I had my follow up appointment yesterday and I’m pleased to say… No change! I’ll remain on ‘watch and wait’ (ominous sounding title if you ask me, but perhaps better than the parental ‘wait and see’) until my next appointment in ONE YEAR’S TIME! Whoop 🙂
The appointment armed me with a few more facts. For one, I got to see my brain. So it’s definitely there. Which was good to see after the hearing test I had just had. The woman had to say at least three times, “No dear, you only press the button when you hear an actual noise,” which was a little embarrassing.
Anyway, brains are pretty cool it turns out, especially the eyeballs.
We scrolled through the different portions of brain until we got to the hearing system, where the consultant showed me the cochlear (very cool spiral, well done brain) and the hearing nerve on my right side. All tickety-boo.
Then we compared it to the left side, where Pinky and I laid eyes on each other for the first time. He (/she?) is a 3mm blob near the cochlear, with a slight thickening of the hearing nerve to which it is attached. At the moment, it’s not doing a great deal apart from giving me a little tinnitus and reducing the quality of my hearing – happily my hearing is still just in the ‘normal range’, but likely to decrease as time goes on.
The most positive part of all this is that acoustic neuromas grow very, very slowly, hence the annual MRIs and check ups; however, if and when it does grow, it could block the blood supply to the cochlear, on which case the little spiral would not receive any oxygen and I would lose hearing on that side altogether. Now, I say this next bit for anyone reading this who has ALSO been diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma (bad luck ol’ fellow): if this happens to you, get on the phone to your consultant über-quickly and ask for a course of Prednisolone. This is a strong steroid that, I believe, acts as an anti-inflammatory and is perhaps the one chance at regaining your hearing. It is imperative that you start the course within 48 hours of losing the hearing.
The only reason that I had heard of this was through a post on the BANA UKwebsite, so thought I’d ask the consultant. It was perhaps a little surprising that they don’t just tell you this important fact, but perhaps they assume that you will be contacting them in a panic anyway if you were to suddenly wake up half deaf.
So, in summary, I’m pretty happy about the small size of the neuroma and the fact that there will be no cutting open of my skull in the near future. My consultant, Professor Saeed, is really lovely and helpful and certainly knows his stuff. All in all, a successful day.