A Charlotte woman lost vision in her third trimester. Here’s how a team of doctors stepped in.

A Charlotte woman lost vision in her third trimester. Here’s how a team of doctors stepped in.
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Produced in partnership with Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates.

Alexis Modebelu was 29 weeks pregnant when she started experiencing severe headaches.

The story: The headaches became progressively worse until one morning, she woke up in so much pain that she went to the emergency room. 

  • The diagnosis was more severe than Alexis hoped, and the next ten weeks leading up to her delivery were marked with uncertainty and fear.

The positive news: With the expertise of a team of doctors at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, Alexis delivered a healthy baby boy and made a full recovery. 

  • Alexis worked with neuro-ophthalmologist Dr. Donald Stewart III, ENT physician Dr. Zachary Cappello, and Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates neurosurgeon Dr. Jonathan Parish.

Here’s a Q&A with Alexis about her experience. 

How did you receive your diagnosis, and how did you end up seeking treatment with CEENTA?

Alexis: At 29 weeks into my pregnancy, I woke up one morning with a really bad headache. 

  • I thought that it was a normal pregnancy headache, but when I visited my OBGYN, they recommended I get an MRI. 

The MRI revealed a mass on my pituitary gland, but they weren’t sure exactly what it was.

Next steps: I needed to see a specialist, and my primary care provider raved about Dr. Parish. So my scans were sent to CEENTA and Dr. Parish for a closer look.

At this point, how were you feeling?

When they first broke the news, I was thinking, ‘There’s no way. They may need to do another scan. I’m perfectly healthy.’

So it was scary at first, especially because I was pregnant — that was my biggest concern.  

But when I met with Dr. Parish, he made it feel like something we could handle without minimizing the situation. 

  • Here’s how: He explained what he thought the tumor was, and he assured me that surgery would be the best route. 

I felt at ease regarding the situation and the treatment plan he proposed, so I decided to stick with him. I just felt peace about working with him.

The plan was to remove the tumor after delivery, but there was a change to the game plan. Can you tell me about that?

Every time I went in for a visit, Dr. Stewart evaluated my eyesight because they were concerned about how close the tumor was to my optic nerve. It was fine for a while, but eventually, the tumor began to push up on that nerve.

At 39 weeks pregnant, I lost vision in one eye. That’s when Dr. Parish recommended we induce labor. 

  • The goal: Complete the surgery as soon as possible to prevent further damage to my eye. 

What was the treatment and recovery process like?

The surgery went very, very well. When I met Dr. Capello in the operating room, he reassured me that everything was going to be fine.

On the other hand: Dr. Stewart was very honest about the risks while remaining compassionate with me. He told me they would do their very best, but there was a chance my eyesight wouldn’t recover. 

  • Even though it was hard news to hear, I appreciated that he didn’t say, ‘You’ll get your eyesight back, no worries.’ 

When I woke up, as with any surgery, there was a little discomfort. But what really shocked me was the huge difference in my vision 12 hours after the surgery. 

  • I was looking up at the TV in the hospital, and they had the captions on. I said, ‘Oh my goodness, I can read it.’

I was able to go home within 24 hours of surgery, and my vision recovered completely. 

Would you recommend CEENTA to somebody who is going through something similar?

Yes, because they’re there with you for every step. The doctors I worked with were very knowledgeable, and it felt like they cared about me as a person and my entire family. 

Then, the surgery itself went very well, and working with Dr. Capello on post-op recovery went smoothly.

It’s something I would recommend to anyone because you’re going to have a team of doctors that are both knowledgeable and caring, and it’s rare to find both.

Alexis’ baby boy was born happy, healthy and adorable.

The doctors at CEENTA treat complex conditions like Alexis’, as well as everyday care like allergies and routine eye exams. Schedule your appointment today.

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