Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
In June, Heather was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor called Acoustic Neuroma. Also known as Vestibular Schwannoma. She had been experiencing hearing loss for months, but thought nothing of it. Eventually, she was losing sensation in her face as well. After a few months of ignoring those symptoms, she visited her local dentist who made it clear that these symptoms could be something serious. He said to go into the doctor and don't leave without an MRI. A couple weeks later she did. Less than 2 hours after the MRI, the doctor called with the news.
After some great recommendations, she decided to go through U of M Health to discover the next steps. After meeting with the "skull" team down at the U, we felt confident that we had made the best choice to go with them. They recommended surgery to remove the tumor due to age and size. The tumor was about 2 cm. Typically this type of tumor grows 1 mm a year, so growth would continue if the tumor wasn't taken care of.
Since the tumor was starting to exhibit symptoms, growth was almost certain, and as she is relatively young, the doctors thought the best decision was to get as much of the tumor out as possible. Surgery was planned for April 2020 so she could make it through most of the school year. Since then symptoms have increased (pain, dizziness, balance issues, tinnitus, and fatigue) and are affecting daily life. A new MRI was done and with all the information, the doctors felt like moving up surgery was the best move. Surgery is now set for Monday, November 18.
The doctors will be doing the translabyrinthine method to get the tumor out. It's the most invasive but gives them the best chance to get all of the tumor. Her balance nerve and hearing nerve will be completely destroyed during surgery. She will have what's called a "dead ear" (0% hearing) in the left ear. The goal is that balance will slowly be restored as well as facial sensation.
The family deeply appreciates all the prayers, good thoughts, and positive vibes that have been shared. Many people have offered to help and we will be posting on this site some things that we may need as we continue through this journey. We will keep this as updated as possible. We thank you for your support!!