POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- A library clerk by day and a jazz-and-blues crooner by night, Audrey Willis of Poughkeepsie makes a living with her eyes. That's why when a slow-growing tumor was discovered near her optic nerves in 1995, she knew trouble was lurking. However, it took nearly 22 years before she opted for surgery, only doing so at the recommendation of doctors at Westchester Medical Center.
If not for the intervention of one incredibly committed doctor, Mark Watts, MD, a neurosurgeon at MidHudson Regional Hospital, a member of WMCHealth, the surgery would not have occurred when it did.
Willis admits she was slowly coming to terms with the fact that surgery was unavoidable; however, she’d planned to put it off until a much later date. “I’m a terrible patient. When I was first diagnosed, I was terrified by the surgery, so I chose to treat my tumor with medicine instead of surgery. But the medicine didn’t shrink the tumor, so I stopped taking it,” explained Willis, who had checked into MidHudson Regional Hospital for an unrelated case of anemia when Dr. Watts came to see her. “Dr. Watts knew I was there and came to check on my tumor,” she explained.
Prior to that day, Willis had stopped taking her medicine and started missing her follow-up visits. “When I saw her that day, I was really concerned. After asking her a lot of questions, I was able to discern that she in fact had substantial vision loss,” Dr. Watts said. ”While the team here at MidHudson has performed a number of pituitary surgeries, acute loss of vision constitutes a neurosurgical emergency.”
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