Choosing a method of treatment for an acoustic neuroma is always difficult because there are no absolute guarantees, no matter what
you decide. Yet, at some point, a decision must be made. Obviously, radiation is less invasive and easier, in terms of being a one-day procedure, often performed as an out-patient or else requiring an overnight hospital stay, at the most. Being less than enthusiastic about hospitalization and having my skull cut open, had I been given the option, I would have chosen radiation to address my AN. Unfortunately, by the time I was symptomatic enough to realize something was seriously wrong, my AN was quite large and surgery was the only option, followed by FSR. Fortunately, by the grace of God, my neurosurgeon was an all-star and his surgical team were all equally skilled. I had very few post-op complications and came through the entire surgery/radiation process quite well, considering the many pitfalls inherent in having both surgery and radiation.
Frankly, I never really feared having follow-up MRI scans as I was repeatedly assured that this two-tiered approach (surgery + radiation) was 100% effective when implemented at other facilities (i.e. Boston). After some initial swelling from the radiation (which was wholly uneventful) my AN showed both necrosis and shrinkage. Naturally, both doctor and patient (me) are elated.
For your relatively tiny AN, I would choose CK. I say this light of the fact that your husband cannot be off work for more than a week. Most AN surgical patients are in hospital for 5 days, more if any complications arise such as CSF leaks, etc. As a former surgical patient, I can tell you that you'll be 'out of it' for a few days, minimum, when you arrive home following your discharge from the hospital, due to the residual effects of the anesthesia, medications and the general trauma your body has undergone from the invasive procedure removing the AN entailed. The recuperation process can be maddeningly slow, although everyone seems to differ a bit. However, CK is not a panacea. If you've read these posts, you'll see that some CK patients have complications - and some don't. The possibility of re-growth is always an issue for CK patients but of course, the surgeons who confidently tell you "we got it all"
following surgical removal of the acoustic neuroma are sometimes mistaken and re-growth happens. Also, with surgery, sometimes the AN is so wrapped around vital nerves that actually removing "all of it" inevitably results in nerve damage and the resultant facial paralysis and other unpleasant ramifications that so many suffer with. This is why my neurosurgeon went the surgery/radiation route with my AN. He debulked it (which made it small enough to effectively radiate) and also cut off the bugger's blood supply, and the very-carefully-and-precisely mapped FSR treatments (26 in all) did their intended damage to the remaining tumor's DNA and so, it is dying and shrinking, even as I type.
It's definitely a tough call Tamara, but I would vote for CK in your case, based on the size of your AN, the fact that you're practically asymptomatic and you are limited as to the amount of aftercare you can receive following surgery. Of course, waiting-and-watching is also a perfectly acceptable option, too. One you may wish to seriously consider as the AN may 'stabilize' and 2009 could be a better time to have it surgically removed - or radiated - whatever you choose. Again, I 'vote' for CK with watching-and-waiting second choice and surgery a distant third choice. Of course, the final decision is yours and your's alone. This is simply a concerned bystanders opinion and not in any way based on any serious medical knowledge or expertise.
I wish you well as you mull your options and move toward a decision. Jim