Posted by: cynewulffe | August 31, 2009

New article Review…Loss of Smell

It’s been 60 days since my sinus surgery (maxillary). After two weeks, I had about 20 per cent of my smell and taste. After one month I had about 35% of my original senses. And then I had an allergy attack. Itchy eyes, ears, and nose. Sneezing, etc. My smell has regressed to almost 0%. My taste is at 10%. I can sense sour and sweet sensations, and some vanilla and chocolate flavors. But eggs, oatmeal, yogurts taste like blah.

Sinuswars has a good article on smell. They begin by describing to all of us, what it is like to lose your smell. A description is given for the different names for the loss of smell and taste. It appears that currently I have Hyposmia and Hypogeusia. At least there’s a name for it. A list is produced and explained as to different reasons why someone might lose their olfactory senses. The rest of the categories are fairly general, but they lead me to my biggest question, “Why is this happening?”


Okay. How long will it last?

Don’t know.

Posted by: cynewulffe | August 29, 2009

A week with allergies

It probably took a good 4 days of Benadryll before I could make it through a day without my eyes itching horribly or sneezing. I haven’t had any for a day or two, but I’m still a little congested at times. I’ve noticed during this time, almost 3 months since surgery, that I can taste very little. Of course the smell is not there either. My wife happened to see my surgeon about her ear, and mentioned my problems: nothing to be concerned about was the reply. Yeah. But still…

I looked through blogs from the past 7 days, or week, and there was very little out there of interest. I ran across one interesting article that briefly mentioned that the best places to live depended on what you were allergic to.

I am allergic to more grasses, so mountain and forest homes would be best. People allergic to trees would do better in agricultural lands or suburbs.

The best places to live were coldish and wet: Northern New England and Pacific Northwest. That’s where I grew up go figure. The worst places are Miss. Georgia. North Carolina, North Carolina, North Carolina. Great, near the place I live now.

Coincidentally, I had zero allergies growing up. Zero. In the past 12 years down here, I’ve been inundated with them.

Posted by: cynewulffe | August 22, 2009

Itchy and Sneezy All Over

I am so itchy. My eyes, my outside and inside of my nose, my ears. Aargh! I’ve been on Zyrtec (better than Claritan or Allegra for me) and Nasacourt forever. This has been a strange summer in northern VA: lots of rain. The grass is actually still green, which is rare for this time of year. So, like in the spring, the grass is going to seed. High levels of ragweed and grass pollen (according to my daily pollen reports). My wife and son noticed problems with eyes and contacts about 4 weeks ago, before I noticed anything. Then, about 1 week ago, BAM. I want to literally stick something (and no, not my finger, more like a baby bottle brush) up my nose and give it a twirl. Sometimes it tickles so much I begin laughing. I blow…watery stuff, that’s it, but no relief. My ears itch inside. My eyes sting and itch. I’ve tried allergy eye drops too.

I have one more recourse: I was off my Nasacourt for 3 months due to sinus surgery so I just opened a new package this morning to see if it’s more helpful than the one that’s been sitting around. After one spray last night, nothing new. I’m also going to try Benadryl this afternoon to try to end this attack. I’ve been sneezing a lot the past few days: 10+ times a day. Thank goodness there is no blockage of the sinus cavities because this was one of the ways I would get blockage, infection, pressure, and headaches. So far it’s draining well, just tickling more than usual. If this doesn’t stop within 48 hours, I may have to call my doctor and see if something else is possible. When I google the idea, I get specific drugs….I guess I want an easier answer, but now that I can’t blame my sinus infections, I have to deal with what causes them…northern Virginia!

Posted by: cynewulffe | August 9, 2009

New Health article

Thanks to Darryl for the info on this new procedure. A good article can be found on the main Georgetown University Hospital website, and is entitled, Sinus Sufferers Breathe Sigh of Relief with New Balloon Therapy”. The article doesn’t have a named author, but it can be inferred from the tone, lack of alternative perspectives, and location, that it is written by them. Regardless, it provides information about a possible alternative to sinus surgery.

The procedure is similar to angioplasty for the heart, and is called sinusplasty. Under general anesthesia, a balloon is inserted into the blocked nasal passageway, slowly inflated, deflated, and then removed.

My first opinion is that this is still “surgery” due to the invasiveness of the procedure and due to the use of anesthesia. The authors suggest that it is probably more effective for the rear sphenoid and frontal ethmoidal sinuses. I’m not sure why. I can only infer that it is due to these sinuses location close to the brain.

