Featured in a BBC TV documentary in the Series “Life Matters” entitled “The Sound of Silence” - A limited number of VHS Video Tape copies in PAL format are available from Chris Ottewell on request.
Had she not found out about Dr Lederman's FSR treatment she would almost certainly been totally deaf.
Myris lives in Wales with her family where she works with disabled people.
In her own words
Following a sudden total loss of hearing in my right ear I was diagnosed with an Acoustic Neuroma on the left side of the brain in 1999. My husband and three grown up children found this news shattering to say the least. Optimistically, I held the view that “God helps those who help themselves”; with appropriate medical intervention of course!
Given freedom of choice, it was ultimately going to be my decision which treatment option I chose and thus what kind of future lay ahead of me. The following months entailed research on the Internet, in libraries, medical books and three hospitals for consultations on the various treatments they had on offer. I made contact with total strangers who had personally experienced Acoustic Neuroma and gained insights into their treatments and outcomes.
One of the best sources of personal experiences was the BANA (British Acoustic Neuroma Association) group in Manchester run by Paulene Scott. Finally I concluded that surgery should be discounted due to the risks and side effects as these could clearly be extremely detrimental to the quality of life I could expect post treatment.
Secondly, whilst Gamma Knife radiation appeared to be a good option, I realised I would probably loose the hearing in my left ear just as with surgery. The thought of being totally deaf in a world of silence was incomprehensible to me. Further research identified low total dose Fractionated Stereotactic Radio-surgery (FSR) developed in the USA as a possible option. Fortune was on my side as Dr Gil Lederman, then Director of Radiation Oncology at Staten Island University Hospital, New York (and pioneer of this treatment) was due to speak at the BANA meeting in Manchester Royal Infirmary very shortly. Following an inspiring meeting I approached Dr Lederman to ask if I was a suitable case for his treatment.
I duly sent my MRI scans to him for review. Within a couple of weeks I had a positive response. Prior to this, all the relevant statistics were discussed via the Internet in some detail. It was stressed that whilst my tumour could be treated I could not be guaranteed a successful outcome.
From the time of my arrival at Staten Island University Hospital until my departure two weeks later, the service I was provided with was highly professional, efficient and amazing.
I was met by Dr Lederman on my admission at 7-30 am and he stayed with me throughout the day for the scans, tests and fittings right up to my first treatment at 5pm. During my stay, he was present at all but one of my FSR treatments.
Four years have passed since my treatment – four years of a life of quality. On the negative side, my hearing has diminished very slightly and the tinnitus accompanies me for life but I am able to control my balance issues.
I hereby want to convey my thanks and gratitude to this great man whose treatment, empathy and understanding of my needs gave me the opportunity to preserve my hearing and have a good life. My long journey started with a single step and each day I thank God that the road I finally took led my to Dr Gil Lederman.
1 May 2006