Coming to Bronson was the best choice for me.

Mark Barnum, Patient

Mark Barnum has always had a positive outlook on life. But these days, he makes a special effort to take each day as it comes and be more appreciative of the important things in life.

Mark, a young, active Grand Rapids resident is married, has a family and has always loved staying active. So when he couldn’t see his ball land while playing a round of golf, he decided to get his eyes checked out by his local ophthalmologist. Although he believed it to be glaucoma, Mark’s eye doctor suggested he get a CT scan at the local hospital.

However, when Mark got the results of his scan back, the problem was not glaucoma. Just before Thanksgiving, Mark was diagnosed with having a large tumor on his pituitary gland – located at the base of the brain, close to the optic nerves. The pituitary gland is often referred to as the master gland, because it controls several of the body’s hormones. With this sudden news, Mark was referred to a local endocrinologist in Grand Rapids with the hopes of being treated with drug therapy. After running a variety of tests, it was determined that the type of tumor Mark was suffering from could only be treated with surgery.

The news of his tumor was very scary for Mark and his family. “Brain surgery is a big deal. We didn’t know what to expect,” Mark explained. He and his wife did a lot of research to help make the best decision on where Mark should have his surgery. They even looked into specialized hospitals like the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo. Then, when talking with a friend in Kalamazoo, Mark heard about Dr. Alain Fabi, a neurosurgeon at the Bronson Neuroscience Center.

Bronson Methodist Hospital has been ranked by Healthgrades among the top 5% in the nation for neurosurgery for the past four years.

“I actually met Dr. Fabi years ago at my friend’s wedding; plus, my friend’s wife works in his office,” Mark explained. “It made me feel a lot more comfortable because I knew I could trust him.” On December 24, less than a month after his diagnosis, Mark checked into Bronson Methodist Hospital. Dr. Fabi, along with Dr. Steven Szeles of Bronson ENT, Head & Neck Specialists, performed the surgery. Mark was discharged the next day.

“The care I received at Bronson was really good,” Mark said. “I wasn’t there for long, but everyone was great. One of the scrub nurses knew I was really nervous. She stopped by my room before the surgery to let me know they were setting up and asked if I had any questions. She really went above and beyond when she didn’t have to. The overnight nurses and the post-care team were really helpful and responsive, too. Dr. Fabi even came in on Christmas day to check in on me.”

Mark says Dr. Fabi and Dr. Szeles worked really well together to provide him the best possible outcome during the entire surgery process. He suggests that anyone needing a similar surgery go to Bronson. “They did a great job with my surgery and certainly took care of the problems I was having,” explained Mark. “Both doctors had a different approach to describing my case. Dr. Fabi would show me lots of pictures and diagrams to help me understand what he was going to do, or what I needed to do. Dr. Szeles is very verbal and did a really good job at explaining everything to me in a way that was easy to understand.”

Mark explained how MyChart has been helpful in the healing process. “I am able to coordinate appointments and it is nice to be able to talk to my doctors if I have questions. They always respond quickly and call me back if that is easier.”

Just a few months after his surgery, Mark is getting back to his normal life. He explained that he is playing it low key right now and is excited to get back to a more active lifestyle in the next few months. “It is kind of hard because I am usually so active. I have to remind myself that this is a healing process,” Mark said. “I am able to drive, work full time and travel for work again. I am excited to be able to get back to the golf course soon!”

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