Alicia's Story

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January 29, 2013

My journey started when I went to a community health fair to get my ears checked. After my ears were tested, I was told that my right ear had passed the test, but my left ear did not. Due to this, I was encouraged to see my family doctor.

Shortly after, I scheduled an appointment with my family doctor who referred me to see an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist. At the ENT specialist’s office, I had another hearing test and found out that I was going deaf in my left ear and that I might even have a tumor. Afterwards, the ENT specialist sent me to have an MRI. Sure enough, I had an Acoustic Neuroma.

To confirm my diagnosis, I went to see another specialist. The specialist told me that the tumor was attached around the balance and hearing nerves. Due to this, both the tumor and the nerves had to be removed. This would leave me to be totally deaf in my left ear.

On July 28, I had surgery which lasted for 6 hours. Originally, the tumor was measured at 1.4 cm, but grew to 1.7 cm when it was removed. It also covered two main blood vessels and was leaning against the brain stem. Fat was removed from my stomach to help cover an opening where cerebrospinal fluid was leaking from. Now, I have a scar on my stomach.

Today, my left eye does not close all the way or blink. I also have a walker to help with balance. In six months, the doctor said I can have a special kind of hearing aide. It will be installed on the left side of my skull and will send a signal to my right side. Then, when someone is talking in my left ear, I will hear the message in my right ear.

When I was first diagnosed, I was scared and upset because I was not able to go to college. However, I have not let this episode in my life keep me down. At the present time, I stay busy with my singles groups. I am also planning on going back to school.