I haven’t ever had a reason to write a testimonial in 66 1/2 years – but I’ve never had to go through any serious surgical procedure before now, let alone brain surgery.   

I would whole-heartedly not hesitate and gladly recommend Drs. Lekovic and Miller to other family members and friends who require surgery. 

I came to Dr. Mia Miller three years ago concerning ringing or tinnitus in my right ear.  An MRI revealed that I had an acoustic vestibular tumor.  At the time, she recommended a watch-and-see approach as to the tumor’s future growth, since results of prior third-party hearing tests showed less than 50% remaining hearing and surgery was therefore not recommended. However, after a year’s monitoring of the tumor’s growth, hearing tests at the House Institute late last year revealed that my hearing was actually more than 50% in the affected ear and so she explained that I was therefore a candidate for surgical tumor removal. 

Dr. Miller was straight-forward in her explanations as to what I should expect if I decided not to have surgery and wait and monitor the tumor’s growth over time.  She also reviewed with me what possible favorable results or possible negative side effects (hearing loss, continued or worsening tinnitus, balance or dizziness issues, headaches, etc.) I should expect if I were to decide to go ahead with tumor removal surgery.  These discussions with her along with her past experience and expertise with other patients helped me in my decision-making process to proceed with the surgery.  

During our first introductory meeting a few months before I had decided to proceed with the surgery, my neurosurgeon, Dr. Gregory Lekovic, came across to me as competent and very experienced.  During our pre-op meeting a week prior to the surgical procedure, he reviewed the aspects of what was to happen right before surgery, during surgery and after the surgery.  I appreciated his straightforwardness and matter-of-fact explanations.  It was during this session that we talked about our shared enjoyment of comedian Jim Gaffigan, who has performed a humorous routine about his wife Jeannie’s serious and life-threatening brain surgery.  We laughed about parts of the routine that we could remember, including how long the surgery would most likely take.  It was nice to know we could both find humor in such a serious situation.  He answered the few questions I had and I left the session satisfied that I’d be in good hands during the surgery.   

The St. Vincent Medical Center surgical team I met just before the surgery were very warm, friendly and reassuring.  The surgery was completed and went very well as far as I’m concerned (being sedated of course during the entire procedure).  Both Dr. Miller and Dr. Lekovic visited me on both the Thursday and Friday after my Wednesday surgery and were as personable as always to me and my visiting family members.  They took time to review my progress and answer our questions and address any of our concerns.  Members of their team also visited me on the Saturday and Sunday before my release and they were also helpful and understanding.

When I developed and became very concerned about some facial paralysis that developed a week after the surgery, Dr. Miller accommodated my request to see her earlier than planned.  My wife and I appreciated this accommodation very much.  She was calming during this appointment session and stated that she believed it was a good sign that the paralysis had developed a week after the surgery and not right after surgery, and that because I had upward movement in my forehead there was an excellent chance for improved facial movement recovery. 

 Dr. Lekovic was also very reassuring at our first scheduled post-op appointment concerning the facial paralysis which had developed and explained that the paralysis should be temporary.  While not fully recovered as of this writing, there has indeed been improvement in the weeks following our post-op meeting.  

I would whole-heartedly not hesitate and gladly recommend Drs. Lekovic and Miller to other family members and friends who require surgery.  I am very satisfied with their services and will continue to see them for my follow-ups and continual rehab. 

Gary Spence

March 2019

― Gary Spence, Acoustic Neuroma