Friday, September 30, 2011

What am I Allergic To

So another random anosmia post! The latest on the anosmia front is that after almost 40 years of living in a very dry southwest USA climate, the past 2 years being in a hugely populated, polluted, dusty and hot area of southern California, my wife and I have thankfully moved to a smaller community just north of San Diego and for the first ever, are 3 1/2 miles from the beach. about a run on sentence!

So we are living near the beach where the temperatures got into the high 80's maybe 3 times during the entire summer and we are loving it.

When we first got here in the spring, I went to yet another ENT to have her take a look inside my sinuses. Of course she confirmed, and for the first time I actually saw the polyps in my sinuses. She was not so insistent on surgery but of course she said that it was an option.

She suggested two things. One was to use budenoside rather than Flonase or Nasonex or Nasacort and prescribed it to be used with a nebulizer twice a day. Well, that lasted about a month. I just could not deal with standing there with this nebulizer for 5 minutes or so twice a day.

The other thing she suggested was that I start my allergy shots again and felt that I might get better relief this time around. I told her I did them for almost 3 years and 1, my anosmia did not get better and 2, the polyps still kept recurring. She said she just felt she should test me again. So I asked her "what am I allergic to" at this point?? I felt that after 3 years of previous allergy shots, it almost just sounds like a money grab. She felt that doing it with an ENT might be better than with an allergist.

So I'm debating yet again whether I want to go through this. The drive down to see her, the drive back up, the expense etc.

Other than that, nothing much else to report. Best to all who occasionally read this.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

If you want to know what Anosmia is like

I was online just yesterday and found what is probably the best written article I've ever read about what it's like to be anosmic.

I'd have to say that almost 6 years after my onset of anosmia, my attitude is more of reluctant acceptance than this authors (even though I remain hopeful) but if you have a family member who is anosmic, or if you are trying to give friends or family an idea of what it's like, I urge you to read this brief article.

Another of my infrequent updates on my anosmia

Once again I'm posting here. I deeply apologize to people who have left comments that I have not replied to! I guess I would have been better off creating some sort of forum where a thread type discussion could be held but for better or worse, my little anosmia blog is about the best I have time for.

And if anyone is still following, you can tell that I barely have time for even this!

So as of today, July 20, 2011 things are as they ever were. My last polyp surgery was back in May of 2010 and my last episode of good olfaction was around Mother's day of last year. For those not in the U.S., that falls sometime in mid May. I remember it because my wife poured me a glass of chardonnay. I almost cried it tasted so good!

There might have been fleeting moments of taste and smell after that but if so, I cannot recall when and certainly nothing past June of '10. Although I did have some unrelated health issues earlier this year where I had to do a 5 day cycle of prednisone that temporarily restored my olfaction....WONDERFUL!

We recently moved to a more climate friendly region of California about 3 or 4 miles from the beach and I recently visited yet another ENT locally. She has me on Budenoside using a nebulizer to keep the recurring nasal polyps to as manageable size as possible but even using this (stronger) corticosteroid, I still have major issues. Mostly on my left side.

My most recent CT scan from Feb of this year shows the same as it ever did: Terrible polyp growth on my left side, less so on my right and horrible congestion or crud in my frontal sinuses. CT scans of my sinuses show virtually ZERO black. It's all gray.

My new ENT has urged me to try allergy shots again and after my initial reluctance, I started thinking that while my last round of shots did not help my anosmia, I did have much better overall breathing for the 2 or 3 years I was on them. So I'm thinking if I can get on those again and yes, once again have the polypectomy, I might get relief and my olfaction back.

This new Dr told me that my last two polypectomies did not include computer assisted imagery which would be the only way to get up into my frontal sinuses. I know this is true based on my last ENT's comments. I guess my continuing hope is that with this procedure, my anosmia will be cured.

Obviously, I CAN smell and taste things as indicated with every dose of prednisone I've ever had. It's a matter of getting things opened up.

As always, good luck to all who can relate to this

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Youtube video of a normal polypectomy

This is NOT a video of my procedure. This is what a normal polyp looks like and I imagine it's how my first surgery went back in 2006. What's most amazing to me still is that there is virtually no pain and no blood from this surgery.

In my next post I'll describe my situation from my surgery I just had performed that was not quite this simple.

