Shaun’s Story: Acoustic Neuroma
Getting hit in the head with a baseball isn’t usually considered a good thing, however in Shaun Marquez’s case, it may have saved his life.
“I’m a soccer and little league coach for my kids. I was behind home plate when one of the kids on the team swung his bat and the baseball flew backwards hitting my face.”
That blow set off a constant ringing in Shaun’s ear and sent him to Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, Dr. Bradford Ress.
“We conducted tests to see what was causing the non-stop ringing, including an MRI and discovered Shaun had a slow growing, non-cancerous brain tumor known as an Acoustic Neuroma. It was located near Shaun’s brainstem and could be dangerous if left untreated.”
The 44-year-old North Miami Beach resident was stunned because he had absolutely no symptoms.
“When you get a diagnosis like that it’s life changing. I was numb and didn’t know what was going to happen. I sat in my car trying to process it all before I could call my wife Cruz to tell her and my four kids. Cruz was a great,positive support and kept reassuring me everything was going to be alright.”
Dr. Ress advised Shaun of his treatment options.
Surgery to remove the tumor or CyberKnife Radio-surgery, a non-invasive treatment which delivers the highest dose possible of pinpoint radiation,destroying the tumor and leaving surrounding healthy tissue unharmed.
Shaun says, “To me, it was a no brainer. There were too many risks with surgery. All my motor skills could have been affected, the risk of general anesthesia and brain infection. Recovery was a long process with a hospital stay and weeks away from work. CyberKnife was non-invasive. You go in, lay down on the table, listen to music and the machine does all the work, moving quietly all around you. Plus it’s less expensive.”
CyberKnife Radiosurgery has been used for more than two decades with extremely high rates of tumor control. Dr. Ress says,“CyberKnife is great for treating Acoustic Neuroma’s and most patients are good candidates for it.”
Shaun went to The CyberKnife Center of Miami for treatment. All it took was one 45-minute session done on an outpatient basis. A team of doctors worked out his specific treatment plan including Dr. Ress and Radiation Oncologist David Huang, MD, PhD.
He had the treatment on a Wednesday morning, coached a little league game that evening and was back at work Monday. Dr. Ress says, “For people who can’t take time off work this is a great option. All our patients have done really well with CyberKnife therapy.”
Shaun says, “If I had chosen to have surgery, I would have had to quit coaching for a while or maybe never again. With CyberKnife I had no side effects and even drove home after the treatment. My wife wanted to drive and I said no, I feel good.”
“They take such good care of you at CyberKnife Miami. I wasn’t scared, they were very comforting and explained everything. I also went to their website and watched their video on how CyberKnife works.”
Two years after Shaun’s CyberKnife treatment his brain tumor is smaller, if it starts growing again CyberKnife therapy can be repeated.
“It’s eye opening when you’re told you have a brain tumor. You think of all the things you might miss. I don’t take anything for granted anymore.” “CyberKnife made everything so much easier.
It eliminates all the stress and risks that could go wrong with surgery. If at all possible, why would anyone choose any other option?