ANA Discussion Forum

General Category => AN Issues => Topic started by: CompassGeorge on September 24, 2017, 02:15:51 pm

Title: 1 Month after AN Surgery (4 Month UPDATE)
Post by: CompassGeorge on September 24, 2017, 02:15:51 pm
I thought I'd post an update to my 1 month post op report below. December 25th marked the 4 month anniversary of my AN surgery but it feels like much more time has passed.
I am very pleased to report that my side-effects from the surgery have improved significantly, especially, during the past month. The partial facial paralysis is, probably, at the point where most people would not notice anything different about me. My smile looks pretty normal now and I've noticed that I'm speaking more clearly. Eating and drinking has gotten easier as well. Until recently, food would often get stuck between my teeth and gums on the left side of my mouth and my tongue wasn't able to dislodge it. Now when I spit into the sink after brushing my teeth, the stream of water goes straight instead of darting off to the right. Today I can drink a glass of water without angling it to one side. These may seem like little things to most people but those of you who have or are going through AN surgery recovery probably know what I talking about.
Another big improvement has been in my eye function. I am blinking more normally and can fully close my left eye while keeping my right eye open. The result has been less eye dryness and discomfort. A month ago I was using eye drops every hour, at least, during the day, and using lubricating eye gel before going to sleep. I no longer need the eye gel at night and while awake can go several hours before realizing that I haven't used eye drops. However, I still try to use the eye drops a few times a day as a precaution.
Headaches are a thing of the past although I still experience what feels like "head congestion" and numbness on my left side from time to time. It's not debilitating by any means, it just reminds me that I'm still recovering. I often wake up with a "bitter" taste in my throat and my doctor says that it is not due to CSF leakage which was my initial thought. It's not something I experienced before my surgery but just something different. I've tried to drink a glass of water first thing in the morning which is probably a good practice anyway.
My left-side hearing loss can be a little disorienting at times but is more of a nuisance than anything else. The only time it seems to be an issue is when trying to have a conversation in a crowded or noisy environment. I'm sure that I'll look into hearing implants but I don't feel that there is any urgent need at the moment. In fact, the only time I seem to be fully aware of the extent of my hearing loss is when I instinctively put a phone up to my left ear when I want to write something down.  ;)
I was surprised at how long it took my incision to heal- probably close to 3 months. It seems fine now but I wish I had known that it would take that long- it would have have spared me a little anxiety. I'm glad that I still have hair on that part of my head and the scar is pretty much covered up.  ::)
I have been back to work for 2 months now. I didn't look forward to it as I felt that it might be too overwhelming although much of it has to do with project management. It really hasn't been bad at all and perhaps even therapeutic as in getting back into my normal routine. The same has been true for most all of my pre-surgery activities. About the only thing I haven't got back to has been scuba diving but my doctor doesn't think that this will be a problem for me.
If you have made it this far, thank you for reading. I feel that I have been very fortunate in my post surgery recovery. My medical staff said that things would improve for me with time but there was always that uncertainty- at 63 years of age I don't usually heal as fast as I used. Everyone's story is different but I definitely believe in the power of positive attitude.
I sincerely wish you the best in the new year!

"Today I am 4 weeks and a couple days out from my retro-sigmoid operation to remove a 2.5 cm acoustic neuroma tumor from my left hearing nerve. I did wind up losing all hearing on my left side and I currently have "temporary" facial paralysis on that side but there are enough positive things regarding my recovery that make me very encouraged.
1. Strength and stamina improving- Yesterday I decided to push myself a little to see what I could do. In the morning I went to the driving range to hit a bucket of golf balls with a friend of mine. I swung easy and only hit off of tees so as to minimize the possibility of striking the ground and jarring my head. I was pretty happy and somewhat surprised that I was able to hit many good shots- I thought the loss of one of my balance nerves might have made swinging the golf club more difficult. However, I did experience a little discomfort (head pain) when making contact with the ball so I'll give it a couple more weeks before trying again.
Yesterday afternoon I went on a 10 mile walk, instead of my daily 2-5 miles. It was pretty tiring and my legs were pretty sore but my head felt fine. During the week on my shorter walks I mixed in a little light jogging but didn't like the idea of my head bouncing around so I will play it by ear moving forward.
2. Sleeping improvement- This past week I started sleeping much better making it through the entire night a couple of times. In prior weeks I often woke up with a headache or eye discomfort. I still don't sleep on the surgery side of my head but now I can sleep on the right side or with the back of my head on the pillow. I also don't feel the need to keep my head elevated as much as I did before so sleeping feels more normal.
3. Eye discomfort- Probably the biggest issue for me right now is my dry eye discomfort caused by the facial paralysis. The "Refresh" lubricant eye ointment offers relief but blurs my vision. Using it before bedtime makes sense but during the day it would make seeing out of that eye pretty difficult. This weekend I started using "Systane Ultra" lubricant eye drops during the day and they have made a big difference. On yesterday's walk I noticed that the wind didn't bother my affected eye whereas before, the slightest of breezes would irritate it making it necessary to wear my eye-cup during most of the day.
4. Headaches- The frequency and severity of my headaches have diminished considerably. 2 weeks ago I was having a few moderate headaches every day maybe about a 5 on a scale of 10. When I did I might use ibuprofen but now I think it's been 5 days since I used anything for pain. Also during the past week my surgery site has gone from tender and sore to mostly just a bit numb. My hair is starting to fill back in making it less noticeable too.

