Good health is priceless. For Chief Engineer Eric Trackman, this couldn’t be more true.
Back in 2009, Trackman discovered that he had a hemorrhagic pituitary adenoma after he underwent a series of MRIs due to headaches and a herniated disc in his back. This benign tumor grows on the pituitary gland, which controls many body functions. “The problem with the one I have is that it is hemorrhagic,” he says. “This means blood vessels are either running on top or through the tumor itself, which complicates the surgical process to remove the tumor.”
To try and minimize the tumor, he was put on an oral chemotherapy medication called Bromocriptine, which had adverse physical effects on him, such as nausea, violent mood swings, and massive weight loss in a short period of time (since he couldn’t keep anything down). Currently, multiple MRIs and bloodwork are being done to evaluate the best process to access and remove the tumor. So far, he’s had 12-plus MRIs, plus four brain scans with contrast dye that helped him discover the hemorrhagic pituitary adenoma.
Without surgery, Trackman could lose his eyesight as swelling in the area presses against his optic nerves.
At first, the tumor showed signs of shrinking around the edges where it was hemorrhagic. However, it’s now continuing to grow. Without surgery, Trackman could lose his eyesight as swelling in the area presses against his optic nerves. His sight has already started to deteriorate. “It’s to the point where I don’t drive at night,” he says.
“The procedure that needs to happen isn’t a very nice one,” he writes on his GoFundMe page. “First, they will sedate me (I hope), then they will dislocate my lower jaw, and lastly a neurosurgeon will need to drill up through the top of the roof of my mouth into my head and carefully remove the tumor without either damaging the pituitary nerve and gland or the blood vessel going around it.”
Trackman, who has been a yacht engineer for 16 years, has been forced to semi-retire due to his health issues. Although he left his most recent post as chief engineer aboard Days Like This in January 2022 when the boat sold, he still picks up contract work when his body is up to it. However, now that he doesn’t work on a consistent basis, he’s in a financial disadvantage and will continue to be in one after the surgery.
Thankfully, his wife Rachel, a retired chief stewardess, has been a great support system for him. “My wife’s been taking the brunt of everything. She’s a private flight attendant, so she’s been luckily making a good enough salary where she’s able to help take care of me, but without the engineer salary … a lot of money is just not happening,” says Trackman. “I've dug into all my Roth IRAs; I’ve dug into everything, and we’ve taken a huge penalty. I’m only 38 years old. I figured I’d live longer than this.”
To proceed, he needs to raise $163,237, which will cover the surgery, MRIs, expenses paid out of pocket so far (totaling to well over $25,000), and travel expenses to the U.S. for medical consults, as well as lodging and supervised care for his recovery and rehab after surgery. So far, he’s raised $3,440 and he needs your help — donate through GoFundMe at www.gofundme.com/f/eric-trackman-needs-a-pituitary-adenoma-operation and help spread the word.