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Schwannoma – What is it? – Continuing Jackie’s Story

Updated on January 22, 2017
Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron is a retired Customer Service Rep. for Verizon. Colleges attended: Triton, Melrose Park, Illinois and Elgin, in Elgin, Illinois.

Continuing with Jackie's Story

I am writing the true story of a friend combined with the story of Jackie, in Jackie's Story.

This is a mixture of fact and fiction where after years of believing that she had Ménière's disease has finally learned that what my friend has is a Schwannoma and also Ménière's.

My friend Jackie
My friend Jackie | Source

Jackie’s Story

When we left Jackie, she and her live in boyfriend had been fighting and Rick had walked out leaving Jackie to believe that he was gone, that he would not be coming back.

Before he left Rick had called his ex-wife Susan. That is the reason that Jackie thought he would not be returning.

Continuing with Jackie's Story

So I can write the true story of a friend’s condition, this is a mixture of fact and fiction where Jackie (not her real name), has just informed Rick that she has an appointment with a neurosurgeon Monday morning.

After having returned from a visit with Susan, his ex-wife, where Rick asked Susan to take him back believing that Jackie did not want him in her life, but without waiting for an answer from Susan Rick returned to Jackie, where he found her in tears and for the first time in his life he realized, he is in love.

Jackie's News

The news hit Rick like a ton of bricks when Jackie told, that she has an appointment with a neurosurgeon and why. Never before, not even when he found his way to the bottom of a bottle had he felt so helpless, and all he could do was hold Jackie until she cried herself to sleep.

Story Without an End

Jodah's Story

Seven years before she met Rick

Jackie was awakened by the feeling that her bed was spinning. She felt like Alice in Wonderland being carried away by a tornado. Was she in a tornado? Was she in an earthquake? She had to find out; she had to get out of bed.

There was no sound in her bedroom except the buzzing of a bee or was it a fly, Jackie wasn’t sure which, she had not seen either. It must be her personal nemesis which visits her often but never allows itself be seen.

The spinning is so bad she can almost taste it. Jackie sits upright and swings her legs off the side of the bed and stands up slowly to prevent the blackness that sometimes engulfs her when she stand up to fast and her blood pressure is low.

Now the room seems to be spinning, but Jackie realizes that something is wrong with her. She calls work and tell the supervisor that she is to dizzy to drive. She called her doctor to find out if he could see her sometime today as she told the nurse she knew that something is wrong. Jackie got an appointment for later that afternoon and by that time the dizziness had subsided and she could drive the couple of miles to his office.

Arriving at her doctor’s office Jackie wondered if she brought her nemesis with her, but it sounded more like the sound of Rice-Krispies's snap,crackle and pop.

The sound that Jackie hears amplified 100 times

Vertigo

Jackie’s doctor informed her that the spinning and dizziness is called vertigo, that he could not find any reason for the vertigo or the sound of her nemesis, unless she has a middle ear infection, and suggested she see an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist and promptly made an appointment for her to go directly to his office.

At the ENT office, she was given a hearing test, which came back normal. Then she was sent to the nearby hospital for an MRI, which also came back normal. What do I do now? Jackie asks him, nothing ever happens to our bodies without a cause.

The doctor smiled, patted her hand and said “well my dear! We can’t find anything wrong with you” and told her if the noise and/or the vertigo comes back she should call his right away.

Jackie went through this for the next few years but, only occasionally did she awake with the room spinning like the first time she went to the ear, nose and throat specialist. She did however make many visits to the emergency room for migraine headaches.

What led Jackie to believe that she has Ménière's?

Jackie was invited to a bridal shower and the hostess had been incapacitated for a couple of weeks prior to the shower. The hostess said that she is suffering from Ménière’s disease and Jackie’s ears perked-up when she heard her hostess say that she has noise in her ears and her vertigo was so bad she could not walk without help.

Jackie thought to herself ‘Oh My Gosh! Could I have Ménière's?’

What are the symptoms of Ménière's? __ Source WebMD.com

Doctors are trained to treat symptoms and most often with prescriptions. So they treat the balance and hearing symptoms with drugs they feel are most appropriate. And honestly, do you not go to the doctor for help with your Meniere's disease symptoms? Don’t you expect a prescription? The treatment offered will always reflect the symptoms, never the underlying cause, which ironically can be a drug’s side effects.


