My hearing had
progressively been getting worse over the past two years. I thought it
was just part of the aging process although I was only 58. On a routine
visit to my primary doctor I mentioned the hearing loss and she referred me to
On October 16th I saw
the ENT who said I had significant hearing loss in my right ear and it was not
due to aging but due to nerve damage and that the cause needed to be
determined. An MRI was ordered for October 22nd and I returned and few
days later on the 26th for the results. I was diagnosed with having an
Acoustic Neuroma and was referred to the House Ear Clinic.
On November 5th,
I traveled four hours to the clinic and saw Dr. John House who clearly
discussed my options. Surgery was recommended and I was introduced to Dr.
Kevin Peng (neurotologist) who would, along with the House Clinic neurosurgeon,
attempt at fully removing the tumor. Dr. Peng explained the surgery and
his role during the surgery.
On November 8th I
again returned to the clinic to meet the neurosurgeon, Dr. Gregory
Lekovic. Although I have been a registered nurse for 37 years, Dr.
Lekovic took time to explain everything in terms that my family and
I would understand. He had pictures and props to explain what was going to
be done during surgery. Not once did he rush the conversation and he allowed
time for questions and our satisfactory understanding. Two days prior to
surgery I again had a pre-op meeting with Dr. Lekovic. He again reviewed the
surgery patiently, taking his time, allowing for any further questions and
My surgery was October
2, 2018. The tumor was completely removed and I had no facial paralysis
and no further hearing loss and only minor balance issues (which are
expected after the procedure) as the balance nerves were severed. I
was discharged three days later.
Other than some
miscommunication with my House Clinic surgery counselor, which was
satisfactorily resolved, the whole process went by smoothly and to my
satisfaction. I would highly recommend House Ear Clinic.
I have been asked to write a summary of my experience that
started with the discovery of a benign tumor in my ear canal and ended with
it’s successful removal by the House Ear Clinic physicians, Dr. William
Slattery and Dr. Gregory Lekovic.
In August 2017, an MRI, taken after I experienced a rapid
hearing loss in my right ear, revealed a large Acoustic Neuroma (also referred
to as a Vestibular Schwannoma) in my right ear canal. My wife and I had no
knowledge of this type of benign tumor, so this finding led us to considerable
research about these tumors, their repercussions and the treatments available
to remove them.
How did we find the House Ear Clinic?
We live in a Maryland suburb of Washington DC, and my local ENT
physician, after confirmation of the tumor by the MRI study, referred me to a
neurotologist from Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, MD (about a one hour
drive from our home). Two weeks after my first consult, we had an appointment
with the Hopkins’ neurosurgeon who works with the neurotologist in surgeries to
remove these tumors.
At the same time, we began researching the literature and
contacting everyone we could think of that might be able to give us information
or advice about treatment for this type of tumor. Several friends referred us
to people they knew who had been through this surgery, and they were very open
about their experience and gave us good, tangible information. In addition,
because my pre-retirement profession was in medical group management and as I
had been professionally involved in several national organizations, I had
access to a large resource of valuable contacts with knowledge of medical care
Most people we contacted felt Johns Hopkins was a good choice
based of its experience and reputation, but the House Ear Clinic was often
mentioned both by the people we contacted and in articles and other research we
found on Acoustic Neuroma surgery.
How did we decide to have my operation at the House Clinic?
Johns Hopkins had a number of strikes against them from the
start: The fact that they were our first surgical consult probably put
them at a disadvantage. Their job was to present the facts and they did this
with a frankness that was stark. At issue was the size of my tumor (28X29mm)
which precluded the treatment options of radiosurgery or just waiting to see
the rate of growth (which is usually very slow for these tumors). The surgery
and recovery were going to be daunting, and the outcomes, though positive
in the sense of removing the tumor and surviving, did carry significant and
potentially long lasting side effects. We had read articles about these post-op
complications, but the Hopkins surgeons brought them into sharp focus.
