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Another Year, Another Sinus Surgery

How I feel most days...It’s a new year, so it must be time for another sinus surgery. I’m both super ticked about it and super-relieved to get it done. I’m really suffering recently with epic headaches and a horrible smell in my sinuses that won’t go away. Given that my sinusitis is worse now than it was in October right before that condition that warranted my first surgery in 6 years, this surgeon is taking much more drastic action. I feel pretty much like the photo most days either from my headaches or from my painkillers. It makes getting work done and staying motivated almost impossible on a daily basis, but I charged through it hard enough in the first half of December that we are almost set for January as of this week (more on that later). I have a couple of sites to wrap up to close out and a couple who have paid their deposits to begin work after I recover, so it’s the best of both worlds right now.

This is now my 10th sinus surgery and my second in 90 days. Here’s what happened:

What didn’t get done last time

From what I understand of what was done in October was basically a power wash under general anesthesia. She didn’t mess with my septum or go for anything related to my frontal sinus other than rinsing it out. After surgery, I wasn’t culturing anything, but both sides re-developed scar bands that connected my septum to the outer wall, blocking access to my upper areas. She was really upset that it happened, but I’m gathering that it happened because my septum bends both ways and was simply too close on either side to keep the tissue separated while it healed. My second opinion revealed that he couldn’t even see how to access my frontal sinus to rinse it in the office.

Surgery OrdersHe will be re-aligning my septum (black eyes, anyone?) and removing a lot of tissue and creating a 4-lane highway to my bothersome frontal sinus. My surgery is scheduled for 10am at the main hospital as an out-patient procedure, but one local friend said his surgery there by the same doctor was scheduled for 9am and he got put under at 4pm. He got a “free” night’s stay at that point because of the bleeding. Given how much I bled in October, I would guess we will be staying overnight, too. Beautiful said she was changing my dressing every half-hour or more until midnight and we live a little more than an hour away from the hospital during the evening rush that I would potentially be released in – not to mention my extreme sensitivity to motion and bumps even the next day. We don’t own a Jaguar, you know?

My pre-op appointment

Talk about a complete waste of a day. Talk about a complete waste of Beautiful’s day off! [Read more…]

It’s Surgery Day! Sinus Surgery No. 9

In My Room...I couldn’t properly convey all of the emotions I’ve had in the last few days regarding my pending sinus surgery. This is my first surgery as a married man, making it a whole new ballgame. I’m quite frankly freaking out a bit… sometimes more than a bit. This is one of my longer pieces at almost 1,000 words, just because it’s partially a brain dump and partially to get some good old-fashioned discussion going about some good and some rather unpleasant thoughts. Skip to the last heading if you want to avoid anything deep, meaningful, or sad. Otherwise, read on to get to know me more than you already do.
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How a CFer Prepares for Sinus Surgery

Fatboy Has a Messed Up HeadMy ENT, Dr. Seper, saw me yesterday to review my CT scan from Tuesday and agreed with me that there were major issues. Largest of these issues was the increased, extreme headaches that have rendered me much less productive and constantly on Vicodin, which is barely touching this pain it’s making now, though it does let me look at my laptop screen and get work done.

She gave me two options for treatment:

  • start IV antibiotics for my sinuses for two weeks, but if I don’t have improvement by Monday, schedule surgery or
  • schedule surgery for Monday because she had a cancellation

“Door number 2, please.”

She started coordinating with Dr. Rolfe at CF clinic before I’d even left the office, so when I got down to the car, her office was calling me to say Rolfe wanted me on IVs immediately, so I was to call clinic now. I called Sue’s cell phone and we got things arranged to start me on Meropenem every 8 hours starting this morning.

Beautiful accessed my port before she left for work, because she does a better job than ANY nurse ANYWHERE (and if you want to try to challenge that, bring it on!) and I think she secretly likes playing nurse for a patient who doesn’t puke.

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It’s All In My Head

It is me againI’m not sure what news I have yet, but it’s both good news and bad news, either way. My headaches have been getting worse and worse and they are localized around my eyes and it’s pretty obvious that the cause is my sinuses. I’ve had 8 surgeries before, but due to monthly maintenance visits to my ENT, it’s been 6 or 7 years since my last one, though the one before that was only 9 months earlier. That shows how fast they can get ornery if I’m not diligent to get checked out frequently.

My previous ENT, who performed 6 of my surgeries retired almost 2 years ago, and I remembered that he said that if I had a headache for more than 2 days to call him and he’s schedule a CT scan. Well, by Thursday, I’d had about 10 of the last 12 days with a little gnome warrior wearing plate armor hacking away behind my eyes with a two-handed battle axe and a nasty goblin blowing up an inflatable raft behind my brow (those details are very important).

I scheduled an emergency visit to my ENT and got in the same day and she did stuff she’d never done before. I have a scar band running across the left side so access to irrigate is pretty much blocked off, even for the smallest tools because the direct line is blocked. My right frontal sinus (up above your eyes) is an issue because the “drain” gets clogged and gunk grows unabated if unattended to with irrigation with an antibiotic/steroid concoction we made up. The pain I was describing took her action to the next level: a small olive-tipped cannula that she attached to the suction!

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