I have been reading the discussions at this site for a few weeks now, and the constant stream of new members and the wealth of information have convinced me to post. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time to jump in.
I will try to be brief at first, and perhaps post more details later.
In a nutshellÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Diagnosed in Oct 2005 with a 14mm AN on right side. Symptoms were/are increasing hearing loss and tinnitus. Hearing in right ear is at 30-40%, but seems to be getting worse. No balance or facial issues yet. Age 47 and in good health otherwise.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Prior to 10/05, I Googled my way through interesting research on tinnitus, leading to 3 Houston specialists (otolaryngologists) , who I then contacted by email. I visited the doctor who replied.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Despite asymmetry in hearing test, there was no talk of AN. I insisted on an MRI. I brought my laptop with me to the follow-up and pointed out the asymmetry on several MRI slices. The doctor confirmed the AN.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ I was at first elated. Through my own persistence, I arrived at the cause of my hearing loss and tinnitus. Then I was shocked. I have a brain tumor.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ I now see Dr. Coker at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He has offered, and seemed comfortable with all three options. Surgery (RS), Gamma Knife, and wait-and-see.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Dr. Coker suggested that surgery or GK are both unlikely to improve hearing, but may worsen it. As long as the AN is stable, he suggests preserving my hearing as long as possible, and use a conservative therapy approach with MRIs every 9 months.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Does wait-and-see seem reasonable? I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know how long until my hearing becomes non functional. I predict it will be less than 18 months. If it goes, I wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get it back with treatment.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ How long can conservative therapy last? How often does a tumor stop growing or stabilize on its own without GK radiation?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ If I have GK or surgical treatment, might it stop the hearing loss? From some of the postings at this site, there is some evidence that this could be the case.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Can I expect facial paralysis or balance issues to occur next? Is there typically a progression of new symptoms when the hearing starts to get below 20%?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Can anyone recommend another good surgery team in Houston? Dr. Coker (may) retire before I commit to GK or surgical treatment.
Thanks. This discussion group is give-and-take, and I hope others benefit from my observations and subsequent discussion.