Had I known then what I know now...
Michael's story

I had my AN removed on April 30th 1992. Don't ask me what size it was because I never bothered to ask the surgeon. I only went to the one surgeon after my ENT diagnosed the tumor. I just accepted the fact that it had to come out. I did not do any research as you smart ones are now doing, I was too trusting at the time!

Well, after an eleven-hour surgery, I woke up feeling just miserable. Then they tested me for vital signs every hour the first night I was in IC, so they kept waking me up. I spent eight days total in that hospital, and I could not wait to get out. I totally lost my hearing in the affected ear, had and still have some slight dizziness, get occasional headaches, and really nasty neck pains. I have to take 40mg of flexoril each night before I go to bed, to take care of the neck pain. It's crazy!

I went to the AN symposium in '93 when it was in Chicago, one year after my surgery. Jeez, 90% of the attendees looked just awful! Faces all paralyzed, eyes that would not blink or close, folks with canes & in wheel chairs due to balance problems. I am able to wear contact lenses and have little facial paralysis, so I am very lucky with my surgical outcome. But I still had some post-op affects I could do with out...

I can't believe people defend the surgical route as the only way to go. In fact, I think the non-surgical options should be checked out first. Had I known then what I know now, I would have taken one of those routes! I believe AN removal will be done exclusively by laser, radiation, Gamma knife in about 5 to 10 more years. Most people hate change. I love inventiveness & improvements! It's an exciting time to live!

A comparison to this would be when the compact disc was first introduced on the market in the early 80's. The record purists said it would never catch on because people had too much invested in vinyl and that CD's could not replicate the high end frequencies as well as vinyl could. I must have had ESP then, because when I first heard the CD at the consumer electronics show, I knew it would take over...

Michael Kuechenberg
MKueche@uillinois.edu
January 1998

Last Edited: Wednesday, October 30, 2002