Hi, Marla (thanks to Jan's alertness on our initial mis-spelling of your name) ~
I'm pleased that you decided to join and post- and provide the link to your interesting blog. Much appreciated.
Although your fears are perfectly natural (and we've all experienced them) you seem to have a firm grasp of the situation (an acoustic neuroma diagnosis), know what you need to do and what the risks are. Unfortunately, as much as we all want a smooth, successful surgery and complication-free recovery, that simply cannot be guaranteed - by anyone. However, focusing only on the possible risks connected with the AN removal procedure, a common reaction when facing serious surgery, can be paralyzing and unnecessarily depressing. As you know, simply ignoring the AN, which is very likely growing, is not a reasonable option. As it grows, your symptoms will become more intense and if left unchecked the tumor will disable you and, given enough time, kill you. My neurosurgeon made this crystal clear to me during our initial consultation and I'm simply passing on his words, motivated by his 30 years of performing surgery on ANs. Diet, acupuncture and good thoughts won't stop the tumor's growth - but surgery can. Yes, post-op complications can be tough but as others have commented, every AN patient is unique and one person's outcome - great or awful - doesn't dictate the same outcome for another AN patient. I maintain that the surgeon's experience and acquired skill at performing AN removal surgery is a critical part of stacking the odds for a good outcome in your favor. Well, it worked for me. My AN was huge and I was 63 at the time of my surgery but did well, mostly thanks to a fabulous, compassionate neurosurgeon who knew what he was doing.
The insensitivity of the House Ear Institute doctor in divulging your tumor to your daughter was inexcusable. I would have shot off a letter of complaint to HEI authorities, but that's me. Still, they do have a good reputation but if you're totally put off of them due to that doctor's stupidity, then I'm sure you can find competent, experienced doctors closer to home who can perform AN removal surgery. I hope you'll push past your fears, which we all have to do when we receive the AN diagnosis and learn about the post-op risks, and move forward with undergoing AN removal surgery. Life is a series of risks. AN surgery is one we would all like to avoid, but eventually have to face. Most folks do fine and although recovery can be a bit slower than any of us like, we do recover and move on with our lives. As long as it's addressed, an acoustic neuroma isn't fatal and doesn't metastasize. Any post-op complications (which you may never experience) can be surmounted. I hope you'll find the determination to deal with this and come out victorious, as I believe you will. This website and the many folks that populate these forums will be here to help in any way possible. We're not M.D.'s but we do have a wealth of practical experience with having (and losing) an acoustic neuroma. I trust you'll consider us friends and visit here often with any questions or concerns you may have. We'll always read and respond, no matter what it may be. I look forward to reading more posts from you. Stay strong.