This past autumn I finally decided to see an ear, nose and throat doctor. Turns out my problem stems from a deviated septum. One nostril was almost fully closed down and the other was blocked to some degree as well. I have no idea how this happened. Perhaps someone hit me when I did not know it? Perhaps I damaged my nose when I was hit by that car on my road bike back in 2003? I have the slightest clue. All I know is something is wrong and needs to be fixed.
January 4th. That was the day I had my 'procedure' as everyone calls it. I call it 'surgery'. My doctor went in and straightened out my septum and also did a few other things to help open my airways so I can breathe.
I was in and out of the ambulatory surgery center in about five hours. I left with two sets of 'packing' up each nostril to help keep the septum straight and allow things to heal. The packing also made it difficult to breathe so I was still a mouth breather. This went on for a week and the doctor saw me seven days post-op to remove the packing and check things over.
The first evening post-op consisted of a lot of nose bleeds and I had to sleep sitting up. In other words, I did not get much sleep. The next day I started feeling better but the anti-biotics the doctor prescribed me were pretty strong and did a number on me. I spent the whole day on the couch watching movies. I would also get a severe sinus headache mid-day which I contributed due to the packing in my nose. Still breathing out of my mouth for my nasal cavities were pretty much blocked 100%. Pain killers did not do anything to me so I just dealt with the discomfort.
Second day post-op: I attempted to go to work. Not sure why I thought I could go to work but it lasted about four hours. The anti-biotics made me all loopy and I probably made no sense to people in the office. By lunchtime my sinus headache was back so I went home and spent the afternoon taking a nap on the couch with an ice pack on my head.
The rest of the week was pretty much the same as day two post-up. I'd go to work for a few hours and then have to go home. Should have just stayed home now that I am looking back at this whole ordeal. That weekend was spent watching all six Star Wars episodes from start to finish, including the behind-the-scenes footage and other stuff that was on the DVDs.
Monday, seven days post-up, the packing came out. The doctor removed the sutures (which was quite painful, I was not numbed up or anything). Then he removed the packing from my left nostril. One quick movement and it was out and I'm holding a tissue on my nose to collect the blood. Took one inhale. Oh my gosh! Between my nose being extra sensitive and the massive amount of air coming in I could not believe what was going on. It was amazing. I went from 100% blockage with the packing to 0% blockage in a few seconds. I asked to see the packing but the doctor refused to show me. "If I show you, you will not let me take the other one out."
Next packing came out and the doctor showed me. "No way!" Now I knew exactly why I was getting crazy sinus headaches the previous week. The packing must have been a good three to four inches long (stuffed in my head!). Doctor wants to see me 90days post-op.
The rest of that day I was in amazement. My nose was also super sensitive and it was cold out. The office at work has pretty lousy ventilation so that also did not help much. However, I was able to breathe out of my nose! For the next few weeks I kept a box of tissues near me and a container of saline spray. Saline spray up the nose many times a day to help keep things flushed. Tissues for the clean-up.
Two weeks post-op I went for a bike ride to try out the 1x9 on my Cannondale. It was difficult to breathe because the air was cold (nose was still sensitive). I rode a little bit but did not really push myself. I merely just wanted to pedal for a bit since I felt like a lump on a log from sitting around doing nothing for a shade over two weeks.
I am now close to a month post-up and feel great. Pretty much fully recovered. My nose is still sensitive a little (I sneeze a bit) but otherwise things are great. I'm back taking my power yoga classes two times a week and can not believe how much easier it is now that I can breathe out of my nose. I have been riding a little bit but not much. This coming week will be a change though as I plan to ride more (inside and out). I need some base mileage. I felt a good lack of fitness on my ride last Wednesday night.
I can't wait for the this season now that I can breathe a lot better than ever before.
If you have any issues with your ears nose or throat and are in the Hartford area I highly recommend Dr. Krebsbach. I could not have asked for a better doctor to help me through this.