Schwannoma size: 2.0 cm x 2.7 cm
Symptoms: none as of yet. I am having my hearing tested soon to test high frequencies. Everything else seems to be normal, according to the doctor also.
Lead to finding the tumor:
I woke up with shadows in the vision of my left eye. And According to my quick WebMD check, It was something I should get looked at quickly, so I did. I saw an O.D. and was told I had a swollen optic nerve. I was then sent to a neurologist a week later. The neurologist did some more test on my vision and concluded it was optic neuritis, and requested an MRI (to hopefully rule out MS). Once the neurologist got the results he called me and said they did NOT see signs of MS lesions, but did find a tumor. Explained that it was Schwannoma, which was a benign tumor. He explained it was about an inch long and that I needed to see an Neurosurgeon, which he helped set up.
What the doctor said:
I met with Neurosurgeon today. This is what I got from our meeting. First we talked about what schwannoma is and what effects it can have. Then we got into the discussion of what comes next and what my options, in his professional opinion, are.
Out of the wait, surgery, and radiosurgery, he quickly ruled out radiosurgery because of the size of the tumor and how young I am. Next he discussed the three types of surgery. He ruled out Middle Fossa because of the location and size. I should mention, the doctor said that the tumor was butting the spinal cord, but not putting any pressure on it. He explained both of the other two surgery's and their pros and cons. One had a chance of preserving hearing but had more of a risk to facial paralysis, whereas the other had less of a chance of facial paralysis, but destroys the preservation of hearing (granted only in one ear).
Lastly, we discussed the wait and watch approach. I didn't mention the timing of this, I have accepted a job, and am set to leave the country on August 26th for a little over a year. So this was taken into consideration when speaking to the neurosurgeon. He seemed a little back and forth on the waiting and watching approach. I believe he was just weighing some pros and cons for me, but a few things he said were: (1) He said if I was 70 or 80, he would go with the wait and watch approach since I wasn't exhibiting any symptoms or side effects, and because of the risk involved in surgery. (2) With someone my age he would recommend going ahead with the surgery. (3) he always hesitates doing a surgery that has risk with someone who isn't exhibiting any symptoms. (4) I'm at risk of quickly exhibiting symptoms if I wait.
I am now set up to visit another neurosurgeon that would also be apart of the surgery if I proceed with the first surgeon. He is going to do some further test with my hearing and balance.
Questions I have:
What are the true risks of waiting and watching? Is there much harm in waiting a year, since it is so slow growing, and I don't have any symptoms?
How many second opinions should one get? Is there an electronic way to send MRI's to doctors out of state?
How common is facial paralysis during surgery?
and... Could this tumor have caused the optic neuritis that lead to the finding of the tumor? or is that completely separate?
That's all of the questions that come to mind. Its kinda been a whirlwind though, stuff happening so quickly.