Another issue for us was the distance from our home to Hopkins in Baltimore. My
wife would have a congested one hour drive each way into downtown Baltimore to
reach the hospital. This would be doable but stressful. The alternative was for
her to stay overnights near the hospital in Baltimore. And finally, we
found the Johns Hopkins campus and facility itself rather impersonal and
Shortly after our visit to Hopkins, an Acoustic Neuroma patient
(referred to us by a friend) advised us to call a local physical therapist
specializing in facial muscle issues. This therapist works with a large number
of Acoustic Neuroma patients (since facial muscle palsy (temporary or
permanent), can be one of the side effects of this surgery). When we told her
the Hopkins surgeons said that, because of the tumor size, they would use the
Retrosigmoid approach she expressed some concerns. Patients she treated
who had had this surgical approach (Retrosigmoid) versus others tended to have
more problems with headaches, both immediately post surgery and later on. She
advised us to get the House Clinic’s opinion as she had also seen patients from the House Clinic and felt
they had good results. She recommended that if House indicated
to us that they would also use the “Retrosigmoid” approach then we should not
travel so far from home for the surgery as Hopkins does quality work. But if
House indicated that they would use another approach then we should travel to
Los Angeles and go with the House Clinic physicians.
In addition, an audiologist in California who was recommended to
me through professional contacts, also spoke highly of the House Clinic. He
indicated that in addition to treating
numerous of their post surgical patients he also referred his
patients with Acoustic Neuromas there for surgery, He was impressed with
the results of the House Clinic surgery team and gave me the name of a
physician at the House Clinic, Dr. Slattery, to contact about my situation.
Also, another important factor in our consideration was that I
have a daughter who lives in Los Angeles, 10 minutes driving time from both
House and St. Vincent Hospital. This made it much less intimidating to make the
cross country trip.
We set up phone consultations with the House neurotologist (Dr.
Slattery) as well as the neurosurgeon (Dr. Lekovic) who would also be on the
surgical team. We sent a copy of my MRI and recent medical records for the
physicians to review before our conversations. In both these calls the
House physicians were empathetic and positive in their comments, while not
avoiding discussion of potential complications from the surgery. They explained
the risks of the surgery in the context of citing national statistics and the
results of their own surgeries, and stressed that an important mission for them
was to avoid or minimize post-surgical issues. They also indicated that House
routinely uses the ‘Translabyrinthine’ approach for large tumors, unlike
Hopkins where the ‘Retrosigmoid” approach is typically used. They said the
‘Translab’ approach would not require retraction of the brain to access the
large tumor, as the ‘Retro’ approach would and that the approach also reduces
the risk of complications, including damage to the facial nerve and post-op
head aches. A negative of this ‘Translab’ approach is that hearing in the
affected ear is always lost, while for smaller tumors where ‘Retro’ approach
may be recommended any remaining hearing may be saved. Due to the size of
my tumor, my affected ear hearing had already been lost, so we did not
anticipate saving that ear’s hearing with either approach.
After my House Clinic consultations, my wife and I felt that we
would have the best experience working with these doctors as they seemed much
more accessible and interested in addressing our concerns. In our discussions,
Drs Slattery and Lekovic indicated that many of their patients came from
outside the Los Angeles area so they and their support staff were comfortable
working with patients from outside their service area. They also assured us
that there were no risks from airline flights i.e. flying.
So we called House Clinic to schedule our surgery date and began
making plans to go the Los Angeles.
The Surgical Experience:
During our first visit to the Clinic, we met Dr. William
Slattery and Dr. Gregory Lekovic, the House Clinic fellows (physicians in
specialty training) that worked with them, and the Internal Medicine doctor,
Dr. Michael Stefan, who would care for me in the hospital. We felt that all of
the physicians we met with were in no rush and were very interested in insuring
that any questions we had were answered – and we had plenty of them. When I
apologized to one of the physicians for our large number of questions, his
response reflected how we felt when he said: “No question you have is
unimportant in this conversation.” We also met with several House Clinic
staff to deal with paper work and any questions on the business side we had.
Once again, these conversations were unrushed and informative, and the staff
projected the same approach to fully inform us and allay any of our concerns.
