Sinus Suffering

My History of chronic sinusitis

Days 1-13095

I lived and had sinus pain.

Growing up in Northern New England prevented me from getting a lot. It's so cold up there that besides mold forms and fungii, you don't pick up on a lot. Unfortunately, the Shenandoah Valley rates as one of the places on earth with the highest levels for kidney stones and rhinitus.

About 5 years ago I started sneezing a lot, went for quick tests and found I was allergic to mostly dust. The boys and the wife have it worse...specific grasses, trees, animals, etc. Might as well live in a bubble. Wasn't there a movie once called Bubbleboy? or was that a Seinfeld episode?

4 years ago I started having bad headaches that were partially traced to sinus issues.

3 years ago I went through the merrygoround of allergy antihistamines, reuptakers, blockers, nasal decongestants, etc. OTC, UTC, and from the forest...just kept getting worse.

2 years ago I gave up.

This past year I woke up Christmas morning and I couldn't bear the pain anymore. I started researching, asking questions, comparing and contrasting info....started with my family doctor and we went through the meds again....leading up to a CT scan. At that point I got a referal to an ENT.

1 year and closing:

Sinus headaches aren't like the migraines I get. These start with a sneeze or three, congestion builds and if not caught in ONE day, may disappear temporarily. Pressure builds and up to one week later, WHAM. You honestly can't lift your head. Nothing works to fix it and of course, prevention is over.

For the past 6 months I have been living one day ahead of sinus pain.

I nasal irrigate with a SinusPulse machine 2x a day with a saline rinse. I breathe in steam once a day from a small Vicks vapomachine. (These were upgrades from a neti pot and a large towel over my head to capture steam from a vaporizer.

If I sneeze once, or my nose itches, I nasal irrigate an extra time, add another steam session, and turn the fan off when I take a shower.

The pain

I can not pick my head up from the ground.

I am photosensitive and feel nauseous.

I am audiosensitive and feel overwhelmed.

It lasts for 16-36 hours until great gobs of green gremlin grapeseed come shooting out. But by then it's over.

I became incapacitated by them even though we live in a new house with little sawdust, have allergy-free poodles, have allergy filters on the furnace intakes, have three air-cleaner/HEPA filters in the house and 1 doctor-approved one at school, keep all windows/doors closed, have allergy bedding and pillowcases.

Too expensive, too time-consuming, too much of a waste.

The CT scan

The scan was quick, done in 5 minutes, and showed a slightly deviated septum (no problem), free flowing turbinates, and a small opening to the right maxillary sinus cavity (ostium and such). Just wasn't big enough. The left one looked extra large like it already had surgery (but it hadn't).

What to do?

Keep dying slowly

or

Maybe live a little?



What You Should do Before Sinus Surgery

Sinus surgery should be the last measure taken in your attempts to lessen the grips of those terrible sinus headaches. Surgery cannot be undone.

Before sinus surgery is even considered, there are a number of steps that have to be taken. If you are truly concerned about your health, your well being, and your family, there are steps you should take to get it under control.

Patience and communication are very important as you make your way through this web of physical symptoms. It may take years before you come to the end of prevention and treatments, and move into the final phase of surgery.

Gathering information

The first step is to gather as much information as you can

Talk and communicate with your family and relatives and document:

  1. allergies,
  2. genetic and normal physical conditions,
  3. possible remedies that work.

Talk and communicate with your neighbors or local health officials

  1. allergies,

Talk with your Dentist to see if it may be related to your teeth

Download a Home Allergy Checklist sheet and complete it

Keep a running record of the weather in your area.

  1. Write down humidity levels, precipitation, etc.

Keep a running record of symptoms and note:

  1. what they are,
  2. how long they last,
  3. what the dates were,
  4. what you were doing in the hours and days before they began,
  5. what medicines you took and your body’s response to them.
  1. Keep a running record of OTC and prescribed drugs and their effects

Keep a running record of the pollen and mold counts in your area.

  1. Check out: http://www.pollen.com/allergy-weather-forecast.asp and have emails

Take these records with you to the doctor.

Decision making

Take your time during the appointment. Explain what you did, provide a copy of the notes, and summarize your findings. There are a number of interconnecting issues, preventions, and treatments that may be broached upon concurrently or separately. Remember, this is your well-being and your life, take the time to do it right.

1. Allergy medicines may be prescribed to you based on this data.

2. Allergy testing at a special clinic or laboratory.

3. Treatments: Chiropractic, allergy shots, medicines, food choices, etc.

4. Prevention: Getting rid of animals, installing and changing furnace and air filters regularly, installing allergy bedding, closing off your home from outside allergens and contaminates, washing thoroughly after being outside or working with certain chemicals, moving to a different climate, etc.

5. CT scan of your head and sinus cavities.

6. Referral to an ENT-Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist

7. Research, research, Research!

The Final Word

Unfortunately, if you are like me, and you have thoroughly and patiently worked through all issues and ideas from prevention to treatment, surgery may be your last option. Your ENT and/or surgeon will go over your complete history and CT scan with you. Make sure you research well ahead of making any decisions. You will find interesting experiences (check out my blog at: http://personaltrial.wordpress.com/) that show all sides of the issue, current best practices, possible side effects, and a step by step discussion of the entire process.

A Week after Sinus Surgery

I spent the day Tuesday reflecting on the previous week’s recovery from sinus surgery. A few lessons came to mind. The first is that healing is a slow, mysterious, and sometimes revealing process. I was able to literally step aside from the normal worldly spin and watch and listen. I learned about my children’s independence, boyish natures, need for constant food, and some unmentionables that will be fixed shortly! I learned how creative and dynamic, organized and empathetic my wife was, which puts me to shame. I learned how much time we can waste each day on the computer, instead with the friends and family that matter most.

I was unprepared for this sinus surgery. I hadn’t asked enough questions, researched enough, or prepared myself. I guess I still see myself as a young 18 year old who can’t break, but if happens to, will mend quickly. This is my 2nd major surgery of the year, and for both, recovery is slow.

Throughout Tuesday I was able to go outside and do light garden work, but the fatigue was where the fight was! My legs got wobbly, hands shook, and my attention turned to focus on sitting down. Who knows if it’s a combination of the anesthesia, lack of CPAP, or surgical recovery. I just walked 6.8 miles on Appalachian Trail less then 2 weeks ago.

And, while burning in the upper nasal passages, pressure behind the eyes, soreness on the top of the head, a sinus like headache over the eyebrows and between the eyes continue, it is nothing like last week. Pain meds can help these symptoms to some extent, but not the depression that wants to seep in and destroy my well-being.

My main objective each day is to pace myself, do small chores, interact with the family more, and take over some of the lighter housework duties, but for right now, I need to get back to bed and sleep again.

Sinus Anatomy

Sinus surgery

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Comments 2 comments

Sprinkler Man profile image

Sprinkler Man 7 years ago from USA

Nasal Rinse with Colloidal Silver. Colloidal Silver will kill all single cell organisms that can irritate the sinus cavity. Do some research if you are still having symptoms. I use to get sinus infections all the time, now I get them once or twice a year and usually just rinse the infection away versus using antibiotics.

So how are you feeling now?


LeM22 profile image

LeM22 7 years ago from Northern VA Author

Colloidal silver is a great idea...but my issues were drainage related. It's been a month and I'm just starting to feel great. One Month! Check out my blog: http://personaltrial.wordpress.com/ for updates.

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