I was diagnosed June 5 with a small AN, 0.8 cm long, in my left ear. I have partial hearing loss, chirping crickets, and that fullness feeling as symptoms. I was referred by my ENT to Dr. Hodgson, Portland, Or. and saw him last Thursday. Since then, I have been pouring over this site, several others, and the MRI images. I wanted to post something, and see if my impressions sound right to any of you.
1. Dr Hodgson, besides being a good surgeon, has suggested that I would be a good candidate for radiation therapy. Based on posts in this forum, it seems to be quite rare to find a surgeon who will recommend radiation, so I feel lucky, and I am giving it serious consideration.
2. He suggested calling the MRI lab and asking for a CD of my images, which I did, and they produced them for pickup the next day, no charge (EPIC labs in Portland). Pretty nice deal, and fascinating to explore.
3. My choices seem to be surgery - middle fossa, try to save some hearing; or radiation - gamma knife, probably with Dr. Bader; or wait a while, and then choose A or B.
4. It seems to me that the treatments address the medical concerns, mainly not having a neuroma grow enough to squish the brain stem or paralyze the face, but are not particularly good at addressing the symptoms, meaning the hearing loss, pressure sensation, tinnitus, etc. The post-treatment experiences reported by many don't sound much better than the symptoms I have now. Is that a fair assessment?
5. Radiation therapy seems to have improved quite a bit, and there are now quite a few reports of success, with generally fewer side effects than even the best performed surgeries. For a neuroma less than 1 cm, it seems like a smarter choice to me. Am I missing something?
6. Since my neuroma is small, and treatment is not going to fix the unpleasant symptoms of pressure or chirping or hearing loss, there seems to be no rush to do anything. When does waiting stop being okay and start costing me something down the road?
Thanks to any who reply, and thanks to all posters for sharing information and points of view on this site. None of my friends or family have one of these, so having some place to find people who know what it is like is great.