Thursday, October 4, 2012

Perspective

In the middle of August, I suffered sudden hearing loss. I went to the instacare and they told me I had fluid in my inner ear and that if I took sudafed it would clear right up. I took sudafed, (it helped a little) and then they hearing loss came right back. I went to see and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat specialist), they did lots of hearing tests and told me that I had nerve damage (most likely from a virus)and that my hearing was most likely gone. The ENT scheduled an MRI. He said that it is highly uncommon, but sometimes there is a growth on the brain that causes hearing loss...but it's uncommon. We were on our way to Disneyland when the ENT called and asked if I could come in for a follow-up appointment with my doctor. I told her that we were on vacation and I asked if they could tell me over the phone. She told me that I needed to come in and sounded concerned. I tried to forget about it while we were in Disneyland, but our phone conversation lingered in my mind. When we got home from Disneyland, I decided to look at the MRI images I had been given. It was very evident in these images that I had a tumor on my brain. I started freaking out. I started researching brain cancer statistics. They are not good. Especially if the tumor is malignant. My cousins wife works at Huntsman so I called her. She calmed me down quite a bit and suggested that I ask for a copy of the radiology report (if I couldn't get into see a doctor right away). I had an appointment scheduled for Wednesday, so I drove to the hospital to get a copy of the report. I was a mess the entire way. What would it say? What if it was malignant? We have three small children. I should let you know that I am the queen of wishing life away (I know I shouldn't), but sometimes I wish the twins were in preschool and that I could pee by myself every once in a while. Nothing will make you more grateful for the life you currently have than realizing that it might be taken away from you. When I got the copy of the radiology report I quickly read through what I could and what I couldn't understand. This is what I know so far. I have a large accoustic neuroma. Acoustic neuroma: A benign tumor that may develop on the hearing and balance nerves near the inner ear. The tumor results from an overproduction of Schwann cells -- small sheet-like cells that normally wrap around nerve fibers like onion skin and help support the nerves. When growth is abnormally excessive, Schwann cells bunch together, pressing against the hearing and balance nerves, often causing gradual hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and dizziness. If the tumor becomes large, it can interfere with the facial nerve, causing partial paralysis, and eventually press against nearby brain structures, becoming life-threatening. I have been referred to Dr. Shelton. He specializes in this type of tumor. He is apparently the only person in the state who performs these and is therefore, really busy. I most likely won't get into see him for 3 to 4 weeks and then I am hoping to have the tumor removed before the end of the year. I will have to shave a portion of my head :( I will have to have surgery on/near my brain :( I could suffer facial nerve damage and one side of my face might droop :( These are not fun to think about, but I am so unbelievably grateful that these types of tumors are benign. I am so grateful to have a doctor in Utah who specializes in these. A few people have made comments about Zacc and I having to go through a lot with his thyroid cancer and then this. I appreciate the concern of these people and their wanting good things for us, but I want to be very clear that Zacc and I do not feel that life is unfair. We have been so incredibly blessed by a loving Heavenly Father who is constantly taking care of us. There are so many others who have been through far more difficult trials. Thank you for all of the love and support we have received. We have amazing friends and family :)

19 comments:

Malerie said...

Holy smokes, that is all so scary! One thing i learned so fast when my brother died is, you never know how strong you are until you dont have a choice.
Not saying that it is easy, but being on the outside is so much harder, I think. Our Heavenly Father gives us personal insight and understanding that others don't receive. That sounds like a long road, with a lot of unknown. I think your positive attitude is awesome. You are so right, you have so many wonderful blessings, and you can get through this! Stay positive, have your bad days, just make sure to have more good days. :) you guys are strong, and as you stay faithful, you'll gain more of an understanding.
I know we're not close, but our kids are close in age and if you need somewhere for them to go, they are always welcome! xoxo

Jenna said...

Michelle,

Hy and I had no idea you were going through this. We will definitely, definitely be praying lots for you, Zacc, and the kids. Please update again after you see the doctor if you can! Do they have any idea what causes this type of tumor? I've never heard of it. We love you guys!!

chris dobson said...

Wow. I'm not sure what to say. I love the way you ended your post. Know that prayers are being said for you. We love you guys.

Heidi said...

Michelle, I am sorry to hear all you have been going through! I am amazed by your attitude! Yes, a lot of people go through really hard things, but that doesn't mean yours is any less hard. I would love to help in any way possible! Thank you for your example.

chris dobson said...

