Adam Zawislak has a passion for music, rock ‘n’ roll in particular. He’s inspired by all flavors of rock, from classic and hard rock to homegrown and modern genres. And as a DJ for STEEL 93 online radio, Adam loves connecting with other rock music fans. “We all have memories rooted in music, and these songs become your life’s soundtrack,” Adam says.
As a kid, he remembers playing “what if” games with hypothetical questions like, “If you had to lose your eyesight or hearing, which would you choose?” Without a doubt, Adam would do anything to keep his hearing – and the same holds true today. That’s why he was in a panic when he started losing his hearing three years ago.
Noncancerous, typically slow-growing tumors that form on the vestibulocochlear nerve connecting the brain and the inner ear. Learn more
“I remember sitting at my desk and suddenly losing partial hearing in my left ear. It was very frightening,” Adam recalls. He saw his primary care doctor first, and when Adam’s hearing didn’t return to normal within a week, he went in for an MRI.
The MRI revealed an acoustic neuroma, a noncancerous, slow-growing tumor that forms between the brain and inner ear. If left untreated, an acoustic neuroma can lead to serious problems such as vertigo, ringing in the ears, hearing loss and balance disorders. In some cases, an acoustic neuroma can become life-threatening if it grows large enough to press on the brain.
“Getting the news that I had a brain tumor was unsettling. I just kept thinking, ‘this is so weird!’” Adam says. “But I did my research and found out about The Valley Hospital. Even though I live in Vernon – an hour and a half from Ridgewood – it was an easy choice. If there was a chance for me to beat this thing and keep my hearing intact, the Gamma Knife Center at Valley was the way to go.”
Anthony D’Ambrosio, M.D., a neurosurgeon and co-director of the Gamma Knife Center at Valley, met with Adam to discuss next steps for treatment. Dr. D’Ambrosio specializes in diagnosing and treating all types of malignant and benign tumors and other medical conditions of the brain and neurologic system.
Dr. D’Ambrosio recommended Gamma Knife Radiosurgery, which uses beams of highly focused radiation to shrink and destroy tumors of the head and neck without damaging surrounding tissue. With this noninvasive procedure, there’s less risk of permanent hearing loss compared to having neurosurgery to remove the tumor.
Thanks to successful gamma knife surgery, Adam Zawislak can now record
his radio show without worrying about hearing loss.
Adam had Gamma Knife Radiosurgery in June 2012. “Everything went smoothly, and the results have been great,” Adam shares. “I’ve been going back every six months [and now on an annual basis] for follow-up MRIs. Everything is looking good, and my hearing is the same as it was before surgery.”
The radio DJ gig is “just a hobby,” according to Adam, who works as a Cisco Systems network technician, but clearly it’s the highlight of his day. Says Adam: “I race home to do my radio thing—and just thank God I can hear.”
For more information about The Valley Hospital Gamma Knife Center or to schedule a consultation, call our nurse navigator at 201-634-5677 or complete our contact form.
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