Just read this entire thread - thank you Derek and all for providing such positive advice and energy!
I had my first MRI in June which confirmed what the audiologist suspected from my hearing test in February. My AN is still small and I'm still meeting with various doctors, but my gut response is that W&W is the right choice for me. From February, when the audiologist first informed me of their diagnosis (severe SSD with tinnitus) and their suspicion (AN) until September when I finally met with a neurotologist and neurosurgeon, I went through agonies emotionally.
It was an awful roller-coaster, and I think what made it worse was getting the "dead man walking" look from the various health care professionals I met, combined with this insistence that I was looking at early and urgent neurosurgery. Then I met Drs Rutka and Tymianski and they are urging W&W and I felt this instant relief: finally, I've found health care professionals who are on the same page. There's no pressure to either fight for more time, or push myself to accept surgery that doesn't feel right. Whew!
I walked out of that appointment and told my kids that we have to befriend this tumor and tell it to stay cute and small and cuddly, and it can live with me forever.
I try to send it loving energy every day. I am very grateful that my AN took my hearing when it did. If I wasn't already profoundly SSD, I'd be more tempted to opt for surgery. But since I'm already coping pretty well with SSD, I don't have that to fear.
I like your top 10 list Derek - and practice something similar. I figure, even if (worst case scenario), it doesn't have any affect on my AN, at the very least I'm getting myself into the very best possible health and that will be good for coping with and recovering from surgery. So it's good no matter what way you look at it.
The things I do in addition to regular exercise and rest, healthy diet, drinking lots of water are:
- I take a turmeric supplement. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory that's been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier (some oncologists use it for cancerous brain tumors). It also has the ability to induce apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells. I know my AN is benign, but figure turmeric might have a similar effect on benign tumors.
- I take a greens+ supplement on those days when I don't get enough leafy green vegetables.
- I take an anti-oxidant.
About 6 weeks ago I added acupuncture to the above regimen. I've tried acupuncture before and have found that the best acupuncturists come from the source: are raised and trained in China. My acupuncturist says this is because they get a lot more practice while they are training than acupuncturists who train here in Canada. My acupuncturist has not given me any false promises (like shrinking my tumor or restoring my hearing), which is a thing that definitely counts in his favour in my books.
He's specifically working on: (1) supporting my immune system; (2) helping reduce my allergy symptoms (because all that extra pressure in my cranium is no fun!); (3) increasing blood circulation through my head; and (4) increasing my Qi, or inner energy.
I've noticed a lot of positive benefits since starting acupuncture. I have way more energy - haven't had this much energy in 10 years. I actually vibrate with energy and itch to get exercising, rather than dragging myself through exercise by sheer willpower. My daily headaches are gone. Instead of catching every germ my kids bring home, and being sick longer than anyone else in the family, followed by a bout of asthma, I am getting sick less often and for shorter periods of time. My balance, which seemed pretty wobbly since last Christmas, has greatly improved.
It may not be a cure for my AN, but it has greatly improved my quality of life, and for that reason alone, it's worth it to me.