"That's From Stress..."


From: "Karen C." elaine1kc@aol.com
Sent: March 31, 2005

So, it's January '04 and I'm trying to watch a playoff game, but my left lower eyelid won't stop twitching. Two months later I mention this to my optometrist who says very matter-of-factly, "That's from stress."........ Um, okay, but I really don't have any stress. I work at home so I don't commute, I'm single and have no children.

At my yearly skin cancer check, I tell this to my dermatologist who refers me to Ophthalmology. The ophthalmologist says "I've never seen anything like that" and that it may be an acoustic neuroma, and schedules a head MRI.--------And ta-dah! There it was! About 8 mm in length, finger-like, near the left brachium pontis at the entry zone of cranial nerves VII and VIII, and "most probably the cause of the patient's left facial hemiparalysis." Ophthalmologist refers me back to primary M.D. who makes an 'urgent' referral to Neurosurgery. Many months later, the neurosurgeron gives me a choice of "do nothing" or surgery. I opt for surgery and so, it and another MRI are scheduled for January 7, 2005, exactly one year from when I noticed the twitch.

While waiting in Preop, the neurosurgeon says the most recent MRI shows that the tumor is smaller and did I really want to go through with this. E-gad! Are you kidding? Yes! Let's do it. Problems arise in surgery as the tumor is "stuck" between a large auditory vessel and the brain stem. He can't get it all and is afraid I may lose my hearing, or worse, and so closes after 6 hours.

I wake up and all seems well. The twitch is gone and I can still hear. But now the 3-prong head brace used during surgery has caused severe right eye swelling and right eyebrow paralysis - that only resolves 2 months later.

Three weeks after surgery, at appointment to remove the 19 sutures, I ask permission to resume the ibuprofen I had been taking prior to surgery for hemangioma in my back, "Certainly!" says the doctor - and so I do. Hours later entire left side of face is paralyzed and I'm scared.

So, trip to the emergency room, a CT of the head, an eye patch, a prescription for steroids, again, and return to doctor's office later in week. CT showed another bleed, either the tumor itself or a vessel, but another MRI shows bleeding has stopped, so I'm to stay on the steroids and return in three weeks. Also during this entire time, my incision is not healing and is mildly infected. Two of the inner layer "dissolvable" sutures popped out. Seems I'm allergic to the nonallergenic Dexon sutures (lucky me!).

I return after three weeks and currently all paralysis is gone! No twitching - no real symptoms at all! I have a sinus fluid-like sensation that 'pops' in my left ear whenever I bend over, and I sometimes get a spacey feeling that only last a few seconds, but the well-hidden scar has finally healed. I went back to work 4 weeks after surgery and all is back to normal.

I am a 44-year-old half-Mexican female who has been a medical transcriptionist for 25 years and so, I have an extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology, but still had limited knowledge of CA and found nearly all information about it in my medical library and on the Internet. Thank you Angioma Alliance for the web site and the multitude of information. I spread this information whenever asked (and sometimes even when not), and wear my "stretching man" pin proudly. I truly feel like a survivor.

Karen C.
Sacramento, CA