Diagnosis: Brain Tumor - My Acoustic Neuroma Story

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See All Goodreads Deals…. No trivia or quizzes yet. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. I walked the halls and stairs relentlessly, practiced a few one-legged yoga poses, and even tried slow kick-boxing moves down the hall. Kartush to leave the next morning after a visit from his assistant. Seventy-two hours after surgery began, I was happy and home. Kartush's staff for preparing me well for post-surgery trials and tribulations. Pain was not an issue. Healing pains were sharp, but brief. Dizziness and hearing changes soon became THE issues.

Fortunately, I was surrounded by a wonderful cast of family and friends that aided me as well during recovery as they did before surgery. I spent six weeks off of work, adjusting to the single-sided deafness and the loss of balance. I returned to work at four weeks, but then had vacation for the Christmas holiday. The recovery progressed smoothly and I was gloriously free of the constant headaches and exhaustion that plagued me before surgery.

Within a few weeks, any pain I suffered was mostly self-inflicted from acts of stupidity. Be careful of catching the prongs from your wedding ring in your sutures when you scratch your head. Don't try to walk through the house especially the stairs - in the dark. Definitely don't engage in an hour-long Pilates class three weeks post surgery. It's three months later and life is pretty much normal.

The hearing changes from the resulting single-sided deafness continue to be by far the most frustrating challenge. Sound any sound is often annoying to me and it's hard for others to understand my ongoing preference for quiet. The ringing in my affected ear became grossly louder, despite my belief that it just couldn't get worse.

Lack of balance remains an issue, but, since I don't mind the sensation of dizziness, it's largely comic relief. This past weekend, I tried out an elliptical trainer at the mall. I think I completed 10 steps once I got my feet working together. After that, down was up, up was down, and the world was one big Tilt-A-Whirl. I wonder what others thought when they saw me laughing, staggering down the hall like I was walking home from the bar after last call?

Kartush told my husband that I was a real sparkplug. To that, I can only say that a sparkplug alone is useless without a good mechanic to ensure that it is wired and functioning correctly. In the grand scope of life, Dr. Kartush's interaction with my life, although critical, was brief. Even so, I get the feeling that he is a man who would prefer to live not as a legend, but rather as just a man fulfilling his life's intentions.

Nonetheless, to the hundreds of acoustic neuroma patients that he has treated, and to the hundreds he has yet to treat, legend it is. I'm realizing that perhaps boring tumor tales are less prevalent on the Internet because those people have no reason to dwell on the challenges. Perhaps they're all out there, moving forward in their lives, with no reason to look back.

I hope, above all, that my reflections give you comfort. They may even lead you to a very capable surgeon. Whatever your circumstances, may God bless you and give you strength throughout your journey. My known experience with an Acoustic Neuroma began on July 2, On my fourth visit with my E. For the next two weeks, before I would meet anyone at the Michigan Ear Institute, I did as much internet research as possible. I read story after story of AN patients with several complications as result of having this type of tumor and it's treatment.

I was in disbelief that this was occurring in my body. Two weeks later I went for an appointment at the M. The appointment lasted nearly four hours! Kartush and his staff took their time explaining their history of treatments for AN's, especially larger tumors, and patiently answered every question we had.

One thing that stood out in my mind is that the sensor instrument many doctors around the world use during a AN removal, was invented by Dr. I left the M. Because of the size the AN was, Dr. Kartush insisted on a two stage approach for not only the removal of the tumor but to save the facial nerves as much as possible, too. I was told I would lose all of the hearing in my right ear and I did. He told me the balance nerves would also be lost on the same side and that I might experience vertigo and unsteadiness.

I did not experience any spinning and only a bit of slight unsteadiness. The surgery took place on Aug. The 10 hour long surgery was all but lost time to me. I woke up and could recognize and say the names of my family members who were there. When I was able to do that, I knew I was going to be fine. One of the worst parts of the experience though, was the nausea I had in the ICU. After that, the only effects were sore neck, sore stomach, and the hospital staff poking and picking every two hours.

