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Monthly Maintenance: My Trip to the ENT

Smiling before...I’ve lost track, but I believe I’ve had 7 sinus surgeries over the years. It’s between 6 and 8, for sure. I had my first one around the 4th or 5th grade, but my worst one was my second one when the surgeon realized during surgery that I had broken my nose over the summer and he BROKE it again, shoved 4″ plastics shin guards up there and stitched them through my septum! I was not a happy camper when I woke up. The shortest duration between operations was 9 months and the longest is my current streak: going on since 2004.

Nasal polyps are teardrop shaped, noncancerous growths on the lining of your nasal passages or sinuses. Small nasal polyps may cause no problems and go unnoticed. Larger nasal polyps can block your nasal passages or sinuses and cause breathing difficulties, a loss of your sense of smell, frequent sinus infections and other problems. – Mayo Clinic

I’ve got chronic sinusitis and had some really bad situations that were discovered during surgeries. One time, the doctor said that I had an infection in my frontal sinus (above the eyes) on the right side that had eaten through my skull and was in danger of infecting my brain. Every surgery has been called for because of sinus polyps and needing to open things up, which they call “scraping and windows.” I’ve only been operated on by two different surgeons, but never needed what they call “packing:” yards of gauze shoved into my sinuses for a week or two, which is very painful to remove. “Yay!?”

My Florida ENT retired last year after fighting and winning a round with cancer. I miss him a lot (only a CFer would say something like that), but I’m getting used to and liking his referral ENT now. She’s in the same office, so really the person shoving instruments up my nose is the only thing that’s changed in the last 12 years of ENT visits in Tampa. After my last surgery, we decided to do monthly flushes with antibiotics into the frontal sinus (through a very, very small opening) and the main maxillary sinuses.

So far, so good. No surgeries since and only a handful of sinus infections that required antibiotics.

Today, I have a treat for you: photos. I asked my new ENT, Dr. Janet Seper if she could have someone take photos with my phone so I could post them for the site for the benefit of others.

Warning: If you don’t want to see me looking uncomfortable, don’t continue. The last image is for the benefit of those who want to see what ails me and lives in my nose – as she finally got it out at the last moment with a special vacuum attachment, which you will have to click to view.

Click the image below to see what the olive-tip canula brings out to give me relief each month. This is why I have to come to stay healthy. You’ve been warned!
Olive-tip canula for "the job"

Comments

  1. I can't say that I enjoyed these photos, but the article was interesting :>)

  2. Some people might say, “TMI!” But I think it was cool that you could get some pix to help people get a better handle on living with CF. Thanks!

  3. Unknowncystic says:

    Very interesting. You and I have similar experiences. One time, I had a golf ball shape in the CT scan. It was an infection that got trapped and ate through my eye socket. The worst was with packing. They took me to an empty room of the hospital to remove it. I screamed and cried, especially when the gauze stuck for a minute. The nurse gave it tug and it started back up alone with tears flooding from my eyes. BTW, I looked at the picture at the end. What's wrong with me for looking at it? And what's wrong with you for putting a picture like that on your site? At least you made the reader choose to look at it. You do a good job with the site design. It seems like self-hosted wordpress can do more than just wordpress blogs. Is that true?

  4. Unknown, we were there when Jesse had those big plastic splints pulled out. I can't remember exactly when it was, but I think late grade school. The Dr. told Jesse he had to hold still, but he could yell all he wanted. It was amazing! He sat still as a stone except for his chin & lips. He just kept saying (not quite yelling) “Ow ow ow ow ow ow!” And tears were actually squirting out of his eyes. But he took it like a man. Thankfully, he did not need packing.

    And yes, you can do amazing stuff with self-hosted WordPress. You should see some of the gorgeous sites Jesse has designed.

  5. very courageous to post these photos! sorry you have to go through all that. hope your breathing easier ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. A month of relief is worth a few minutes of that.

  7. Yes, that does sound similar, just a different skull bone. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks! Self-hosted can do SO much more with plugins and design. The
    whole annoying subscribe to each post's comments goes away, too.

    I'm about to do a re-design on some level to accomplish a couple of
    informational availability goals I have now that it's becoming a hot
    spot for CF info.

  8. Thanks! I've been wanting to do that for a while, but couldn't figure out
    how to get the photos taken. /grin! Yesterday was still a little swollen,
    but I'm at 100% today.

  9. A month of relief is worth a few minutes of that.

  10. Yes, that does sound similar, just a different skull bone. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks! Self-hosted can do SO much more with plugins and design. The
    whole annoying subscribe to each post's comments goes away, too.

    I'm about to do a re-design on some level to accomplish a couple of
    informational availability goals I have now that it's becoming a hot
    spot for CF info.

  11. Thanks! I've been wanting to do that for a while, but couldn't figure out
    how to get the photos taken. /grin! Yesterday was still a little swollen,
    but I'm at 100% today.

  12. I liked your blog post, thanks for sharing your photo with the rest of the cyber world. Dr Janet seper did surgery on my oldest daughter when she had a very large cyst in the cartlidge part of her ear. She did a tube my ear (as an adult – sounds funny but I needed this more than I even knew), simple painless done in her office. My son now needs to go see her (chronic ear infections and junk) and when I was googling her info I saw your blog post come up and of coarse had to go right to it to check it out! ๐Ÿ™‚
    You are in good hands with Dr Janet Seper.
    Best of luck to you. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
    Katrina

    • Thanks. I saw someone from LOL on the site looking at that post this morning. Glad you stopped by to say “Hi.” I have small polyps again, but we’ll see on Thursday if they’ve gone away to avoid another surgery, which would be her first on me.