Sinus Surgery – Meeting the Surgeon

Sinus Surgery – Meeting the Surgeon

I write a little dairy in hospital. This was the entry for meeting the surgeon and confirming sinus surgery will take place:

The surgeon takes my medical history, which takes longer and longer these days. I describe my numerous sinus infections. When I told him which IVs I was on, he laughs and says “Ah, yes, Domestos!” 

I had another camera shoved up my nose. This time, however, was the most enjoyable as I got to witness proceedings on a big technicolour screen. I sat, as instructed, facing the big screen and as the surgeon directed the camera towards my nose. Out of nowhere, I felt a hand placed firmly on the back of my head. I don’t know where this hand came from. It feels like the hand expects a struggle and is not prepared to let that happen! In my imagination, this hand (or the body attached to it) has watched one too many videos of force-feeding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and is trying to replicate the experience. 

Enjoying the Nasal Endoscopy

Sinus CT ScanLooking at the screen I was looking forward to seeing this film, with my nasal passages as the starring role. However, this quickly turned to horror when I saw the hairs on my nose, magnified in excruciating detail. “Eugh” I exclaimed. Equally repulsed and impressed my body could create something so dramatic.

“No, no that’s good. That’s healthy” the surgeon reassures me, followed by “don’t do anything about them.” By this I assume he means don’t pluck or trim them. I wasn’t planning to, but I might now after seeing those monstrosities!

As the camera goes up, it just looks like a pink fleshy crevice. A bit underwhelming. The nostrils look a lot less red and inflamed than my lungs did when I saw them in my bronchoscopy. Once both sides are checked I am left with a smell of burning flesh in my nostrils.

The surgeon concluded that everything looked very good up there and if he hadn’t seen my CT scan he would send me away. Even my sinuses have the same problem – but they look so well!!

FESS (Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery)

He offered me two options. By two I mean one – take it or leave it! Either leave things as they are which obviously isn’t feasible considering the IVs and long hospitalisations. Or surgery. Function Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) to be precise.

Before I knew it I’d signed the consent form and he was listing the side effects, potential complications, and their likelihood. At the end of the consultation, he asked me if I had any further questions. I’m not sure what came over me but I decided to ask him if he enjoyed his job. It felt like the end of a job interview where you have to show willing and have some questions to ask them to show you are keen for the role. He claimed he did like his job and had a special interest in CF. I bet he says that to all the illnesses!

The operation will see him drilling up into the sinuses to try and help create a better drainage system. An opened sinus network should allow the treatments (nasal rinsing, drops, and nebulisers) to access the sinus cavities reducing stagnant mucus and therefore infection. It sounds like a lot of drilling: into the cheeks and up into the forehead. He asks during the consultation if I suffer from allergies and/or hayfever and I say I have done much more so in the last two years. “Oh OK, I thought so,” he replies and then nonchalantly adds, “I will file down some of the insides of the nose”. Then he say “oh and there’s a bit of bone we can remove too”. Brilliant! I suggest he could add in a bit of an eyelift too but he doesn’t seem so keen on this. Operating on sinsuses

The time required for sinus surgery is usually about 2.5 hours. This I wasn’t prepared for – I thought it’d be a much quicker job! Needing an operation also leads to some difficulties chest-wise. When I had my last operation I was very poorly afterwards. Very Poorly. You know when a nurse refers to someone as being Very Poorly, they aren’t long for this world. So this leads to some complications..! “We” will need to limit the length of the operation as much as possible and be mindful of the anesthetics used. And get my chest in as good condition as possible… which is difficult with the constant chest infections I keep getting!

I see my CF team the next day and we catch up about my appointment. Apparently the surgeon has listed me as an urgent case and it is suggested that this will happen in 2-3 weeks. The plan is to go out of hospital, for a bit of a holiday, and then come back in a week before the operation to get dosed up on IVs/physio etc. Meanwhile continuing my nasal routine of rinsing, drops and Pari-sinusing. I mentally prepare for an operation in a couple of months, maybe even six. Hospital time is much slower than standard time I’ve generally found.

Read about the Beginning of my Sinus Issues.

Read about my Chronic Sinusitis and Treatments.