In the past few weeks I’ve added a new specialist to my repertoire of doctors. You are well aware of my trips to see Dr. Rheumy and also Dr. Orthy (HA HA HA, that still cracks me up!), but recently I’ve added a new doctor. His name, Dr. ENT.
Yup, Ears, Nose, Throat Specialist.
Even saying, er, typing those words makes me shudder and gulp every time. I’ve avoided seeing an ENT for some time now. I have had a hard time admitting it was time to finally go see one.
Why did I see an ENT? Well, for 2 out of 3 reasons why. For my Ears and my Nose.
I actually don’t remember a time where I didn’t have a headache. This is a major issue. I also don’t remember a year where I wasn’t on some form of antibiotic. This is another major issue. I am now officially allergic to two types of antibiotics, which is a lot of fun writing it on ‘list medications your allergic too’ as well as trying to remember how to spell them. It also sucks that a third antibiotic type doesn’t knock the sinus infection out of the park; it just festers. So, I’m left with the delightful antibiotic that people use when they have a limb amputated. Ya, that’s right. L-I-M-B. I’ve reached a dead end.
For the last few months, I’ve tried battling this sinus infection NATURALLY. I’ve been using the Neti-pot on a regular basis, taking grapefruit seed extract, sniffing lavender and other types of oils, and of course, using my nasal allergy medication.
But its NOT working. I’m still doing it, but its not working.
Enough is enough. I’ve hit a breaking point. I’m sick of feeling lightheaded, fuzzy, and not quite myself. I’m sick of taking pills and antibiotics, especially when there’s a study out there saying sinus infections should not be cured by antibiotics. I’m sick of the constant headache.
So, I saw an ENT. But wait, I said I saw the ENT for an additional reason. My ears.
This is a really sensitive topic for me. I almost didn’t write about it and quite frankly, I’m still trying to process what I’ve learned.
I’ve lost hearing. There I said it. It’s pretty severe too, and its very disheartening to hear its hereditary. They said it could also be because of your sinus infections, and a long shot that its caused by your auto-immune disease – ankylosing spondylitis.
Shit. Just shit.
So, what am I officially diagnosed as? Cookie Bite hearing loss. When a person suffers from cookie bite hearing loss the person has problems hearing mid frequency sounds. It is less of a problem to hear high and low frequency sounds.
Super, right? Well, on the positive note, they haven’t recommended hearing aids, but at this point, its not a bad idea. I knew that I had lost some hearing, but I thought it was more in the range of losing whispers, not mid frequency sounds. Are you kidding me? Regardless, they want to re-test me after they fix my sinuses.
What’s that you say? Fix? Well, yes, apparently fix. I had a CT scan this morning. We all remember my last CT scan for my hip. This time it was for my head. As Mr. P described “We get to really find out what’s inside!” I have to say, getting a CT scan, without contrast, and for your head, is much more enjoyable. I didn’t have to change into a gown and only had to remove my glasses. It took about 5 minutes and my eyes were shut the entire time. There is a sense of relief when you know your on the path to discovery. This discovery, to find out what’s going on with my sinus cavity.
So why do I have so many issues with my sinuses? Remicade. My favorite, most beloved drug, that’s given me my life back, has horrific side-effects. If you remember from my post a few months back on how large the warning label is, and that the fact that I’m making my Halloween costume out of it, yup, that drug.
At this time, if my sinus cavities are proven to be blocked, inflammed and swollen, I will have to have surgery. At the moment, Dr. ENT (not a very fun name! Note to self – come up with a more clever, fun name!), wants to do a procedure called Balloon Sinuplasty. Using this technology a balloon catheter is delivered to the blocked passageway, and is gently inflated, widening the opening of the passageway and thus allowing drainage and relief from the pain and pressure. Here’s the link to the video explanation (which paints a better picture!) Good news? They don’t have to remove part of my nose. The bad news? I am most likely going to need to have this done.
There is a plus to all of this. Dr. ENT knew was ankylosing spondylitis was!! I was shocked! I usually have to sit there and REMIND my doctors its an auto-immune arthritis, but that I’m in medical remission. Yup, he knew what it was!! He asked me “describe your symptoms and problems.” Answer: “I have extreme pressure in my sinus cavity. I’ve had a constant, chronic sinus infection since November and I’m allergic to two antibiotics. I’m running out of options. Also, I’m on a drug called Remicade for my ankylosing spondylitis…” He cut me off, right there. He knew that one of the side-effects to Remicade is chronic sinusitis. We started talking about how horrific AS is as a disease, that he saw a man dying in his body 20 years ago. How awful! We’ve come a long way my friends. What truly touched me it changed Dr. ENT’s life forever. Woah! WOW!!
So, today, I am grateful. I’m grateful I took the step to finding out the truth. I now know I have hearing loss. If you know me, you talk to me, now you know why I sometimes can’t hear you. Because I can’t. I will soon know if I will need to have the Balloon Sinuplasty procedure which will hopefully give me relief. Relief from the constant headache, the constant feeling of ‘sick’ and a lack of energy. I’m grateful for Dr. ENT understanding and recognizing my issue with my AS and to take it as seriously as it deserves. I’m grateful I had the courage to go see an ENT. I’m grateful we’ve come a long way with technology and science.
So, let’s end on a good note. I came across this site today and I am in LOVE! Who doesn’t want to eat a BIG bowl of cookie dough? Ya, I’m not even kidding. It is indeed a recipe I will be trying and have pinned on Pinterest!
If you’re a newbie here, welcome!