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#69 Is It Growing? -

It doesn’t matter where we are on this AN journey – pre or post-surgery, radiation, or watch and wait – this question can raise its ugly head. For me, it usually happens with a symptom that might or might not have anything to do with the neuroma.

No matter when the question happens, it’s scary.

Let’s say you are “watching and waiting” for a very small tumor. But we have all heard stories about someone who waited years with a 5 mm tumor and suddenly, within months, it grew enough to require treatment.

We have also heard about someone who had radiation and subsequent MRIs showed shrinking and what looked like the death of the tumor. Then without warning, it started to grow again and even required surgery.

Then, of course, there are those who had surgery and were told, “A few cells were left behind to preserve the nerve.” And you guessed it, they had regrowth and needed either more surgery or radiation.

These case histories and more fill our minds when we question whether our own tumor is growing. Acoustic neuromas are strange tumors indeed and do crazy things.

It’s easy to blame a symptom on something else. In my case (at age 80), I often think that’s old age, or the weather, or stress or . . . you name it. But if the worry persists because the symptom doesn’t go away or even gets worse, then it’s time to reach out to the doctor and ask about the timing of the next MRI.

The MRI answers the growth question – usually. Keep in mind two doctors can look at the same MRI and read it a bit differently by a few millimeters. Maybe the tumor in one dimension was 8 mm’s and now they tell you it’s 9 mm. You think, “Yikes, it’s growing.” Well, maybe and maybe not. It could be a second doctor reads it just a bit differently. You might have to wait and get a repeat MRI.

A good place to share your fears is at a support group meeting. You can be sure others have shared the same fears. https://www.anausa.org/programs/support-groups/upcoming-events This link connects with support group meetings. Most are online and you don’t have to be a member to attend. Preregistration is usually required because of space limitations.

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Readers: How often do you wonder if the acoustic neuroma is growing? At what point do you call the doctor?

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Dear Lord, Help me to know when I need to call the doctor. Help me to put this tumor in your hands. You will be with me either way, if I need treatment and if I don’t. Amen.

Be strong and courageous . . .  Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord is the one who goes before you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor forsake you.                                                                                                   Deuteronomy 31:7-8


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