Acoustic Neuroma Association
600 Peachtree Parkway
Suite 108
Cumming, GA 30041

My Forty Year AN Story
Timothy Bower

In the early 1980’s I was working in the steel industry in Illinois. During phone conversations, I began to notice that everyone I spoke with sounded like Donald Duck, so I switched the handset to my right side and I could hear perfectly.  I saw a doctor about this and he diagnosed as an inner ear infection and gave me some ear drops.

A few months later I accepted a position at an Indiana steel mill and failed a hearing test for my left ear (OSHA requirement). The nurse recommended I see an ENT, which led to the discovery process and the eventual diagnosis of a 5 cm AN.

After meeting with a neurosurgeon to review my options, I was scheduled for translab surgery in February 1983 at age 32.  After 12 hours of surgery, I was not tolerating the procedure well. The decision was made to stop the surgery. After seven days in the hospital, I had a second surgery to remove the tumor.  It was a success!

Even though the surgery resulted in left sided SSD, facial paralysis, extreme dry eye pain, and inability to blink my left eye, it was a success because I was alive!

I attended an ANA symposium in Atlanta a couple of years later and learned about gold weights for the eyelid.  A few months later, I had the procedure. Unfortunately, after a few months, the gold weight was not enough to close the eye, and I had tarsorrhaphies performed which helped.  For over 35 years, eye lubricants have been part of my daily routine.

After retirement, my wife and I moved to central Oregon. I spend my time showing off our two Checker taxi automobiles (one yellow and one white). I also play bass guitar with three bands - oldies rock, coffee-house folk and cowboy/country & western.

What’s my take-away after 40 years?

  • A full and rewarding life can go on after acoustic neuroma surgery
  • I’m grateful for medical staff and technologies that help us through these situations
  • You are not alone: we are a community of survivors
  • Play the hand you are dealt. What else are you going to do?  I spent most of my life in front of people, dealing with tough issues or playing bass guitar, knowing I looked differently and spoke differently (I sometimes have difficulty pronouncing words clearly).  You still have a life to lead!

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