While in the hospital a physical therapist came by to make sure I could walk. Walking started out with a wide stance and a day later I was walking faster, backwards and up several flights of stairs! I went home after 4 nights in the hospital. I was happy to be home where each day I grew accustomed to the new me. Two weeks following the surgery I participated in a charity golf outing.

With stitches still my in head, I won my first longest drive competition! The guys I golfed with asked me where they could have the same procedure done if that is what a AN removal does to someone's golf game. In addition to golfing and running in a 10k race, I resumed my full responsibilities as a middle school instrumental music teacher 5 weeks after surgery.

Prior to my surgery I was as nervous as one can be. With just two days until my stage two surgery, I am confident everything will work out and I'll be back to everything just as I was prior to becoming an AN patient. Pieper, the staff at M. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or issues. The staff at the Michigan Ear Institute is the most knowledgeable and experienced for your care.

Actually I was just finishing my last class when I learned.

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You’re the One in 100,000: An Acoustic Neuroma Story

I did not suffer from dizziness. I had a ringing in my ear, but I thought that was normal, because it was ringing ever since I can remember, so I did not mention that to my doctor. The only time I really realized that my ears were ringing was at night when the house was quiet. I had hearing loss, bit it was so gradual, that I did not even notice. My sleeping through my alarm clock is what started it for me. I told my allergy doctor, who sent me to an ear nose and throat doctor who sent me for an MRI. Kartush of Michigan Ear Institute.

MEI has been great from the get go. Rossi called me with the bad news. If I recall it was after hours and I had an appointment with Dr. Kartush the next day. I was put through further testing by Dr. Kartush and MEI after our first meeting in the office. I think my optic nerve was checked, my hearing nerve was checked and my hearing was checked all within a few hours of meeting Dr.

He gave me bad news on top of bad news which was I would most likely have two to three surgeries due to the size of the tumor which he considered large. Like I mentioned earlier, I was just graduating from LTU and should be starting my career as an electrical engineer, but that was put on hold for well over a year. I do not recall being overly nervous about surgery and did not read up on it except the pamphlet that MEI gave me, I think because I felt like I was in good hands with Dr. This is the only explanation that I can come up with why I did not type, "Acoustic Neuroma" into the search engine and look up all those horror stories.

I am not belittling those people that have had such a horrible time with AN, but there are happy stories out there. I am also very happy that MEI is doing the opposite and getting happy stories onto the internet. It is like MEI to be leading the pack and focus on the positive. My first surgery was on January 17, eleven days before my birthday and the reason I mention that I had to get my picture taken for my drivers license and I know a lot of people do not like drivers license pictures, but mine was horrible.

You could see all the anxiety in my eyes and I did not even know that was there. I was SO happy when I was able to get rid of that driver license, four years later. Anyways, back to the story, and after a long surgery, I think I rolled out sometime after I think the surgery began at 9: Kartush told me his fears were correct after I awoke and I will need a second, possibly a third surgery.

However he was ecstatic after his first evaluation of me. I had no facial paralysis, no problems with anything he could see. I wish I had a nickel every time I was asked to smile, wink, lift my shoulders, etcetera, because I would be a rich man.

Acoustic neuroma, Matt's story | Mayfield Brain & Spine

The hospital stay only lasted 4 days, without many problems. I think the biggest problem was my roommate. He did not seem that sick and kept me up all night calling the nurses and was not quiet about it. I think he was suing someone and he was on the phone all night as well. I had exactly what I was told to expect. I awoke to vertigo and balance problems and could only walk if someone was next to me. For the next three months I had my eyes closed a lot and just listened to the TV. During these six months there were good days and bad days, but MEI was only a call away.

I called MEI often and they had me come in just to put my and my mothers minds at ease. I always felt that I was wasting MEI's time but they were always so nice and never made me feel that way, actually the opposite. My second surgery was June 19, , about 6 months later. This surgery was just like the first, but much longer, but the news I got from Dr. Kartush was that a third surgery would not be required. I was very happy to find out I would not need any more surgeries. I think the surgery started at 7: Kartush pulled a little longer surgery to finish up, instead of a third surgery.

