Routine Eye Exam Led to Sight-Saving Surgery

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Imagine going to a routine eye exam that ends with the eye doctor telling you to clear your schedule and see a specialist asap. That’s what happened to Chas Grincavitch when his eye doctor noticed his optic nerves, which connect to the vision centers of the brain, were swollen. Chas’ primary care physician, Dr. Cary Dash, referred him to a specialist and Chas had an MRI. The test revealed Chas had a brain tumor, specifically a meningioma tumor on the membranes covering his brain.

“When the doctor told me I had a brain tumor, I felt like I’d had the wind knocked out of me. It was tough,” says Chas. If the tumor had not been discovered, he could have lost his sight and ultimately his life.

Brain Surgery Expertise at Baystate Hospital

Chas was referred to neurosurgeon Dr. Dennis Oh who recommended surgery. “The tumor was large and causing brain swelling,” says Dr. Oh, adding, “I was confident we could remove the tumor and reverse his symptoms.”

Chas, a Longmeadow resident, had to make the decision of where to go for his surgery. “I trusted my doctors and took their recommendation to stay at Baystate Medical Center. My daughter was born at Baystate and I’d been to Baystate for procedures but I wasn’t aware they had the expertise for serious surgeries like brain tumors,” Chas says.

The neurosurgeons at Baystate Health have performed thousands of brain surgeries and have additional subspecialty training in removing brain tumors.

Putting the Patient First

Although Dr. Oh was booked solid for months, he made sure to fit Chas in earlier. Chas was impressed. “Dr. Oh is awesome. He put me at ease and explained that this kind of tumor is common and told me what would happen during and after the procedure.”

Chas was cool and unflappable,” Dr. Oh says. “His focus was to have his tumor out and get on with his life.”

The surgery went well and Chas’ symptoms were reversed. There was no more swelling and he was no longer in danger of losing his sight.

Chas' Life Has Changed

Chas was able to leave the hospital the day after surgery. Two weeks later, he was cleared to drive and a few months after that, he was back on the tennis court and playing other sports. He recalls how well everyone at Baystate Health treated him and continues to appreciate the expertise available just minutes from his home.

“I’ve always been a procrastinator but this experience changed me,” Chas says. “Instead of waiting to do things, I just do them as soon as possible.” He’s also became a champion for annual eye exams. People tell him they don’t get an eye exam unless they have trouble seeing or feel that something’s wrong. “I tell my story and I hope people change their minds,” Chas says.

Learn more about neurosurgery at Baystate Health.

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