Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nose Advice

I need some advice please! I know that this is long, but please read and vote. I'm so torn over this decision.

If you've been reading for awhile, you know that I've had some nasal distress and controversy over the last year or two.

I starting going to the ENT about 2-3 years ago due to frequent sinus infections (4ish per year). I figured it was because I work in a school and I figured that it would be a simple fix. I would say that I feel good for about 2 weeks out of every month, but spend the next two weeks with a sore-ish throat, post nasal drip, and a slightly stuffy nose. It's not miserable and I live through it taking nothing more than my saline nasal rinse, but it is annoying. Basically, I spend 50% of my life feeling less than stellar due to sinus headaches and post nasal drip.

My ENT wants to do surgery. He said that I have a deviated septum and need to have my turbinates fixed. The surgery will hurt (BAD) and I'll be out of work for one week. They said that the surgery usually works and will help clear the airways in my nose.

That's all fine a good, but my top two complaints are post nasal drip and sinus pressure in my forehead, not congestion in my nose. Will the surgery help with that? He claims yes, but I'm skeptical.

Just to make sure that we're on the right track he sent me for allergy testing at a immunologist. He said that he wanted to rule out allergies before moving forwards with surgery.

Neither of us thought that I had allergies. I don't have a runny nose, my eyes don't itch, and I don't sneeze. I have none of the classic allergy symptoms.

I got to to allergist and they stabbed me no less than 45 times with a needle. I passed foods and mold with flying colors.

IMG00048-20100922-1432.jpg

Everything else is another story.
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It turns out that I am SERIOUSLY allergic to almost all weeds and grasses. (I don't have a picture of that bump, but it was an inch wide! Most allergies only show up as 1-2 millimeters on your arm).

I'm also allergic to dogs, all trees except oak and dust mites. The dog thing is whack. I've lived with dogs my whole life.

Anyways, the allergist recommended that I need shots. As in the immunology shots that you need to get TWICE A FLIPPIN' week for 3-4 months. He reasoned with me that allergy meds don't work for me (b/c I don't have classic symptoms) and that the allergies are causing inflammation which in turn cause sinus infections.

The allergist recommended that I do the shots before the surgery because the surgery could fail due to my allergy related inflammation.

I called my ENT and got down to business. I said I'll do shots or I'll do surgery. I'm not doing both. Shots will require me to drive 20 minutes out of my way twice a week to sit in a doctors office for 35 minutes. Not my idea of fun. Surgery will require me to be put to sleep and a serious recovery. Even riskier.

The ENT's vote? I need both. He said that my CT scans clearly shows blockages and inflamed turbinates that really should be fixed.

I am so torn.

I kinda feel like they are both full of sh%t and I'm so skeptical of doctors lately. I feel like I can't walk out of a doctors office without a new diagnosis or problem. It's crazy. My mom thinks they just make stuff up to make more money. I'm not that paranoid, but it is frustrating sometimes.

Although I feel like they are full of it I did see the CT scans and I couldn't miss the reactions to the allergy testing. I know that I have issues in both areas but it's so hard to believe because I do not have any of the classic symptoms.

According to my CT scan, I shouldn't be able to breath due to congestion, but I rarely have congestion. According to my allergy testing, I should spend my life wheezing, sneezing and itching my eyes but I never do/have.

Have you had any of the above interventions?

Mom votes that I should go with the shots because surgery could technically kill you. The hubs thinks that surgery would be better because I'd get it all over with in one week.

What would you do?

16 comments:

Sherrie said...

I would say get a second opinion...especially on the surgery. Can you see another ENT? That would be my starting place. HTH!

Melissa said...

I'd get another opinion and if the answer is the same, I'd do the shots. Surgery freaks me out and I'd only do it as a last resort. Really, you need to do whatever is best for you, but I know that's a hard decision to make!

Jenny G said...

Ok. I am just as skeptical as you.

I have been on numerous meds since I was little for allergies, many of which I am now immune to because of course I didn't take them continuously like I should. I have always been allergic to cats, and sneezed my head off after being outside for an extended period of time.

Now, it's got to the point that I have sinus migraines. So, I am considering changing my diet. I know that doesn't have anything to do with your choices, but I have heard over and over that diet has so much to do with your immune system, which has to do with allergies, so I am going to try it.

I have never had allergy testing done, or been to an ENT because I am certain I'll be allergic to everything under the sun. I also feel bad about 75% of the time. I know that it is partly my sinuses, but partly other things.

Anyways, that's what I'm going to try. I don't know about you, but I don't eat very well as far a fruits and veggies go. And I am very cynical about having surgeries or taking meds when it's not necessary. So, I'm going to try what the books I have read suggest and do that first.

Surgeries and shots just seem super extreme to me for it to not bother you that badly! It wouldn't hurt to get a second opinion.

M said...

