On March 25, 2009, I had surgery to remove a benign brain tumor commonly known as an acoustic neuroma. Some months before, I had noticed a loss of hearing in my left ear, when I was on the phone, listening to a speaker or to the television or radio. Knowing that my father and several uncles had hearing issues and were fitted with hearing aids in their later years, I checked with my primary care doctor. Finding nothing obvious, he sent me to an ear nose and throat specialist. Tests revealed a 60% hearing loss in the left ear, though the right ear was 100%.
I got a call at work that a tumor was suspected, no hearing aids could help. This was followed by a referral to the Mass. Eye and Ear Institute. Being a teaching hospital, the appointment was attended by a dozen residents. I got the news that the necessary surgery would result in a 100% hearing loss on the left side, but a full recovery was expected and I would be back at my job in six weeks. After taking a few minutes to absorb this news and being advised that many people function perfectly well with one ear, I thought of those words which have often been said in a religious context, “Let Go and Let God.” I was able to do this only with lots of help, conversations and prayers, and will always be grateful to the St. Stephen’s Community.