Photographer Living with Acromegaly
By: Alexander Sciola
Santino Matrundola is a photographer, business owner and visual artist. At first glance, you may not notice it, but he is also a survivor. Matrundola was diagnosed with Acromegaly in 2014. Acromegaly is a very rare hormonal disorder caused by a tumor in the brain’s pituitary gland. If one has Acromegaly before puberty, the disease often leads to cases of Gigantism, a disorder that likely affected the late Andre The Giant.
Acromegaly causes abnormal growth in the body’s soft tissue and bones. This can be fatal if untreated. A major problem with this disorder is that it is very difficult to diagnose. The symptoms are often brushed off by doctors and those who suffer. This is what happened in Matrundola’s case. The Fusion Photography owner experienced severe headaches and partial vision loss for months before deciding to see a doctor. He admits that he was “scared of what the doctors would say”. Scans revealed that he had a baseball sized tumor in his brain and that surgery should be performed immediately. After being put under the knife so hastily, Matrundola says his recovery was difficult: “I thought my career was over. I was living with unbearable pain and my livelihood was being affected by my loss of vision”. His next few weeks would be a difficult time of adjustment and acceptance of his new reality.
Matrundola says, “It was like nothing I had experienced before. I was unable to stand without help for the next few days. It was a scary time. But, I try to live my life with a “glass half full” mentality so when I woke up, I could see again but I felt as if I was seeing differently … as if I had an awakening. I had a fresh start and I stopped taking life for granted. It really taught me a tough lesson; You need to appreciate every moment in life”.
Matrundola has lost his peripheral vision in one of his eyes but his optimism and perseverance have allowed him to continue and even improve his work. He first fell in love with photography when his father handed him a camera after graduating university. Matrundola taught himself the photographic art and quickly turned his passion into a living. Due to his visual impairment, Matrundola often uses a technique which he calls “shooting blind”. This way of capturing photos relies on a photographer’s knowledge of lighting and angles and prohibits them from using the camera’s digital screen. It’s a technique that Matrundola teaches his students. “Partially losing my vision has actually made my photography better” says Matrundola. “When I look at a photograph, I have to scan all four corners rather than taking it all in at once. My attention to detail has improved” Matrundola has recently created a photo exhibition entitled “Light of Day”. The works displayed reflects the artist’s struggles and resilience while being an awareness campaign for those who suffer from Acromegaly.
For more information, please visit www.SantinoMatrundola.com