Well, I have some good

Well, I have some good news on the front regarding my chronic cholinergic urticaria. If you’re too lazy to click that link, briefly: It’s a disease – or more accurately, the symptoms of a disease, for which the cause is not known – that involves hives brought on by different things. In my case, just about everything.

However, the good news is that I have a feeling we are really on to what has caused mine. (And in a relatively straightforward and efficient manner, at the Vanderbilt ASAP clinic.).

Another problem I’ve had is chronic sinusitis.. So much so that I’ve almost gotten used to it – having trouble breathing, congestion, postnasal drip, etc. I’ve had it as long as I can remember, and it’s certainly not as big of a problem as the urticaria became when it developed when I was in high school.

What never occurred to me (or the countless doctors I saw, either, which is frustrating, but I’ll get into that later) is that they might be connected.

This visit to the ASAP clinic was very fruitful.. After a few CT scans and treatment with steroids and antibiotics, most of the infection is cleaned up, and the followup analysis was that I had severe chronic fungal sinusitis – a sinus infection caused by a fungal infection (mold spores). The result is that my sinuses are a mess. My septum is severely diverted.. There are polyps, and my sphenoids are all but gone.

The doctor I spoke with said that surgery could fix this and get proper irrigation going, and clean up the remaining infection entirely. He also suggested he thought it was possible that this was responsible for the urticaria. Imagine that..

So, I did a little searching this afternoon on usenet using google, for “sinusitis” and “urticaria”. I turned up a few very encouraging threads: here, and here, that basically describe a few guys having been diagnosed with urticaria (one had it for 15 years) and finally had surgery to properly irrigate their sinuses and eliminate chronic sinusitis and have their urticaria go away as a result.

So, I am very optimistic (maybe overly-so, since I’d be disappointed if this didn’t fix it, since I don’t know what else would)..

But what pisses me off more than anything is all the time and money I’ve wasted.. the mental and physical anguish I’ve endured for all these years, when the only problem was simple sinusitis. The ASAP clinic was able to figure out in a pretty straightforward manner at least that my sinusitis was a serious problem. Why couldn’t anyone else?

I spent two pain in the ass visits to Allergy Associates in Knoxville, getting allergy tests and came back with nothing more than a prescription for some antihistamines. Thanks a lot. And the bill? $1500. Just what a broke college student needs.

Later on, when I was out of college for good, I went to see Bruce Wolfe’s office in Nashville, and endured another round of allergy testing and was treated with antibiotics and steroids to get rid of the sinus infection I had. But no CT scan was ordered, despite the fact that my nasal passages were completely plugged with swelling and infection. Granted, hindsight is 20/20, for me now – but I’m not a doctor.. If I can see how obvious it was now, shouldn’t have they caught it then?

I ended up spending two days out of every week getting allergy shots and increasing my dosages of zyrtec, all the while seeing no improvement whatsoever.

Time, money, energy wasted. Mental fatigue, physical anguish. What a pain in the ass. Why in the hell didn’t someone think to try this earlier? I should sue their asses for malpractice.

Okay, I’m done pre-emptively ranting now. Knowing my luck, I’ll get done with all the surgery and clear up my sinuses entirely, and I’ll still have it.

But, the evidence is pretty overwhelming and very encouraging that this is what it is. Keep your fingers crossed for me!