A doctor comes to this diagnostic conclusion after asking a series of questions. They will have evaluated what is known as the classic Meniere’s symptoms:

  1. 1. Inner ear pressure – Jackie is not sure if she has that, it does feel weird sometimes in the left ear.
  2. 2. Vertigo – Jackie definitely has vertigo she has had several episodes since she saw the ENT, but because she felt she was being disbelieved she did not return, and the vertigo and the noise would go away after a while.
  3. 3. Tinnitus – This is a ‘ringing’ or perception of sound within the human ear. Jackie definitely had this also, but it is not a ringing per say. It is more like the snap crackle and pop of Rice Krispies, and then escalated into sounding like heavy radio static.
  4. 4. Hearing fluctuation – Jackie did not have this.

Jackie believed that she probably had Ménière's, but did not know what to do about it. She did not want to go back to the doctor, and have him smile, pat her hand and said “well my dear! We can’t find anything wrong with you” and tell her if the noise and/or the vertigo comes back she should call him right away.

During the next few years Jackie had continued to suffer with migraines with many trips to the local emergency room.

She had worked a few different jobs, before landing the bar tending job and then meeting Rick.

The moment of truth with a trip to the Emergency Room

Here it is five years after she started working at the Sweet Beginning Café and Bar and almost three years after she began living with Rick.

When Jackie and Rick had their fight and Rick went to visit his ex-wife. Jackie cried herself to sleep. When she awakened, the room was spinning and she also had a migraine and on top of that she had the static noise in her ear.

Jackie had suffered for years with migraine headaches. Now here she was with a migraine, vertigo, and static noise in her ear. She tried to call George but no answer, it being Sunday he was probably out with friends and she did not want to call Rick. She waited for the vertigo to subside, then drove herself to the hospital’s emergency room.

In the emergency room Jackie was taken into a room for an MRI, she was asked to lie on a table that was not wide enough for her arms along her side so she had to cross them across her stomach. She was given ear plugs then a helmet because the machine was so noisy. Jackie found that the ear plugs helped with the noise in her ear. Or maybe it was the noise of the machine that drowns out the noise in her ear.

The noise of the MRI machine

The first sound of the machine was like that of a foghorn, on a ship at sea. The next sound was that of a jackhammer that changed to that of a washing machine. Then finally after what seemed like an hour but was really only twenty minutes, that is what the technician told her.

Jackie was taken back to the emergency exam room to wait for the results of the MRI. She was given the usual medication for the migraine and drifted off to sleep. She was awakened by the emergency room doctor, who told her that they could not find anything wrong with her. He told her don’t look so sad, I have called a neurosurgeon and he advised that we do an MRI with contrast. The doctor inserted the dye in the IV, and a few minutes later another MRI was done, but this time with contrast (i.e. the dye that was in the veins).

This time when she was taken back to the examining room, the wait was a little longer and when the doctor came in he seemed excited, well we know what is wrong with you! You have a tumor, the good news is, it does not appear to be malignant but, I have made an appointment with the neurosurgeon for Monday morning to discuss treatment options.

It is not Ménière's disease Jackie asks. No, I mean I don't know if you have Ménière's disease or not the doctor said, but I do know what is causing the vertigo this time.

After years of believing that she was suffering with Ménière's disease Jackie has finally learned that what she has is not Ménière's disease. Or at least that is what she thought.

Jackie has an appointment with a neurosurgeon Monday morning

They arrive at the neurosurgeon’s office, a half hour before her appointment and it was an hour before Jackie and Rick were ushered into the office. Jackie handed the DVD from the hospital to the receptionist. They wait another half hour for the neurosurgeon to go over the results of the MRIs.

The doctor told Jackie that she has a tumor on the outside of the skull and he explained the one that she has is benign and how to tell the difference between a benign tumor and a malignant tumor. The neurosurgeon told her that the tumor she has is called a Schwannoma. She is confused. Is this good news? After learning to live with thinking she had Ménière’s disease. Is this better or worse?

Jackie told the neurosurgeon, for a long time I thought I had Ménière's disease. Well you can have Ménière's disease also.

Schwannoma removal

What is a vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma)?

