Friday, March 28, 2008

I've got a WHAT?

I decided that it was time to start recording this big adventure in my life, so here goes...

After ignoring some hearing loss in my right ear for about a year (hey, I was busy!), I finally went to my ENT for a check up in late Feb 2008. Fast forward - MRI and Acoustic Neuroma diagnosis! Eeek!

What the heck is THAT?

First and foremost, it is benign (not cancerouse for those who aren't up on such things!) It is, however, growing on my 8th cranial nerve and pressing into the edge my my brain. Spent the first few days reading everything I could get my eyes on - scared myself a few times along the way. Learned a lot about cranial nerves and ANs.

Made several appointments with neurosurgeons who specialize in these things. Sent MRI to House Ear Clinic in LA, a leader in surgical treatment of AN.

We named the tumor "Ethel" because we just couldn 't keep calling it the acoustic neuroma or the tumor...

Within the first couple of weeks, I had a phone consult w/House (Yes, with the actual Dr. House!) and face-to-face consults with surgeons in both NY and NJ.

Settled on the Golfinos/Roland team at NYU. They do about one of these a week and we (Willie and I) felt really comfortable with them.

My best option, according to all three specialists is a micro-surgical procedure called "translab". Basically (and not for the faint of heart) they will cut a hole in my skull, behind my right ear, remove a piece of my skull and then remove Ethel, hopefully without messing up my facial nerve.

I will be deaf in my right ear after the surgery, but many folks live happily ever after as SSD (Single Side Deaf) and I plan to be one of them. (Brave words, I know...)

I'm currently having a hell of a time scheduling the date for surgery. Initially, we were told that the date of 4/16 was available; then it was 4/23; then it was up in the air. My stress level is high and I am prepared to go direclty to the surgeons themselves if necessary if the surgical coordinators don't get moving on this.

I want Ethel gone!!!

I will post more as details develop or emotions dictate...