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On April 6, 1988 I underwent a 15 hour surgery at Mass General to remove a 4 cm acoustic neuroma. I was just married on November 7, 1987 and on December 24, 1987 the left side of my face started to go numb. Thinking it was nothing I did nothing until March 1988 when I could not feel the left side of my face. That’s when I had an MRI and my journey started. After all these years I looked into a cros hearing aid and love them. I can hear out of my left ear and it’s great. I am grateful I did so well and my only residual is dry eye (which has been tolerable) and deafness in my left ear.
After my tumor removal in Sept of 2009, I retained some nerve damage to my lacrimal gland and had challenges with balance. A nurse friend of mine started jogging with me 2 years later. As the seasons changed and the sunrises came later, I really struggled to run but in that time my brain healed significantly. I regained my balance. Today I am living my dream of getting back into healthcare. Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center awarded me the very first ever Spirit of EIRMC award. It meant so much to me to overcome that challenge and be secretly nominated for an award. Miracle!
Just 6 months after I had my surgery to remove my Acoustic Neuroma, I was back on the ski hill. When I was diagnosed with my AN and preparing for surgery, I asked my physical therapist how badly my balance would be affected. My husband knew why I was asking, I was scared I wouldn't be able to ski again. I grew up on the snow and I skied better than I walked so the thought of not skiing was overwhelming. My first time back on the snow was such a huge victory and each time I get to put on my skis I thank God that I can still ski. Each day on the hill is a celebration!!!!
At 20 years old, finding out I had a tumor in my brain was more than unsettling. I was a junior in college and was no way strong enough to handle this, or so I thought. I was having symptoms that doctors say "Are not symptoms of the tumor you have". I was going completely blind in class for 10 minutes at a time and losing my memory, and more. It was time to get this thing out of my head! I convinced my doctors to do the surgery and in December of 2015 I had it removed. I was told I wouldn't be going back to school but here I am; a college graduate, engaged, and a first year teacher!
I am a mother of two daughters 16 and 13 and in November 2014 was diagnosed with a 5.1cm AN. I was in China for an assignment and had to rush back home. My surgery took 13 hours (at Johns Hopkins), but I woke up with facial paralysis. Have had facial regeneration surgeries after that, my eye has healed and my face has gained symmetry to a large extent. I maintained a positive attitude and never gave up on myself. My goal this year is to learn piano and run a marathon.
I was 62 when diagnosed with a 4.5 cm AN, 8 years ago. I found a very AN-experienced neurosurgeon to perform my AN surgery. The surgery went perfectly and I was discharged in five days, post-op. No facial paralysis was evident. My neurosurgeon supervised my follow-up with 27 low-dose radiation treatments administered by a radiologist. I also worked to regain as much of sense of balance as possible. A few months later I was discharged by my neurosurgeon who stated that my recovery was in the 'top 5%' of his AN surgery patients. Grateful for my outcome, I was very active in ANA.
Today it has been 4 months since my Translab surgery at the University of Minnesota. I am 59 years old and had never had any type of surgery. With the support of friends and family I was surrounded by Love and after making the decision that Translab was the best route for my acoustic neroma I was then able to plan and keep a positive attitude knowing this was the right decision and knowing that the tumor would be gone. One month after surgery I was attending my daughter's Christmas concert and enjoying going out. I recovered without much pain and no complications.
I was 29 when I learned I had an acoustic neuroma vestibular shwannoma. I had 3 young children 3, 8, and 9 years old and a husband. My tumor had taken up the entire acoustic space and was growing toward my brainstem. I had to have my hearing nerve and balance nerve severed to remove the tumor. My recovery was hard, but a success. I am so thankful for the skilled hands and for God’s and my family’s help to pull through this hard time.
On March 16, 2017 at the age of 50, I had a 3.1 cm acoustic neuroma removed via retrosigmoid. This also happened to be my son's 21st birthday. I had five weeks to absorb that I had an AN, it was pressing on my cerebellum and brain stem and causing hydrocephalus on my brain, causing daily headaches. I had an 11 hour surgery, seven day hospital stay and 12 day rehab hospital stay before going home. I had facial paralysis and still do today, but it has been improving gradually. I remain optimistic and have a positive attitude, trying to lead by example in how I handle this whole situation.
At age 39 and the mother of 3 kids, I was diagnosed with a 5cm AN. I had Translab surgery, lasting 10 hours in February 2017. I woke up with facial paralysis and was diagnosed with dysphasia, a swallowing problem. Through my journey I had many positive people around me. Going through many struggles and lots of bad days, I learned to become strong because God has given me a second life. I am achieving successfully all my struggles with therapy and doctors. I still have complications, with my walking and double vision in the right eye. However, it’s getting better as time goes by. I’m staying strong and pursuing the best!
At age 33 and mom to two small children, I learned I had a 2.5cm AN. I had successful Translab surgery in May 2017. Unfortunately, I awoke from surgery with facial paralysis and struggled to get back on my feet without help. I wanted to be strong and healthy and get back to what I loved - running. I kept a positive attitude (even though there were plenty of bad days), had an amazing support system and set a goal to run my first race six months post-surgery. I completed a 10K and raised $3,000.00 for ANA!