Kristen Benner has experienced her fair share of medical complications. She’s suffered from lupus, meningitis, neuropathy and also battled with cysts. Kristen was used to “getting up and getting going” no matter how she was feeling, she had two children to take care of and life didn’t stop when she was in pain. It wasn’t until she visited The Valley Gamma Knife Center that she could resume a normal, pain-free life again.
Kristen started seeing neurosurgeon, Dr. Anthony D’Ambrosio, for constant headaches and “ringing” in her ears. It wasn’t long before he discovered that a cyst on her head had been growing and was the underlying cause of her symptoms. Kristen was diagnosed with acoustic neuroma.
Dr. D’Ambrosio recommended she visit The Valley Gamma Knife Center, as she was an ideal candidate for Gamma Knife radiosurgery due to the location of her tumor. After having many positive experiences with Valley before, she knew that “there was nowhere else she’d rather go” for her treatment.
Kristen immediately began researching Gamma Knife radiosurgery. While she was already comfortable with Dr. D’Ambrosio, she was not yet comfortable with a procedure she knew nothing about, and the name “Gamma Knife” scared her. She didn’t want to have surgery, and she certainly didn’t want anyone to cut into her head with a knife. As she soon found out, Gamma Knife didn’t involve either of those things. In fact, she discovered that stereotactic radiosurgery is completely noninvasive, has minimal post-procedural pain and a short recovery period.
She chose Valley to treat her acoustic neuroma. Leading up to her procedure, the staff communicated frequently with Kristen, contacting her every step of the way. They informed her of the head frame that was required during the procedure, what exactly the procedure would entail and answered any questions she had, making sure Kristen was prepared and comfortable.
When she arrived on the day of her procedure, Dr. D’Ambrosio checked in on her constantly. She was made comfortable by the staff and was given medicine to numb the area that the head frame would be placed. Although the procedure took about 2-3 hours, “it felt like seconds”, Kristen recalled. She was able to go home that day.
“The nurses and staff were incredible. Dr. D is not only knowledgeable but he is also comforting. He made me feel safe and I remember thinking ‘I’ll be okay’.”
To Kristen’s relief, she woke up the following day without any swelling in her eyes, a side effect she read about from other Gamma Knife patients at other facilities.
Kristen was contacted regularly in the following weeks to ensure she was recovering well. She returned for her six-month, follow-up appointment and now returns to The Valley Gamma Knife Center every year for a brief consultation.
Her dizziness, headaches, and ringing in the ears are all gone now. Her hearing has even improved after her treatment, something she was prepared to lose all together.
For those unsure about Gamma Knife treatment, Kristen says “I had such a positive experience, don’t hesitate. It helped with the annoying ringing and it shrunk my tumor – it made life a lot easier.”