I have the same kind of allergies. I did shots for a year and quit only because I moved to Texas. I would recommend shots. Your allergist may allow you to take the serum to a more local office to get the regular shots and then only have to go to his/her office for checkups.

~Mrs. Guru~ said...

I had my tonsils removed and sinus surgery all at the same time. I also had a deviated septum. My tonsils hurt the worst. The sinus surgery was not as bad as I expected and let me say the best decision to date. I breathe so much better. I also use to get sick no less then 8 times per year. Since my surgery in Feb I have not been sick once.

Nat said...

I am exactly like you or I was at least. I have deviated septum surgery almost 8 yrs ago and have probably only had 2 sinus infections ever since (I used to go to the hospital for mine) and I have MAJOR allergies, I did the shots and they are amazing and I take a daily allergy med every day. Trust me when I tell you this is your only relief I've ever had and the surgery was nothing, I felt fine after 3 days and was up and moving. Do you live in the Annapolis area, I loved my ENT!! I haven't been in years though b/c I no longer need him.
Feel free to send me an email- eastcoastnat.com- I can tell you all about it.

Nat said...

I am exactly like you or I was at least. I have deviated septum surgery almost 8 yrs ago and have probably only had 2 sinus infections ever since (I used to go to the hospital for mine) and I have MAJOR allergies, I did the shots and they are amazing and I take a daily allergy med every day. Trust me when I tell you this is your only relief I've ever had and the surgery was nothing, I felt fine after 3 days and was up and moving. Do you live in the Annapolis area, I loved my ENT!! I haven't been in years though b/c I no longer need him.
Feel free to send me an email- eastcoastnat.com- I can tell you all about it.

Flashy Soup Can said...

Shots first, surgery second. Those allergy tests are super sensitive - keep that in mind. Tom tested positive for a dog allergy and he's obviously fine. Have you tried any of the holistic remedies for allergies?

Molly said...

second opinions all around!!!! But allergy shots might be a good option.

Shaina said...

Definitely a second opinion, like what everyone else said - but I would lean towards the shots. I grew up getting allergy shots every other week, and I got them in college too. Then I got another allergy test done (aren't they miserable???!!!!) and a lot of my allergies had disappeared! Now I don't take shots at all, and I rarely get allergy symptoms - just here and there when it's high ragweed or mold season. And then, I just pop a zyrtec and I feel better. When in doubt, I am usually anti-surgery as long as you can help it!

hotpants™ said...

My doctor(s) all said my sinus problems were because of allergies. I was told I needed allergy shots. Surgery was never suggested. However, my insurance company was going to charge me $20 for every single shot even though I wouldn't be seeing the doctor. I needed to have two per week per my allergist. I'm sorry, but I didn't want to spend that and have to drive out of my way for the shots every single week and use up my lunch hour to do it. So, right now, I'm still struggling. I can't say if the shots work because I didn't take them, but I'm going back in February or March before spring hits and get a second opinion before taking the shots. I start coughing if I'm outside for too long. I'm allergic to all trees and grass. Thankfully, I'm not allergic to cats or dogs. I've got to do something though because my entire summer was spent sick off and on. IT SUCKS!

So, as for advice, I'd probably get a second opinion. But I do know that sinus problems can be contributed to allergies. It runs in my family. We all have the same problem and have all been told the same thing. My mom takes shots once a week and has for a year, but I don't think she's that much better.

Dancy said...

I'm with the ladies who say get a 2nd opinion from 2 diff. docs.

I've had the test before and I would wait on the surgery. Once I turned 30 my whole body changed. Things I was allergic to, I'm not anymore - and some things I was fine with, I can't touch anymore.

It also (supposedly)changes when you have children so maybe consider waiting on surgery until a little later in life?

Syndal said...

allergies are very fickle. they can come and go and develop later on in life. if you have a tendency towards inflammatory processes, then not doing the shots isn't going to help. Having your CT show that you need surgery, is a separate, yet contributing issue also. I honestly think you should do both if they think the surgery might fail without the shots. The blockages can certainly cause sinus pressure in your forehead but not necessarily down to your nose, but it's connected, so having that backup can make you more prone to sinusitis, while your tendency towards inflammation also contributes to your sinus infections. It doesn't hurt to get a second opinion however. Different doctors have had different experiences with what works for their patients.

Alyson said...

Hey Ashley! I am a lurker but was in your very same boat about six months ago. I saw an ENT then an allergist and am so glad I got a second opinion from the allergist instead of going through the surgery. Try the shots first! Feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Erica said...

I'd get second opinions about both options. I'd also look into the feasibility of doing the shots and if they don't work, then going for the surgery.

AndreaLeigh said...

I'd get a second opinion. Try the shots, and then the surgery.

I'm in the same boat. Since I had Cooper, I'm getting a sinus infection every month. I'm on the max allergy meds. My next step is surgery, and I don't want to go that route.