Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sinus Surgery

Back in 1994, at the ripe old age of 23, I had Endoscopic Surgery on my sinuses after suffering with numerous sinus infections.  In fact, I was so bad I felt like a walking infection.

My sinuses were filled with polyps and cysts, so much so that the Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon was shocked when it was time for surgery, because though an CT Scan had shown the problems, there was a good 12 month span from the time I had the scan done to the time I actually had the surgery.

The surgery was only supposed to be about an hour.  But because my sinuses were beyond horrible, it ended up taking 3 hours and I bled something awful.  And the worst part of that surgery, the packing afterwards.  Which resembled oversized cotton tampons.  What was so bad about these harmless things that helped stopped the bleeding?  Getting them removed a few days post-surgery after the blood had practically glued the "tampons" up into my nostrils.  I almost passed out the pain was so horrible.  It was worse than the actual surgery.

Anyway, after all was said and done, I could breath again and my sinus issues disappeared, for awhile that is.  My ENT said because I lived in New Jersey, I'd always have sinus issues due to NJ's not-so-stellar environment.  But this is where I lived so I'd have to deal.

Jump ahead to 2004, when I again began having sinus issues.  Had a CT Scan done and was told there was minimal thickening but wasn't anything major.  And that my ENT could do surgery again where he would go back into the sinuses and just sort of clean them out.  Wouldn't be as invasive as the first one.  But it was clearly my choice, there weren't any polyps or cysts, so I thought I didn't need the surgery and hoped the infections wouldn't get too unbearable.

Jump ahead to 2013.  The sinus infections were back pretty regularly and when I'd get one, they were flu-like.  Meaning they'd knock me down for days.  But I was stubborn and was willing to stick with rounds of antibiotics.  Until in December, when I got to a point where I had a hard time breathing out my nose and felt crappy ALL the time.  In fact, my left nostril was perpetually blocked.  Talk about frustrating.  Well, I went to the local CVS Minute Clinic for a dose of antibiotics but the nurse practitioner suggested I see an ENT instead.

So in January of 2014, I went back to my original ENT but he no longer did surgery, so I ended up seeing a different doctor.  He ordered a CT Scan and the results showed that the dreaded polyps had returned ten fold.  One of those polyps had grown so large, that is was blocking my left nostril hence the reason I couldn't breath.  He put me on Prednisone and a Neti Pot, to see if the polyp would shrink.  But stated, I was probably looking at surgery, cause Prednisone was only a temporary fix.

And with that, on April 2nd, 2014 I had my second endoscopic sinus surgery.  And let me just say HALLELUJAH I'm so glad I did.  Because I felt like a new person afterwards.  Even better, my new ENT used dissolvable packing, not those hideous tampon-like things.  Granted, having that crap drip out of my nose for a couple months after surgery wasn't fun, but that was a much better alternative.  Like the first surgery, he too had to do extensive work, as many polyps took up residency there.

My prognosis...because I'm prone to polyps and had them at such a young age, there's always going to be the tendency for them to return.  So every other day, I'm using the Neti Pot saline irrigation along with an asthma medication that I dissolve into the saline solution.  The asthma meds apparently help keep polyps at bay.  I also have to see my ENT every 6 months, just to stay proactive.  Because if by chance a polyp shows up, the doc can take care of it right away.

I'm currently six months post-op and I'm still feeling great.  It's nice being able to breath normally and to not have to blow my nose a 1,000 times a day or worry that every time I get a cold that a sinus infection will surely follow.  Should have had the second surgery a long time ago, but at least I finally did do it, and have absolutely ZERO regrets!

- The Delusional Novelist

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