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Flying in Comfort

Dear Dr Danner,

The tubes allowed me to fly in perfect comfort without anxiety - thank you for assuring that I was able to arrive at my son's wedding without additional ear problems.  The tubes have not eliminated most of my discomfort but I am greatful for what they did do!  See you next vist.

Best regards,


Acoustic Neuroma

Dr Bartels and Staff,

Thank you Dr Bartels for the wonderful work you did in removing the acoustic neuroma tumor.  I'm so grateful I was sent to such a good doctor and I'm so thankful that I don't have any major side effects from the surgery.

The ICU gave me excellent care.  It was great to be in a hospital, where I was so closely observed after surgery.  Also I had wonderful care on the 9th floor.  The staff was all very kind and helpful. So I have to say Tampa General Hospital was an excellent hospital.

Best regards,


Your Help Has Meant So Much

Dear Dr Bartels,

I thank God for instilling in me a new life through your skillful hands.  I think of the circumstances under which we met, and I can't help but to see God's grace in my life, and in my family.

May the Lord bless you and your family.  I can't thank you enough for your warmth, assurance, and care.

In Christ,


Vestibular Schwannoma

Dear Dr Bartels,

I wan to express my sincere gratitude to you for your excellent care during my recent treatment for a vestibular schwannoma.  I have been an RN for 28 years so when I was diagnosed I began to ask among my colleagues for the name of a surgeon.  My husband and I also researched on the Internet to learn all we could about schwannomas and skull based tumors.  You were highly recommended to me by another health care professional who was also a patient.

As soon as we met you we were impressed with your focus, warmth, knowledge and caring.  We immediately knew we had made the right choice.  Throughout my hospitalization you always responded to questions and problems in a timely manner and my husband and family consistently felt secure.

I would like to mention another aspect of my care that I think could be helpful to other patients.  I had 6 weeks from the time of my diagnosis to the date of surgery.  I knew I wanted to prepare physically, emotionally and spiritually to optimize my chances for a positive outcome.  I have witnessed many patients who have had a positive effect on their illness by taking an active role in self-care.

With the support and encouragement of my husband, I was able to take a leave of absence from work and began daily yoga and meditation.  I read books and listened to tapes on healing and spirituality.  I also let it be known that all prayers were welcome.  I'm not active in any organized religion but the response was tremendous.  By the time the date of my surgery arrived, I felt calm and confident.

As disappointing as it was to be given this diagnosis, it has resulted in some very positive changes in my life.  That would no have been possible without your skilled and compassionate care.  Thank you for helping me.

Yours truly,


The Day My Life Was Changed

"It's just oxygen, don't worry!" were the last five words I heard before I went under to have my whole world changed.  I woke up sever hours later in the most excruciating pain of my life, but with a new meaning of, "I can hearing you loud and clear!"  I had just had my world changed, in many ways.

From the time I was a month old, I have been shuttled to doctors of every king.  One of the endless number of doctors' names I have long forgotten discovered that my left ear canal was full of bone.  Back in those days, most doctors told my parents, "If it is not life threatening, you should just wait until she is older to make her own decision about having it corrected."  I cannot tell you the hundreds of times I have heard that in my life, and every time I felt the same way.  I would not be here wasting my parents, yours, or my time on this if I did not plan on really having it done!  Eighty percent of the doctors I have encountered have been eye doctors, but two were just for the ear that had been just hanging on the side of my face unusable for seventeen years.  The doctor that I saw in ... (that I wish was just another name on the list of doctor names I have forgotten) gave me two options.  That was the first time I remember there was actually something they could do to fix my ear.  Both would be life changing but which one was better for me?  Drilling a hole in the side of my head or sticking a screw in, then after five months of recovery attach a box and hear better than most Americans?  Or, go see two specialists in Tampa who could possible drill the bone out, reconstruct my canal, and give me a new ear drum?  What were the risks I was facing with both?  What would be the difference in my actual hearing abilities?  I felt like I was on cloud nine.  Drilling the bone out?  What a splendid idea.  No ugly box and screw in my head for the next seventy years?  With those options, my choice was made a little easier.  Of course, unnamed doctor busted my new found excitement with the risks and complications: brain fluid drainage, canal collapsing, and about a hundred other risks that seemed to be coming out like the word vomit. I finally decided to talk all those other doctors advice and wait, weigh my options, and ask my family for their opinions. In August, I decided I was finally ready to go through with the surgery.  The only problem was, unnamed doctor lost his surgical privileges in my county of residence, and I was not willing to wait for his partner to get approved by my insurance.  So the road I had not even considered giving the slightest possibility looked like my only hope.