Kartush had to leave a little piece of tumor or they would have had to sever the facial nerve. The little piece died and fell off which was shown by my first follow up MRI. This hospital stay I think was 8 days. My skull incision was leaking spinal fluid, one of the possible complications. I did not have to have another surgery but I had to have a lumbar drain, which was a needle in my back for 2 to 3 days.

The tube was so small that it would not drain properly unless I was on my side, which was the biggest problem. Again I awoke to dizziness and vertigo. I however believe that an extra couple of days in the hospital with some discomfort was a small price to pay for not having to go through a third surgery.

Ted's Story: Highlights

One thing that I would like to mention is that the MEI team was so nice to my family during my surgery. My family has told me that they got hourly updates, even when there were no "big" updates to be given. They were also so kind to me after my surgeries with any questions that I might have had. Most of the time they would tell me to come in even though I felt it was not necessary to do so. I just wanted a little reassurance that everything was going as planned. I always felt like I was wasting the doctors time, but they never gave me that feeling.

It has been 6 years and after some recouping that is required by a major surgery everything is going great. I am very active in charitable works. I just finished my term as Grand Commander president of organization of International Order of Alhambra, men's fraternal charitable group that aid in the care, education and well being of the developmentally disabled by retardation, which we call "God's Special People".

I am also very active with Drill Team of the same organization. After my year delay my engineering career is in full swing with Alcoa Fujikura Ltd, as a Development Engineer. I need to begin this letter by explaining myself. Every visit since my first surgery, I have promised I would write this. My problem is, that it is so hard to put into words the emotions that I have. It all began the last weeks of May , which was also the last weeks of school for my children who always come first with me.

I must tell you that My family and I had lived in Ohio for 10 years and I didn't have a family Doctor. I was just never sick. My family had been noticing a slight hearing loss when we were in noisy places. Of course I thought it was an ear infection. I had also been experiencing numbness on the left side of my face and the left half of my tongue. I was very scared, but sure it would go away.

It took a frightening phone call from my husband explaining that his coworker's wife was just diagnosed with a brain tumor and she had some of my same symptoms that I had. Needless to say, after a night of no sleep, I started trying to get in to see a Doctor. I found no one who would see me.

I tried explaining that it may be something serious. They suggested I go to the emergency room or our med. Canfield at Physicians Plus in Findlay. She ordered an MRI which revealed a "brain tumor. One of the worst parts of the whole ordeal for me was the waiting. I finally got in to see Dr. Sean Logan who had also seen my husband's coworkers wife. I was told I had a 3 cm Acoustic Neuroma. The same tumor that she had. Logan gave me the names of 2 doctors that I could choose from and truthfully, it made me feel better that someone was going through it before I was. I have noticed that those of us with success stories, are so happy to be back to "normal," that we don't take the time to write.

Kartush I knew that I had chosen the right Doctor. When I was in his exam room, I was the only patient who mattered. He made me feel that he was the best and I knew he would do my surgery. He explained everything to us in detail. We were told that it would be a 2 stage surgery. Keep in mind, I was still terrified.

After all, it IS brain surgery. I had only been in the hospital to have my children. On my pre-surgery visit, I took my daughters to meet Dr. He spent time with them. I asked for some medication for my nervousness, but after talking to Dr. Kartush, he reassured me that he was the best and I didn't need any medication.

I was calm and just wanted it over. The morning of my first surgery, Thursday, August 9, I was ready to get it over with. During my 9 hour surgery, my family was kept well informed. It helped them a lot while waiting. Kartush's nurse was very caring and informative with them. After surgery, I spent the night in Intensive Care and was put into a regular room the next day.

Now, you must know that I am a little maybe a lot on the stubborn side and I think that helped me a lot. I was told that I needed to walk and do my exercises. SO-- I actually wore holes in my socks walking the halls. I finally got to go home on Monday, August Remember the stubborn thing? Well, I was out of the house within 2 weeks. I still had a slight balance problem, but I kept up with the exercises.

