Posted by: cynewulffe | July 3, 2009

My past sinus problems

Days 1-13095

I lived and had sinus pain.

Growing up in Northern New England prevented me from getting a lot. It’s so cold up there that besides mold forms and fungii, you don’t pick up on  a lot. Unfortunately, the Shenandoah Valley rates as one of the places on earth with the highest levels for kidney stones and rhinitus.

About 5 years ago I started sneezing a lot, went for quick tests and found I was allergic to mostly dust. The boys and the wife have it worse…specific grasses, trees, animals, etc. Might as well live in a bubble. Wasn’t there a movie once called Bubbleboy? or was that a Seinfeld episode?

4 years ago I started having bad headaches that were partially traced to sinus issues.

3 years ago I went through the merrygoround of allergy antihistamines, reuptakers, blockers, nasal decongestants, etc. OTC, UTC, and from the forest…just kept getting worse.

2 years ago I gave up.

This past year I woke up Christmas morning and I couldn’t bear the pain anymore. I started researching, asking questions, comparing and contrasting info….started with my family doctor and we went through the meds again….leading up to a CT scan. At that point I got a referal to an ENT.

1 year and closing:

Sinus headaches aren’t like the migraines I get. These start with a sneeze or three, congestion builds and if not caught in ONE day, may disappear temporarily. Pressure builds and up to one week later, WHAM. You honestly can’t lift your head. Nothing works to fix it and of course, prevention is over.

For the past 6 months I have been living one day ahead of sinus pain.

I nasal irrigate with a SinusPulse machine 2x a day with a saline rinse. I breathe in steam once a day from a small Vicks vapomachine. (These were upgrades from a neti pot and a large towel over my head to capture steam from a vaporizer.

If I sneeze once, or my nose itches, I nasal irrigate an extra time, add another steam session, and turn the fan off when I take  a shower.

The pain

I can not pick my head up from the ground.

I am photosensitive and feel nauseous.

I am audiosensitive and feel overwhelmed.

It lasts for 16-36 hours until great gobs of green gremlin grapeseed come shooting out. But by then it’s over.

I became incapacitated by them even though we live in a new house with little sawdust, have allergy-free poodles, have allergy filters on the furnace intakes, have three air-cleaner/HEPA filters in the house and 1 doctor-approved one at school, keep all windows/doors closed, have allergy bedding and pillowcases.

Too expensive, too time-consuming, too much of a waste.

The CT scan

The scan was quick, done in 5 minutes, and showed a slightly deviated septum (no problem), free flowing turbinates, and a small opening to the right maxillary sinus cavity (ostium and such). Just wasn’t big enough. The left one looked extra large like it already had surgery (but it hadn’t).

What to do?

Keep dying slowly


Maybe live a little?

The day of surgery

I come in to the “outpatient” surgicenter at 8:15 and am in my own private curtained room by 9:00.

I look at my wife and think of how much could go wrong, how much I would be leaving. But I push doubts into  God’s hands and just hold her hand and smile at the doctors.

The anesthesiologist is friendly enough and injects me with something that starts me tingling up my arm. My wife is pointed to the door and leaves after a lasting kiss. I miss my boys.


Someone keeps trying to get me to wake up. I can’t. I can’t open my eyes. They tell me my wife won’t come until I’m in a recliner. I know she’s scared and worried, so I’ll do whatever…


I can’t understand much but I’m changed and sitting somewhere. I’m wheeled out and into the car.

I don’t even remember getting home.

4:00pm Monday

I remember getting into the recliner. I can barely walk. I haven’t eaten since Sunday at 10pm. There’s a pad on my nose to catch blood. My wife keeps giving me pain meds and everyone talks in hushed tones.

2:00pm Tuesday

I finally realize where I am. I feel pressure in my nose, a slight burning, I feel sick and I throw up blood. More meds, more pads removed. But this pressure begins in my head. Light hurts. Noise hurts.

10:00am Wednesday

I have been sleeping in a recliner, unreclined for days. I have little pain, I can almost talk! It’s ove..

12:00pm Wednesday

The pain is back. Right over the ephmoid and sphemoid sinuses. I tell myself to drink, eat jello, anything so I don’t stay dehydrated. The strain is showing on everyone around me. How long can they put up with this? How long can I? When I’m awake I can’t speak, can’t hear or see anything, it’s too painful.

3:00pm Wedneday

I reviewed the paperwork, went online in two minutes of coherency…I must decongest immediately. My wife runs over to CVS and picks up Afrin. It’s been two days now, I can use it.