Two days later, I entered the hospital for a nine hour surgery.
Immediately after the surgery I was taken to the ICU for recovery, where the
hospital staff and House clinic employees responsible for this hospital unit
gave me great care and the physicians visited regularly. On my second day
post-op, I was transferred to the hospital floor, where the House physicians
continued to spend time with us each day without fail, answering any questions
we had and keeping us updated on test results, etc.
As I had minimal post operative issues relating to my ear, I was
ready to be discharged five days after surgery, However, I had complications
with my prostate which led to a TURP procedure and an additional week in the
hospital. House coordinated bringing in a Urologist and were involved and
helpful in all our decisions for treating this unexpected problem.
Despite my additional procedure (prostate), both my wife and I were
very pleased with the experience and the outcome of my surgery. It is a scary
thing to have a ‘brain tumor’, and the House physicians and staff proved to be
skilled in caring for me and committed to addressing our concerns. From the
minute my family and I entered the sphere of the House physicians and support
staff, our concerns and inputs were acknowledged, responded to and welcomed.
Their clear, concise and affirmative explanations made our decisions better and
prepared us for most situations that we met.
The inclusion of my family (wife and daughter)
in all decisions and explanations – from the initial phone consultations to the
pre-op explanations by the physicians and staff, the surgery day phone access
to the operating room to monitor my progress, and my whole hospital stay- made
the experience much less stressful than it might have been for all of us.
We as a family were allowed to collectively anticipate and deal with the long surgery and
any changes in my condition throughout my stay. We felt we were of upmost
importance to the House team. Their support allowed me to be a receptive
patient and for my family to have the best support system I could ask for.
The House Clinic also works well with St. Vincent Hospital to
insure not only the excellence of care given, but the sense that the best is
being done for the patient and their family. The hospital’s introduction of an
ombudsman, both personable and professional, to work exclusively with House
patients underscores their commitment to direct and sustained communication.
The team of nurses in the St. Vincent hospital Doheny ICU unit (an ICU unit set
aside for House clinic patients) and the hospital floor reflects the joint
effort to provide not only the best care, but the best experience for the patient
Throughout, we were impressed with how comfortably the House
physicians and support staff made it for us being so far from home for my care.
Our experience truly speaks well for the organization in its efforts to meet
patients’ and their family’s needs, These efforts are enhanced by their skills
and compassion as surgeons and care givers.
After the sudden hearing loss in my
right ear and being given several different diagnosis over the course of two
years I started to become dizzy. The
dizziness became worse over time and then in addition I started to lose my
balance. I became very physically ill
After an MRI was performed by my
doctor at the Samsun Clinic (Santa Barbara), I was called back later that same
afternoon with a radiology reading of a giant cystic Acoustic Neuroma (~5 cm). I was told it was an emergency situation and
that I would need surgery to remove the tumor.
I was shocked and scared! My doctor had already called the House Clinic
and had told me that they were expecting my call. He explained that they were a world renowned
clinic known for this type of surgery.
I called the House Clinic and Dr.
Slattery’s office was indeed expecting my call.
They were extremely helpful and we made an appointment for the next
day. My husband and I traveled down to
Los Angeles the next day.
Upon our arrival we were so
impressed by the efficiency and professional atmosphere of the office. We were
given a tour of St. Vincent Medical Center by Roya (patient liaison) who made
sure that we knew all of the details of the surgery to come and the
facility. Roya was also present at every
appointment before and after the surgery to make sure we felt comfortable and
informed. After seeing Dr. Slattery, the
ear surgeon, and then Dr. Lekovic, the neurosurgeon, in separate appointments that day, we felt
very comfortable going ahead with the surgery to remove both the tumor and the
attached cyst. We felt informed and confident that this was the best option for
me. We knew right away that we had been
directed to the right place!
My surgery was scheduled for a week
later but during the weekend my symptoms became more severe and when I emailed
Dr. Slattery, they moved the surgery up.
