Oct 16, 2016 Latest post:
Nov 15, 2016
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. Jill and I 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 March of this year, I got a hearing test. It had become hard to ignore that I was having difficulty hearing in my right ear. At work and at home, I was saying, 'Huh?' and 'What?' increasingly often. The hearing test confirmed that I was experiencing some loss in my right ear. My ENT doc told me it was unusual for someone my age to have unilateral hearing loss in the absence of trauma. Even though I had suffered a pretty substantial concussion in 2015, he felt that was not a likely cause of my hearing loss and he ordered a MRI,
I had the MRI on Easter, and it showed a 1 cm tumor on my 8th cranial nerve between my brain and inner ear. The Radiologist and my ENT called it an Acoustic Neuroma or Vestibular Schwannoma, a relatively uncommon, benign skull base tumor. This was the cause of my hearing loss, and likely a contributing factor in the balance difficulties I had been experiencing since my concussion.
Thus began our summer of talking to everyone in Portland who treated these tumors. At every appointment, I was given 3 choices: wait and get MRIs every year to see how much it grows (I discovered I'm claustrophobic), radiation to shrink it (I think I met every person who had a bad outcome with this treatment), or surgery to remove it (I'm an Operating Room Nurse, and really don't want to be on the other side of the knife). All 3 choices had pros and cons, and everyone we spoke with told us that any of the 3 choices were appropriate for my tumor.
Ultimately, I chose to have surgery. Being a Operating Room Nurse meant I was going to interview Surgeons until I found the right one, and that I was going to interview more than a couple. I met and talked on the phone with many Surgeons in Portland and up and down the West Coast who were doing these types of surgeries. Once I talked to Dr. Rick Friedman at the USC Keck Medical Center in LA, I knew I'd found my guy.
Dr. Friedman and his Program Manager Kris, have been great. They are helpful, patient, informative, reassuring and available. Being an Operating Room Nurse meant I was likely not going to be an easy patient.
So, with just over a week to go before my surgery (middle fossa craniotomy for resection of vestibular schwannoma, right side), I'm ready to get the show on the road and get this over with.
Jill and I, Jill's mother Linda, my friend Joe from high school, and my neighbors and friends spent the last weeks of summer building a beautiful covered patio overlooking my garden and the home for my flock of ducks. Christened 'the Recovery Room', it's where I plan to recoup once we return from SoCal.
My mother Lynette and my aunt Gail will be with Jill while I'm in surgery on Tuesday October 18th, and Jill's dad Doug will be at our home in Portland, caring for all of our critters. This would all be much more difficult without the support and encouragement of our family, friends and the best co-workers Jill and I could possibly have.
Thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement.