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Terry Zimmerman

2011 Team Eye and Ear Member
Raised $10,000 for Neurotology Fellowship

My story starts in March of 2010 when my husband was diagnosed with a vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma) brain tumor. The size of the tumor left surgical removal as the only viable treatment option. After educating ourselves about the problem, it became very apparent that this is an extremely delicate operation. At best, Brad would lose the hearing in his right ear and his right vestibular (balance) nerve. With a lesser outcome, facial paralysis and other post surgical complications could be a distinct possibility. The Internet is full of videos and stories of unfortunate individuals who have had less-than-positive surgical results. Research has shown that more experienced surgeons have much better outcomes. Our goal was to find the best surgical team available to increase the odds of a successful result.

It’s a small world – during our search for a suitable physician, our neighbor and friend in the Bahamas heard of Brad’s problem and contacted us. He told us the sobering, but joyful details of his successful cancer treatment by Dr. Daniel Deschler at Mass. Eye and Ear, and suggested we contact him for guidance. We did, and Dr. Deschler highly recommended Dr. Michael McKenna for the procedure. Brad and I were very impressed with the humility, compassion and dedication of these two men, and based on Dr. McKenna’s extensive experience with this disorder, we developed total confidence in his surgical ability to take out the tumor. On May 28, 2010, Brad underwent a 12-hour surgery, and the tumor was successfully removed. We credit Dr. McKenna and his dedicated team for the successful outcome.

Brad’s medical problem impressed upon me the need for properly trained and experienced surgeons to replace the Dr. McKennas of the world in the future when he retires. I decided to raise funds for the Neurotology Fellowship at Mass. Eye and Ear so others like my husband will have the benefit of highly trained physicians and the best possible surgical outcomes in the years to come. This experience has taught me that individually our contributions may be small, but collectively, we can have a tremendous impact in helping others. Running a marathon and raising this money was the least I could do: Mass. Eye and Ear has our eternal gratitude.