A vestibular schwannoma (also known as acoustic neuroma, acoustic neurinoma, or acoustic neurilemoma) is a benign, usually slow-growing tumor that develops from the balance and hearing nerves supplying the inner ear. The tumor comes from an overproduction of Schwann cells--the cells that normally wrap around nerve fibers like onion skin to help support and insulate nerves. As the vestibular schwannoma grows, it presses against the hearing and balance nerves, usually causing unilateral (one-sided) or asymmetric hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), and dizziness/loss of balance. As the tumor grows, it can interfere with the face sensation nerve (the trigeminal nerve), causing facial numbness. Vestibular schwannomas can also press on the facial nerve (for the muscles of the face) causing facial weakness or paralysis on the side of the tumor. If the tumor becomes large, it will eventually press against nearby brain structures (such as the brainstem and the cerebellum), becoming life-threatening.

What is the treatment for a Schwannoma?

When she asked the neurosurgeon what could be done about the tumor, he told Jackie, “I can remove it surgically, I can zap it or we can watch it to see if it is growing and if it is growing I would need to remove it or zap it.”

When she asked what are the risks of surgery or zapping it. He told her that either would result in loss of hearing in the affected ear, and possible facial nerve damage.

Jackie said she would have to get another opinion and that she would have it watched. The neurosurgeon, said “Okay but if you wake up in a coma, call me right away so we can do emergency surgery” and he told Jackie that he would have an MRI done every three months to make sure the tumor is not growing.

A second opinion

Jackie called the ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist) made and appointment to see him again. She took the DVD from the hospital and told him what the neurosurgeon had told her. The ENT doctor recommended that she see a different neurosurgeon……

A weight was lifted from her shoulders as she left the ENT’s office, Jackie now knew that she does not have Ménière's disease.

Going to learn the secret

Going to the Sweet Beginning to see my friend.
Going to the Sweet Beginning to see my friend. | Source

Do you know?

What you would choose?

See results

© 2014 Shyron E Shenko

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    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      Very interesting. Reading things like this can make a person glad they have what they have instead of this. Even if what a person has is no better than this, at least sometimes there are easier or less dangerous treatment options available than what Jackie's doctors have so far suggested for her condition.

      This article may help other people who have this condition, who either do not know what it is, or who think like Jackie, that they have Méniére's Disease.

      Voted up and AUI, pinned to AH, and shared.

      Hope this week has been going well for you so far. It's been pretty ordinary here. Blessings . .

    • just helen profile image

      just helen 3 years ago from Dartmoor UK

      It is believed that acoustic neuromas are on the increase owing to cell phone use. Just a thought...

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 3 years ago from India

      Vestibular schwannomas are not malignant. Prognosis is good

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      An interesting story and the way Jackie discovered her problem is another surprise.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting story and tough choices. I honestly don't know what I would do. I'm not too fond of doctors and hospitals and operations....sigh....let's just hope I don't have to face this I guess. :)

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      Au fait, thank you for reading and commenting, voting it up AUI and pinning to Amazing HubPages and for sharing.

      Today is a DAY, we'll see what today brings. Blessings and hugs my dear friend.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      Just Helen, thank you for stopping by, have to agree with you, that is what I heard also. However my friend did not use a cell phone.

      And as I mentioned in the article the tumor comes from an overproduction of Schwann cells- thus Schwannoma.

      Have a blessed day

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      Thanks, I am sure my friend needed that. I just hope for her sake it does not grow as it could then become life threatening, as stated in the section, from WebMD.com, What is a vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma)?

      Thank you for stopping by.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Sad, but al least she finally found out the correct diagnosis. This hit home for me. My sister Bea died from a malignant brain tumor. Warm regards to you both...

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      Devika, thank you for your comment. Yes a lot of people have what my friend has and they don't know it.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      Bill, I am glad you found this interesting. I am not fond of most doctors either, but glad they are there when we need them. Hospitals I don't like. The I think about my amazing husband (Countdown to A Miracle). Without Dr. Ian Mitchell at Parkland in Dallas my hubby would not be alive today.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      Ruby, I am so sorry to hear about your sister. Whatever the future holds it is in God's hands.

