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I Got Some Great News I Just Have to Share


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About 6 years ago, I was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma... this is actually a benign tumor that grows VERY SLOWLY on the 8th cranial nerve. At the time of diagnosis I was told that I had probably had it for about 15 years. I had a choice between have it removed (a full blown craniotomy) or having a Gamma Knife Procedure (mega radiation to the tumor and it's parimeter only). Since I couldn't bring myself to have my head opened up, I chose the gamma knife. I have been going every 18 to 24 months for follow up MRIs which had showed it stabilized and stop growing. Today I had a follow up and the tumor is actually becoming smaller..... other than a mild hearing loss in the right ear and some ringing.... there are no residuals and it doesn't appear I will lose anything further!!! This is a good day!!!

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Thanks Pat and Tony!!! Dr. Lundsford brought the procedure to UPMC sometime back in the 80's. I am not sure where it was initially developed but he opened the first gamma knife center in the United states back then. I know they use it on the acoustic neuromas.. and I think they use it on some malignant tumors as well. The procedure involves a "halo" (the same as you see when someone has a broken neck) being put in place which actually acts as a guiding mechanism. You go into an MRI with the halo on and it "marks" the exact location of the tumor. With that information, the gamma knife (radiation equipment) is programmed to deliver somewhere over 200 rays to the targeted area, thus minimizing any damage to the tissue around it. Mine sits pretty close to my brainstem so "minimal damage" was a necessity!!!! Anyway, other than a little loss of hearing and ringing in my right ear.. I have had absolutely no other deficits. I guess I am pretty lucky!

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