I am recently home from surgery in San Diego with Drs. Friedman and Schwartz and wanted to recap my experience for anybody that is exploring their surgical options. First off, I am so glad that I found this discussion forum because it led me to UC San Diego. I really couldn't be happier with the surgeons and staff at UC San Diego. From the first free consult with Dr. Friedman, I knew that is where I should be having surgery. They do more of these surgeries than anybody in the country, their support staff deals with acoustic neuroma patients every day, and I truly believe that there is nobody better in the country at removing the tumor than Dr. Schwartz. Even though I still had partial hearing in my affected ear, I chose to have translab surgery for a better chance at complete tumor removal. They believe that was achieved even though it was difficult. I have no facial paralysis whatsoever. For these reasons, I am thrilled that I went to San Diego. I am sure that there are other surgeons that could have done this somewhere else in the country, but I felt very confident in the abilities of Dr. Friedman and Schwartz. I also had the BAHA put in at the same time as surgery.
My recovery has went pretty smooth as well. I had surgery on a Thursday and was discharged from the hospital on Saturday. I was up and walking the day after surgery with very little dizziness or nausea. They told me that I was recovering faster than almost anybody they had seen. Maybe they tell this to everybody to encourage them. I think my tumor has already done so much damage to my vestibular nerve that my other side had been compensating for some time already, as I really never had any trouble walking or moving my head around after surgery.
My main challenges were eating and fatigue. I had trouble eating very much until about a week after surgery. Nothing sounded good and nothing tasted good. I went ahead and forced myself to eat just because I knew I needed to. The first couple of days out of the hospital I would get very tired very fast and had to take naps even though I tried not to. That got better around day 4. I really think around day 4 or 5 is where I really started to turn a corner and feel better. From around day 4 I was walking at least 2 miles a day and sometimes over 4. By the time I went to my post-op appointments, I was feeling almost normal again. I hope this does not sound like bragging. I am sharing this so that someone getting ready for surgery will know that even though the first few days after surgery will be rough, it can get better quickly once your body starts adjusting to what has happened to it.
I am now back home and feeling great. Not working for the next few weeks is going to be tough for me because I feel so good, but I will follow the doctor's orders. My only frustration now is with my BAHA. I am a hat wearer (all day every day), and now I am going to have to alter my hats because the BAHA sits right where my hat bands go. I will figure it out. If anybody has any suggestions go ahead and let me know.
If anybody is looking for options on treatment or just a recommendation on a care plan, I would strongly encourage sending your records to Dr. Friedman and at least get the free consultation from him. He is an awesome guy and one of the foremost experts on acoustic neuromas in the country. I could not have had a better experience with him and Dr. Schwartz.
I know this is a long post, but I hope maybe it helps somebody that reads it. Once again, thank you to all the members of this discussion forum that have shared their experiences so that I could make the decision that was best for me in the end. Also, good luck to anyone that is trying to decide how to proceed, I know that it can be overwhelming. I hope everyone finds the solution that is right for them and their situation. Thank you for reading.