Our dear friend and colleague, Ben Martinez, has recently been diagnosed with a Vestibular Schwannoma (i.e. Tumor) growing off of his right inner-ear "balance-nerve" which has been causing him mild vertigo and right-side facial numbness for some time. While pretty big, the tumor is benign (YAY!), and is located on the OUTSIDE of the brain so the prognosis is very good. Losing the right side balance nerve permanently is part of the procedure and losing right-side hearing is the highest probable risk from the surgery. Less probable to very unlikely are things like partial facial paralysis to stroking on the table (thank you lawyers!<----direct quote from Ben!)
The tumor is random (not truly "caused" by anything) and has been growing slowly for years. While not medically proven, he thinks it's the reason he's been "so bullheaded" these past twenty years and why he's elected to do crazy things like coach Odyssey of the Mind the past ten years. Ben is very involved in his community and with his daughter and her school, specifically with the sciences.
Ben's brain surgery is scheduled for February 20th at Emory Midtown and we expect him to be in the hospital up to 5-days and recovering at home for approximately 1-3 months, mainly to train his brain to depend on a single inner ear to regain his "land" legs, and do the functions of what both sides of the brain used to do. He will have major balance issues and will need assistance with motor functions for some time.
We are all praying for a speedy recovery for Ben so that he can return to his Delta family (mostly) intact! We have set up this special fund to assist Ben and his family with their medical and day to day expenses while he is at home recovering for the next 3 months or so (he is the sole provider for his family). Any assistance, kind words and prayers would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you all so much!!
- Kimberly Coffman
- Lei Lei
- James Nelson
- Akira Kanezaki