I did lose all the hearing in my left ear and my left eye is dry, but I feel they are small things to lose when it could have been my life!!! My second surgery was Thursday, December 6 of the same year. It was harder going in to the hospital a second time, but the recovery was much easier. I was asking to go home on Saturday. I wasn't allowed to, because we live 2 hours away. Once again, I was sent home on Monday. Within 2 weeks I was back volunteering at my child's school. Kartush saved my life and he's the best!

I have talked to a few of his patients who have called to ask about my experience. I was in contact with an earlier patient myself Thanks, Connie and she told me some things to be aware of also. I am employed as the Safety Director for Michigan's oldest and largest sugar company - Pioneer Sugar. Part of my job involves the annual hearing tests for employees. So I was surprised when the hearing in my left ear began to drop off significantly about five years ago.

See a Problem?

I always wore the appropriate hearing protection in the factories, while shooting and operating a small sawmill and woodworking equipment. The hearing loss continued to worsen until even a hearing aid afforded me no help. My family doctor referred me to a hearing specialist in Saginaw - Dr Mark Scharf. Doctor Scharf conducted all the standard hearing tests and finally ordered an MRI to rule out an acoustic neuroma.

The results came back positive for a centimeter tumor that projected through the auditory canal and was beginning to deform the brainstem.


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Dr Scharf told me he personally knew the most accomplished surgeon that could perform this complicated and sensitive procedure. Dr Scharf looked me in the eye and said that if he or one of his family had the same condition, his only choice would be a doctor that specializes in the condition in Southfield - Dr. Scharf made an appointment for me that was about two months away and I began to become what is probably the classic acoustic neuroma patient.

I perused the Internet and read the accounts of numerous surgeries that had gone awry. It did not take long to become rather concerned that this surgery could leave me with some very serious conditions. Thankfully I had a great family of prayer warriors and fellow church members that would prove to be a humbling and uplifting gift from god.

I received dozens of cards and letters concerning the possible surgery, and later, the recovery. The appointment date finally arrived. After a very thorough examination and history, I was finally going to meet this person who was becoming "larger than life" with each succeeding conversation I had at the MEI facility. Doctor Kartush began the conversation by showing me my MRI. He explained the different views and exactly where the tumor was on the film.

He went on to explain the actual surgery and how he would avoid the things that could go wrong. One thing stuck out in my memory of the exam. This man had for some reason decided to become not just a great surgeon, inventor, and musician, but an expert among experts. A person who broke each task, each segment of the surgery down into it's lowest common denominator a true perfectionist.

He not only perfected the surgical technique, but he know how the patient felt preop and I would come to find out how each aspect of the surgery would affect the patient postop. I would call him a "master surgeon", someone who must have had an infinite amount of patience and caring for his patients to have given so much of himself to achieve such a level of success. My surgery was scheduled for Friday, March 7, The Providence Hospital is the most organized and friendly place you can experience.

I check in at 6: I made my peace with God and the IV began to flow. I woke up in the ICU about 6: Several doctors including Dr. Kartush stopped by and told me everything went well. I had no pain at all. There were balance problems, but these were expected and they go away with time and exercise. I was feeling well enough to go home Monday and was discharged accordingly. As my wife and I were driving away from the hospital on the 10th, an old pastor friend called on the cell phone.

She asked me how I was doing and told me she had kept me in prayer and just knew I would be OK. I started to cry, guess it was a great build up of the uncertain thoughts associated with the surgery that I could now release. How lucky could one person be? Finding the best surgeon and staff one could ever expect, having the greatest group of friends praying for your surgery and then your recovery, and knowing the greatest God who puts out his hand and makes all this come together My wife drove me that first week, but my balance and my confidence were good enough for me to start driving on April 7th, exactly one month after surgery.

