For all of my life, I have suffered with bad sinuses. I can remember back when I was a kid, sneezing and being stuffed up even on the nicest of days. Especially in Spring, when all the trees and flowers would start to bloom, I would be sneezing my head off.
Years later, whenever I caught a cold it was like hell on earth. I could not breathe at all through my nose, so I did the next best thing. I used a nasal spray like 4-Way or Afrin.
For 30 years I never stopped using nasal sprays
You wanna know why? Because you very easily get addicted to these sprays. Oh, they open your nose alright, just like magic, but you MUST keep using them to keep your nose open. After 3 days, you’re hooked. So, for years and years and years, I used that CRAP in my nose.
My sinuses just kept getting progressively worse
Because nasal spray ISN’T the answer. None of the OTC medications is the answer. All you will do is spend a lot of money on things that may work for you, but in the long run, don’t really help much at all.
Here’s the deal
If YOU or someone in your family is currently SUFFERING with sinus trouble, be sure to keep reading. Let me tell you: when you have bad sinuses, you SUFFER! Every day, in lots of little ways. You never go anywhere without a full supply of tissues, you always have your nasal spray with you, (and the 39 backups in your medicine cabinet), you often awake with an enormous sinus headache, and you sneeze at just about everything.
Finally, about 3-1/2 years ago, I visited an allergist. It was at that visit that she diagnosed polyps in my sinuses and prescribed a week’s worth of prednisone to shrink the nasal inflammation. Here is the important part: the prednisone cured me of my nasal spray addiction. Never again did I have to buy a bottle of nasal spray. Only saline spray, which I use every day. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Then I was allergy tested for trees, pet dander, mold, and other allergens. Everything they tested me for came back positive. Especially a few trees, like the tulip tree. By this time, I was starting to wheeze. The first few times without an inhaler were pretty bad. It really does feel as if an elephant is sitting on your chest.
As time went by, the allergies were controlled with loratadine, 10mg, and montelukast (Singular generic) 10mg, daily. Also, fluticasone proprionate AKA Flonase.
But my allergies were still there, and my sinuses were just barely keeping up. I think because you get older, your body just starts wearing out. It can’t take it anymore! 🙁
Between the allergist and an ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist) I was able to get by. But, just get by. Because I didn’t have insurance until October of 2016, I wasn’t going to have any major procedures done until then.
Little by little my left sinus starting shutting down. I would get at least two sinus infections every winter, get on an antibiotic regimen, which would kill the infection, but still my sinuses were a wreck. By last winter of 2015, I started noticing I could not smell or taste anything any longer.
How was I EVER going to get past this sinus trouble?
Think about it; we all have bad colds now and then, and eat food that we can’t taste. Try that out for twelve months. Tasting nothing, smelling nothing. Always sounding nasal or as if you have a bad cold. But, you don’t.
Just two months ago I walked into the Pine Wreath & Candle shop at Peddlers Village in PA and instead of being treated to every Christmasy scent in the world that they have in their shop, I smelled absolutely nothing! It was horrible, it really was. And very depressing.
Here is what I did to help my bad sinuses
First, I went to a GOOD ENT. An ear, nose and throat specialist who has been doing this kind of thing for many years is who you want to see. Someone with a good reputation and great results. You don’t want anyone less. In the long run, it will make ALL the difference.
Second, I went in for a CT scan. This will tell the story of your sinuses like nothing else. Your ENT doctor will go over the results with you, showing you the scan in different modes; from the top of your head to looking up from your neck, you’ll see the problem(s) for yourself.
In my case, I had a badly bent septum. That’s the bony cartilage that separates your nostrils. A deviated septum is a very common thing. You can get one from a sports injury or you can be born with one. I never injured my nose badly enough to have ended up with a deviated septum.
Looking at my CT scan, you could see the left frontal sinus cavity was completely filled with mucus. This was due to the fact that nasal polyps were blocking the way out. Nothing was going to make this situation any better except for sinus surgery.