All in all I am pretty satisfied with where I am at in my recovery. I have another month before I am scheduled to return to work and I think that I will be ready by then. I am going to start physical therapy soon so we'll see how that goes.
Title: Re: 1 Month after AN Surgery
Post by: gunns on September 24, 2017, 11:35:24 pm
Congratulations George.  You seem to be recovering about the same as I am.  I'm at about eight weeks post-op.  I had the same problem with my left eye.  I used eye drops during the day and the ointment when  went to bed.  You're right about the blurry vision.  I always read when first crawling into bed.  The ointment made it difficult to read so I put an eye patch over my left eye and that worked pretty well.  My eye issue has cleared up now on its own so I don't need the drops or ointment anymore.

Way-to-go! on your ten mile jaunts.  I'm only getting in 2.5 to 3 miles a day and work out with weights four days a week.  I've had four major surgeries on my back and arthritis in my feet and that compounded with the AN balance issues it's difficult to walk.  today was one of the most difficult days.  I don't know why - it just was.  Almost took a spill because of someone else's dog.  I carry a cane but try hard not to use it.

I'm headache free now and like you lost all hearing in my left ear.  I should be getting my hearing aids in November.  I'm really looking forward to that day!  I have severe sleep apnea and sleep with a c-pap.  I'm only waking up one or two time a night now.  The surgery area is without pain but the whole left side of my scalp is numb.

I keep a positive attitude and you seem to be doing the same.  It's nice to be on the green side of the grass - ain't it?

Take care George!
Title: Re: 1 Month after AN Surgery
Post by: CompassGeorge on September 25, 2017, 09:10:11 am
Gunns, Just to be clear- I did 10 miles just the one time (and my legs are still sore!). I'm up to about 3-5 miles a day usually. I'll be watching for your reports on the hearing aid as I think I will eventually do the same. Thanks, George.
Title: Re: 1 Month after AN Surgery
Post by: ColleenS on September 28, 2017, 07:20:55 am
Such great news! I like your positive attitude  ;D
Title: Re: 1 Month after AN Surgery
Post by: CompassGeorge on September 28, 2017, 09:42:37 pm
Thank you Colleen, I have a PT evaluation tomorrow so I'm looking forward to their assessment. George.
Title: Re: 1 Month after AN Surgery (4 Month UPDATE)
Post by: CompassGeorge on December 29, 2017, 08:17:58 am
I hope it's okay to bump this up as I have provided an updated report.
Title: Re: 1 Month after AN Surgery (4 Month UPDATE)
Post by: dmborman on December 29, 2017, 11:12:13 am
Hi, I'm happy to hear you are doing so well and stories like this make me a little less anxious.  I have a 2.1 cm AN on the left and my retrosigmoid surgery is scheduled at Johns Hopkins Baltimore on January 30, 2018.  I'm curious about your level of tinnitus, did you have it before surgery and how is it after surgery?  It seems from everything I've read that even if you lose the hearing the tinnitus will not improve and could get worse  :(
Title: Re: 1 Month after AN Surgery (4 Month UPDATE)
Post by: CompassGeorge on December 30, 2017, 09:25:50 am
Hi dmborman, Yes, I had what I would describe as "mild" tinnitus before my surgery. It was something that I just noticed from time to time- not really bothersome to me. The tinnitus is still there but perhaps I am getting more used to it as I seldom even think about it. It certainly doesn't seem any worse in my case. George.
Title: Re: 1 Month after AN Surgery (4 Month UPDATE)
Post by: ColleenS on December 31, 2017, 08:30:14 am
Thanks for the follow-up report. I am 6 months post-op and practically back to normal except for slight dry eye and SSD. Yay us!
Title: Re: 1 Month after AN Surgery (4 Month UPDATE)
Post by: CompassGeorge on December 31, 2017, 08:49:30 am
Thanks ColleenH and congrats on your progress as well! Any issues with tinnitus before or after your procedures? George.
Title: Re: 1 Month after AN Surgery (4 Month UPDATE)
Post by: ColleenS on January 12, 2018, 12:39:13 pm
Yes, mostly after, but I did notice it before as well. There are times when I barely notice it and of course times when it is very loud. I choose to mostly ignore it. I do not like to take medicine. There are things to do to help with the distraction like listen to music, exercise or go for a walk. Distractions really help.
Title: Re: 1 Month after AN Surgery (4 Month UPDATE)
Post by: CompassGeorge on January 13, 2018, 11:38:21 pm
Thank you Colleen, I wish you continued success in your recovery!