Well, I had my appointment with Dr. McKenna yesterday. As was predicted - my wait was lengthy. However, as I was his last patient of the day, he was not rushed through my appointment. I spent about 45 minutes first with his fellow, Dr. McCann - very nice - who went over all the treatment options - pros and cons - very thoroughly. I'm a speech/language pathologist so I am pretty versed in the anatomy and physiology of the hearing mechanism and cranial nerves, which helped me in my understanding of what he was saying. But I had to turn my professional ears off and put my patient ears on as I was listening to how this all pertained to ME. Dr. McKenna came in and basically reviewed what McCann had said with more details as to how this would impact me. And the options are:
1. Watchful waiting - his first choice given my scenario - and living with the symptoms and anxiety. Issues of tumor growing and becoming more complicated to remove (not likely that it will grow that much)
2. Surgery - 50% chance of losing all hearing in that ear and not having the tinnitus go away, possible side effects from surgery. His choice after watchful waiting shows growth.
3. Proton Beam radiation therapy - Stops growth of tumor - but may grow more again in 15 years - at the age of 65 I may be more at risk during surgery. Not his favorite.
My tumor, though small (about the size and shape of a Good 'N Plenty Candy
) is located right next to the cochlea, vestibule and semicircular canals - those important organs for hearing and balance. This makes preserving hearing with surgery all the more tricky. Because of the size of the tumor and my age (50) , he suggested watch and wait and, if it grows - surgery. This means living with the symptoms for at least 4 more months and then, who knows? He suggested increasing the anti depressant I'm taking (zoloft) to help with the exhaustion as well as increasing exercise
to increase my stamina and reduce fatigue.
Sooooooo After all of that, I'm home today, exhausted, trying to sort all this out and find a peaceful place to sit and think with no distractions. I would welcome any thoughts, experiences, well wishes, funny jokes... to help me make this decision.
Thanks so much to everyone.