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Friday, January 6, 2017 life changed for Brent and his family when he learned that a tumor had been growing inside his skull for many years.
Known as a vestibular schwannoma, the tumor was found on the left side of Brent’s skull. In layman’s terms, tumors like this can grow for decades before symptoms begin and a diagnosis is made. The good news is that this type of tumor has a 99% chance of being benign. We believe this is the case for Brent.
Brent’s symptoms were noticed when he realized he was having difficulty hearing out of his left ear. Chalking it up to noise that he had been exposed to at work over the years, Brent did not visit his doctor. This was followed by numbness and tingling on the left side of his face, numbness of his tongue and difficulty with his balance.
Although there are a few different ways to treat this type of tumor, Brent’s options are limited only to surgery due to the size of the tumor. Physicians at UW Madison confirmed the tumor is 4 centimeters in size and pressing against his brain stem.
Brent is currently waiting for a date that his tumor can be removed. This will be done using a procedure known as a translabyrinthine craniotomy. His surgeons will be Dr. Mustafa Baskaya and Dr. Joseph Roche, two very impressive surgeons at UW Madison. Brent’s doctors expect the surgery to take between 12 and 14 hours. Following surgery he will spend approximately 2 days in the intensive care unit and additional days in a neurosurgery unit recovering and regaining his balance.
Brent will continue his recovery in Two Rivers where he will require physical therapy to regain his balance. His hearing will be lost permanently in his left ear. His surgeons tentatively believe he will be able to return to work in approximately 8 weeks.
The prognosis for Brent is good and he remains positive. As an avid runner, Brent will be focused on his recovery to get back to running as he is planning to run in the Whistle stop half marathon this Fall in Ashland, Wisconsin.
More appointments are in store in preparation for the surgery, including additional MRI to do more extensive brain mapping, a visit to his cardiologist, and a pre-op physical.