Friday, May 15, 2015

Acoustic Neuroma Awareness Week

May 10-May 16th is now Acoustic Neuroma Awareness Week.  You may wonder why I even know this.  

Here's how.  I am in LA helping my younger daughter recover from her surgery to remove an Acoustic Neuroma, which is a benign, slow-growing tumor of the hearing and balance nerves, from behind her left ear. It was discovered purely by chance when she had an MRI to make certain that nothing dangerous was causing her migraines. The MRI showed nothing that would cause the migraines, but it did discover the tumor. Even though she had absolutely no symptoms of the neuroma (vertigo, deafness, vision problems), she decided, after meeting with a neurologist, a neurosurgeon and an ENT, to have the tumor taken out before it grew and caused problems.

So on May 12th she had it removed and today, the 15th of May, she has returned home. Pretty damn amazing, I think! For now she needs a walker to move around, just in case she has balance problems, and she is now partially deaf in her left ear. She will have hearing tests next week and they will help to determine if the hearing loss is permanent or if there is a chance full hearing could come back. Her vision problems caused by the surgery are clearing up already and she can now read.  

The surgeons explained to us that the brain has to work hard to establish new connections to make up for any nerves that were damaged or cut during surgery, so she will be tired after reading, talking, or even sitting upright for awhile. It takes energy for the brain to work, the same sort of energy it takes to walk around, run, play games, exercise; I would never have thought of that.

She is very fortunate that she lives near the Keck Medical Center at USC where there are two surgeons, Dr. Rick Friedman and Dr. Steven Giannotta, who specialize in this surgery. One has done about 700 of them; the other has done about 1,000. They worked together on our daughter, and she is doing really well just three days after six hours of surgery. It was BRAIN SURGERY, y'all!!!

Now she is home and doing well, and her tumor, which she had named Ned, is dead and gone.  Whew.

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