I'm still feeling pretty emotional. Relief, I guess. But wanted to thank you for your quick response, and after all you've been through yourself.
I'd like to believe I would have done better if I had had any clue that there would be things related to the surgery (dizziness, imbalance, loss of blink reflex, severe dry eye, etc), and especially that there was even the potential for these things to be lasting this long. A direct result of the length of the surgery was nerve damage at my elbow and neck (double crush) which has resolved to livable levels.
I consider myself a fairly bright person, but didn't connect the dots between eyelid closure (which gold weight and lower lid surgeries resloved nicely) and lack of blink reflex and chronic dry eye stuff. I feel pretty stupid that it took until last winter for me to research and find ways to manage it better than simply putting in drops. I had really great surgeons, including oculoplastics, but I not surprisingly (I understand now) they were strictly and narrowly focused on the surgical procedure only.
Background on my tumor. I'd had a crooked smile since I was about 3 years old. Through the decades, my pirate smile as a long ago boyfriend put it, had been oft and repeatedly remarked upon by physicians as either a return episode of Bell's Palsy or residual from it.
Prior to surgery, a CT showed a mass in the middle ear, confirmed with MRI to be a facial nerve tumor, most likely a schwannoma. The facial nerve had to be resected at both ends -- brain stem and parotid gland. Even though I already had a House-Brackmen score of 5, there was still some muscle response on the EMG so a nerve graft was done using the greater auricular nerve.
I am so surprised how hard this is for me to write about! I'm usually quite chatty and have no problem talking objectively about this. I'll come back in another post and fill in.