This is a glowing recommendation for that team.
First off - I want to recognize how lucky I am compared to so many others of you. I am so grateful for my experience, because I know how different it could have been. I'm lucky that my insurance covered the team. I'm lucky that I live locally. I'm lucky my tumor was so small. I'm lucky for a lot of other things that are non-AN related too. But you don't care about those.
Six weeks ago today I had my AN removed.
It was found completely by chance. I was having an MRI because I was having some complications with migraines. I've suffered from migraines for over 20 years, so MRIs are nothing new for me. Finding the AN on it was new.
My neurologist was at USC, so she sent my MRIs to Dr. G for confirmation before she told me about it, and then referred me to the team. I checked on the team to make sure I was being sent to the right doctors, not just the ones she was familiar with. I feel so lucky to have been sent to them right from the start.
My AN was small, about the size of an olive. They said I could have watched and waited since it wasn't causing any issues. It could have been the source of my tinnitus, but there was no way to tell. I couldn't watch and wait. There was no way. I was going crazy, and I needed it out of my head ASAP.
The team is great. There's Kris, the Patient Navigator who is there to walk you through the process. She's a former patient of the team herself, so she really knows what you're going through. Dawn, Dr. G's PA, is also a former patient, so she also can relate. Lori worked with me for physical therapy post op, and she was fantastic. Libby worked with me in the hospital, and I wanted to kill her, since the last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed, but she got me out of bed and moving so I could go home. The hospital staff was AMAZING. Every time the nurses would change shift I would get upset because I wouldn't want to lose this nurse who was being so nice to me, but the next one who came in was just as nice. And I can't say enough about Dr. G and Dr. Friedman.
Here it is 6 weeks later. I have very minor hearing loss. The tinnitus is still there. My balance is almost back to 100% normal. No facial paralysis. I go back to work tomorrow. But I did a 6 mile walk and 38 flights of stairs yesterday and a 3 mile walk this morning. 24 flights of stairs today. I'm not going to lie. It's been hard work. But knowing that my tumor is 100% gone and I don't have to worry about it is invaluable.
They have support groups at the hospital, and if you're thinking of being treated by this team, I highly recommend attending. It was the one thing I did as a pre-op patient that gave me more peace of mind than anything else. Seeing post-op patients completely normal after their surgeries helped me not freak out about my decision. I'll be attending to talk to any pre-op patients and hopefully give them the same peace of mind that other post-op patients gave me.
I feel really strongly that I was in exceptional hands, and feel so lucky and grateful for this experience.