Oh, and this is Tara, btw. :)

Jonny said...

Michelle and Zacc you are in our prayers. I am sorry you have to have these difficult trials. I know my little girls would LOVE to play with your kiddos, like they did at the alumni soccer game. :) Please let us take a turn watching them if you need the help! It would be fun!

Take care! -Rachel And Jonny Anderson she_rachett@hotmail.com 447-3621

Collin said...

Wow, Michelle - that's a tough pill to swallow. A very well written post that shows how much stature, faith, and gratitude you guys have. Thanks for your example! My prayers are with you.

Jon & Jen said...

Praying for you and your sweet family :)

Linda said...

Michelle, I so appreciate your amazing perspective on this! Isn't it so true that as moms of young kids sometime we wish for a different season...hoping for a break! But truly we are so blessed to be moms to the little critters driving us insane. You are so strong and I have do doubt that you will come through this even stronger! And I think you should rock the Pink-style mohawk after they shave your head! Much love to your family, Linda

Jay said...

Wow, life comes at you hard. I love your attitude and your faith. We will be praying for you, your family and the doctors you will be working with you. Love, Jay and Kerri

Crystal said...

Oh my goodness Michelle! I would love to do anything I possibly can to help, babysit when you have doctors appointments, bring dinner, ANYTHING! You are an amazing person, with an obviously incredibly strong testimony! I will always look up to you! You will be in our prayers!!!

Lisa said...

Michelle,
I was and still am shocked to hear this news!!!
I have several good friends that have gone through this same thing. YIKES!!! They are allllll doing really really well. My friend Wendy had the nerve damage and her face drooped but it has repaired its shelf and no sign of the droop any more.
I know too well how scary it is. It seems like you are living some one elses' nightmare. Friends and family make all the difference. It is amazing how loving and concerned people are. One silver lining is the outpouring of love from those who think so highly of you. Including ME!!! lots of love and prayers.
Lisa

Paul*Cat*Hallie*Ty said...

Oh Michelle...I cannot fathom all of the crainess that is going through your mind right now. Just wanted to tell you how amazing I think you are and always have been. I will be here for whatever you may need. Love you all so very much. You are in our prayers!!!

molly bay said...

Hi Michelle,

You don't know me. My name is Molly Ensign, and I went to high school with your sister Lisa. I just happened to see a link from Lisa's Facebook post and the words "acoustic neuroma" and I came to your blog. My sister-in-law was diagnosed with the same thing a year ago. It was successfully removed, and she is doing so well with no residual effects besides the hearing loss to the ear where the tumor was removed. I know I don't know you, but I would love to give you her contact info. It maybe helpful to talk to someone who's gone through it. I hope I'm not being too presumptuous. Her name is Michelle Ensign, and she's on Facebook (I'll let her know you might contact her) and i will message Lisa with her email and phone number. That news would be so scary, and I feel for you and your family. You will be in my prayers!

The Mrs. said...

Michelle and Zacc,

I love you both! You are amazing to each other, you are caring parents, you are doing your best in all that you do. I have always been impressed with you both and by the happiness you radiate. I am sorry for this scary experience you are going through, but I know your family is going to come out happy and well when all is said and done. While I don't doubt what you are experiencing is terrifying, I am grateful you aren't dealing with something even more serious. Keep us posted.

Love you!
Sanz

Healthy Habits said...

Michelle, you are so amazing. You are one of the sweetest, strongest girls I know. There's always been something about you that has amazed me. Hold strong girl. You have the most amazing attitude. I think you've made a lot of people look at life differently now. Thank you! You will be in all of our prayers here at the Ross house. We all love you.

Jen Hanson

Kristin said...

Michelle,

I almost feel dumb saying anything. Sometimes I think words of concern in moments like these can come off as insincere. I want you to know though that Our family is thinking of you right now and we will be praying for you and Zacc and your kids. You are an amazing example.

Shelley said...

Michelle, I know we don't know each other too well, but I just wanted you to know if you need anything I would love to be of help. I Adore! your little Macey and am glad I get to be her Primary teacher. I have my two girls in school full day now, so I have time to help in anyway you might need - even just to sit and play with sweet little Miss Macey if you need :) Hope the surgery goes smoothly as possible. <3 Love, Shelley Moore and Family

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