Tomorrow, I get to go in to my ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) doctor and, through the use of radio waves and a balloon - hopefully correct what prevents me from being able to fully breathe through my nose.
Apparently, the entrance into my sinuses on the right side of my nose is too small. Since (without the help of Mucinex (been taking it for over a year) or Sudafed) I'm unable to breathe through my nose on that side, I'm not surprised.
This wouldn't be that big of an issue if it weren't for the pressure this causes (similar to your ear not popping when changing elevation) that becomes a secondary source of pain when I get my headaches. Were it not for the twice daily use of those OTC meds, I'd be succumbing to sinus headaches on a regular basis. I'm not actually dealing with an ongoing sinus infection, just the pressure that becomes a problem when pain originates from another source.
After a CAT scan in March, and follow up appt. with my ENT to clarify there wasn't a serious problem, we threw around potential solutions for this tiny sinus opening as well as the enlarged "turbinates" (turbinates are spongy bone structures on the sides of the inner nose that regulate airflow and protect the inner nasal anatomy). To solve the problem of these turbinates, radio waves will be used to shrink them down. Very cool!
As for that hole - well, the common solution is to do an outpatient surgery in the hospital in which a drill would be used to enlarge it. I know some folks who've had and described that experience - and it hasn't been altogether "pleasant" (though they were pleased with the end results). General anesthesia is used and you'll wake up with gauze packed in to your nose. The recovery is about 5 days. Lovely. Being "put under" + surgery with a drill + gauze up your nose + extended recovery time = less than optimal "Plan A".
In my discussion with the doc about this, he understood and lamented that my health insurance did NOT cover the "Plan B" he'd like to pursue. That would be "Sinuplasty". The "procedure" (not surgery) is done in office. No general anesthesia is used (a couple of Percoset and Valium instead....sounds like a PARTY to me!!!! j/k!!!). Instead of a drill, a special balloon is inserted into the nose and inflated through the hole to enlarge it. This is the same kind of technology used in angioplasty which has literally revolutionized the treatment of blocked arteries. To my knowledge, I won't be leaving with gauze in my nose (if you know otherwise...don't tell me....I'm choosing to be optimistic!) And, the best yet - theoretically, with this procedure, a person could turn around and go back to work the next day if needed.
Given the two options, John and I chose "Plan B", even though it meant we'd have to pay for it out of pocket. It's absolutely ridiculous the way insurance companies have power over our health care - so despite their willingness for me to take more risks in paying for (partially - after the deductible and co-pay....which may have negated much compensation anyway) the surgery in a hospital with general anesthesia used, John and I were not.
So, that's the plan. Tomorrow at 3pm is my appointment. I'm not nervous or anxious at all - though I believe I would have felt that way if I were hospital-bound. Instead, I'm looking forward to being able to take a deep breathe - entirely through my nose! (Not to mention, ditch the "horse pill" Mucinex that has effectively thinned out the mucus preventing too much blockage).
Also occurring tomorrow - and something we'd covet prayers for, is an outreach activity in our church's high school department that John has been invited to share his testimony. He's got quite the "bad boy" past that makes for a very riveting story. He's been working on this talk all week - including the "hook" he'll use to try to lure the crowd back to when he'll be giving a full message at high school group on Sunday. Please pray for him to feel the confidence and direction that only comes from the Holy Spirit guiding him every step of the way.
UPDATE: pic from the event :
When he originally said "Yes" to this event, we didn't put two and two together that it would occur the same evening as this sinus procedure for me. While I don't think I'll feel up to attending to listen to him speak (I don't know if he'd want me there with all of those loopy drugs in my system!) - I feel pretty confident that I won't need him home babysitting me either. It'll all work out.
Thanks for your prayers and positive thoughts everyone!
UPDATE: From my Facebook post yesterday afternoon:
For anyone I've asked to keep me in prayer today for the non-invasive sinus procedure (Sinuplasty) I'm having done....if you could take a raincheck on those prayers, that would be great. ;) Apparently, that answering machine I hadn't checked in a couple of days hid a message letting me know the dr. had to reschedule. (They also had my cell number entered wrong in their system, which is why I wasn't told that way). So glad I decided to go ahead and take care of that "chore" in reviewing the messages just now! Good news...77 degree day today and I've got a free afternoon! (Also, the receptionist verified it really is that quick of a recovery...and I should indeed feel fine the next day - important info as we seek another Friday to reschedule in the upcoming busy weeks....)
4/21 50m hill walk4/22 50m hill walk
4/23 60m brisk walk
4/24 45m hill walk4/25 50m hike (Spencer's Butte)