A month later, my dad and I made the two hour and twenty minute, 152.37 mile drive to Tampa General Hospital on November 2 to meet Dr Loren Bartels.  That day was the first time I would meet the man that would change my life, in the elevator on the ride up to his office.  He would end up being the one to give me the gift of being able to hear like everyone else, to have the option of having people walk on my left side without pretending to hear them, or have it be a black hole of secrets that many people have lost inside.  Within a week, my dad had scheduled my surgery for exactly one month later.  The thirty day wait felt like it was my arch nemesis that could never be defeated.  I felt overwhelmed and had the feeling that I was having to wade through too many things than I could handle.  Two trips up to Tampa General with my dad in the days before my surgery felt as if I was making a cross country trip every time I had to get in the car at 5:30 in the morning.  Ever hear, "Wow, you look like you just got hit by a truck?"  Those are the exact words I would use to explain how I felt walking into TGH on the bone chilling morning of December 10th.  I knew that within a few short hours I would be under the microscope of Dr Bartels.  The nerves were more than present and the inevitable pee test was lurking in the back of my head since they had not even ushered a needle within five hundred feet of me the day before, which was full of tests.  The time seemed to drag by like the feeling I used to get when I was five and had to go to sleep on Christmas Eve after tracking Santa on the computer with my family.  Finally, 10:30 am made it's well anticipated and anxiously awaited arrival, and it was my turn to be wheeled into the OR # 7!

Waking up, I felt like Wonder Woman with bionic hearing. If someone across the room had dropped a pin, it would have sounded like a crash of thunder in my ear.  Knowing that I would be waking in indescribable pain, my mom and younger sister purchased me the most adorable talking bear.  The only problem was, the volume of his cute and cuddle voice made my brain shake! After a full, dragged on week of recovery my newly constructed eardrum was finally ready to hear that cuddly brown bear's voice after I clapped his hands and made my mom smile.

Having to wait two weeks to make that two hour and twenty seven minute drive again it felt like my surgery day all over again.  Only this time, I would be graced with the exact words, "Your recovery is going better than I hoped."

I want to thank you Dr Bartels, from the bottom of my heart for giving me the gift of hearing.  Though, it is really loud at times.  I can never truly thank you enough!




Dear Dr Bartels,

Three weeks ago you performed another one of your "miracles" and removed a large acoustic neuroma from the base of my wife's brain.  The words "thank you" seem so weak and inadequate to express our complex feelings of good fortune, gratitude, and of course relief for the successful conclusion of this surgery.

So far, my wife has experienced no facial weakness, her balance is as good as it always was (bearing in mind that she is a self-proclaimed "klutz" from girlhood) and her recovery to us has been quite remarkable.

My wife was terrified going into this surgery, but there is no doubt that your kindness and concern during our pre-surgery meetings, and your quiet confidence and self-assurance, helped to soften her natural fears and apprehensions.  Your team colleagues independently assured us that you were among the best in this surgical field, and we are certainly believers.  Beyond that, we are grateful and thankful to your wonderful office staff as well. Without exception, they reached out to my wife and provided warmth and encouragement when it was desperately needed.  This concern was so greatly appreciated.

We just want you to know that, under the circumstances, we consider ourselves most fortunate that we ended up in your hands (quite literally).  We understood that there were no guarantees, but we also knew that we were dealing with likelihoods that could only be improved by your experience, and by the professionalism and caring which was evident.  The result only confirms our faith.

We remain forever indebted to you.  If we can provide encouragement to others (to future terrified) facing this same surgery we stand ready to serve.  Our very best wishes for the fabulous work that you do.

Yours most gratefully,


Tumor Experience

Dear Dr Bartels,

Words can't express how I feel other than very blessed to be here and to have had a successful surgery. So many people don't have this experience.  The moment I met you I knew you were a "gift from God" and I was exactly where I was meant to be.

