I decided I'd go to my doctor and let him take a look. Maybe it was just a sinus infection? He is a good doctor but he said he could see nothing wrong but as a precaution, prescribed some antibiotics. These of course proved pointless. I kept having fleeting moments of olfaction but it was becoming increasingly frustrating and to be quite honest, depressing.
I had some sinus surgery a few years prior so I paid a visit to my ENT to see what he could do. After scoping me out and ordering a CT Scan he told me that I had a terrible situation with nasal/sinus polyps. They needed to come out and with luck, I'd be able to smell again.
For those that don't know, anosmia is typically caused by one of three factors.
- Head Trauma
- Viral infection
- Sinus inflammation or polyps
As I'd had no head trauma and wan't truly able to pinpoint any kind of cold (virus), plus the fact that my olfaction had come and gone for some time, it seemed as if the cause was sinus inflammation caused by my polyps and constant allergies. I was relieved because if your anosmia is caused by head trauma or infection, it almost certainly will not come back.
The surgery was scheduled for the end of January 2006. Now keep in mind that my sense of smell, while greatly diminished and fleeting, did make brief returns. By brief I mean a few minutes here and there.
I was prescribed prednisone for pre-surgery and knowing very little about all of this, was amazed at how my sense of smell came back completely. My ENT had told me this would happen but to not get too excited since it would be temporary.
Well, my surgery was a success in that the polyps were removed. Unfortunately, after the prednisone wore off a few days after my surgery, my ability to smell was gone once again.
My ENT said that there was hope but that I needed to see an allergist, stay on a daily regimine of cortico-steroid sprays (for life) and needed to do daily nasal rinses. Without these, the polyps would probably come back.
As for my sense of smell, since my surgery it has virtually disappeared. There have been moments where it returned and in fact in late March of 2006 I had a spell of 3 days where it was back. Alas, as of this date, it has been gone almost entirely other than another round of prednisone with my allergist.
I am remaining hopeful. Maybe it's naive or pollyanna-ish. But I will continue to try to find a way to restore what I've lost.