Third, my ENT scheduled balloon sinuplasty and septoplasty for me. Even a few years ago, sinuplasty was done radically different from the way it’s done today. Now, your ENT will use a sinus implant called PROPEL®.
Small instruments are introduced through your nostrils to open sinuses which are blocked by inflammation. The PROPEL implant is placed in your sinus cavity after surgery. This little device helps promote healing and reduces the chance of having additional surgeries in the future.
Packing, and I Don’t Mean For a Vacation
Years ago, all sinus surgery required gauze packing being placed in your nostrils for one or two days, and in some cases, up to five days. With PROPEL, you don’t need any packing whatsoever.
In my case, I also had a septoplasty, which is surgery to correct a deviated septum. My ENT did put light packing in my nose for 48 hours. So, breathing is only done through your mouth. You may be thinking that it’s now time to
Don’t. It’s really not as bad as you think. If you need nasal packing there are a few things I suggest:
- Buy a small spray bottle. Keep this bottle filled with spring water. You will be constantly using it to moisten your mouth, while the packing is in your nose.
- Buy a nice lip balm. These two items, will be your saving grace.
- Only drink lukewarm tea, coffee, or soup.
- Buy nutritious shakes. They are packed with calories and will help you to feel full.
- Drinking a lot will help flush out the anesthesia you’ve had.
- When it’s time for your packing to be removed, it will come out, one, two, three! No pain. Yes, you may read horror stories online about it, but trust me, those days are gone. Newer methods and materials have eliminated all that pain.
- Any questions, ask your ENT. Don’t rely on everything you see on Google. Some people have no tolerance for pain and will scream bloody murder all over the place. Get the REAL truth from your doctor.
If you have both sinuplasty and septoplasty, when you go home from the Outpatient Center, you will feel tired.You’ll also have a drip-pad under your nose to catch any bleeding. Change the gauze pad as needed. By the time the next day rolls around, you shouldn’t be bleeding anymore.
Just get comfortable at home and have someone to wait on you. You will be given an antibiotic and pain medication. I never used the pain medication. By the next day, things will feel a little better.
Sinus surgery doesn’t give you a headache
Then when you get the nasal packing out, THAT will make all the difference. You’ll go home armed with a nasal rinse bottle such as NeilMed . Buy the saline packets that you have to use and do at least 4 nasal rinses a day. It’s important to use the nasal rinses and saline spray as these are important for post-surgical healing.
That PROPEL implant will give out a steroid in your sinuses for about two weeks, then it will slowly dissolve. You may even find a teeny-tiny piece of it when you do a saline rinse sometime after 2 or 3 weeks has gone by. You will have sutures in your nose if you’ve had septoplasty. You won’t even feel them there, and over time they too will dissolve or fall away. Painless.
You might feel tired for about a week. I did. Tired to the point that every time I stood up, all I wanted to do was sit back down. Take care of yourself. If you work, take at least ONE WEEK OFF. If you have just the balloon sinuplasty done, you should be good to go in as little as 3 days.
When using the saline rinse, you will see gunky, brown stuff go down the drain. You DO NOT want to blow your nose. You can softly sniff any mucus residue into your nostrils and then catch it out with a q-tip or a long fingernail. But, be gentle; no yanking, pulling or touching your nose.
Be careful that nothing touches your nose
Once you have the packing out, your ENT will want to see you again in a few days, and once the following week.
The best part?
You’ll be able to BREATHE!!! Finally, I can breathe through my left nostril. It’s completely open and I no longer need the inhaler, either. I think because my breathing was so compromised with just one nostril open and lots of post-nasal drip, that fluid would collect in my lungs.
Nasal surgery means those days are OVER!
Take my word for it. I’ve been through it all. It’s modern surgery and it works. You will feel so much better. My surgery was one month ago, and everything is just fine. So, I’ll end this post by telling you that if you suffer with chronic sinusitis or your doctor has told you that you need surgery, then GET IT DONE.
Don’t listen to those who have “read” something and have never had nasal surgery themselves. It’s all good.
Call your ENT, make that appointment, and let me know how it went.
As always just another way to
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