Sean Michael Mosely II was born on May 6, 2014. A year earlier, on May 8, his mother, Lisa Mosely, was in the operating room with a neurosurgical team led by Dong Kim, MD, director of the Mischer Neuroscience Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. The surgical plan: to remove a large pituitary adenoma that was pressing on her optic nerve.
Mosely’s path to the OR was marked by a series of fortuitous twists and turns. “My husband and I decided we wanted to have kids,” says the 30-year-old Kingwood, Texas, resident. “We had everything in place – good jobs and a nice house. We wanted to get a not-too-late start with our first child.”
Mosely stopped taking birth control pills, but her period never returned and she started lactating – symptoms that continued for three months. When blood work done by her OB/GYN showed highly elevated prolactin levels, he referred her to a reproductive endocrinologist. “My prolactin levels were as high as a woman who was pregnant,” Mosely says. “I couldn’t get pregnant because my body believed it already was pregnant.” The endocrinologist prescribed cabergoline, an oral medication used to treat high prolactin levels. When Mosely’s prolactin levels remained high on medication, the specialist suspected a pituitary tumor and ordered an MRI.
“My endocrinologist was very concerned about the radiologist’s report,” she says. “When it revealed a large tumor that contained a significant amount of blood, she referred me to Dr. Kim. I was really nervous, but he put me at ease and I liked him immediately. ‘Don’t worry,’ he told me. ‘You’ll be having kids in no time.’” Dr. Kim scheduled surgery within two weeks of Mosely’s office visit. He used a minimally invasive transnasal approach, and the complex procedure progressed like clockwork.
“It was a really easy surgery for me,” she says. “I had a lot of energy and was back at work eight days later. Three months after my surgery, I found out I was pregnant. Along the way, I was told that normally you wouldn’t find a tumor like mine unless you had symptoms. I believe that having a baby saved my vision. Had I stayed on birth control pills, we might not have found the tumor until it damaged my optic nerve. “Finding the tumor and having it treated so quickly – and then getting pregnant – was a very neat experience,” she adds. “I’ve had other medical issues in the past but have never experienced this level of attention, care and concern. Dr. Kim makes you feel like you’re the most important patient he has.”
“Seeing our patients do well is very special to us as physicians,” says Dr. Kim, who is professor and chair of the Vivian L. Smith Department of Neurosurgery at UTHealth Medical School. “Patients remind me every day why I became a doctor in the first place.