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News & Events

A Recipe for Great Care

01/03/2017

Six mornings a week, as neighboring shop owners open their doors for business, John Caparella faithfully stands at the stove of Mother Anna’s, his family’s 84-year-old North End Italian restaurant, making tomato sauce. From scratch.

Watching John, 74, you would never know he recently underwent surgery to remove a golf-ball-sized brain tumor. “I really had a good experience and I’m not a hospital person,” says John.

After feeling light-headed for months, John requested a brain scan. The MRI showed a pituitary tumor likely requiring an operation, so John’s primary care physician referred him to Dr. Julian Wu, Tufts MC’s Associate Chairman of Neurosurgery.

Nervous, John brought his wife and brother to meet Dr. Wu. From the moment they sat down together, John says, “everyone felt confident we were with the right doctor. He explained everything so clearly.”

Dr. Wu’s plan: insert a scope through John’s nostril to remove his pituitary tumor, or adenoma, without incision—employing leading-edge endoscopic neurosurgery instead of a major operation.

The procedure wasn’t urgent, yet Dr. Wu strongly recommended it. “He didn’t pressure me,” John remembers. “It was May…and I asked him if I could wait until after the summer”—a busy time for Mother Anna’s. Dr. Wu agreed and scheduled the surgery for September.

The procedure, performed by a surgical team comprised of Wu, an anesthesiologist, nurses, residents, and an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist), “went like clockwork,” John recalls. “I was in the hospital for four days, and…you couldn’t ask for anything better. They really did a great job.”

Six weeks later, John returned to the restaurant as though nothing had ever happened. “I went back to normal—going in, making the sauce, doing everything I have to do.”

“This experience was a blessing,” reflects John. “I couldn’t thank my PCP enough for referring me to Tufts Medical Center.”