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in the Patient Directory

My Brother, the General Surgeon, Insisted Against AN Surgery
Nancy's story

When I was diagnosed with an AN, my otolaryngologist sent me to a neurosurgeon. I was handed a booklet authored by the ANA containing everything I would need to know about acoustic neuromas. I visited the website and found it to be rather sterile (great for surgery, but not for patient support). There was no support group in my area. I decided to schedule surgery as soon as possible.

When my brother, the general surgeon, learned of my upcoming surgery, he insisted that radiation is the better method of treatment. I was leery but had a consultation with a radiation oncologist and learned that it is an acceptable alternative to microsurgery even for those under 60. I decided to wait and watch at the recommendation of the otologist and the radiation oncologist.

Soon thereafter, I was laid off and found time to adequately research my condition. My internet search did bring me to the AN Patient Archive site, and I found it endlessly fascinating.  There were not enough hours in the day to immerse myself adequately in this newfound source of infomation. Reading the actual stories of those who had gone before was a huge relief.

I started connecting with real patients after reading their stories. I saw drawings and photographs and read letters to doctors and insurance companies. I finally felt as though my care was under my control, not the control of the neurosurgery department at the local hospital. I am extremely grateful.

I am still wait and watch now.  Three MRIs over last 9 months show no growth, and the hearing is statistically unchanged.

Nancy McDonald-McComas <McComas AT rcn.com>
Brookline, MA

July 2002

Last Edited: Saturday, November 23, 2002