I've been having problems with my ears. Over Christmas, I developed my second wicked chest cold of the year and during said chest cold, I started getting dizzy. Thinking I was just worn out, I let it slide. And then thinking it was just part of the cold, I let it slide some more. And then, when the cold was gone, I let it slide a bit more just for fun. Popping Gravol everyday was getting a bit pricey by this point so I decided to go to the doctor. It was likely my ears she said and gave me some anti-dizziness medication. It got better. But my ears got worse. Mostly my left ear. Both ears would hurt from time to time but my left ear would get sharp pains every so often, sometimes accompanied by a high pitched squeal. I also always felt like my ears were full and I couldn't hear properly.
I went back to the doctor, mostly because my dizziness medication had worn out and I was dizzy again but I also mentioned my worsening ears. She recommended me to an ear specialist, gave me some antibiotics, and sent me on my way.
Which brings me to today. Now, I've been to my fair share of specialists and I'm going to unfairly generalize based on the ones I've seen, that all specialists are jerks. Or, at least, borderline jerks. This one was borderline. He made valiant attempts to be nice but after poking me in the eye with a rolled up cotton ball and not telling me he was going to perform this little test, I decided that his efforts were wasted.
First I did a hearing test and then the cotton ball in the eye test, among others, were rapidly performed. He couldn't find anything he said. But I'm sure something's wrong I said. Yes, he said. I'm going to schedule you in for an MRI. Ok, I thought, perhaps an MRI would allow him to see further into my ear. I didn't ask for more details and he didn't give me any. When I left, the receptionist gave me a couple of sheets, which would tell me about the MRI and why I'm getting it. I shoved them in my purse and headed out, my mind set on getting a coffee before I went into work.
Once at my desk I thought I'd give the papers a quick glance just to see exactly what he would be looking for. The first words I saw were "Identifying the tumor". What? Tumor? What?
And apparently that's what he'll be looking for. All my symptoms, and even other seemingly unrelated symptoms that I've had for years, point to an Acoustic Neruoma, which is a benign brain tumor that attaches itself to a cranial nerve which travels from the brain to the inner ear.
I'm a little nervous to say the least. Of course it could turn out to be nothing, but there is definitely something wrong. Something the specialist couldn't find. What I'd really like to know is, at what point was it decided people should get news like this from a handout?
I've been reading up on it and it doesn't sound that bad if it turns out that this is my problem. It's slow growing, non-cancerous, and there are a few options to get rid of it. Surgery is one, radiation is the other. Choosing the surgery option puts a person at risk for facial nerve damage, which is not that attractive sounding. There definitely will be more hearing loss. I think I can handle that though.
I think I can handle it. So far I am.