After a long operation, the tumor was successfully removed with no
impact on my facial nerves. I am so
grateful to both Dr. Slattery and Dr. Lekovic for their surgical skills, they
are truly amazing! The number of skilled
professionals it took to successfully get me through surgery that day was awe-inspiring!
There are so many different components to this team and they were all highly
skilled and professional! I would highly
recommend the House Clinic.
I am a 46 year old patient
from Saudi Arabia, who traveled to Los Angeles in November 2018 to be treated
by Dr. Gregory Lekovic and Dr. Mia Miller for repair of a right middle ear
encephalocele and cerebrospinal fluid leak.
I would definitely recommend the House Clinic and specifically Dr. Lekovic and Dr. Miller to anyone. I have seen nothing but complete professionalism, kindness and compassion from them and all their staff.
For the past two years, I
had been having trouble with a feeling of fullness, pressure and diminished
hearing in my right ear. Over time I
developed severe headaches that were positional, caused by coughing (tussive)
and exertion, my headaches got progressively worse. The pain kept
getting worse to the point where anything I did caused me pain. This
past September, an episode of coughing led to my fainting and scans taken at
this time suggested fluid in my right middle ear. My ENT (Head and
Neck surgeon) doctor in Jeddah informed me that I should be seeking a
neurosurgeon who is experienced in my rare medical case. My wife and I
did a search and found Dr. Lekovic. I immediately began my
communication with Dr. Lekovic and had my files sent electronically for his
review and recommendation. Upon his review, he recommended surgery
and due to the level of my suffering Dr. Lekovic and the House Clinic staff
expedited all the preparations for my surgery and surgery was scheduled within
10 days after diagnosis.
The day before surgery, on November
12th, 2018, I arrived in Los Angeles with my wife and sister and
finally met my neurosurgeon, Dr. Lekovic. He took his time to very patiently and clearly
explain the procedure being performed and what to expect afterwards. The
operation would be done as a team with a House Clinic neurotologist, Dr. Mia
Miller. Due to scheduling difficulties, Dr. Mia Miller and I were to
meet the next morning prior to surgery. After my meeting with Dr. Lekovic
I knew I had made the right choice to travel this far for treatment and my mind
and that of my family was at ease.
The next day, my surgery
was successfully completed and I spent a night in the St. Vincent Medical
Center, the Doheny ICU. The next day I was transferred to a regular
private room, and the following day I was discharged. During my
three-day hospital stay I received outstanding care from all, including: the nurses, fellows, assistants, Dr. Stefan,
and of course my House Clinic doctors: Drs. Lekovic and Miller. On Thanksgiving
day, I had an infection in my ear, the doctors opened up the clinic
specifically to check up on the infection (which turned out to be a simple one). After discharge, I met with my doctors twice
more to remove sutures and to discuss further concerns. Both times they
spent time addressing my concerns and welcoming further communication. Another matter
that I was really impressed about was the fact that the doctors and the clinic
did not charge me any extras over the agreed price of the package (being a cash
I am now back in Jeddah and
continue my communication with Dr. Lekovic via email, and have recently sent
some checkup tests to him for his review. I cannot express my gratitude
for the care, expertise, compassion and attention I have received and would
whole-heartedly recommend the House Clinic and Drs. Gregory Lekovic and Mia
Wife point of view:
I am so thankful and
grateful for the doctors and staff at both the House Clinic and St. Vincent
Since the moment we first
set foot at the House Clinic (the day before surgery) they have been very
thorough in explaining the procedure and what to expect.
Within a very short amount
of time, they handled all the pre-operation tests and appointments.
Also during the surgery I
was given several updates by phone to ease my worry while my husband was in the
operating room. I was able to see him after surgery in the ICU and check up on
him and also meet the doctors and get feedback.
I am also so thankful that
St. Vincent has a boarding house (walking distance) which allowed me the
convenience of being close to the hospital.
A week after surgery, on
Thanksgiving day, my husband ran a fever and I was able to contact the doctors
through their call center and we were seen by one of the assistant doctors who
did a complete check up on my husband.
