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  • John Kippen

Often kids look at me and say, Mr. What’s wrong with your face.

Here is the story

In May of 2002, I woke up with a loud ringing in my left ear that lasted hours. I called my Beverly Hill ENT and he said come on in. He performed a standard hearing test on me and found nothing. The ringing was gone so I was happy.

A few weeks ago, I realized I had trouble hearing men’s voices on the phone. I went back to the same ENT and he again said it was all in my head , excuse the pun. I began to get dizzy. I reached out to some more doctors who had no idea what was wrong. I was encouraged to get a MRI by my friends , so I went to an ENT that was in my medical plan to get a prescription. When I saw him, he said he had an audiologist in the office who was fresh out of school. She tested my hearing and did a test she learned in school called a Hearing decay test. She mentioned that it was no longer a standard hearing test in the industry, but she wanted to try it. I had nothing to lose and I was frustrated, so I said “ Sure.” I failed the test almost immediately. She excused herself for a moment as she called her professor in Audiology school. Upon hearing the results, he immediately diagnosed me with an Acoustic Neuroma.

I went to get an MRI and upon seeing the films, my ENT made an appointment with a Dr., at the House Ear Clinic in downtown Los Angeles. As soon as the specialist saw my MRI, he scheduled me for emergency brain surgery which happened a few days later. I was diagnosed with a 4.5 cm AN brain tumor which was causing all the symptoms and was displacing my brain stem. The specialist told me it would be a 14 hour surgery and would leave me deaf in my left ear, with no left balance nerve and could very well paralyze the left side of my face. That is exactly what happened.

The good news was my tumor was gone and I stopped being busy. The bad news is my hearing, balance and facial nerves were gone. It took months to recover from the constant exhaustion of having brain surgery.