I Some Good News and Bad News…
It was July 2009 and I was vacationing with my wife and kids at a cottage north of Barrie. It was pretty warm that evening so we decided to go into Midland for dinner instead of cooking. We were all walking to the car when I remember I needed to go back into the cottage to get something, The cottage had a front deck as a walkway to the front door and for some reason I decided to jump on to it from its side instead of walking up it. A big mistake that later on turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
I hit the top of my head pretty hard underneath the hand rail and almost knocked myself out. I had never really hit my head that hard before (maybe in hockey, but I wore a helmet) and I was feeling pretty dazed and nauseous for several hours after. What I didn’t realize was that I was already experiencing symptoms of an Acoustic Neuroma but I didn’t know it yet. It did go away after a day or so. However, being cautious, I decided to book an appointment with my doctor to rule out the possibility of a concussion. She did all the normal neurological tests that a doctor goes through and was all clear. So to be safe (another blessing) she sends me for an MRI to rule out a concussion…..
A few weeks go by and get my MRI. I had never had one before and I am a little claustrophobic so let’s just say it was interesting. I have had over a dozen now and I have become an old pro!
Now I am sitting in my Neurologist’s office about a week later and she hands me the news this way “I have good news and bad news”. The good news is you do not have a concussion. The bad news is that you have a brain tumor.” At this point I am on the verge of crying. You see, my life flashed before my eyes in that moment. You have no idea what this news means so you tend to think of the worst. I thought of my young family and my wife and what would happen if all of sudden I was gone. I wasn’t ready. I still have so much to do! At that point the neurologist started to explain the tumor more to me. An acoustic neuroma is also called a vestibular schwannoma. It is an overgrowth of schwann cells that act as a sheath to the nerve that it covers. That nerve is the 8th cranial nerve (We have 12 cranial nerves in total).
It is a non-cancerous tumor with no known cause. We started discuss treatment options. She had explained to me that it was moderate in size (1.8cm) and that the best thing to do is monitor it with regular MRI’s. I had never had to deal with a health issue like this before so I took her word for it. In hindsight I should have asked more questions. But then, my journey would have been different.
I went for an MRI in 2010 and everything looked OK. For some reason they did not schedule me for one in 2011 so I was shocked in 2012 when my MRI showed that the tumor had more than doubled in size (4.2 cm). Now I was in panic mode. So I get a consult with a neurosurgeon.
This how my story of two surgeries begin. In my Acoustic Neuroma eBook I discuss symptoms like tinnitus and hearing and balance issues. From my first surgery to my second and beyond, you may find ways to commiserate or gain inspiration from my treatment experience. If you just found out if you have an acoustic neuroma, you have had one or know some who has, this story is for you.
My recent experiences can be found on my blog.
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