Warning: *Graphic Content*

Meet Dana

  • Dana Popp: 41

  • Diagnosis: Vestibular Schwannoma

  • Year of diagnosis: 2018

  • Warning signs: Dizziness, fatigue, brief episodes of double vision, clogged ear sensation

  • Size of tumor: 12mm

  • Surgery date: February 5, 2019

  • Surgery performed at UCSD, Jacobs Medical Center

  • Surgical approach: Retrosigmoid

  • Length of surgery: 6 hours

  • Outcome: Great! Full tumor resection, partial hearing preserved in AN ear, and I’m able to wear a hearing aid to help. I still have some visual issues and I wear prism glasses to help correct them

  • Next MRI May 2022

These pictures show Dana’s post surgery incision and her post surgery balance.  Very impressive!

My AN journey began in 2014. I had a busy two-year-old and a newborn who didn’t like to sleep. Life was hectic and I was frequently dizzy and I started having brief episodes of double vision. I initially chalked these things up to the utter exhaustion of motherhood but after several incidents, I made an appointment with my eye doctor. She ran some tests and I was relieved that everything looked perfect. Over time, the odd double vision incidents were happening more frequently (my vision would always return to normal after a few minutes) and I accumulated more odd symptoms like constantly hearing my heartbeat in my right ear (which also felt very clogged) and my right eye had become painfully dry all of the time. I could also see a correlation to weather and I wondered if this was ultimately a  sinus/inner ear issue. 

Meet Abby

  • Abby Buckner: 37

  • Diagnosis: Vestibular Schwannoma

  • Year of diagnosis: 2020

  • Size of tumor: 8mm

  • Surgery date: July 21, 2020

  • Surgery performed at UCSD La Jolla

  • Surgical approach: Mid Fossa

  • Length of surgery: 4 hours

  • Outcome: Severe hearing loss and tinnitus in right ear, vestibular nerve completely severed (imbalance, vestibular therapy), droopiness on right side of face, right eye is constantly dry

  • Next MRI ‪June 2020 to check for regrowth

These pictures show Abby’s post surgery incision and her post surgery smile. So beautiful!

Abby found us through such a cool way! I encourage you to take a few minutes to read how God works in so many amazing ways.

"I have to tell you, finding Team A.N.A. 417 felt like divine intervention. A guy that I went to high school with posted on his Facebook page asking if anyone needed prayers, I sent him a private message telling him I'd been diagnosed with a non-cancerous brain tumor. As it happens, he had worked with your group in the downtown holiday window decorating challenge last year. He sent me a message saying he didn't know what my diagnosis was, but that he had met you guys, and sent me your Facebook page information.

In talking with Becky and Olivia, who are part of your board of directors, it was the first time that I felt like someone knew what I was going through. Olivia shared her surgery experiences (2) with me, her first surgery happened to be with the surgeon I had been referred to in Kansas City, and her second with Dr. Friedman in San Diego. I shared with her the feedback from my doctor and she recommended that I send my medical records to Dr. Friedman and he would do a virtual consult with me and tell me what he recommended. Dr. Friedman called me 30 minutes after I sent my information to him and 11 days later I was having surgery. He was able to retain some hearing in my right ear, something that simply would not have happened if I had surgery in Kansas City. I am eternally grateful to the support I received from Team A.N.A. 417, and I look forward to paying it forward through participation with the group."

Abby, you are such a positive inspiration and we are so happy you are part of the @teamana417 community! Keep on fighting the good fight! We are here for you!

Meet Tammy

  • Tammy Tate: 47

  • Diagnosis: Vestibular Schwannoma

  • Year of diagnosis: 2016

  • Warning signs: None, found on accident during an MRI scan

  • Size of tumor: 1.8 cm

  • Surgery performed at Mercy Hospital, Springfield, MO

  • Surgical approach: Mid Fossa

  • Length of surgery: 13 hours

  • Outcome: Deaf in left ear, facial paralysis on the left side, eye weight put in left eye to help close, imbalance on the left side, tinnitus, trouble drinking with a straw, headaches, left eye waters when chewing

  • Next MRI ‪July 10, 2020‬ to check for regrowth

Just because most benign brain tumors aren’t life threatening, it does not mean they aren’t life changing!

These pictures show Tammy’s MRI scan of the tumor (the white growth), post surgery incision, post surgery facial paralysis and TODAY!

Tammy, you are such an inspiration to your family and friends as well as your @teamana417 community! Keep on fighting the good fight!

Meet Olivia

"Grace and Courage"

My name is Olivia. I am 22 and in the summer of 2015 I found out that I have an acoustic neuroma, which is a benign tumor. Mine was the size of a golf ball which is on the large side of the spectrum when it comes to average tumor size. This was a little scary to hear because the larger the tumor is, the longer the surgery takes. I couldn't imagine being under anesthesia for up to twelve hours.

Up until this point in my life, I was a very healthy person and I never had to have surgery or anything like this done so finding out that I had a brain tumor seemed pretty unreal to me. I cried a lot for probably the first two weeks after I found out about my tumor. I cried about the fact that I wouldn't be able to go back to school in the fall. I don't know why, but not going back to school seemed like the worst thing in the world to me at that point in time. Now looking back on it, I don't know why I let myself get so worked up about that. I think it was just the fact that my life was going to change pretty drastically. I wasn't going to get to go back to school after summer break like all of the other normal college students. I was convinced that I was going to lose my job because I was going to have to ask off work for up to eight weeks. My life was not going to be normal anymore and that really freaked me out.

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