Welcome to the forum. Too bad you have to develop an acoustic neuroma tumor to join us,
but at least you'll find both needed information and lots of support here. Although radiation remains an option in your case, and I would certainly consider it, you need to get at least a second opinion from another doctor. Probably a third or fourth opinion, to be realistic. Some nuerosurgeons seem fixated on surgery, while some are more concerned with what's best for you
. I had a surgeon like that. He recommended retrosigmoid
microsurgery, followed by FSR treatments. Of course, I had nerve monitoring during the operation. All went well. No facial paralysis or numbness, CSF leaks and so on. I was driving within 2 weeks of the operation and resumed most normal activity within a month. I'm very thankful. To be fair, I have to insert the caveat that we are all unique and because one AN patient has a trouble-free surgical outcome doesn't mean everyone else will. Even radiation, although not 'invasive', carries it's own risks and rewards.
Many of us had similar symptoms as the ones you describe, pre-op, although I really believe that stress is a factor in some
AN symptoms. I'm one of those AN 'survivors' Sue
described who developed a huge AN tumor yet had few symptoms, until it began pressing on my brain stem. 7 months post-surgery, I'm fine. My previous balance 'issues' are about resolved, my hair has long since grown over my surgical scar and except for being stone deaf in my left ear, as I have been for quite a few years, you would never know that I had what almost amounted to emergency surgery plus 5 weeks of low-dose radiation last year to remove a huge AN tumor. Life goes on.
AN microsurgery is very necessarily intense and somewhat challenging for the surgeon. The neurosurgeon as well as his or her 'team' must be highly skilled. Even then, there are no 'guarantees' (about a successful outcome) due to the unknown nature of exactly what the surgeon will find once he/she 'opens up' your skull to remove the AN tumor. Then, a variety of factors kick in. Where the tumor lies, etc. This kind of delicate surgery is a definite risk, as any honest surgeon will tell you, although, for AN removals, the mortality rate is negligible (under 1%). Most AN microsurgeries last from 6 to 12 hours, depending on complications and/or the surgeon's skill.. My AN was 4.5 cm and the operation, which removed only about 50% of the tumor, lasted a bit less than 9 hours.
Following surgery you'll go to an ICU. You'll be very
tired and sleep - a lot. You could be in ICU for 2 to 5 days, depending on how well you respond, your doctor's evaluation of your post-op condition and whether any complications arise in your recovery, such as a CSF 'leak', which can
happen. In the ICU, doctors and nurses will be doing quick neurological tests on you ("follow my finger"
) about every four hours. You'll be given steroids to prevent brain swelling. It's tedious, at best, even if you do sleep most of the time. Your doctor will make the call as to when you can be released to a'regular' floor and/or be discharged I was in the ICU for a bit over 4 days. I had no complications (and no headaches, either) and rebounded really well. I was discharged on my fifth day in hospital after 'proving' to the nurses and PT folks that I could walk by myself with no real problems. Then my surgeon said "O.K." This is fairly typical. Once home, you'll still be quite weak and need a lot of rest. You could have eye, balance and/or headache complications - or not. No one can foretell exactly what will occur in any specific post-op AN surgical (or radiation) patient.
You still have time to opt for radiation treatment over microsurgery but, of course, that decision will be up to you. It's a big decision and you should continue to educate yourself before making it final. This site is a great place to do that.
I wish you well.Jim