From the Blogposts » inbox

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.
[Read more…]