6:00pm Wednesday

The pain is fizzling away. The stuffiness is lessening. I hear a bird chirp outside. How are my puppies doing? I can’t rush myself. I should eat soup now, try to get some nutrients in me. My voice slowly comes back.


No naps needed.

Little to minimal head pain.

Just a few pain pills to lessen the jabs of pain and swelling.

I make my first joke, second, third.

I get to go outside and walk around for 2 minutes! My cleome is growing!

The sun is still very bright so I go back inside and up to a closed in room. But I’m better!

I eat, but still can taste very, very little.

But I just took my last Afrin spray. What will happen now?

I’m wide awake at 12:15am Friday morning and don’t want to feel bad again. Maybe that’s why I can’t sleep. I won’t allow myself.


I finally went to sleep, in a fitless stir and snooze until 5am.


Why am I up? I’m not taking those meds again. They may help with the pain but the feelings, and thoughts…ugh.


Using nasal pulse machine to flush out everything very slowly. It seems to be helping but so much is up in there and I can’t blow my nose!


The doctor is called about using a nasal decongestant.


Feeling very good, but cautious


The doctor called and I can use the decongestant. Yeah! Little did I know that it would apparently do little for this condition.


Light sensititivy, sounds hurt, I use cold packs and an eye swatch, snooze just a bit but the top of my temple hurts.

I continue getting pain on the top of my head. I want to feel normal, or at least functional so that people won’t depend on me as much, or get tired themselves. The problem is that I don’t know why I have certain pain, or what is causing it at all time.s

7:00pm Friday. Fourth of July tomorrow. I’ve lost a week of my life. What have I gained? An understanding of how debilitating certain illnesses are. This should remind me to be more compassionate to others. The strength of my wife as she takes on all my jobs, parenting, nursing me, and being a host to a guest for the past week. My children are very independent, but without me guiding them, they go astray quickly!

Hopefully tonight I’ll get sleep.


I keep waking up off and on, can’t breathe well, congested, head hurts some. I don’t even remember what peaceful sleep is like, or the taste of food.


Up with pain behind the temples, eyes, burning still. Took some more meds, did two sinus sprays, and two steams. I’ll try to drink more water today. I guess this means I can’t see fireworks tonight! Not much to laugh about. A whole week of this has been very hard. I think I’ll step outside before it gets too bright…see how the vegetable and flower gardens are going. Maybe I can fix Thomas’ bike somehow so he can zoom around today.


Fairly good morning but the pressure over my right eye (main side of the surgery) is hurting, and making me very sensitive still. I’ve had sinus headaches that lasted 3 days, but not this long with such intensity.


The actual pain from the nose and inside is very minimal. The problem is the headache. It goes and goes and goes. My wife walked me out around the flowergarden but it was before the sun was up. The morning was pretty good as long as I stayed in a dark room. No books, no tv, no sounds, just a stupid computer that I can dim down.


I took a brief nap and tried to drink more today. I also got eucylaptus oil to put in my steamer. But I can’t smell individual smells. I catch a whiff once in a while and I’ll be shocked at the memories they produce. Also, as in most operations, I just started having bowel movements. And it is no fun at first. More prunes and fiber today!


Depression can easily set in during these times. I was talking with my wife who recently had surgery and went through the same thing. You affect everyone around you, and they have to support you more emotionally and physically. It’s very exhausting for everyone. Then you begin feeling guilty that you can’t do anything. Plus it’s so boring. But I realized another positive today. I’m catching up on over 10 years of being behind on internet technology as I work with blogs and websites. That’s useful and interesting. Also, my boys are forced to do things together because I can’t be there all the time to mediate, or to play with them!


Through all my sinus rinses, today is the first day where there wasn’t much old stuff in there, and most of the new stuff was very thin with just a little blood in it. I think I can breathe better overall, and I’ve been on nasal decongestants for over 2 days, but my “para nasal,” upper sinuses, are still congested. Everyone went to fireworks. At least my head won’t hurt. Tomorrow is Sunday, almost one week to the day.




  1. I never imagined the operation would be this bad. I get sinus infections too, so it must be genetic. Hopefully this will never happen to me!!!!

    BTW, is that you as the new visitor on my blog???

    • It was 10 times worse..but, I was expecting it to be one of the harder types of surgeries that took the longest to recover from.
      btw I’m not James the Stalker? good blog though.

  2. Hi stumbled on this blog while doing research for my sister who had a ct scan last week. She was told she has two options – sinus surgery or balloon sinuplasty.

    I don’t know anything about either one but am doing lots of looking and learning now. I am very sorry to hear that your surgery did not go well.

    Please wish her luck thanks and have a very goo night.

  3. Hello. Great job. I did not expect this on a Wednesday. This is a great story. Thanks!

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