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  • REALLY need advice about my chronic sinus infections

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    Old 05-17-2014, 02:39 AM   #1
    testa
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    REALLY need advice about my chronic sinus infections

    I could use some advice, primarily at-home treatments and ideas on what else this could be if not chronic sinus infections.

    I'm 42 years old. All through childhood I had URIs, allergies and bad tonsillitis, and in my teens and 20s, the left side of my face, especially a spot on the maxillary bone, would hurt when I had seasonal allergies. About 15 years ago I noticed the spot hurt all the time, my eye right above it would twitch constantly, and that side of my face swelled. The doctor said it was my tooth, but the dentist took xrays and spent a long time checking and diagnosed a sinus infection. Augmentin took care of all the symptoms.

    Since then, I've had regular sinus infections. They've been getting worse over the years, and are characterized by being almost always on the left side only, with facial swelling, especially around the eye. The eyebrow will go up so high on my forehead it's 1/2 inch higher than my left eye, and my eyelid swells so badly it has on occasion obscured my vision.

    I get tons of pressure in the face especially the cheekbones, pangs of pretty severe pain on that one maxillary spot, huge bags under the eyes, watery eyes, dizzy, tons of mucus down the back of my throat, my senses of taste and smell are off, I sleep 10-12 hours a day and still feel tired, my head hurts, and my neck on that side will hurt, too.

    But I don't -- and I never have -- get a lot of post-nasal drainage. It's been like that my whole life. It goes down the back of my throat, rarely out my nose, no matter what's going on (allergies, virus, sinus infection, whatever). It often feels like I need to blow my nose, but very little comes out.

    I've had some bad doctors, including one who was from a strange non-traditional church that hated medication, and that's my biggest hurdle right now, trying to deal with the damage he did, because he told the only ENT in town I was a hypochondriac, and the ENT wouldn't treat me.

    My new GP is terrific. He's given me prescriptions for Flonase, suggested Claritin and NeilMed rinses and omeprazole, all of which helped. The pain and inflammation are no longer constant, but every 6-12 months, I have another sinus infection. He gives me augmentin which isn't working as well as it used to (of course, I've had it about a dozen times over 15 years) and azithromycin which works pretty well.

    I try to hold out because everything online says you don't need antibiotics for a sinus infection, but eventually I get dizzy, weak in the arms and legs, and have a temperature of 99.5 or so, and have to go on antibiotics again.

    About eight years ago I had a CT scan that showed only "a little" infection in the ethmoid sinus cavity on the left side. Two years ago my new GP got me another CT scan, this time showing "complete opacity of the left ethmoid sinus" even after I'd had two rounds of augmentin AND a prednisone burst.

    Armed with all this, he sent me back to the ENT's office, since the prior guy I had seen was now retired. But the new ENT said the ethmoid sinus was (and I quote) "no big deal," then insisted the old ENT diagnosed me with trigeminal neuralgia -- I was NEVER diagnosed with this -- and he again refused to treat me.

    The GP doesn't agree with the trigeminal neuralgia diagnosis. He can get me a referral to another ENT that's out of town, but my insurance won't pay for it, and I am just absolutely broke. He says that for a GP, he's given me all he can and I need a specialist. The specialist has quoted me $1200 for an initial consultation and endoscopic procedure and BC/BS has turned it down because he's "out of network."

    So that's where I am. I'm sick so often I can't hold down a job anymore. I feel miserable about 1/4th to 1/2 of the year, and I'm absolutely at my wit's end.

    What else can I do? Right now I do:

    - flonase daily
    - Claritin once a day
    - NeilMed rinses twice a day, sometimes with 1 oz Alkalol added
    - omeprazole when I can, or other lesser acid reducers when omprazole side effects get too bad
    - Mucinex plus plenty of water and Gatorade to thin the mucus
    - Tylenol (or Advil if I absolutely have to) for swelling

    I'm about ready to let an infection go so long that I end up in the hospital so someone HAS to treat me. I'm desperate. Please, if you have any suggestions that don't cost $1200, I could sure use them right now. Thank you.

    Last edited by testa; 05-17-2014 at 02:42 AM.

     
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    Old 05-17-2014, 02:51 AM   #2
    testa
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    Re: REALLY need advice about my chronic sinus infections

    I wanted to add that I used to take Sudafed or Tylenol Sinus for symptoms and they both worked really well, but I took them so regularly by the time I was 20 they were raising my blood pressure. My current GP gives me a scold every time I tell him I "fell off the wagon" and took pseudoephedrine, ha ha. So that's not an option I can take advantage of, unfortunately.

     
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