Friday, November 9, 2012

Dr. Shelton

Today I had my long awaited appointment with Dr. Shelton. In a way, it was a big relief to have him confirm that it is a benign tumor and that it is an acoustic neuroma. I was somewhat disappointed that I don't have a lot more information than what I already knew. He seemed genuinely surprised that I knew so much about acoustic neuromas. Really? Do a lot of people get diagnosed with a brain tumor and not research it??? Here is what I did find out. He recommends the Translabyrinthine approach. This involves an incision behind your ear. The mastoid and inner ear structures are removed to expose the tumor. The tumor is then removed. The mastoid defect is closed with fat taken from the abdomen. This approach sacrifices the hearing and balance mechanism in the inner ear. I know what some of you are thinking? At least you are getting a tummy tuck with this. NOPE, I wish. The fat graft from your stomach is nothing like a tummy tuck. I have heard it actually leaves your stomach looking somewhat deformed. Not that my children didn't already do that. This approach gives the surgeon the clearest view of the facial nerve. There is a 50/50 chance that I will have some type of temporary facial nerve damage. As long as the facial nerve is not severed, most people will recover over time and no signs of facial nerve damage will remain. This is my biggest concern. I am hoping and praying that my facial nerve will not be damaged during the surgery especially since saving my hearing is not an option. I actually have all of my hearing back at this point. I am enjoying it while it lasts! There are small risks of meningitis, cerebrial spinal fluid leak, or needing a blood transfusion. The doctor actually recommended I donate a unit of my own blood before the surgery in case they need to do a transfusion. Dr. Shelton is so busy that his surgeries are booked through January. I do not have a definitive date for my surgery (I will on Monday when his office assistant calls). I want to say thank you for all the love and support that my family and I have received at this time. From prayers to meals to texts or calls, I have been overwhelmed. Thank you for all the love and support. We are so grateful to have such wonderful family and friends.