The article did not indicate how long this procedure would last, and since the balloon is removed (and no flexible “stent” like object remains) it is unclear how long this will last. I can’t imagine that it could permanently change the nasal structure. It seems like a good idea to help initially drain the sinus cavity, and as mentioned in the article, it could be used in conjunction with traditional surgery.

“Because the procedure is so new, there is not a lot of patient data as of yet. While the new therapy presents a safe and effective addition to the current arsenal, Dr. Mikula is conducting research to evaluate the long-term success of balloon sinuplasty.”

I would assume (which necessitates further research to clarify) that the above quote indicates that it was approved by the proper authorities as useful and that some studies were conducted, but without much data in the article, it is impossible to say how useful it may be. It sounds more like a pilot program than a tried-and-true method. I would caution all prospective patients to fully research, that means read, any all documentation in the medical community and from Georgetown (go Hoyas!) University Hospital before going forward with the procedure. Unfortunately for me, it doesn’t “sound” or “make sense” to me that it would have been useful for my maxillary sinus conundrum.

Posted by: cynewulffe | August 5, 2009

Headache from Hell!

Figuratively speaking that is. It started with a small pain between the eyes, near the ethmoid sinuses. It grew in intensity by the hour until 3 hours later, I was forced to go up to my bedroom and close the blinds and shut the door. But it didn’t end there. It became so bad that I went into the closet and shut the door. I sat on the floor as the pain attacked the top of my head, slightly more so on the left side. Eventually I was sweating as the pain moved up the pain scale…5…6….7…..8! I became nauseous and my wife got me a trashcan. I tried to puke, knowing from my past experiences with migraines, that I feel better immediately. But this wasn’t like a migraine. I usually get aurus or flashing lines with those. This wouldn’t respond to anything. I grasped my head in my hands, trying to massage my head. My hair was becoming soaked. 2 advil at the start of the episode hadn’t done a thing. I was on my own.

I tried to lay down, but it became  worse. I sat up, forgetting how I had been having vertigo the last 5 days when sitting up quickly from a prone position. My world swam and I bent over the trashcan and dry heaved. Then, I threw up small bits and pieces of lunch. The pain continued. My wife called my ENT/sinus surgeon. I would need a CT scan again. That wouldn’t help the pain. I cried out to God, and gave it to him. From somewhere inside, I didn’t care anymore, I could die and it wouldn’t matter. It wasn’t mine. Within the hour the pain had gone down to a 5. I wore black eye patching to the appt. The headache fell to a 3 by the time we got there. And now, 2 hours later, it is almost gone, but the memory of it haunts me and scares me.

Posted by: cynewulffe | August 5, 2009

How Long does Surgery Last?

I know that there are better titles, or questions, but it is to the point. How long is this good for? Will my sinus headaches and pressure come back?

My ENT was not very communicable about the post-op recovery, but from my research I’ve come to believe that about 90% of patients have permanent improvement. The other 10%, according to studies, need to have surgery again to some extent, usually because there were inter-related problems that weren’t fixed the first time, and because their sinus surgery openings (the sites of the surgery) healed over to some extent. I will continue to do sinus rinses 2x a day, and as of now I’m off nasal decongestants, but I remain taking allergy meds.  I guess only time will tell, but it produces a sense of fear, or anticipation of what my happen in the future. Other headaches may come and go: migraines, stress, medicine withdrawal, but the nasal drainage has improved and it is expected that it will stay that way for an extended period of time. Sinus Relief provides some answers and updates on sinus related issues, so it’s a good place to get answers besides this blog.

Posted by: cynewulffe | August 3, 2009

How to Get Rid of Sinusitis

My article has been published at Ezinearticles on addressing Sinus issues. It is very comprehensive. Here it is in its entirety. If suffering from allergies, congestion, sinusitis, rhinitis, sinus pressure, sinus headaches, headaches, migraines, post-nasal drip, or sinus infections, this article has excellent information on how to approach the problem:

Deciding If Sinus Surgery is the Right Option For You
By Leyton Roberts

You know what they feel like: those gripping, throbbing pains above your eyebrows, on top of your head, the aching of your teeth, blinding lights and blaring sounds. Sinus pressure! Sinus surgery should be the last measure taken in your attempts to lessen the grips of those terrible sinus headaches. Surgery cannot be undone, and while severe complications and side effects could happen, there is very little chance of getting back what is “cut out.”

