Dianna Milam was diagnosed with a brain tumor in November of 2012. Doctors told her it was a medium-sized brain tumor sitting near her brain stem area.
“I don’t think there's anything more terrifying than someone telling you, you need brain surgery,” Milam said.
Milam talked to a surgeon at Vanderbilt who said her symptoms would have to get a lot worse before they would operate. And even then they wouldn’t guarantee her symptoms would be any better after the surgery – they could get worse.
Milam said she turned into a bulldog – detemined to beat the brain tumor.
She found Dr. Hrayr Shahinian at The Skull Base Institute in Los Angeles. He is one of the few doctors in the world who performs a fully endoscopic, closed-brain surgery. The minimally invasive form of surgery uses a tiny endoscope instead of a scalpel and saw.
Milam went in for surgery in L.A. last month, and Dr. Shahinian removed the tumor.
After a few days of recovery, Milam said her head became clear again.
Doctors said the tumor was smashing her blood vessels and bundles of acoustic and facial nerves.
Despite the damage, Milam hasn’t had any permanent hearing loss, facial paralysis or balance disorder since the surgery.
“I think anybody who has had a really hard journey like that where they didn’t know if things would work out ok. You're so grateful to be back to themselves,” Milam said.
She hopes other medical centers will now adopt the same type of surgery and use it as the standard of car for this type of brain tumor.