I was diagnosed with a 1.5 cm AN in August 2018 at 40 years old. I found this board to be a tremendous help as I researched my condition, doctors and treatments. I want to share the great experience I had with Dr. Cunningham, Dr. Zomorodi and their teams at Duke Raleigh in case it helps anyone else out there that is struggling with their diagnoses and the difficult decisions involved in the next steps.
When I was first diagnosed, I was obviously glad to learn that my AN was treatable. I quickly realized that surgery would likely be my best option (and it was recommended by all the doctors I talked to except for the radiologist). But the more I researched the more concerned I became about the complications from surgery. This seemed like a major surgery to me. I felt like I needed to find the best team for me and my family regardless of where they were located.
I met in person and by phone with several doctors and decided on Dr. Cunningham and Dr. Zomorodi. I did not feel rushed in my first appointments with them. They did an amazing job explaining everything to me in terms I could understand. They set reasonable expectations and were honest with me when they had to tell me things I didn't necessarily want to hear.
I had the tumor removed via translab on December 10. The doctors said the entire tumor had been removed from what they could see via microscope and an MRI the next day confirmed the same. I had no facial weakness that I could detect. I had headaches for 7-10 days after surgery that were treated with Tylenol and Fioricet. Surgery was on a Monday. I was released from the hospital on Friday. I stayed in Raleigh over the weekend (my home is three hours away in VA). I had an appointment with Dr. Cunningham the Monday morning following surgery and my wife drove me back to VA. I went back to work after 3 weeks. My balance is not 100% yet but the more I walk the more it seems to improve.
I had my tonsils removed when I was 8. Other than that, I have never spent any time in the hospital and not had any other surgery. So...I really have nothing to which compare my experience. With that being said, the care I received from Dr. Cunningham, Dr. Zomorodi and the teams of PA's and nurses throughout the entire process exceeded my expectations.
Also, I am extremely fortunate to have a wife and family that were able to help with care. I'm told it was a lot for them to deal with.
I hope someone reading this finds it helpful. I certainly found the many posts on this site were helpful for me. I could go on and on with more details, things that affected my decision, etc, but I'm trying to keep this brief.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want to discuss further. I am happy to share.