It was a typical day out with friends, when I realized that the louder it was in the restaurant we were in, the harder it was to hear out of my left ear. This had gone on for over a year and I associated it with allergies and ear wax build up. Later, when a friend questioned why I was reading their lips is when I realized I really couldn’t hear well. I made an appointment with the ear, nose and throat doctor. They cleaned out my ears and started me on allergy shots.

After a few weeks, I still couldn’t hear well out of my left ear and that it was even worse than it had ever been before. I went back to the ENT and he suggested I get an MRI. I received the news I wasn’t looking forward to that I had a 1.4 cm tumor in my left ear. The doctor suggested three options for me and I could make the decision. After research and reading, I made the decision to go with surgery and was recommended to see Dr. Eric Wilkinson at House Clinic Acoustic Neuroma Center at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.

I knew surgery was the best option even as scary as it was. I have never had major surgery nor have I ever had to stay multiple days in the hospital. I decided before mysurgery that I would live it up and spend the weekend before with my girlfriends at the Route 91 Concert in Las Vegas. Although I was not injured in the shooting, it would be the most traumatic experience I have ever had to endure. After the concert, I was numb to the fact that I was about to have a craniotomy a week and half later. I knew I needed to be strong and continue with the surgery even though my heart was breaking.

To my surprise, the staff at St. Vincent Medical Center and House Clinic was amazing after explaining what I had been through. I am now recovering well and was even able to walk on the beach a week post surgery. Strength and courage go a long way and I am forever grateful to be alive and well today.

Rhonda Martines

Las Vegas, NV

― Rhonda Martines, Acoustic Neuroma, Las Vegas NV