Yes, the surgery helped a great deal. However, there are still some residual difficulties with equilibrium, double vision and left-side impairment. For example, I'm left-handed and my handwriting has been severly compromised. I was an artist and always had excellent penmanship! The doctors say this will eventually come back and I can see some improvement albeit very slow and gradual. The key is to keep exercising the muscle and nerve pathways. My A.N. was on the left side. For some reason, I never had any headaches, before or after surgery. The most important thing that aided in my recovery was physical fitness. As fit as I was going in to the surgery, I was hobbling around on a walker for two weeks after I had it. I was in the hospital for two weeks and in a rehab hospital for one. I had outside physical and occupation sessions for several months afterward. Recovery can take up to two years in some cases. It can take that long for nerve pathways to begin working properly.
The surgery, although the after effects vary for everyone, can be very traumatic. It was the hardest thing I ever went through but it also made me stronger and somehow more developed as a human being. It also changed me physically. For example, I used to be extremely ticklish on my feet. Now I can receive full foot massages and not even bat an eyelash. Sexually, there have been changes as well - not that I particularly care being 49 years old. But these things are slowly returning. Not that this is a particularly pleasant topic, but for the better part of a year, my bowel movements were really screwed up. Two months out of the hospital, I had a routine colonscopy because it was the time to have one. The results were normal. Having been in the hospital for three weeks and receiving all that medication wreaks havoc on your digestive system to begin with, never mind drinking that horrible liquid for the colonoscopy procedure. That really did me in for a while! I was running to the bathroom 4-5 times a day for months. I'm now totally back to normal. It takes a while to flush all those toxins out of your liver.
Some people have difficulties with the facial nerve and facial paralysis. Others - like myself - have difficulties with the trigeminal nerve which is responsible for sensation. After my surgery, the left side of my face was numb. As if being shot up with Novocaine that never wears off. To this day I still chew on my right side and prefer to drink from a straw, although it is slowly coming back as the doctors said it would. After surgery the left side of my lower lip was like a dead, useless flap of meat; the left side of my head or scalp was completely numb and didn't even feel like it was my own. One day though, several months ago I reached up and rubbed my scalp and was thrilled to see that it felt completely normal. That's the way things come back : they're so gradual, they kind of sneak up on you. One day you realize, "oh, that's back" or, "I can do that again".
I had double vision for years before my treatment. Upon awakening from surgery - 13.5 hours!! - I was horrified to see that the double vision was the worst it had ever been! I mean, full blown double vision along with left-side facial numbness and deafness. I had to wear an eye patch every day for at least three months. But it did gradually subside. I still have a bit of it now. Then there's the incessant tinnitus. It's like the deaf ear rings to the point of vibrating all the time. Sometimes, it pulsates, like you can feel and hear your heart in your head. It's unnerving but very common among other A.N. victims/ patients.
What compounded my equilibrium problems was hydrocephalus, pressure from c.s.f. build-up in the cranuim. My tumor was so big that it was blocking the flow of the fluid. So, before I had the tumor removed, I had to go in for a shunt installation one month before. For some reason, it became dislodged over night and I had to be rushed back into surgery the next morning for a reinstallation!. Plus, I went into a coma from a bad reaction to the morphine.
Be prepared for bi-yearly MRIs to check for regrowth! My next one in early next month. That's four MRIs in little over a year for me!
But all this is particular to me. I had it real bad. I let it go for way too long. Others are in and out of the hospital in less than a week with smaller growths. My paternal grandfather died from a noncancerous brain tumor in 1941 - probably an Acoustic Neuroma. Back then, they didn't know how to deal with something like this.
I've been through so much medical stuff over the past 2 years, I have no qualms about taking care of what has to be done to stay healthy.
I remember thanking one of my doctors for saving my life. He looked at me and said, incredulously, "You would not believe the size of that tumor".
He went on to say that he did close to 50 of these surgeries a year and mine took the cake!