Reminder to discuss with docs the current size and location of your AN ... BECAUSE you also want to know if one of your options is 'wait and watch' (that is, get periodic MRIs). Because almost all ANs are very slow growing, 'wait and watch' gives you time to come to the decision that you feel good about. Of course, I'm assuming here that your symptoms aren't overwhelming -- that is, some people have very bad balance problems, or headaches that sort of 'demand' they do something immediately.
I guess I have to add my two cents about radiation vs microsurgery. Please note I am biased toward radiation. But, despite my bias, I think it's fair to say that radiation is less invasive, and the body generally reacts less. I know some people have unforeseen negative consequences from radiation therapy (you can search this Board for some stories), but in general the radiation simply targets the tumor, whereas microsurgery involves many surrounding parts as well. Fellow board members such as Steve have researched the actual research, but as someone said, if you're the rare one that has the aberrant consequence, research becomes meaningless. On the other hand, it's the best factual input we have to help in our decision-making.
I'm really for including ALL the factors -- your particular medical AN situation, what's important to you, the 'facts' as we best know them, AND your gut feelings. Try using a decision T-chart to outline the positives and negatives of each option for you. In general I think it's fair to say that each of us "knows" when we've settled on the plan of action for us, even though the intervening decision-making time can be nerve-wracking.
I guess I'm rambling on because I really do want to tell you my honest perspective, acknowledging at the same time that each of us is different. My AN was/is 1.6 cm. I fairly quickly decided to do GammaKnife, based on: 1) The medical fact that this is a size that's treatable with radiation, whereas as it gets larger and larger, microsurgery is required. 2) I've had quite a bit of family experience with brain surgeries. On the one hand, my mother had one major brain surgery to clip burst aneurysms and then several more minor ones to get a shunt in place. These saved her life, although she was brain-damaged throughout the rest of her life. On the other hand, my first husband had another kind of benign brain tumor that intruded on the medula. He was an older man, 74, but very vibrant and healthy otherwise. He lived through the surgery, but (in my opinion) the glare of ICU lights, being awoken at all hours, etc. etc. wore him down and he died two months later. (BTW, the whole issue of lights, awakening at night, etc etc is starting to be studied as bad for health...... DUH, as I say!!). This is a long way to say that I KNEW I wasn't doing to have microsurgery unless my life depended on it. My whole gut was saying "no surgery", but I trust you can see why I had that prejudice.
Don't get me wrong, I trust base skull microsurgeons; it's just not for me. My local doctor sent me to the team at Univ of Wash in Seattle. I was satisfied with their team approach - I met with all three of them at once, they respect one another, etc etc. There are other teams in the Seattle area that are highly respected, but I felt good about this team, so I stayed with them. They use Gamma Knife, and, although I researched the other radiation options a little, I was satisfied to choose Gamma Knife. The microsurgeon is actually the one who placed the head rack the day of my treatment; I had 'la-la' drugs so the whole thing was no more painful or uncomfortable than having a tooth filled. I was a bundle of energy for the three days afterwards when I was on steroids! I had fatigue and slight headaches during the next month or so. My symptoms are about the same now as before (some hearing loss right ear, some tinnitus, some balance problems). Anyway I'm satisfied. Of course, we have yet to see if radiation kills the tumor, but I can live with that uncertainty.
Well, like Steve said, I feel better. I know I go on and on, but I thought it might help to hear one story. Find others here, and continue soul searching. Be grateful that it's not a life-threatening prognosis, take lots of deep breaths, and keep reading !! Do try to find others in your NY area from whom you can get opinions of local teams.