Author Topic: Airplane travel with watch and wait  (Read 13445 times)


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Airplane travel with watch and wait
« on: November 20, 2013, 05:44:14 pm »

I have had an acoustic neuroma for several years and I'm on a watch and wait status.  I have not had the courage to fly because I am anticipating pain in my ear.  I'm pretty much deaf in my right ear. My daughter wants me to go with her and my granddaughter to Disneyland this year.  I'm afraid I will go and wreck it for everyone with ear pain.  Even when driving with going up in altitude or down my ears don't pop like a normal persons.  I ask my doctor and he said to try nasal spray and sinutab.  Problem is with acoustic neuromas being so rare he really doesn't know for sure how it would be even with doing that.  so I thought I would ask people that have them.  I would appreciate any help  :)

Oakridge, Oregon
65 year old female
1.27cm, Diagnosed September 2006
Deaf in right ear, some tinnitus, numbness on my face close to my ear Currently "Wait & Watch", per doctors advise
If & When I need to have something done I've pretty much decided on GK.


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Re: Airplane travel with watch and wait
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2013, 10:26:16 pm »
My AN was treated with CK in May and as of my Aug MRI it was still 18mm x 11mm x 14 mm.  I was told it has been growing for at least 20 years and I flew periodically with no pain.  Monday was the last time I flew and my only issue was not hearing over airplane noise.  This was a short flight but I used to fly a few times a year from Colorado Springs --> Chicago.
3/25/13- dx 18x11x14 mm AN, hearing loss in right ear x 5+ years, 5 sessions of CK completed May 2013, now a "post toastie".  Follow up MRI 4/14/14 - 15x19x11 mm. Stable with some signs of necrosis.


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Re: Airplane travel with watch and wait
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2013, 01:09:24 am »
Hi Dani-

We are all unknowingly watch and wait before we are diagnosed and then W&W till we decide to treat or make a decision to W&W.

Anyway, I have had heavy air travel for the last 6 years or so and very heavy (8-10 flight per month) when I was diagnosed till GK till the present. It may have exacerbated my post GK spasms, but that's not conclusive. In any case, the air travel caused no pain or other major complications.

You can read my treatment journal. Link below; hope it helps.
AN Diagnosed 11-2012 right side
13mm x 7.2 mm
Gamma Knife 1/24/13
UPMC w/Dr. Lunsford
Officially a postie toastie!
See my treatment journal at:


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Re: Airplane travel with watch and wait
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2013, 08:33:34 am »
Hi Dani
I am also a watch and wait and fly frequently; two times in last 3 weeks near Disneyland for conferences!
      I know everyone has their own preferences but I find that if I take an Advil cold and sinus and a Bonine (motion sickness medication) before we take off and then chew gum like a maniac (I am sure my seatmates appreciate this!) for the last 30 minutes before landing I come out with just very blocked (stuffy) ears that don't become unblocked for about 5 hours, but do not hurt. If I find any ear discomfort/pain or motion sickness while in the air I take another Advil cold and sinus and another Bonine well before we land and that usually solves it.
      I also was nervous to fly with the AN diagnosis but it came out fine with  over the counter medication for me.  You could also get a stronger prescription pain killer from your Doctor if you are really nervous, in the unlikely event you do have major pain on the first flight. 
      I have always had sales jobs with a lot of flights and I have suffered far more from the motion sickness and blocked/stuffy ears (not good in a negotiation!) than any major pain.
           Good luck and I wish you all the best!   


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Re: Airplane travel with watch and wait
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2013, 03:30:53 pm »
Dani, I have flown 6 times since my treatment in April and many times before I was diagnosed and never experienced any adverse effects. I recently returned from a 10 hr transatlantic flight during which we were seated directly behind the wing engines and the noise was bad, even with headphones on. I did have an increase in dizziness and a second tinnitus sound that developed after that flight. It took about 3 weeks for it to return to normal. Funny this didn't happen on the flight to our vacation destination, but we were seated in the center seats of the aircraft well away from the engines on that flight.
That was a long-winded way of saying protect your ears and don't sit near the engines as an added precaution. Also, ears popping with a change in altitude does not happen to everyone, so don't take it as a sign that you will have pain with flying.
AN 18x19 mm
3 meningiomas
AN treated with SRS April 2013
MRI Feb 2016 AN shrunk to 17 x 8 mm :)
Constant tinnitus in AN ear
Severe hearing loss AN ear


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Re: Airplane travel with watch and wait
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2013, 10:11:42 am » Dani, fly...spread your wings and fly!  ;)
Left-Translab July '09. Cyberknife Jan 2010. In Apr 2017, four more tumors found; three in the brain and one, 7cm long, on my spinal cord; it was surgically removed. It was cancerous, and so are the others. I've been receiving Chemo since June '18, and I'm still in treatment.


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Re: Airplane travel with watch and wait
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2013, 04:21:28 pm »
My husband flew frequently for business prior to his diagnosis with a large  AN.  He never had any problems with his ears; if he had, he might have been diagnosed sooner.
Husband diagnosed 5/30/09 with 3.2cm right AN
Surgery at  Columbia Presbyterian 8/4/09
Platinum eye weight implant - 8/17/09
17 days in hospital and rehab
SSD, facial weakness, some tinnitus, headaches , balance and eye problems