Since being diagnosed with my AN in 2009, I've found this forum very useful in dealing with all the issues associated with this problem. Although I have not posted much, reading other people's posts and experiences have been invaluable to me in staying calm and reaching my treatment decisions. So, I thought it was time to take my turn at sharing my experiences so far.
Based on my age (67 year old male), size of my AN, current symptoms (partial hearing loss) and doctor's recommendations, I chose to have Gamma Knife surgery. It is my hope that this will stop my AN growth, and limit my symptoms to just the hearing loss that I have adjusted to with the help of Phonak Bicros hearing aids.
I underwent GK surgery at University Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, on Wednesday, September 7, 2011. Process started at 6 AM. Brace installed and MRI completed by 8:30 AM. Other than a little discomfort from the Lidocaine shots prior to screwing on the brace, the overall process was actually relatively painless. I did not have the actual GK surgery until about 2 PM. Unfortunately, the "happy juice" pretty much wore off by 12:30 PM, and the affect on my attitude in having to wait so long became pretty apparent to the UH staff people. I guess the neuro surgeon got held up in surgery, which delayed his approval of the treatment plan prepared the onc rad doctor. I thought they could have at least let me know there was a reason for what I thought was taking a long time to do the surgery. Once approval was received, and another shot of "happy juice" administered, the 47 minute GK treatment was completed and the brace was painlessly removed. I was released from the hospital at 4:30 PM. Overall, other than the wait, the whole process was pretty easy.
I had a slight headache the first night home, which was resolved by a couple of doses of Tylenol. Had swelling around my forehead, eyelids, and back of my neck for the first three days, with peak swelling occurring the second day (Friday). I was also pretty tired the first few days after the surgery. By Sunday, everything seemed pretty normal, and I am back to all my normal (retirement) activities. I have had some problems with my eyes watering, and possibly a little more tinnitus than normal, but not sure I can attribute that to the GK surgery. I had these same issues before the GK surgery, and they come and go for no apparent reasons.
So, so far, so good. Hopefully, no objectionable side effects will develop in the future, and next MRI will show no growth.