I would definitely
recommend the House Clinic and specifically Dr. Lekovic and Dr. Miller to
anyone. I have seen nothing but complete professionalism, kindness and
compassion from them and all their staff.
My name is Cadee Esparza
and I am a lawyer in Fresno, California. I would like to take this opportunity to
express my deepest and sincerest appreciation, respect, and gratitude for Dr.
William Slattery, Dr. Gregory Lekovic and the House Clinic staff in Los
I was diagnosed with an
acoustic neuroma on March 22, 2018. This
was after eight months of complaining to local doctors about hearing loss in my
right ear. All this time I was told it
was everything from allergies to age.
Finally, an MRI revealed an acoustic neuroma and soon I was referred to
Dr. Slattery at the House Clinic.
I was scheduled for a consultation at the
clinic within a week and at the consultation I was accompanied by my father and
sister (a nurse practitioner). We came
prepared with multiple questions and possible scenarios. Dr. Slattery met with us and after reviewing
the MRI, he clearly explained the tumor, its location, and all the possible
options, including the pros and cons of each. Every single one of our questions was
patiently answered, some before we even had to ask. We immediately felt
comfortable with him and his advice. Not
once did we feel rushed or felt he was just giving us a canned generic speech.
removal was the best option for me. It
was explained to us that the surgery would be performed as a team with both Dr.
Slattery and Dr. Lekovic, the neurosurgeon.
Shortly before the
surgery I had a pre-op appointment at the House Clinic, and had my first
appointment with Dr. Lekovic. At this
appointment, accompanied by both my parents, we were thoroughly impressed with
the time and manner by which Dr. Lekovic explained the procedure. He explained in clear terms how the goal was
to attempt to remove as much of the tumor as could safely be removed, while at the
same time attempting to avoid damage to the surrounding nerves. Again we felt immediately confident and
My surgery was scheduled
for May 3rd, 2018 at Saint Vincent’s Hospital. We knew the procedure would be lengthy,
approximately eight hours. All during
surgery, my family was kept informed and updated with the progress through the
use of their friendly and knowledgeable hospital liaison. My family found great comfort in knowing that
the doctors had arranged to make her available as they waited for the surgery
Thanks to the skill and expertise of both doctors, my tumor was removed completely while keeping my facial nerve intact and undamaged.
Thanks to the skill and
expertise of both doctors, my tumor was removed completely while keeping my
facial nerve intact and undamaged. I
remained in the hospital for four nights (just as I was advised). Although there was a hospital primary doctor
“in charge” of my care, both Drs. Slattery and Lekovic checked on me almost
every day. Everything went exactly as the
doctors had explained and about ten days post-op, I returned to the House
Clinic for my follow-up.
At my post-op appointment
one of the fellows removed my sutures and gave me post-op physical therapy instructions.
Again, Drs. Slattery and Lekovic met
with me and both took the time to sit and talk to me about how I was feeling, what
to expect, and which side effects were normal and which ones warranted a call to
the clinic. Both doctors encouraged me
to call 24/7 if I ever needed assistance or had a concern.
Drs. Slattery and Lekovic made my family and I feel more like friends than patients.
Right now my recovery is
progressing daily, exactly as I was told it would. Absolutely everything they advised and
consulted me on was 100% accurate. Drs.
Slattery and Lekovic made my family and I feel more like friends than
patients. They took their time to
explain everything in a way that we could understand and never rushed us or
made us feel like we could not ask further questions. They took the time and effort to ask questions
about my daily life and routine and advised me accordingly as to what to expect
not only during my recovery but also for the long term.
I am extremely grateful for both of these
wonderful doctors and feel extremely fortunate that I had not one but two
extraordinary and caring doctors whose skill and expertise will allow me to
benefit from a full and complete recovery from something that started off to be
one of the scariest things a person could be told: “You have a brain tumor”. I will be forever grateful!
