I underwent microsurgery by Dr. Friedman and Dr. Schwartz at the Univ. of Calif. at San Diego Hospital on September 11, 2018. I am 12 days post-surgery and have the following comments and observations on the experience:
1. My wife and I flew to San Diego from Tennessee on Sunday, September 9, 2018. I had a hearing test and met with the surgeons and a physical therapist on Monday and had the surgery on Tuesday.
2. The original plan for me was to use the middle fossa approach. There is a greater risk of facial nerve damage with that approach (the risk is still low, but greater than with the other approaches), so it tends to be used only when hearing can be preserved. We decided to go with the translab approach after my hearing test showed I had almost no usable hearing remaining in my right (AN side) ear. That result made me wish I'd elected to undergo surgery earlier rather than staying on watch & wait for two years.
3. My surgery started at 3:20 pm and lasted five hours. (That's five hours from the time they put me under until I awoke in the ICU. I don't know how long the actual procedure lasted.)
4. Thus far, I've had no facial weakness, numbness or other facial issues, and I've had no CSF leak. My pre-surgery symptoms are all gone, thus far.
5. The pathology report showed the tumor to be a hemangioma, not an acoustic neuroma.
6. I was discharged from the neuro ICU during my second day there. I was not transferred to a regular hospital room prior to discharge.
7. The first night in the ICU was unpleasant.
8. My wife spent both nights in the ICU with me.
9. The section of the hospital that I stayed in, which is in La Jolla, California, appears to be brand new. My room in the ICU was so large it could've slept four or five people. It had a 50" flat screen TV mounted on the wall and an iPad to control the lights, thermostat and TV. I was told it was designed by an architect who designs luxury hotels, and it had the feel of a hotel.
10. I was able to address my post-surgery pain with Tylenol beginning the fourth day after surgery. (They gave me a bottle of hydrocodone/acetaminophen at discharge. I believe I took two of them before my headaches subsided enough to get by with only Tylenol.)
11. I was dizzy and nauseated for about a week following surgery. I never vomited, but frequently felt like I was in the beginning stages of sea sickness. The nausea medicine they gave me at discharge helped greatly. My vestibular system is still off, but seems to be improving with the exercises they gave me to do.
12. I lost my appetite following surgery and ate pretty much nothing but grits, rice, weak soup, mashed potatoes, Ensure, and nectarines for the next 10 days, and I didn't eat much of any of that. My appetite is just now starting to come back. I've lost 12 pounds since the surgery - from 145 to 133 pounds - even though I was already pretty lean going into the surgery.
13. I think I'll be able to return to work beginning the second week following surgery. We'll see.
I cannot say enough positive things about my surgeons, Rich Friedman and Marc Schwartz. In addition to being highly skilled and experienced, they are personable, affable, humble, and likable. There is not an ounce of arrogance between the two of them. I live in southeast Tennessee, and it would have been significantly more convenient and less expensive for me to have been treated at Emory Hospital in Atlanta or Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. I have absolutely no reservations about my decision to go to San Diego. Dr. Friedman and Dr. Schwartz are outstanding and have my highest recommendations.
Sorry for the length of this post. Hope it's not too much information, but wanted to share my experiences in the event thy are helpful to anyone. Good luck to all.