A Life Changing Experience
Patient: Kelly DeSimone
Diagnosis: Acoustic neuroma
Sight Restored: January 2013
BostonSight® PROSE patient Kelly DeSimone offers this first-hand account of her experience with acoustic neuroma and PROSE.
I was 28 years old in early November 2009 when I first realized my left ear was ringing. The doctor said it might be a deep ear infection; he put me on antibiotics, but they didn’t help. A few weeks later I had a hearing exam and the doctor said I was too young to have that kind of hearing loss. She put me on steroids and ordered an MRI. Meanwhile, the left side of my face started twitching.
After my MRI I learned that I had a tumor on my cranial nerve called an acoustic neuroma— which are typically very slow growing, benign tumors. I was referred to doctors at Massachusetts Eye & Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital. The time between appointments seemed like forever. The tumor was pushing against my facial nerve, causing my twitching. As I lost more feeling in my face, I watched my smile disappear a little more with each passing day. Then, I was told I needed surgery.
At first my eye was tearing excessively and twitching, but a few weeks before my surgery it started to get very dry. Then it would no longer close on its own. I couldn’t wait to get the surgery over with so I could move on with my life and have everything go back to “normal”.
After 11 hours in the operating room, the surgeons were thrilled they were able to get the whole tumor out and it was benign. Two weeks later I got a platinum weight in my eyelid to help it to close and make it more comfortable. My face was slowly getting better but I still had no tears at all in my left eye.
At my one year mark they told me that there was a good chance that my tears would never come back. It was difficult to accept, since the constant lubrication I had to use was blurring my vision, causing a glare, dripping out of my eye, and making it very difficult to work on a computer.
A year later, I was referred to Carolyn Kloek, MD, an ophthalmologist who had experience with patients like me; I knew right away I was in good hands. She told me she thought I would be a good candidate for PROSE treatment, and I immediately made an appointment at Boston Foundation for Sight.
I will never forget my first day wearing the device—driving, working on my computer, watching TV—everything was so clear again. It’s the simple everyday activities that make me grateful for PROSE; I apply my device in the morning and don’t worry about my eye all day. People no longer ask me what is wrong with my eye all the time, which has given me back some of the confidence that I have lost from having facial paralysis. Receiving PROSE was a life changing experience that I am grateful and appreciative for every day.