I was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma on April 3rd, 2018. I’ve never been a sick kid, teenager, or young woman. In fact, I’ve always been incredibly healthy and athletic. It came as a shock when my doctor told me that they had incidentally found a 3.7 centimeter brain tumor on my hearing nerve. Without any symptoms of any sort, I was in disbelief. My doctor told me he wanted to me go down to Los Angeles the next day to visit the doctors at the House Ear Clinic. He even said, “I’d send my kids there.”

Within the hour of leaving my general physician’s office, I received a phone call from the administration of House Ear Clinic and had an appointment the following day. At my appointment, I met with Dr. Kevin Peng. He assured me that although my tumor was on the large side, they would be able to help me. After reviewing my MRI, Dr. Kevin Peng and Dr. Gregory Lekovic (neurosurgeon) decided to take the translabyrinthine approach to removing my tumor. I was heartbroken at the thought and possibility that I’d never be able to smile the same, or show natural facial expressions. As a first grade teacher, I rely heavily on my face throughout the day when I read books, talk to children, and interact with colleagues.

Going into my surgery, I was preparing for my life to drastically change afterwards. Dr. Peng and Dr. Lekovic worked for twelve and a half hours to remove my tumor, alongside many brilliant surgeons, specialists, and nurses.  Miraculously, they saved my face!  All of my friends and family have said they couldn’t tell I’d just had brain surgery.

I spent four days afterwards recovering at St. Vincent’s Medical Center and was able to walk independently on the fourth day.  Dr. Michael Stefan (internist) was so kind and checked on me each day while I was in the hospital, and the nurses were all so kind and caring. Each surgeon and specialist also checked on me post op to ensure I was doing fine.

I am a few days past the two month marker of my surgery, and my life is completely back to normal.

I am a few days past the two month marker of my surgery, and my life is completely back to normal. I walk every day, drive, get together with friends, go to concerts, and go swimming. Although I have lost all hearing in my right ear, it is a small price to pay. I would recommend anyone with an acoustic neuroma to go straight to the House Ear Clinic. They saved my life, and I am forever grateful!


Ellery Ross

― Ellery Ross, Acoustic Neuroma