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Latest technology and best post-op care make surgery 'a piece of cake'.
Mary Shamleffer's story

I was diagnosed in March'99 at age sixty-eight. AN was 6 x 8mm. I presented with hearing loss, tininitus and feeling of  fullness in left ear. July. '99 second MRI showed growth, 8 x 10mm. No new symptoms. Hearing loss was greater. In January, '00 MRI showed growth, 1.2 x 1cm.

March'00 had surgery at UMMC (University of Maryland Medical Center). I chose surgery because I wanted to remove the AN, rather than kill it. My surgery to remove the AN was done with the "Stealth Station" (new tool acquired at UMMC in January'00) in conjunction with the microscope which gave the physicans a three dimensional view of the tumor. Here is what my medical record says:

"transtemp approach - post fossa inc. mastoidect, resect/exc les post cran fossa, intradural w/rep."

I had no pain.  It was more uncomfortable and more painful when I had my sinuses scraped than this. Only my head was very tender when I laid on the left side.

Post-op first few days loss of equilbrium; walker issued 4th day at UMMC which was used for approximately 10 days. Therapist said I was doing so well, forget walker, but use cane when away from home just to be on the safe side. (Two weeks after surgery I was food shopping with my husband.)

Had headaches for about six weeks which was treated with extra strength Tylenol; last week switched to Aleve. I was active on return home. Showered each day and stayed out of bed except for nap; received visitors in living room. Did some light cooking (dinner only) after first week home. First three weeks, tired quickly. Stopped afternoon naps after three weeks. No complications other than what I presented with - loss of hearing and tininitus. Had three visits from visiting nurse and two with physical therapist.

In June'00 presented with swelling behind left ear . Was diagnosed as pseudo CFL. Had no other symptoms. Operation to correct and put titanium plate and two titanium screws above left ear was done in July. No complications. Was really a piece of cake. For over three days had a lumbar drain that nurses removed l0 cc. of spinal fluid every hour. Most I could complain about was lack of sleep. Resumed my normal life after four days at UMMC.

Wish I could lists the angels of mercy who tended to me. Each nurse was GREAT. My physicans at UMMC were the greatest. They were:

Dr. Howard Eisenberg, Chairman, neurosugery;
Dr. Bert O'Malley, Chairman, otolarnology and base head surgery;
Dr. Heinrich Streacker, otolarnologist/neurologist.

At present, only have hearing loss and tininitus. Am bowling, dancing and as active as before. In relation to the hearing loss, I was fitted with CROS hearing aids. They are analog and behind the ear. The aid (microphone and transmitter) in my left ear picks up sound from that side and transfers it to the right ear hearing aid. These are especially used by unilateral hearing people. They do help. In total they cost $1,000.

I have submitted a claim to Medicare for the cost of the CROS hearing aid. My audiologist said she doubted if they would pay, but will support me. I feel the loss of hearing was due to illness and farther injured with the removal of the tumor. I sent the claim on October 14th. I know Medicare does not pay for hearing aids for natural hearing loss. Wouldn't it be nice if I could let all those who qualify, know that they are covered?

Mary Shamleffer <WShamleffe AT>
November 2000

Last Edited: Wednesday, October 30, 2002