      Thank you dear Ruby for your comment.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      What an interesting story. Medical stories are among my favorite, as they involve risk, emotion, rare situations oftentimes, and tough choices. Thanks for sharing this, Shyron!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Flourish, for your comments, I also like the medical stories. I don't know what my friend's choice will be, but I am sure there will be another chapter. I also have to go back to give Jonah credit for starting what ended up becoming Jackie's story. I really appreciate you reading and commenting.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Well written and interesting Shyron, especially that it is partially based on a true story. I'll have to put a link on my original hub to this.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Jodah, l will link this also to yours, been trying to figure out a way to twist the two/three stories we have together. Or you could intoduce a new character, after all this is partly your story originally.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      Very educational and informative. I think it would be awful for anyone to have a noise in their ear(s) constantly. Would drive me over the cliff. Pinned and shared again.

      Hope you're having a good restful night . . .

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Au fait, for the pin and sharing, all is appreciated.

      Yes, I am sure it is very irrating to have all the noise all the time but it beats not having any hearing at all.

      I did have a restful night, I hope you also had a good restful night.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 2 years ago from Iowa

      Interesting. I think this is what a co-worker of mine had. She had the surgery and was just fine.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Deborah, I really appreciate you comment. I am glad your friend is fine. I don't know what my friend is going to do.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Deborah, I really appreciate you comment. I am glad your friend is fine. I don't know what my friend is going to do.

    • Aunt Jimi profile image

      Aunt Jimi 2 years ago from The reddest of the Red states!

      Very interesting and very educational too. I feel sorry for your friend having to tolerate that everyday. Yes, it could be worse, but let's hope it gets no worse.

      Voting this up, useful, and interesting. Sharing with my followers.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Aunt Jimi, I have missed you. I have to get over to see you soon.

      Thank you for the visit, and up votes and sharing. I will tell my friend of your well wishes.

      Blessing Aunt Jimi, I really appreciate you.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      Hi, Shyron,

      I had Ménière's disease when I was in my 20's. This was quite a long time ago. They were trying different medications hoping to find one that would put a stop to my dizziness. There were many tests and much trial and error. Finally, they tried a drug that would regulate the fluid in my inner ear and it successfully stopped the dizziness. I was able to come off the medication after around 6 weeks of treatment, and resume normal activity.

      Don't think a vestibular schwannoma would be much fun. That would certainly cause head aches.

      Nice article, Shyron.

      DJ.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      DJ, thank you for your comments and compliments, I do appreciate you and your visit. I am glad they were able stop your dizziness.

      No a schwannoma is no fun at all.

      Blessings.

      Shyron

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      Wanted to share this informative article again. Whenever someone thinks they have it bad, they may be right, but they aren't alone.

      Just 2 more chilly nights before we get a little break with warmer temps for a week or so. Hope you're staying in during these cold temps. Hugs and blessings . . .

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      I found this especially interesting because I do have Menieres and trigeminal neuralgia.

      This girl has a tough decision. I hope she doesn't wait too long.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Mary (tillsontitan), thank you for you comments, and up votes. I don't think she is worried much about the schwannoma it is monitored every six months to make sure it is not growing. I do appreciate your concern.

      Blessings dear friend

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Au fait, my dear friend, thank you for comments, I appreciate you.

      One never knows what may be coming down the line for each of us.

      I can't wait till it warms up, can't take the cold.

      Blessings my dear friend.

    • profile image

      Cory 2 years ago

      You look so pretty in that photo at the bottom! Was just checking a few things out. ;)

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Cory! What a nice surprise, to hear from you like this. Thank you for the compliment and for checking out where I hang out, much of the time.

      I do hope all is well with you and yours.

      Blessings and Hugs. ;^)

      P.S. Keep in touch!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 23 months ago from North Texas

      Just wanted to share this again so that people can become educated about this unfortunate condition.

      So hot today and getting hotter by the day. Hope you're in a cool place. My car gets so hot sitting in the sun that I swear I can smell the paint melting off of it! No shade to speak of in any parking lot.

      Blessings to you both. Take care . . .

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 23 months ago from Texas

      Au fait, thank you for the comment, and sharing this to bring attention to this condition which can happen to anyone.

      I know how hot the parking lots can be, just hope you can find a little bit somewhere.

      Blessings and hugs to you dear friend.

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