“Acoustic Neuroma” – not many of the people would relate with this slow demon, besides medical professionals and of course victims like me who have had an exigent encounter with this evil spirit in their lifetime. If you are still wondering what this sophisticated term is, then let me enlighten you with the fact that, it is nothing but Brain tumor, a benign one. Hence, it earns the sobriquet of ‘slow demon’ from me.
The demon starts invading by making its space in the 8th cranial nerve which connects the inner ear with the brain. The main function of this nerve is to transmit sound and maintain balance of the body. Although the devil does not march into the brain in the beginning, it can slowly shove into the brain as it develops. The bigger ones can easily squash the close cranial nerves that control the muscles of the facial expressions and sensation. The normal ones are from 1cm to 3 cm but since I’m God’s favorite child having had all those extra things in life, my tumor also came with the XL size. Yes, it was beyond the normal, a whopping 4.5 cm.
In most of the cases, when your surgery is done successfully and the tumor is out, it is a BIG RELIEFFFF! But, surprisingly in Acoustic Neuroma, it is just the beginning! So, what are the complications and how could the team of doctors (Yes, it involves everyone from neurosurgeon to list of others) help me get out of this disastrous phase of my life, Well, courtesy the Modern Healthcare! The Modern Healthcare not only helped me stay alive but also gave me a wild card entry to start my life afresh with hope and optimism. Yes, it touched my life in every aspect.
Back to my story,
The year was 2005, I was in my grads enjoying the freedom and thrill of my college life. Travelling besides a passion had become a routine as I began catching my Local train from Belapur, Navi Mumbai to CST (VT), South Mumbai to reach my college at Pedder Road. I was becoming lethargic as the winter was approaching. I was neither able to balance myself nor could walk straight, I thought maybe it was because I was putting on a bit. Then, I used to always stay confused, there was a hoarseness in my voice. Worst, I could not even swallow my food nor could eat my food like a sane person. It looks all fine when at home but just imagine how it looked when I’m out and eating in a restaurant or the college canteen.
Soon all this became an issue. It was affecting my personality. I started hating myself for all these sudden developments but nothing worked out. Soon, during a holiday, I had a massive headache and I collapsed (Just like how they show in the Bollywood movies, yes it was that filmy). I had minor headaches all the while but I neglected thinking it was mainly due to the hectic travelling. After the collapse, my family doctor insisted for a CT Scan and to all our surprise I was having a Tumor which needed urgent surgery as soon as possible. There were certain after affects of the surgery which I had to face but all I wanted was to come out of this trauma which I was facing from past 6 months. I was not willing to live a crooked life. My mantra like any other Indian youth was, “Jiyo toh jiyo shaan se”
That day after the CT Scan, for the first time I did not complain but I thanked the person who invented the CT Scan machine. Just imagine, all those people who died just because their tumor could not be diagnosed. The very next day, I met my neurosurgeon and as soon as I had a brief meeting with him, I decided he is the one who’ll operate me. I was admitted in a hospital 3 days before my surgery to mellow down the demon and make it easy for me. Soon, the D-Day came and I was taken to the OT. I was taken to the OT at around 9am and was out of it only by 7pm. So, what was the team of doctors doing in these 10 hours?
The removal of acoustic neuroma is not easy as it sounds because it damages the facial nerve defragmenting the eyes, ears and leaving the victim with facial palsy (facial paralysis) to the side where it resides. There are three ways of treating acoustic neuroma, the Retrosigmoid method where the treatment is done through the skull, the Translabyrinthine where the treatment is done through the inner ear and the most successful, middle fossa, which not only aids in the removal of tumor but also helps in preserving any hear loss. Had there been no such discoveries and healthcare services and treatments, there would be many like me who would be living a disastrous life with poor eyesight and poor hearing right at the peak of their adulthood. Imagine the pain, the agony, the depression!
If the tumor is in the normal range, these after affects can be eliminated. If not, it can have a lasting impact. This means the victim after the surgery can have facial palsy – neither can they close their eyes completely nor can they smile properly.
Facial Palsy After the treatment of Facial Palsy
And as mine was 4.5 cm, I became the victim of facial palsy. Neither I could close my eyes, nor could I move the left side of my face, smile or move my eyebrow. (This was year 2005, the new inventions and discoveries from 2005 to 2013 has been so effective, that facial palsy in acoustic neuroma is now on the lesser side of the coin)
I got the shock of my life when I experienced that I could not move the left side of my face. My new face did not want to face the world. My features which my friends used to praise so much was gone. I was saved but I was lost in depression. But still I was happy to get away from those monstrous moments prior to my surgery.
Soon, I started recovering. Within a week I started eating all the liquid stuff. Thanks to all the modern healthcare equipments and discoveries which could make me stand, eat and aid me to do all my stuff in a month. How can I forget all the physiotherapists and the stimulation machine which was applied on me and my face to help my naughty facial muscles to regain its lost power.
Then, my neurosurgeon suggested I meet a plastic surgeon for my Facial palsy. Following which, nerve grafting was done. Well, Nerve Grafting or Nerve Transplant is similar to plant grafting. A sural nerve was removed from my left leg and inserted into my face to act as a catalyst to help my left muscles to move. After the surgery, it was better than before and I could move my left side a bit.
The facial palsy has a bad effect on the eyes. It makes your eyes lose its shape and no matter how beautiful your eyes may be, post facial palsy it becomes same like Donald Duck – Big, oval, howling eyes. We are human beings and not cartoons, right? That too, a young girl. Period!
Next, I was in the hospital again for the surgery on my eye. Post surgery, I was happy as I got my eyes back once again. Perfectly symmetrical! No more those howling eyes but gorgeously flawless. I got my old eyes back and with time I could close it completely.
Modern Healthcare has changed my life completely for the better. I could start my life afresh! Gain my confidence and begin my normal life in just a short span, as quick as 1 month after my major surgery and 1 week after all my minor surgeries. I still have my Face Lift Surgery pending and I’m going to do it soon. I’m glad such a thing exists in India, otherwise I would have lost hope and enthusiasm long back!
I’m not very affluent that I could afford a treatment abroad, so it was a great relief that every surgery was carried out successfully here in India with amazing trained professionals. Today, all the hospitals are doing a brilliant job by providing all the modern amenities and treatment to their patients, one such is Apollo hospital.
I owe my life and the good developments to the Modern Healthcare. Yes, I am not that robust hard-hearted or a brat like I used to before. I learnt the hard way but I am glad I did. Today, I love myself and all the good things happening around me. I am more positive and accept all the challenges that come my way.
I always thought that I would pen it down one day and shower all the love and the awaiting credits, I’m glad I finally could.
This story is my entry for “How does Modern Healthcare touch lives?” contest.
Click http://www.apollohospitals.com/cutting-edge.php for more info