Symptoms Improve During FSR
S.B. Lewis' story

I am 59. I was diagnosed in January 1998 via MRI in NYC... Written description of the problem stated I have a left side 6.0mm intra-canalicular vestibular Schwannoma. [I just had] fractionated stereotactic radiation administered at Staten Island University Hospital in NYC under Gil Lederman MD, Director, Oncology Radiation. By going to Staten Island, I have joined a protocol of over 120 patients with acoustic neuroma who have been treated there.  I will tell you what I have experienced, so far.

The initial change was dizziness in the first stage. Then that stopped.  I had lost 25% of my hearing by 26 December when the hearing test was given, and my hearing deteriorated during the month of January. Other symptoms: tinnitus, a plugged feeling, some localized discomfort in the area. The plugged feeling which came in January was not there in December.  Symptoms have been starkly evident for a couple of months, and my recollections of past sensory information would suggest that this tumor may have been with me for 10 years.

My C.T. scan was Monday last week. The January MRI was combined with the C.T. scan information to make the model of the AN on Monday afternoon. First treatment Tuesday, 2nd Wednesday, 3rd Thursday, 4th of 4 Friday.  Each of my 4 treatments was segmented into 3 movements of the machine.  These movements were separated, also, by repositioning of the long table upon which I was lying, my head held firmly by the mask system. Of course, the mask system was fixed in position in relation to the machine.

One of two methods are used at Staten Island University to fix the head. First they try a bite plate in combination with an occipital hold. If your head fits within that arrangement, they will use it. It should fit; of 1500 patients fitted, 2 have presented problems, I was told...  Well, I did not fit. So, a German system was used. A hot plastic helmet was created from a kit dedicated to the purpose. It worked perfectly. Brought it home. My trophy from the experience.

The magic of these arrangements and the radiation-dedicated robotics is clear: the radiation must be applied exactly where and how it is needed. Nowhere else, and no more than needed should be used. I believe Staten Island University uses less than most others.

During the first treatment I could sense something going on. There was a feeling of movement as if something was disturbing the plugged feeling in my left canal. Afterward I felt as if the plugged feeling had lessened slightly. I was not certain, fearing that this might be something that I wanted to feel, if you understand what I mean.

During the 2nd and 3rd treatments the same sensation of movement in the interior was experienced. Again, the plugged feeling lessened, and this time there was no doubt.  For a moment during the 3rd treatment I lapsed into a light sleep. This was not intentional, but I relax easily, and I made no effort to remain awake.

After the 3rd treatment my hearing began to improve. Thursday night I experienced a few sharp pains behind the ear. Friday morning I experienced a few minutes of dizziness. Have not experienced dizziness previously. Neither has repeated.

On Friday, during the last treatment, I slept through the 2nd segment. The first and third segments gave me the same experience of movement within as previously experienced.

Friday night I took stock. My hearing had improved. Would guess that the hearing improvement was on the order of 10% to 20% of what was lost by treatment time. In other words, 5% of total hearing returned by Friday night, left side.  Today, Saturday, the situation is still changing. The hearing is again modestly better. The discomfort has vanished, and the plugged feeling is totally gone. Tinnitus remains an issue, and it increases and decreases without any logic or reason.

S.B. Lewis
February 1998

Last Edited: Wednesday, October 30, 2002