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Donald’s Acoustic Neuroma and Prostrate Cancer

For those who might be facing an “acoustic neuroma” crisis, I would like to tell you–there is an acceptable, noninvasive, proven procedure available today.

In November of 1998, my immediate family noticed a slight loss of hearing as evidenced by my turning up the television to watch my beloved ball games. I did not have any other symptoms associated with acoustic neuroma. I went for a complete hearing evaluation…something I had not done in over fifteen years. It was noted in this evaluation a marked difference in the level of hearing between my left and right ear–necessitating an MRI to be performed. At that time no one, including the examining physician and audiologist, suspected a tumor.

Within a few days of this examination, and within twenty four hours after completing the MRI, I was called to come in immediately for an evaluation of the results. Here again, there was no alarm expressed or implied, as there had not been any reason to suspect any thing was wrong. I did not have ringing in the ears, no loss of balance, no facial contortions, not any reduction in what has always been an active physical life.

Upon making this return visit as requested, surrounding several x-rays outside the glass enclosed examining room, I noted another physician and several nurses conferring with my original physician . Entering the room in mass and posting the x-rays in front of me, I was informed by the additional physician, who was introduced as a neurosurgeon, that I had a small (1cc) “Acoustic Neuroma” on the balance nerve in my right ear. Non malignant in nature it should be surgically removed, while still at it’s present dimensions, before the other symptoms became prevalent. In other words, I was told I had a brain tumor.

Shock, concern, fear, the unknown…..I don’t remember any worse feeling –except facing a potential life threatening situation with one of my sons a few years ago. A follow up appointment was made to explain everything in detail with my wife. (I was more than happy to listen to my options again due to the fact that after I heard “brain tumor” I didn’t hear anything else!)

Getting second and third opinions about a condition as evidenced by photos seemed a waste of time…you have it or you don’t. The question was, when and how to remove it and hopefully experience a full recovery.

I have always experienced excellent health and having never faced surgery, we decided to do as much research as possible on Acoustic Neuromas. A date was set for surgery and in the interim, the internet afforded us lots of data on this type of tumor.

We discovered that there were other methods of treatment for this tumor depending upon certain conditions. One of those alternative methods was the CyberKnife. Fortunately, the originator and founder of this treatment was Dr. John Adler at Stanford University, just a few miles down the road from us.

We weighed the options. A dozen hours of surgery and an operation which involved removing a square piece of my skull and shrinking my brain so they could very carefully remove the entire balance nerve that hosts the tumor. The recovery time was going to be a couple of years involving months of rehabilitation.

Or, have three non invasive, sixty to ninety minute sessions, with no side effects, no discomfort, no cutting–I wouldn’t even have to take off my clothes!

We canceled the craniotomy.

After my third session–instead of learning how to walk all over again I took my beautiful wife to lunch.

The resulting MRI examinations, done in six month intervals, have determined the tumor has not only failed to grow, but is, in fact one-half of its original size! There are expectations of it being completely gone within the coming year.

When we were told by this remarkable doctor of these fantastic results my personal feelings were equal to those emotions felt upon my son’s complete recovery from his own personal dilemma. (Today, he is a practicing physician helping heal the hurt and making this world a healthier place.)

As my wife tells everyone, “every single doctor goes to a different school, has different professors, learns different things, treats different patients–so they don’t all know the same thing! Get a second, third, twenty-third opinion until you find the doctor that has the answer for you.”

I found my answer when I found Dr. Adler and the CyberKnife. It is my hope, that by writing the above I will be able to share with others this alternative procedure available today. It not only saved my life–it retained my life.

Update Wed,  July 21, 2004

Treating PROSTRATE CANCER with the CyberKnife

During a physical examination by my primary care physician, a rise in my PSA count was noted. This exam took place in November, 2003. I was referred to a Urologist for further evaluation.

The resulting examination and X-ray revealed a fairly normal prostate both in size and shape; however, further testing confirmed a PSA count of 4.3 which resulted in biopsies being performed at that time. On January 7, 2004, I was notified of prostate cancer being noted on my left prostate with some cloudiness surrounding this organ. This condition could lead to further problems in the future.

My options included surgery, seed implanting, external radiation, and the utilization of the Cyber Knife. I had been a Cyber Knife patient three years earlier having been successfully treated for an Acoustic Neuroma and I know this alternative treatment was now being used in lower body extremities. In my ongoing search for the best way for me to proceed, I realized the lack of more available data regarding the Cyber Knife was a stumbling block for other physicians who recommended the seed implanting.

I became the 4th patient treated at Stanford University for prostate cancer with the Cyber Knife. I chose this method as it was the most non invasive and posed the least amount of adversarial effects after the treatment. I also had the utmost confidence in both the treatment and physician. The treatment was spread out over five days with an hour spent per treatment. The immediate after effects were totally negative although I did experience some side effects two weeks out of the final treatment date. Those effects are temporary and pose nothing but an inconvenience without any serious discomfort or pain. Within two months or less, there are not any other signs or residual effects from the Cyber Knife treatment.

My 90 day window of further testing indicated a reduced PSA score of 1.9 and we anticipate further reduction within the next 90 day window.

Please feel free to contact me regarding any of the above. My telephone number is (650) 969- 5333.  My email address is

I definitely recommend this procedure for Prostate Cancer.


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