Monday, June 13, 2016

What now?

What now? It is about 75 days since I finished my last prednisone burst and about 16 days since I finished my fluconazole - which was intended to kill the candida yeast that was found to be growing in my lungs. I was feeling good - good enough to go with my daughter to her recent sinus appointments.

My daughter's sinus troubles started about 10 years ago when her kids were still young. This year one of the is graduating from high school. She had never had any sinus infections until she suddenly found she had a bad one high up behind her forehead. The problem was that if it got any higher, chances were it would drain into her brain. This could have resulted in death or brain damage. To prevent this, she was sent to a hospital on the mainland and given tons of antibiotics. Unfortunately this went wrong - because she developed a an antibiotic resistant c. difficile infection which required even more antibiotics, etc. She was eventually sent home but with no follow-up care and she was off work for months. Then things flared up again. Fortunately, this time she was referred to our sinus doc and she has been going to see him for the past 9 years. She has had 3 sinus surgeries and a revision but is still prone to problems. A few weeks ago she was advised she needed to go in for a checkup and clean out every two weeks to make sure things didn't get really out of hand again.

Unfortunately, on one of those appointments our sinus doc found she had an antibiotic resistant biofilm (bateria and fungus) in the only part of sinuses that still don't drain properly. The treatment was a very powerful form of blue light therapy. Lots of people get blue light therapy these days to prevent bacteria in their sinuses from infecting the site of a surgery. A blue light is shone up their nostrils and it is very effective in reducing infection rates. Her therapy was far more difficult. It involved blue dye, a balloon inserted into her sinuses, and 4 minutes of 8 out of 10 level pain to kill everything growing in the sinus. 4 minutes on each side, that is. The only problem with this treatment is that, because everything is killed, it is difficult to re-establish good bacteria and challenging to keep bad stuff out. It is still considered experimental and has to be paid for by the patient. At her 3rd follow-up appointment last week, our sinus doc found she had something growing in her sinus - indicated by yellow goop/pus. Pus is white blood cells that have been killed while fighting an invader. So far we don't know what the invader is.

Mike and I accompanied her to that appointment and saw the goop on the screen. It looked like a tiny bowl of yellow soup. This was not good  news. But nor was it bad news. It was washed out and antibiotic gel inserted - so hopefully it is gone. She still needs to get some good bacteria growing.  She is lavaging with probiotics normally used for gut problems and hoping something good will stick.

The weird thing is that, on Saturday, the day after her appointment, I found that I had yellow goop coming out of my left sinus. I had become a bit deaf about a week before - which, in the past, has been an early warning of impending sinus problems and then an asthma exacerbation.  I had become very itchy too - especially on my face and neck. At first I had thought it was sunburn or a reaction to suntan lotion.  The odd thing was that Elspeth said she had had red cheeks before her yellow goop was found. Also - my digestion is a bit screwed up. Elspeth said she felt nauseated.

What now? Have I given something to Elspeth or have I caught something from her or our goops completely different? Maybe they are the sort of allergenic eosinophilic sinus problems I wrote about on May 14. If so, will she get back to normal? Will I? Am I on the verge of another asthma exacerbation?

The yellow phlegm turned  into dark greenish globs of post nasal drip this morning and no longer comes out when I blow my nose. I'm a bit less itchy. Am I getting better? By chance, I have my regular appointment with our sinus doc tomorrow. Hopefully he will be able to figure this out. I am not so sick I can't take the dog for a walk - so will do that again soon.

I must insert a photo to cheer things up:

It's my most recent abstract painting - loosely based on a migraine aura. What - another medical thing? Am I just a hypochondriac? Next -  take the dog out and then get painting again.

BTW, I am now the chair of a NAPA (National Asthma Patients Alliance)  working group which is looking into rebranding NAPA to fit better with the ASC. We had our first phone meeting on the ferry on the way to Elspeth's appointment. Hopefully we can make a difference that will benefit those 3,000,000 Canadians who also have asthma.

One more thing - my 8 year old grandson is one of the 3,000,000. He is currently suffering an exacerbation which makes him cough at night and sometimes during the day. His parents are very watchful and they are all doing the best job they can of managing it. 

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