I was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma in May and told by the ENT Specialist and Neurosurgeon in Maine that we would not do surgery but watch the tumor and to periodic MRI's.  The neurosurgeon told me my best case scenario was I'd lose my hearing totally in the left ear.  I learned a cousin had the same diagnosis ten years ago and Dr Bartels did a very successful surgery on him.  The first available appointment to see Dr Bartels was 2 1/2 weeks later.  So my husband and I flew from Portland where Dr Bartels reviewed my MRIs with us and immediately said "This is what we're going to do."  He was very confident, self assured.  He spent about 1 1/2 hours with us and I immediately knew that was what I was going to do and with whom I was going to do it with.  This is a major surgery and life threatening decision for me but I felt very calm and confident and in my heart I knew I'd been sent to him.

My surgery was a great success.  The care I was given by Dr Bartels and his staff was superb! By the way, Dr Bartels saved my hearing.  It tested exactly the same as when I went into surgery.  Usually you loose some hearing during this surgery.  My tumor began on my facial nerve so had I waited to just observe by MRI and it had grown my face could have been paralyzed or greatly affected.  That thought horrifies me!  I don't know what else to say other than Thank You so much!  You will always have a very special place in my heart!


BAHA Solution

Dear Dr Bartels,

Perhaps my most important visit to see you was in your Spring Hill office.  After a hearing test you told me I had a unilateral conductive hearing loss and that the only solution was a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid.

You very patiently took as much time as needed to explain the process and thoroughly answer my many (and there were many) questions.  I will admit that the idea of letting you drill a hole in my head and implant a titanium abutment was a little foreign as well as somewhat disconcerting.  You kindly said that I could schedule an appointment for the surgery by calling your  Tampa office directly.  After considering the process for the hour it took me to drive home, I decided I had total confidence in you and I scheduled my surgery immediately.

January 18 was the big day and again, your wonderful attitude and obvious competence made me quiet comfortable with the procedure.  Actually, in retrospect, the only really unpleasant part of the entire time was wearing the awful huge white uncomfortable "bandage".  I think those might have been the longest 8 days I can remember.

The audiologist fitted my Ponto Pro in March and I couldn't be happier with the results.  I have even gotten past the "hole in the head" and "screw loose" joking period by family and good friends.  I have named "her" Gracie (for Amazing Grace) since the difference in my daily life is amazing.  You and your entire staff are to be congratulated on your professional, care hearing center.  Thank you all.



Whole Again

Dr Bartels,

I wold like to extend our heart felt thanks and gratitude to you for taking care of our daughter over these past six years.  After our appointment with you this past week and receiving the great news that she can now get her ears wet without having to take any precautions was just so very gratifying; and on the ride home to W.P. she was actually very pleasant and talkative, not unlike her customary and usual teenage angst.

I want to thank you for your skills as a gifted surgeon, as a healer extraordinaire, as a caring, wonderful man who has seen to it that our daughter received the very best that modern medicine has to offer.  Closure can sometimes be a little sad, yes I'm a little sad that we have reached this milestone but I wouldn't trade this wonderful outcome for anything.  It has been our honor and blessing to have your as our daughter's attending physician for these past six years and as parents we have the great satisfaction of knowing after careful study and deliberation our choice to bring her to you was the right decision.

I wish you unabated success with your practice and may you continue to work your surgical miracles so that you patients receive the gift of hearing and balance and good health.  Thank you so very much for all you have done for our daughter, she is whole again because of you.

All the very best,


Preparing for Surgery

Dear Dr Bartels,

Last year at this time I was getting my personal affairs in order as I prepared myself for surgery.  You were going to remove an acoustic neuroma from behind my left ear.  Through our conversations I was aware of the possible side effects of the surgery.  It was, needless to say, a very difficult time in my life.  I wish to express to you my gratitude for your remarkable skill and talent with which you performed my surgery, and the kind and meticulous follow-up care that I received from you and your office staff.  There is honestly not a day that goes by that I don't think of you and say "thank you" and "God bless you." Words can never express my true appreciation for having a surgeon as eminently capable as you.

May you and your family have a healthy and happy holiday season.

Sincerely yours,