Well Hello fellow Carolinian!, Columbia, SC here! I had a small AN with terrible symptoms (12mm). Hearing loss, fatigue, balance issues, and 24 hr tinnitus. took 8 months to diagnos, but symptoms were present for 4 years at least. In and of themselves they just ruled out age related as I was in my late 40s. When diagnosed, I consulted with Duke, MUSC in Charleston, UVA, Univ of Pitt and Dr. Friedman in San Diego. Let me note - I did NOT have any extreme vertigo or throwing up. We watched mine for 6 months, and I educated myself during that time. At 6 months it did grow to 14m and I decided radiation. There were advocates both ways because I was 50 I was too young for radiation, etc. Ultimately because of my life style, ( my husband and I are big backpackers, hike mountains in Colorado, etc.) we decided to go with the least invasive treatment first. Oddly enough my 2 best friends here in Columbia also have AN, so imagine my surprise when I was diagnosed! Anyway, I chose Radiation at MUSC BUT because of some things completely out of my control, procedure was cancelled, they would not reschedule for months and I ultimately ended up with Dr. Jason Sheehan at UVA. I had emailed him for months, sent him my scans, records, etc. and I never met him until my day before treatment. I prayed about it and just felt comfortable with him. I had my Gamma knife procedure 15 months ago. 5 weeks after GK, was hiking in Utah, and doing fantastic. AT about 5-6 months swelling started which is completely expected and I got severe dizziness. We still went hiking tho in Colorado and more hikes in Utah. At about 12 months dizziness subsided - still have small episodes. I have more hearing loss which is expected also. My tumor is still "swelling" but not really causing problems. My doctor had said I have to at least give it 2 years to see if radiation works. My motto is watch and live until then.
I have 3 friends I met through Facebook support groups from Charlotte, two had surgery, one local in Charlotte and the other at Duke, and one radiation in Charlotte, they are doing well. If you are not on Facebook, join it!!!
Again, I had NO extreme vertigo or throwing up and that may be more of a concern for what doctors will decide for you treatment. There are so many doctors who will review your records for free, it just depends how serious and how soon doctors want to treat you.