I'm 45 years old, and I've had a history of ear infections in my left ear since I was at least 10. I had two of them when I was 14 that went untreated, and apparently that's where the seeds for my first C-toma were planted.
In 1992, I started losing my hearing while I was in the Navy, and they couldn't figure out what was causing it, because even though I had a hole in my eardrum, the amount of hearing loss I was experiencing wasn't proportionate to the size of the hole. They decided to operate, and that's when they found the first C-toma had eaten through most of the incus. The surgery wasn't that bad, considering I was awake for it. I wasn't in very much pain, and I barely touched the Tylenol and Codeine they gave me.
Unfortunately, my hearing did not improve as much as they'd hoped, and I still had infections in that ear for the next 20+ years. In 2006, I went to the ER at our local hospital and they did a CAT scan. From the way the results read, it sounded like they might've stumbed onto a second larger C-toma that had overgrown the implant. Because I didn't have the money nor the insurance for the surgery, they just treated the infection.
Finally, I was able to get a job working for the state of Illinois that provided me with health insurance, but before that I was averaging about two or three infections a year. The last one I had in July of this year was untreated, so it also developed into an outer ear infection (a first), so I finally decided to see a specialist. After some pretty brutal antibiotics, I cleared the infection, and he mentioned surgery again. This time, I decided that I would go ahead with it, whether or not I could afford it, because it was just time. The initial plan is to take a look inside and then patch the hole in my eardrum, but considering my record and the fact that they did find something in 2006 that they never acted on, I'm thinking it's gonna end up being worst-case scenario: a tympanomastoidectomy.