Author Topic: completed microsurgery on 9/11/18 by Drs. Friedman & Schwartz  (Read 442 times)

WhiskyJoe

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completed microsurgery on 9/11/18 by Drs. Friedman & Schwartz
« on: September 22, 2018, 10:10:34 am »
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.
- 9 x 5 x 7 mm tumor
- diagnosed 9/16
- tinnitus, severe single-sided hearing loss, equilibrium problems, semi-facial spasms
- translab surgery Friedman & Schwartz UCSD 9/18
- 100% of tumor removed

notaclone13

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Re: completed microsurgery on 9/11/18 by Drs. Friedman & Schwartz
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2018, 05:53:50 pm »
Hi Whiskey Joe,
Thanks for posting your surgical experience at UCSD. Congratulations on your successful surgery and hopefully you are now on your way to full recovery except for SSD. Please continue to post and let us know how you are doing. 
M.A.

JLR

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Re: completed microsurgery on 9/11/18 by Drs. Friedman & Schwartz
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2018, 05:41:59 am »
Good morning, congrats on a successful surgery.  A hemangioma and not AN. Wouldn't an MRI prior to surgery see that. I had AN surgery nearly 2 years ago and I'm still recovering. I also have a small hemangioma not in brain but on outer edges of skull, which continues to be stable. What were your symptoms. Thanks!

shellydp

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Re: completed microsurgery on 9/11/18 by Drs. Friedman & Schwartz
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2018, 07:10:57 am »
Hi Whiskey Joe:

Happy to hear such a positive outcome! 

I'm new to this "club" and was diagnosed with a 1.0 cm AN two weeks ago.  Dr. Friedman was my first consult last week and my husband and I were impressed and relieved after speaking at length with him.  He recommended Mid Fossal surgery since I still have most of my hearing and no other side effects other than ringing in my AN ear.  We have two more phone consultations tonight.  I live in NY and will meet in person with Dr. Golfinos at NYU Langone next week.

Can you describe your post-op life in CA (where you stayed, how you spent your days, etc)?  I wouldn't hesitate to travel and have the surgery in CA if my gut tells me that is the  right path. 

Appreciate any suggestions/insights you can share.

Shelly

WhiskyJoe

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Re: completed microsurgery on 9/11/18 by Drs. Friedman & Schwartz
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2018, 07:28:48 am »
JLR, my surgeons and my radiologist could not tell from reviewing my six or so MRI's what type of cells made up the tumor.  The radiologist's reports said the mass was "in keeping with a vestibular schwannoma until proven otherwise."  Prior to my surgery, my surgeons suspected that it was a meningioma, rather than a vestibular schwannoma, based on my symptoms, and they continued to think so after the surgery until the pathology report came back a couple of days after the surgery and identified it as a hemangioma.  It didn't make any difference to me whether the mass was a vestibular schwannoma, a meningioma or a hemangioma.  The mass was growing, and my symptoms (floating feeling, imbalance, fatigue) were getting worse, so I elected to have the surgery.

Shellydp, my wife and I flew to San Diego on Sunday prior to the Tuesday surgery and stayed at a hotel located about a mile from the hospital.  We checked out of the hotel on Friday after the surgery and moved into an Airbnb "beach cottage" in La Jolla, California (about a 10 minute drive from the hospital) until the following Thursday.  The cottage had one bedroom, one bathroom, a living room, and a kitchen. It was much more pleasant than staying in a hotel room.  It appeared to have been built in the 1950's and had no air conditioning, but we didn't need it.  Temperatures at night were in the low 60's and in the mid-70's during the day, but the air is dry and there was always a nice breeze flowing through the cottage when the windows were open.  I never had any problem sleeping, whether at night or in the middle of the day.  The cottage was situated in a nice neighborhood for walking, too.
- 9 x 5 x 7 mm tumor
- diagnosed 9/16
- tinnitus, severe single-sided hearing loss, equilibrium problems, semi-facial spasms
- translab surgery Friedman & Schwartz UCSD 9/18
- 100% of tumor removed

Zan

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Re: completed microsurgery on 9/11/18 by Drs. Friedman & Schwartz
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2018, 04:35:00 pm »
Thank you for sharing your story.
I had my tumor removed last year and Dr. Schwartz was one of my surgeons. In fact, I may have been his last at House. I also liked him very much.
And, like you, I also had a Hemangioma. Welcome to the super rare club. I hang out here a lot because our tumors, our surgeries and our symptoms are so similar to what AN folks have. Plus, the people here are very welcoming.
My tumor was on my facial nerve just outside my auditory canal, so I am saved from most of the dizziness, but have more facial symptoms.
I look forward to interacting with you.

JLR

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Re: completed microsurgery on 9/11/18 by Drs. Friedman & Schwartz
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2018, 07:46:42 pm »
Thank you all for your responses. I wish you both a very successful recovery.

Cityview

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Re: completed microsurgery on 9/11/18 by Drs. Friedman & Schwartz
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2018, 02:21:09 pm »
Congratulations whiskyjoe on your successful surgery.
I know what it's like to be on W&W and trying to make the right decision.
It's not an exact science-trying to make a decision. If I were you I wouldn't have any regrets.
Have a great recovery.

La Jolla really is a beautiful place.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2018, 03:40:02 pm by Cityview »
Small AN
Successful watch and wait for over 4 years!