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Patient Testimonials and Pituitary Tumor Resources

 Acoustic Neuroma: Success Stories

Sandy T., Hibbing, MN
Simply put: If it were not for Dr. Shahinian, my husband Larry would not be here right now.

My husband was having problems with balance and ringing in his ears. He went to an ENT who told him that he would just have to live with it and never did any further testing.

Larry went to our family doctor because he was still having problems. His doctor then ordered an MRI and once the results came back, he called us at home to inform us Larry had a brain tumor. Our family doctor referred us to another ENT, who, in turn, referred us to a neurosurgeon.

They told us my husband probably had an acoustic neuroma. They said his tumor was so large that he would need to have it removed soon. They explained they would cut the right side of his skull open and chip away at his mastoid bone in order to reach the tumor. They explained he would be in the ICU for 2-3 weeks and another 2-3 weeks in the hospital for rehab.

My husband and I walked out of the doctor's office feeling very scared and unsure, but we figured it was the only option. We went home to tell our families and prepare ourselves for the long difficult road ahead.

I went to the Internet trying to find more information on brain tumors and came across the website for the Skull Base Institute in LA. I decided to call to get more information.

I spoke to a nurse named Nicole. She asked questions about my husband's tumor and gave me the names of past patients to ask about their experiences with Dr. Shahinian. She asked me to send my husband's medical records and MRI scans and told me that Dr. Shahinian would call my husband to speak with him directly.

I told Larry the wonderful news. Although I was very excited, I also doubted whether it could be true. We checked with other doctors around our area. Some had never heard of the procedure. Some said that this was a crock and could not be done.

But I called the numbers Nicole had given me. These former patients couldn't have been more caring. They took the time to tell me their stories and how their surgeries had gone with Dr. Shahinian. Everyone I spoke with said wonderful things.

My husband then spoke to Dr. Shahinian on the phone and he answered all his questions and more. He took his time with Larry and told him to call if he had any more questions.

We decided to proceed with the surgery. It was early November.

Shortly after the surgery began, Dr. Shahinian informed me that the tumor was so large that he was only going to remove part of it, since he didn't want to risk Larry having a stroke. This may not have been normal for most patients, but I was happy the doctor was cautious and did not want to risk Larry's life. Dr. Shahinian asked us to come back in February for a second surgery. We requested the second surgery sooner as I found out I was pregnant and figured it would be hard for me to care for Larry and my two-year-old son as I got further along in my pregnancy.

Larry came home to recover and got an infection in his incision. It was a Saturday morning and I called Dr. Shahinian's office. Not even five minutes went by and he called us back. He prescribed some medication and told us to see Larry's family physician. After taking the medication, Larry's incision was still infected. I was getting worried. I called Dr. Shahinian.

Dr. Shahinian didn't want me to be stressed (since I was pregnant), so he offered to rearrange his schedule to get us back to LA to complete the operation. He called back right away and told us we should come out the week of Thanksgiving.

Larry had his second surgery the day before Thanksgiving. It was successful, the tumor was removed and as of today he is completely tumor-free.

If it were not for this wonderful man and doctor, my husband would not be here right now. If he had had a traditional craniotomy, Larry could have died or been in a vegetative state. With this endoscopic procedure, Dr. Shahinian was able to see around the whole tumor and cut the tumor away without risking cutting the artery or other nerves.

I have never met a doctor who is more knowledgeable, skillful and caring. He was my husband's doctor, but was also worried about me since I was pregnant. He made sure I was getting enough rest and eating healthy. Dr. Shahinian knew Larry was not the only one on this difficult journey and was very considerate of our other family members.

Not only do families worry about losing a loved one when they have brain tumors and need surgery, but other things as well. If we had gone with the craniotomy, we would have had to take more time off work, which in turn results in a loss of money. You also lose time at home with your children and family. It's bad enough when you are trying to get your husband back to health without having to worry about other things. My husband was back to work a lot sooner this way than if he would have had the craniotomy.

I can't say enough good things about Dr. Shahinian and his staff. He even brought turkey dinner for us on Thanksgiving. One day after surgery, my husband was eating solid foods and walking around like he never had surgery.

One last note: When my daughter was born the June after Larry's surgery, we named her Faith. We decided this was the best name for her after what we had been through and the fact that we did have so much FAITH in Dr. Shahinian.


Sandy T.
Hibbing, MN

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