I'm sorry you're an apparent victim of missed diagnosis, but, as Jan
stated, unfortunately, this is fairly common. Now that you've been properly diagnosed, your focus has to be on what to do.
You indicated that you favor surgery but have a few qualms about the recovery period, post-op complications and so on. Everyone has these concern, Julie, so you're perfectly normal in that regard. Frankly, whether you ultimately choose surgery or radiation, the outcome simply cannot be guaranteed. Radiation is quite effective and obviously poses fewer chances for complications (CSF leaks, infections, etc) but has risks of it's own, including swelling. Radiation is a very attractive option but it is not a panacea. If it were, no one would ever choose surgery for an Acoustic Neuroma treatment. However, many do. I did, although it wasn't really a choice, because upon my diagnosis, my AN was found to be far too large to be safely radiated. Instead, I had surgery to debulk the AN, followed a few months later by FSR treatments to kill the thing. The results have been excellent, so far (see my 'signature' at the bottom of this post
). Cost shouldn't be a major factor if you carry decent medical insurance. The general consensus is that AN surgery costs about $100,000. (hospital & doctor) and radiation about $60,000. to $80,000. These are 'ballpark' figures, of course. My surgery ran $100,000. My health Insurance (Blue Cross) paid all but a few thousand dollars of that cost.
I have to concur with the opinion that whatever you do (surgery or radiation) has to be your
decision, not unduly influenced by husband, friends, doctors, insurance companies or even well-intentioned folks that respond to your message on this forum. I think that has been established by now so I won't belabor the point, which is glaringly obvious, anyway.
Surgical recovery is generally stated as six weeks but many recover much faster. With my doctor's permission, I was driving and gallivanting about within two weeks of my release from the hospital and I had almost zero post-op complications. My subsequent radiation treatments (FSR) were painless and boring (25 minutes per session, 5 days a week for five weeks). Although I sometimes joke about growing a third eye after the radiation, I actually suffered no ill effects from the treatments and drove myself to and from each one, a 60-mile round trip.
Again, the final treatment decision will remain yours, alone, Julie. However, if feasible, out-patient, non-invasive radiation may be the more efficient choice based on your need to earn a living doing physically demanding work. Conversely, surgery, while having a longer recovery period, removes the tumor and reduces - but does not eliminate - the risk of re-growth.
Obviously, you have a lot to think about. I trust you'll do the necessary research - this website is a valuable resource - and have more than one doctor consultation before making a final treatment decision. We wish you all the best and stand ready to explain, inform, advise and support you as you venture down this road that constitutes having a benign but problematic tumor in your head known as an Acoustic Neuroma