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Bill was 61 years old and eagerly anticipating retirement from the police force in another year. Yet suddenly, he was contemplating his own mortality in his last months on the job.

The doctor’s words had hit him like a sledgehammer.

“You have a brain tumor and you need brain surgery,” Bill recalls of that stressful day he sat alone across from his neurosurgeon. “I was completely blown away.”

Though he had noticed his symptoms had been getting progressively worse — numbness of the face, dizziness, and hearing difficulties — he never considered that cancer could be the cause.

“The doctor told me I had an acoustic neuroma, which is basically a brain tumor. He said that I had to have surgery as soon as possible to have it removed. I left the office in a fog and just sat in my car and cried.”

Because he didn’t want to alarm his wife, Bill called his union benefits office. The office called us.

We listened to Bill’s story and when he was finished, we explained to him that traditional surgery is not the only treatment option for an acoustic neuroma. We pointed out that gamma knife treatment, which doesn’t actually involve a knife but uses beams of gamma radiation, is often used in the treatment of acoustic neuromas.

We recommended that he get a second opinion to explore this option. Bill heaved a huge sigh of relief.

A week later, Bill was seen by another neurosurgeon whose facility offered the gamma knife treatment.

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