Amarillo woman undergoes rare brain surgery

Rhonda Greathouse was diagnosed with a meningioma brain tumor in July. As of October, she was she was tumor-free.

Greathouse woke up one morning to find she was deaf in her right ear. She chose to do her own research on doctors and came across Dr. Hryar Shahinian, a skull base surgeon who specializes in rare brain procedures.

"I just wanted to kind of process it and think about it, pray about it," Greathouse said. "And one of the reasons I wanted to do this interview today is if this story helps just one person, it will be worth it to me."

According to Greathouse, Dr. Shahinian practiced his procedures on pigs before performing on patients. Only two or three other doctors in the world perform the same type of surgery.

"He says he's like a thief in the night that goes in and gets the tumor before the brain knows that it's been there," Greathouse said. "So, it makes it a lot easier on the patient."

Greathouse flew to California for the four-hour surgery. After two days in the hospital and two days in a hotel, she returned to Amarillo.

"For three weeks, I have to sleep sitting straight up. So, that's the toughest part. But that's not much of a price to pay for having brain surgery two weeks ago."

Both Greathouse and her husband said this experience changed their lives.

"I feel like I have a new lease on life. I've always been a Christian, but it just makes me want to be a better person all the way around because life is short and we need to make the most of it."

Greathouse is on anti-seizure medication for the next three months, and she is planning to try some new Wi-Fi hearing aids if the hearing in her right ear does not improve.