Joyce's Story: Feeling 20 Years Younger

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Joyce Magee, a former business owner in Arcanum and Greenville, turned 81 and thought the troubles she was experiencing were simply because she was getting old. Her energy level was very low and she was getting confused about many things. After running tests, her family physician told Joyce she probably had primary hyperparathyroidism.

Hyperparathyroidism is an excess of parathyroid hormone in the blood, caused by over activity of one or more of the body’s four parathyroid glands, all located in the neck. Primary hyperparathyroidism is an enlargement of one of the glands causing the over activity. Tiring easily, weakness, and forgetfulness such as Joyce experienced can be some of the symptoms. Other symptoms can include fragile bones, kidney stones, excessive urination, and abdominal pain.

“I really did not want to think about any kind of surgery,” she said. Then, her condition became worse. She needed assistance walking, progressing from using a cane to a walker, and she had little energy to do even simple tasks. What she calls her “brain fog” was also getting worse.

She decided to see Stewart Adam III, MD of Premier ENT Associates Associates part of Premier Health Specialists. By using a nuclear imaging study, Dr. Adam was able to isolate which of Joyce’s parathyroid glands was causing the problem. “Once we were able to isolate it, it does end up being very simple and kind of a slam dunk type of case,” Dr. Adam said.

Dr. Adam performed a parathyroidectomy on Joyce in May 2016 at Upper Valley Medical Center. Joyce spent one night in the hospital and went home only with a small strip of tape on her neck. 

Best of all, she felt good right away and got her energy back, she reports. When she logged onto her computer, she was shocked to see how many mistakes she had been making before her surgery. That was behind her now.

“I just felt like I was 60 again,” said Joyce, mother of two, grandma to three, and great-grandma to one. “I just knew that it was over.”

Dr. Adam is pleased with Joyce’s recovery. “I told her, ‘You know, hopefully we're going to give you a great quality of life for the next 20 years until you're one hundred,’” he said.