On April 22nd I had recovered enough to be practicing rescue techniques with our company rescue team - 50 feet in the air. Thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. In April after consulting with Dr. On May 8, my second visit to Dr. Ortize and the reading of the MRI showed nothing with the left ear but an acoustic neuroma of the right ear. I had no symptoms of any sort. Jack Kartush at MEI as "the doctor he would go to personally if he or his family were to have this tumor acoustic neuroma ".

May 22, my first visit to Dr. A nurse and dear friend of mine accompanied me for my office appointment. We both had many questions which Dr. Kartush and his staff were more than willing to answer. I was given information to read and was encouraged to have all the questions I had answered. I left the office with a positive feeling about my prognosis and we were impressed by the MEI staff and their professionalism. My friend told me upon leaving this visit "God sent you to the right doctor to take care of this problem" and I agreed.

Kartush and his assistant.


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I have no facial nerve problem, no hearing loss and minor balance problems which was taken care of through therapy as the tumor was so small and confined to the tunnel area, thank God. I am a diabetic and Dr. Kartush had an internist look after my diabetes since I am from out of state. The day after surgery I was up and walking the hall with aid and I was off balance. I had little pressure at the surgery site and was dizzy.

I was hospitalized for 4 days and every day, with the therapy, I was getting better. When I was discharged I was still a little dizzy and needed a little help walking balance but every day I did my balance and eye exercises and saw much improvement. After 2 months from the surgery I was back to work as a part time cashier and doing great. December 3, at my 4 month check up I had no hearing loss in the right ear and healed well at the surgery site and was back to doing all things as normal.

I am grateful to God for the knowledge and skill he has given to Dr. Kartush and his staff. I am here, November to see Dr. Kartush for my 1 year check up with my latest MRI and all is well. My name is Richard Maike. I am a 53 year old who enjoys boating, cross-country skiing and working in my yard. In November of after years of nagging, by my wife of 33 years, I swallowed my vanity and went to Dr. Komrays' thoroughness, the diagnosis was an acoustic neuroma, about 1 inch in size. Other than a hearing loss in my left ear I had no other symptoms of my tumor.

Komray referred me to Dr. A referral for which I am extremely thankful. Pieper, their staff and the staff of Providence Hospital treated me like I was their only patient and spent whatever time I felt was necessary to discuss my options, surgery and recovery concerns. The fear of the unknown between that day in November and January 17, , the day of my surgery, was mentally devastating. This was to be my first stay in a hospital. I became extremely depressed and very anti-social. That all went away the moment I woke up from surgery.

I had my surgery on Thursday January 17, which lasted about 7 hours so they tell me.

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Kartush telling me I hit a home run. The tumor was completely removed, cancer free, and I had no facial palsy, I did lose the hearing in my left ear as a result of the surgery. Friday morning they removed all the tubes and gadgets and then I ate all my breakfast cream of wheat is not my favorite meal. After breakfast I was able to get out of bed on my own and go to the bathroom unassisted a move the ICU nurse did not appreciate. Pieper visited me and was amazed by my quick recovery and progress. I told him that I believed recovery from surgery was mostly mental and he somewhat agreed.

I had no nausea, dizziness and no significant pain. After lunch, I was moved to the surgical ward. Saturday I walked every hall and stairway I could find on the floor. Although I could not walk in a perfectly straight line I never hit the wall once. After a week at home, I was ready to climb the walls from boredom.

I was tired of cooking, washing clothes and dishes. I needed to be set free. This was not to be. I developed a little infection, which caused some minor facial palsy, however this all went away in about a week, with the help of a couple of prescriptions. My wife hid my care keys for three weeks after Dr. Kartush suggested that I not drive immediately and would not let me go anywhere alone. I felt like a little kid. After a couple more weeks, she did allow me to go to work for a few hours a day, if I could find a ride.

I flew on a plane and went out in the ocean on a boat, with no side effects of any kind, except my sea legs aren't what they used to be yet. Today, I had my six week check up and received what I consider a clean bill of health; with the only restriction remaining from Dr.

Kartush, is no bungee jumping.