Before sinus surgery is even considered, there are a number of steps that have to be taken. If you are truly concerned about your health, your well being, and your family and friends, you must cherish your body and health enough to thoroughly understand what is happening to your body, what is causing your sinus suffering, and what steps you should take to get it under control.

Patience and communication are very important as you make your way through this web of physical symptoms. It may take years before you come to the end of prevention and treatments, and move into the final phase of surgery.

Gathering information

The first step is to gather as much information as you can

Talk and communicate with your family and relatives and document:

  1. allergies,
  2. genetic and normal physical conditions,
  3. possible remedies that work.

Talk and communicate with your neighbors or local health officials

  1. allergies,
  2. genetic and normal physical conditions (if needed or possible)
  3. possible remedies that work

Talk with your Dentist to see if it may be related to your teeth, jaw, gums, or root nerves.

Download a Home Allergy Checklist sheet and complete it

  1. This will help you understand if there is something in your home that may be causing your suffering: plants, animals, mold, lack of humidity, outside or inside environmental contagion, etc.

Keep a running record of the weather in your area.

  1. Write down when fronts come through,
  2. Excessive times of rain, snow, fog, sun, wind,
  3. Jumps in temperature,
  4. Humidity levels inside and out.

Keep a running record of symptoms and note:

  1. what they are,
  2. how long they last,
  3. what the dates were,
  4. what you were doing in the hours and days before they began,
  5. what medicines you took and your body’s response to them.

Keep a running record of OTC and prescribed drugs and note:

  1. The exact name and dosage,
  2. how long you took it,
  3. what the dates were,
  4. and your body’s response to them.

Keep a running record of the pollen and mold counts in your area.

  1. Check out: and have emails sent to you on a regular basis,
  2. Write down dates of high counts,
  3. Write down dates when you start sneezing, itching, and getting congested.

Throw your records onto the computer and place the file on your desktop, or, pick up a small notebook and keep it somewhere obvious at home so that you can enter the information on a regular basis. It takes at least a year of data and seasonal shifts of weather and environment before you will have enough data to analyze and take with you to your doctor.

Decision making

The chances are you have already been to your doctor off and on about this, or you have jumped into the prevention and treatment stage. There is nothing wrong with that because you have been trying to stop your horrible sinus headaches. But now, with all of your data, it is time to get serious and set up an appointment with your primary care physician. Take your time during the appointment. Explain what you did, provide a copy of the notes, and summarize your findings. There are a number of interconnecting issues, preventions, and treatments that may be broached upon concurrently or separately. Remember, this is your well-being and your life, take the time to do it right. Your doctor may not be aware or interested in certain preventative measures or treatments. It is your right, and responsibility to yourself and family, to push forward anyways.

1. Allergy medicines may be prescribed to you based on this data. Educate yourself on the different medicines available (OTC, antihistamines, nasal sprays). This may take years as you find the best one for you, and sometimes, a combination of medications is needed. Take your time.
2. Allergy testing at a special clinic or laboratory. Blood samples and panels of skin tests will be taken. Educate yourself. Find out what your insurance covers and what you need.
3. Treatments: Chiropractic, allergy shots, medicines, food choices, etc.
4. Prevention: Getting rid of animals, installing and changing furnace and air filters regularly, installing allergy bedding, closing off your home from outside allergens and contaminates, washing thoroughly after being outside or working with certain chemicals, moving to a different climate, etc.
5. CT scan of your head and sinus cavities.
6. Referral to an ENT-Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist
7. Research, research, Research!

The Final Word

Unfortunately, if you are like me, and you have thoroughly and patiently worked through all issues and ideas from prevention to treatment, surgery may be your last option. Your ENT and/or surgeon will go over your complete history and CT scan with you. Make sure you research well ahead of making any decisions. You will find interesting experiences (check out my blog at: that show all sides of the issue, current best practices, possible side effects, and a step by step discussion of the entire process.

Most sinus surgeries have very few complications beyond the anesthesia, but, there are a wide variety of procedures that can be done. Some will have you walking out to your car and back to work that afternoon, others like mine will have you wondering why you ever signed up for the surgery in the first place.

Regardless, the decision is still yours, and it is you who will have to live it. Make sure that you have explored every option before you decide on surgery.

Leyton Roberts for editing and proofreading papers
Professional educator

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