On July 19, 2018, I
had a translabyrinthine resection of my acoustic neuroma (~2 cm) by House
Clinic physicians Drs. Slattery and Lekovic. I am 41 years old and the symptoms
which led me to have an MRI and the discovery of the acoustic neuroma were
hearing loss, intermittent headaches and tinnitus. Today is August 8, 2018 and
I feel great! Thank goodness my worries about facial weakness, resulting from
surgery, are over as I have no facial weakness! I’m very thankful for my
doctors and the staff who cared for me and my well-being. Before surgery, I met
with my doctors who were very patient with me, answering all my questions and
addressing all my concerns. It was then that I knew that I had made the right
decision choosing the House Clinic and deciding to go ahead with surgery. Thank
you so much House Clinic and St. Vincent Medical Center for everything!
My name is Bobby Gulrajani and
I’m a 36-yr old audio engineer/video editor from Los Angeles. I’d like to use
this opportunity to sincerely thank Dr. Derald Brackmann, Dr. Gregory Lekovic
and the entire House Clinic staff for giving me back my life.
In November 2018, after a night out,
I removed my ear plugs and noticed significant hearing loss along with
tinnitus. Several weeks later, I had an
MRI. As a person who relies on his
hearing, it was devastating to learn of a vestibular schwannoma (acoustic
neuroma) diagnosis. I thought my days as
an audio engineer were numbered, but then I was referred to the House Clinic
My cousin was a patient of Dr.
Brackmann in the late 90’s and has nothing but praise for his level of care.
She too was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma that was successfully removed
and because of this I felt confident going into my first appointment with Dr.
Brackmann. The moment he asked me how I
was taking all this in, I knew I was in the right place. All my questions were answered in depth and I
was even given the doctor’s published academic journals to read, which put me
at ease. After further testing, I elected to go with tumor removal. Several people advised me to get a second
opinion, but I was at peace with my decision.
On March 4th, I had my pre-op and
met the neurosurgeon, Dr. Gregory Lekovic, who also left me feeling confident
and hopeful. He made sure we were on the
same page and that I understood what was ahead. My pre-surgery anxiety was alleviated.
On March 6th, I had surgery at
St. Vincent’s Hospital, which lasted 9 hours. Throughout the surgery, doctors
would come out to give my family an update. My mother expressed to me her gratitude for
that. I woke up hazy, but the pain was
minimal. The doctors checked in on me daily.
The hardest part was staying in bed for 12 hours straight. I was ready to go for a walk, but doctors
restrict movement during that first night. I spent three nights in the hospital and was
My close friends and family tell
me that it is a miracle to see me walking. They are shocked at how quickly I
recovered. In less than 6 weeks I was back to work, driving, and working out.
Thanks again to Dr. Brackmann and Dr. Lekovic for removing the tumor,
preserving my available hearing, and leaving the facial nerves intact. I
couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. My post-op hearing and tinnitus has
improved to the point where I can continue being an audio engineer. I’m
incredibly fortunate and grateful to be a House Clinic patient, where miracles can
My name is Gary Pickavet. My wife
and I have used the services of House Clinic for hearing and allergy issues for
many years. So when I recently had a sudden onset of tinnitus and some
hearing loss, I immediately made an appointment at the clinic to have it
checked out. I was sent to get an MRI and I was shocked to find out I had a
small acoustic neuroma.
I was referred to Dr. William Slattery.
When my wife and I met with him, my condition was thoroughly explained, our
questions answered and my treatment options discussed in easy to understand
terminology. It was explained to me that any hearing loss prior to surgery
would not be restored after the tumor was removed. Because I had very little
hearing loss, I chose to move forward with surgery to have my acoustic neuroma
removed and prevent additional hearing loss that could not be reversed. Dr.
Slattery explained that the middle fossa procedure I chose allowed for a 60%
chance of preserving my hearing but that the primary goal was to preserve the
facial nerve. I learned that the procedure would be performed as a team with
Dr. Slattery as well as a neurosurgeon, Dr Lekovic.
Knowing the reputation and cutting
edge procedures offered by House Clinic, I decided to have the procedure done there.