FESS Sinus surgery for polyps - Post Op Nightmare

The moment I awoke from anesthesia I had a feeling something was wrong. After my first surgery which lasted about 45 minutes, my nose and sinuses felt a bit of stinging but there was no pain. However, I was breathing clearly without any problem.

This was different. As I woke up to the nurses calling my name, I immediately realized that I couldn't breathe through my nose. At all.

"Hmmm....that's odd", I remember thinking. Why was I so incredibly congested when I should be breathing freely?? And then it hit me. In my still foggy, hazy state of mind I realized (with no small amount of horror) that the doctor had to pack my sinuses. Something I never had done, even after my first reconstructive surgery to repair my septum and certainly not after my first polypectomy.

AAACCKKK!!!! Aaah well, what are you going to do huh?

My wife walked in, tears in her eyes because she knew how much I was praying this wouldn't happen and said, "Honey, I'm so sorry. He had to pack your sinuses". She was very upset for me.

Why in God's name did her have to do it?
Well, for starters, even though we knew my entire sinus cavity....all of them...were filled with polyps, crud and what not, what nobody knew was how difficult it would be for my doctor to remove them. So difficult that my 45 - 60 minute procedure took over an hour and half. And rendered the doctors surgical tool unusable in the process.

Next up!
Polyps made of "leather", teflon nasal tampons and my 3 day follow up

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nasal Polyp Surgery - The big day

On Monday, May 3rd I was scheduled to have my surgery. Unlike the first surgery which was performed at my (previous) doctors in office surgery center, this was to be performed at an outside surgery center that my current ENT uses. I was told to arrive at 11:15 am and no food or liquid 12 hours prior. Based on past experiences, I knew that if I was to be there at 11:15, I would probably not be in surgery until 1:00.

We arrived a bit early and I filled out the minimal paperwork that was required and then we pretty much settled in for the wait. It was not until almost 1:00 that they finally called my name and brought me into the pre-op area where I was treated very kindly by the nurses. Our expectation was that the polypectomy would last appoximately 45 minutes and the nurse confirmed this with my wife who was not allowed to go with me into pre-op. Once inside, I got into the surgical gown, laid down on the bed and proceeded to answer numerous questions by the nurses. "When did you last eat or drink, what allergies to meds if any, what previous surgeries...." The usual stuff.

Within a short time they me hooked up to a needle and the anesthesiologist came in to ask more questions. She then had me on a drip to relax definitely worked quickly.

Shortly after that, they told me we were ready to go and off I went into the surgery room.

It's funny but I was not nervous at all. Having had the surgery previously, I knew what to expect, i.e. a brief procedure, an easy wake up from anesthesia and no pain or blood from my nose but just a raw kind of sensation.

We got into the surgery room and unlike my first polypectomy where my doctor was already in there, the only people in the room were the anesthesiologist and a couple nurses. By this time, the drip they had me on had me feeling pretty good. I couldn't have been in there for more than 2 minutes when the anesthesiologist looked at me and said, "Okay Mike..are we ready?" To which I replied, "Yep". And she then said, "Okay, here we go"

And it was an instantaneous lights out to nap land for me.

Next up: Post Op

Friday, May 07, 2010

Second surgery for nasal polyps

Anyone who has followed my minimal posts here has known that since October 2005 I've suffered from anosmia and nasal polyps. My first surgery for nasal polyps was in January of 2006. I'd say it was successful in regards to removing the polyps but as to returning my sense of smell, not so much.

I was told at the time to follow a strict regimen of nasal rinsing, allergy shots and corticosteroid sprays in the hope that the nasal polyps would not return and that my sense of smell would.

We can fast forward from 2006 until late 2008. During that time my sense of smell would come and go but I'd say that I had virtually no sense of smell or taste other than an occasional moment. I kept up with the nasonex and/or flonase sprays and nasal irrigation and also kept going for my allergy shots.

In November of 2008 my wife and I moved to a different area in southern California and I began noticing serious sinus issues. Extreme stuffiness, constant discharge, worsening of what few asthma symptoms I'd had and an overall feeling that my sinus situation was getting worse.

