In 2007 I had an acoustic neuroma removed from my right skull.  This is a benign tumor of the insulating cells of the balance nerve.  It occurs quite often and can strike anyone at almost any age.  It grows slowly, but can cause a lot of long-term damage, affecting the hearing and/or facial nerves and the brain.

The operation was successful in removing the neuroma.  Blood supply to the hearing nerve was cut, however, so I am now totally and permanently deaf on one side.  I am also left with a static sound on the right side of my brain that gets louder the more noise or stress I experience (including having a nice cocktail!)

I recovered just fine after three months of slow progress.  I noticed, however, that loud, low noises (like motorcycle engines with illegal mufflers) would absolutely drain me of energy.  My balance did not improve as it should have.  I also needed to rest during the day in order to regain enough energy for my next activity.  I kept gaining weight and felt sluggish.  After two years of this I sought help.

I thought something was wrong with my endocrine system.   Eventually a blood test proved that my testosterone was very low.  I had been having no obvious physical or psychological issues around this except exhaustion and melancholy.   The doctor put me on testosterone replacement therapy.  Within two days the spring was back in my step.  Within a month I began to lose weight and went back to the gym.  Within a year, my muscle mass increased, my love handles were gone, and my depression lifted.  I felt half my age.  My T blood level went from barely 200 to 550 (200 is considered low-normal; 800 is at the top of the scale).  My guess is that the brain operation pushed my daily stress level to the point where my normally low testosterone was too low for daily functioning.

Apparently 20% of all middle-aged men suffer from low T.  Only 5% of them know it and are doing something about it.  Depression, erectile dysfunction, low libido, weight gain, and a general malaise can all be symptoms of low T.  It’s up to patients to ask their doctors about their T number.  Many physicians
don’t consider low normal to be a problem, but it may be for you as it was for me.

Middle aged guys, get checked!  There may be no need to suffer from mood swings or feel older than you ought to.  And ladies, tell your guys about this issue and coach them into better health.  I look forward to hearing about your experiences with low T, and also with acoustic neuromas.

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