In preparation for my surgery, I was seeing other doctors out of the area and
closer to my home and I was told I had selected both excellent doctors and an
excellent clinic for my procedure. Now that I have been through the
surgery of having the acoustic neuroma removed, I can say I strongly agree with
My journey from diagnosis to removal
and recovery continued. What I would call a care team was
assembled. In addition to meeting with doctors Slattery and Lekovic to
discuss what to expect during and after my surgery, St. Vincent Medical Center (the hospital) had a
representative present in my meetings with the doctors to answer all of my questions
relative to my hospital stay. I felt the hospital representative was also
an important part of my care team. She set up a date for us to tour the
hospital floor devoted to House Clinic patients and also made herself available
to contact with any questions or concerns before, during and after my stay. My
wife and I were thrilled to find there was a reasonably priced housing area
attached to the hospital where my wife could safely stay during my
On the day prior to my March 19,
2019 surgery, my wife and I had appointments with my care team and the internal
medicine doctor overseeing my hospital stay to discuss any questions or
concerns we might have regarding the next day procedure. They were all
compassionate, caring and reassuring.
My surgery was about 8 hours long and successful. My family were kept informed and updated while I was in surgery and recovery. The tumor was removed, my facial nerve was undamaged and although I continue to have mild tinnitus, my hearing was preserved. During my stay in the hospital, the entire team checked in on me and my progress and answered our questions. They informed us as to what to expect during the healing and recovery process when we arrived home.
We were extremely happy with our decision to select House Clinic, Dr Slattery, Dr Lekovic and St. Vincent Medical Center for the tumor removal procedure and hospital stay. I am now 9 weeks post-surgery and have been able to return to the activities I enjoyed prior to my diagnosis. My primarily rehab therapy has been in the area of improving my balance and it continues to improve.I highly recommend these doctors and facilities to anyone diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma.
My name is Kathy Atkins. My acoustic neuroma story started a year and a half ago. I was on an airplane and put my ear buds in just to realize my left ear wasn’t hearing very well. I had never even been to an ear doctor. After a hearing test and examination it was decided to do an MRI to find out why that ear was only hearing at 66%. My doctor referred us to the House Clinic, saying it was one of the best in the world. There, Dr. John House met with us and although the news of having an acoustic neuroma was shocking, we felt we couldn’t be at a better place. At the time the tumor was too small to justify removal and so with the guidance of Dr. House we monitored it to see if it would grow and so warrant surgery and resection. During this waiting period, Dr. House encouraged me to increase my balancing yoga practice as we could track the hearing diminishing but it’s hard to track balance.
My surgery was scheduled for June 5th. I was so ready to finally get it out. However, after reviewing my blood work, Dr. Michael Stefan (the internist who sees the majority of House tumor patients) canceled the surgery due to his concern over my lab work. I wasn’t very happy about this, but knew he was right as I was extremely anemic and needed to address that first. While waiting for my anemia to be controlled, I worried every day about how much bigger the tumor was growing. My doctors, Drs. John House, Kevin Peng and Gregory Lekovic, assured me the tumor would still be considered medium size and I had to be stronger to go through the surgery. After iron infusions and several tests to rule out other problems, my surgery was rescheduled for July 31st. Going into surgery my husband and I probably had more questions than the average person. Every question was answered in terms we could understand and no question was too bizarre to answer. Roya, the hospital’s concierge was at every appointment and available to keep my husband informed. This was a great comfort to me. Never in a million years would I have thought the results would be so positive!!! I was balancing better the day after surgery than before I went in and Dr. Lekovic was able to remove the whole tumor all in one piece and with no damage to my facial nerve. Dr. Peng did an amazing job and very little of my hair was shaved and everyone says it’s the prettiest stitch job they have ever seen! The staff at the hospital was very attentive, personable and knowledgeable. Each and every nurse at St. Vincent’s felt like they were my own private nurse. Roya, Dr. Stefan and a physician from the House Clinic were checking on me every day. The hospital nurse staff would walk with me whenever I asked, which, was several times a day!! I was at the hospital for four days, but felt I could have gone home the second day.
Getting over the anemia was much harder than removing my acoustic neuroma! Kathy