Being that I am loathe to see a doctor, it took some time before I had my allergist take a look at me. Sometime in late 2009 I scheduled an appt and he saw a large polyp in my left nostril plus what he described as a sinus infection and got me back on Flonase which I'd pretty much stopped using at that point.

For the next few months, my condition worsened to the point that I was spending most nights in a sleepless state due to the congestion in my nose. Breathing was almost impossible and life since early 2010 has been somewhat of a depressing state.

As I've blogged about in the past, the fact that I enjoy more than my share of cocktails and cigars did not help matters. It's obvious that any alcohol is a vasodilator for me and only worsens congestion.

Matters only got worse so about 8 weeks ago I finally went to a new ENT in my new area. He did some observations and scheduled a CT scan which revealed massive polyp growths in both nasal passages and all sinus cavities filled with both polyps and infection. He was pretty astounded that I'd been living this way for the length of time I had been.

Needless to say, surgery was scheduled! May 3rd 2010 was the big day! 5 days prior I started a 50mg/day dose of prednisone which of course had a nice effect but considering the condition of my sinuses, very little olfaction returned.

By Sunday night, May 2nd I was so tired of feeling the way I had been for so long that even though I was nervous, I was ready for surgery.

As a side note, my current ENT had informed me that while he uses FESS and rarely needs to pack after surgery, it is always a possibility. Since I'd been down this road before and my first surgery was FESS and required no packing, I was looking forward to a quick recovery.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Almost 2 years since my last post??!!!

Okay, let's not say I don't at least check the blog from time to time as I do moderate all the comments that come in but good lord...2 years since I checked in with any updates of my own? Seems like there should be some kind of punishment for that like permanent exile from all social networks or something.

Well, there have most certainly been developments in my condition and will be posting my latest situation shortly. Suffice to say for now that I'll be going the surgery route yet again in a few short days!

Natural Allergy Relief - Aller-Defense

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Luxury cruise for an anosmia sufferer

My wife and I have been on 4 or 5 cruises over the years but the last one was about 6 years ago which was before my anosmia occurred.
Well, we recently went on an Alaskan cruise aboard the Princess cruise line. We had a spectacular time, saw great sites and of course one of the big attractions or draws for people who cruise is the vast amounts of food that is served on board a cruise ship.

Well, let me tell you, it pretty much sucks to have all this super high quality food being served and not being able to smell or taste it! As a matter of fact, since I became anosmic in the fall of 2005, I've probably only had a handful of meals in really good restaurants because I really don't care anymore. So this was the first time in this situation.

Just a note from the very strange life of an anosmic!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

More thoughts on smoking, allergies and anosmia

Well it's been some time since my last post so I thought I'd at least get on and give yet another update and some thoughts. As it is, I still am not able to smell or taste anything. I am still getting my allergy shots although I'm doing once a month now. How long does this last anyway??

I will say that my allergies are definitely better. I had a little episode the other day of some stuffiness and I was really shocked as I've had virtually no allergy symptoms for some time. I had a couple glass of wine the night before so it could have been due to that. The allergy shots have not helped my anosmia however which is unfortunate.

I had posted some time back about not smoking cigars for a while and seeing if that would help but it didn't but something dawned on me recently and I'm giving it a shot again.

Here's what I was thinking: For years I smoked cigars occasionally. Maybe on a Sunday afternoon while relaxing in the yard. In May of 2005 I started smoking a cigar every day. Or if not, close to it. I continued this pattern throughout the summer and into the fall of 2005. Those who have read my earlier posts know that I was on vacation in New York in October of 2005 when I lost my sense of smell.

Since that time, except for my experiment with giving up cigars, I've continued to smoke them to one degree or another. Sometimes only on the weekend but (being honest with myself here) for the most part, I have smoked a cigar a day for some time. And it just keeps nagging at me: Is this the main factor for my anosmia? Is it possible that the cigar smoke is enough of an irritant to cause inflammation which in turn blocks any aroma from getting up into my olfactory region?

So, I've once again stopped smoking cigars. When I first tried this I honestly can't remember if I truly stopped or if I cheated once in a while. It's been about 10 days and nothing has changed but my wife feels IF it's the reason, it might take some time for olfaction to resume. I will continue to post here occasionaly to let people know the results. If anyone has any input or info on smoking and anosmia please comment.