevers after the second injection. These effects generally subsided within two days. CNBC spoke to a few individuals, some participating in Moderna’s trial and some in Pfizer’s trial who said much the same thing: the side effects were intense and included a high fever, body aches, bad headaches and exhaustion, but were worth it for protection from Covid-19.

In the FDA report published in December, the most common side effects were pain at injection site (91.6% of patients), fatigue (68.5%), headache (63.0%), muscle pain (59.6%), joint pain (44.8%), and chills (43.4%). Three patients experienced Bell’s Palsy, a sudden, and usually temporary, weakening or paralysis of the facial muscles.

A few patients with facial fillers experienced swelling after receiving the vaccine. They were treated with antihistamines and steroids. In California, officials halted the use of one particular batch of Moderna vaccines (lot 41L20A) after a small cluster (fewer than 10) of patients at one particular site experienced allergic reactions that required medical attention.

Out of the first 7.5 million doses administered from Dec 14- Jan 18, 19 cases of anaphylaxis were reported to VAERS after the Moderna vaccine. No patients have died from anaphylaxis. Patients are now being monitored for 15-30 minutes after receiving the vaccine to watch for signs of anaphylaxis.

Many patients are reporting injection site reactions that show up shortly after the injection or up to a week later. These reactions — which are characterized by swelling, redness, itching, rashes, heat and pain — are expected to last a day to a week. Physicians emphasize that while these effects can be scary, they are not dangerous and should not prevent someone from getting the second shot. So far, doctors do not report seeing these reactions after the second shot, however so few have been given so far that scientists are not sure how common it will be on round two.

The CDC reports that 11% of patients experienced swollen lymph nodes after the first shot. That raised to 16% after the second shot.

A study posted on Feb 1 showed that patients who received the vaccine after having been previously infected with COVID-19 showed greater immune response to the first shot and more intense side effects that are associated with strong immune responses like fever and muscle aches. The study included patients who received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. Some scientists believe these patients may only need a single shot to provide sufficient immunity, but more research is needed.

Moderna has announced that it will begin testing its vaccine in children and adolescents, who they believe may have stronger immune responses, leading to more intense side effects.

This page has information about the other brands of vaccine: https://fairfaxcountyemergency.wpcomstaging.com/2021/02/16/what-you-need-to-know-when-you-get-vaccinated-and-after-you-get-vaccinated/

📞 Webinar: Expect more from pituitary surgery: difference-makers for post-operative outcomes

 Presented by

Ahmad Sedaghat, MD, PhD – Associate Professor and Director of the Division of Rhinology, Allergy and Anterior Skull Base Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and UC Health.

Norberto Andaluz, MD, MBA, FACS – Professor of Neurosurgery and Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery – Director, Division of Skull Base Surgery University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute – UC Health

 

Click here to attend

Date: Wednesday, Sept 23, 2020

Time: 3:00 PM  Eastern Daylight Time

Learning objectives:

1.  To understand the surgical steps of endoscopic pituitary surgery
2.  To understand how the surgical steps of endoscopic pituitary surgery translate to post-operative outcomes
3.  To understand surgical factors that can modify post-operative outcomes after endoscopic pituitary surgery
4.  To understand post-operative care that can modify post-operative outcomes after endoscopic pituitary surgery

📞 Webinar: What every Patient needs to know about Recent Advancements in Pituitary Surgery

Presented by Georgios A. Zenonos, MD

Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Associate Director, Center for Skull Base Surgery
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh PA, 15217
Presbyterian Hospital, Suite B400

Register Now!

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Date: Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Time: 3:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 6:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

📞 Webinar: Pituitary Surgery During the COVID-19 Pandemic

 

Presented by

Jamie J. Van Gompel, M.D., B.S., Professor in Neurosurgery and Otolaryngology specializing in endoscopic/open skull base focusing on Pituitary tumors as well as Epilepsy at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USAand

Garret W. Choby, M.D., a fellowship-trained rhinologist and endoscopic skull base surgeon practicing at the Mayo Clinic.

Objectives:

–          Understand the additional considerations that are key to performing endonasal surgery during the COVID pandemic
–          Identify the practice changes that are allowing pituitary surgery to proceed safely
–          Characterize the nasal cavity and nasopharynx as a reservoir for the coronavirus
–          Identify the risk of undergoing pituitary surgery during the Covid -19 pandemic
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.Date: Monday, May 11, 2020

Time: 4:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time  – 5:15 PM Pacific Daylight Time

📞Webinar: Perioperative Care for the Pituitary Patient: Optimizing the Surgical Experience

Presented by

Varun Kshettry, MD
Director, Advanced Endoscopic & Microscopic Neurosurgery
Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine

Register Now

After registering you will receive a confirmation email with details about joining the webinar.

