Acoustic neuroma is a benign form of tumor and grows very slowly. So you have the time to choose your option. The hardest part of all this is actually picking the right treatment option for yourself. I also had months of light-headedness before the actual diagnosis. When I first got diagnosed back in April, I actually developed anxiety disorder at the same time due to this.
First of all some background of me, I was diagnosed with a 2cm AN back in April. I am a 37-year old healthy individual, an engineering director in a communication chip company. I have 2 young kids (a 5 year-old and a 2-year old). Instead of quoting all the statistics of my research, I will just give a short summary on why I chose radiation:
- I have visited 3 top neurosurgeons: Dr. Robert Jackler of Stanford (microsurgery); Dr. John Adler of Stanford (Cyberknife radiosurgery), and Dr. Kenneth Ott (Gammaknife radiosurgery). I found out that I am a primary candidate for all.
- In comparing the side effects of microsurgery and radiosurgery, an overwhelming percentage of microsurgery patients had significant post-surgery effects- be it headaches, loss of balance, facial paralysis, hearing degradation; etcÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ Some radiosurgery patients also have side effects, but in general they are much more positive.
- I have no symptoms of ANs. Radiosurgery gives the highest probability of hearing and facial nerve preservation. I will risk both with microsurgery.
- The only concern I have is long-term radiation effect. There is already 20 years of statistics out there. The few radiosurgeons I have consulted have not seen a case of malignancy in all of their patients.
- Being an engineer by trade, I am more eager to accept new technology. Cyberknife is the newest approach to combine fractionated radiation with much better accuracy (down to 0.5mm). Dr. Adler at Stanford is also the inventor of this machine. I feel very comfortable talking to him. He even invited me to see a patient going through the actual procedure.
- Finally, I am willing to accept the fact that I will have a tumor dying in my head the rest of my life. I probably have had it for the most part of my life already, so I am comfortable with it.
As far as the procedure is concerned; I had it done in the first week of September. The whole thing was painless. In fact, I took my family to sightseeing in San Francisco after the treatment everyday. The hardest part of my AN journey was the 4 prior months Ã¢â‚¬â€œ trying to choose the right option! I feel completely normal right now with no symptoms! My first follow-up MRI will be in 1 week.
Again, this is all my personal opinion. In no way am I trying to convince you to go to radiation. EveryoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ situation is different. Since your tumor is very small, you have plenty of time to sit back and weigh out the pros and cons for each approach.
Feel free to ask any questions. I am more than happy to share my experience.