Cheated by the system?
Looking back on my life, I realize that my AN must have been developing long before my 3/9 diagnosis, even though it only measured 7mm when discovered. I was constantly using the phone in my job and noticed quite a few years ago some decrease is my ability to hear on the left side. I also had experienced several earaches and had gone to my regular doctor. He referred me to someone who tested my hearing and said I showed a slight loss, especially to higher frequencies -- but not to worry.
Another year went by, and I again noticed some hearing loss and another round of earaches. I again went to my general doctor who referred me to an ENT. He too tested away and said "don't worry, we all show some hearing loss sooner or later", and sent me on my way.
I then began to notice some tinnitus developing and again went to my regular doctor. Since I belong to an HMO, this is the system that I have to use. She sent me to another ENT because I refused to go to the first one again and he took me seriously. He tested away and agreed that I had a fairly significant hearing loss and along with the tinnitus warranted a MRI. Well, lo and behold I was diagnosed with a 7mm AN!
Since I didn't know anything about ANs before I was diagnosed with one and I was actively seeking help for many years, I feel a little cheated by the system. I am currently one of those wait and watchers; I basically feel fine right now with some tinnitus, some diminished hearing but otherwise no other manifestations. But I am about ready to go back to my ENT and request still another hearing test and another MRI to see what, if any, changes have occurred since the original diagnosis. Then I will seek out the best remedy for me. Now, with a little more information under my belt, I am ready to meet this AN head-on.
My best advise is to really pay attention to your own body and listen very carefully to what it is trying to tell you. Then act proactively on your hunches or whatever you want to call things. After all, who is going to look out for you better than you yourself.
Barbara Weizer <Justputtn AT aol.com>
Last Edited: Wednesday, October 30, 2002