 

Date: Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Pacific Standard Time, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Eastern Standard Time

Learning Objectives:

Discuss patient expectations for pituitary surgery and recovery
Discuss best practices to minimize risk of complications
What questions to ask your medical providers

Presenter Bio

Dr. Varun R. Kshettry, a neurosurgeon specializing in skull base and pituitary disorders at the Cleveland Clinic. He is also the director of the Advanced Endoscopic & Microscopic Neurosurgery Laboratory. He is an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Kshettry received his BA in philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his medical degree from Northwestern University. He completed his residency training at the Cleveland Clinic, during which he performed a research fellowship in skull base & microsurgical anatomy at Ohio State University. He then performed a clinical fellowship in minimally invasive cranial base & pituitary surgery at Thomas Jefferson University under Dr. James Evans. Dr. Kshettry has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters and is an editor for a book entitled Endoscopic and Keyhole Cranial Base Surgery. He serves as an editor or reviewer for multiple neurosurgical journals. He serves on the Value-Based Healthcare Committee for the North American Skull Base Society. He serves as faculty director for the Cleveland Clinic Pituitary Tumor Board and is an investigator in several multi-center pituitary clinical trials. Dr. Kshettry collaborates closely with pituitary endocrinologists, neuro-ophthalmologists, otolaryngologists, pituitary pathologists, and radiation oncologists for multi-disciplinary care for patients with pituitary diseases.

📞 Webinar: Management of Recurrent Pituitary Tumors

Wed, Jan 8, 2020, from 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM EST

Presented by Paul Gardner, MD Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery Neurosurgical Director, Center for Cranial Base Surgery Executive Vice Chairman for Surgical Services University Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)

Learning Objectives: Upon completion of this webinar, participants should be able to: Recognize the role for surgery in treating recurrent adenomas Understand the risk and role of radiosurgery for treatment of recurrent Identify treatment indications for recurrent adenomas.

Presenter Bio Paul A. Gardner, MD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Neurosurgical Director of the Center for Cranial Base Surgery as well as Executive Vice Chairman for Surgical Services for the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).

Dr. Gardner joined the faculty of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 2008 after completing his residency and fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh. He completed his undergraduate studies at Florida State University, majoring in biochemistry, and received his Medical Degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Dr. Gardner completed a two-year fellowship in endoscopic endonasal pituitary and endoscopic and open skull base surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. His research has focused on evaluating patient outcomes following these surgeries and more recently on molecular phenotyping of rare tumors. He is recognized internationally as a leader in the field of endoscopic endonasal surgery, a minimally invasive surgical approach to the skull base. His other surgical interests include pituitary tumors, open cranial base surgery, and vascular surgery.

Register here

👥 Johns Hopkins Pituitary Day October 19, 2019!

The 11th annual Pituitary Day will take place on October 19, 2019  Patients living with pituitary disorders can hear lectures from our pituitary specialists, see movies of pituitary surgeries and hear from other patients about their experience living with pituitary disease and undergoing surgery.

Attendance is free, and patients can bring one guest.

Call 410-955-3921 or reserve your spot by email at pituitaryday@jmhi.edu

More information at www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/centers_clinics/pituitary_center/index.html

📞 Webinar: Approaches for Pituitary Surgery

Dr. Theodore Friedman hosts Gautam Mehta, MD for a fascinating webinar on Approaches for Pituitary Surgery

Dr. Mehta is a neurosurgeon specializing in pituitary surgery at the House Clinic in Los Angeles. He was trained by Ian McCutcheon, MD and Ed Oldfield, MD

Topics to be discussed include:
• How does Dr. Friedman diagnose Cushing’s Disease
• How does Dr. Friedman determine who goes to surgery?
• What type of patients need surgery besides those with Cushing’s Disease?
• How do the neurosurgeon and the Endocrinologist work together?
• How does the neurosurgeon read pituitary MRIs?
• What types of surgical approaches are used for pituitary surgery?
• How long does surgery take and how long will a patient be in the hospital?
• What are the risks of pituitary surgery and how can they be minimized?

Sunday • August 4 • 6 PM PDT

Click here to start your meeting.

or
https://axisconciergemeetings.webex.com/axisconciergemeetings/j.php?MTID=ma1d8d5ef99605e305980e2f7cdfdb7bd
OR
Join by phone: (855) 797-9485
Meeting Number (Access Code): 807 028 597 Your phone/computer will be muted on entry.
Slides will be available on the day of the talk at slides 
There will be plenty of time for questions using the chat button. Meeting Password: hormones
For more information, email us at mail@goodhormonehealth.com

👥 Register for Johns Hopkins Pituitary Day October 19, 2019!

The 11th annual Pituitary Day will take place on October 19, 2019  Patients living with pituitary disorders can hear lectures from our pituitary specialists, see movies of pituitary surgeries and hear from other patients about their experience living with pituitary disease and undergoing surgery.

Attendance is free, and patients can bring one guest.

Call 410-955-3921 or reserve your spot by email at pituitaryday@jmhi.edu

More information at www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/centers_clinics/pituitary_center/index.html