Posted 4/30/2006 12:24 PM (GMT -6)
Brian Dk and Emily C,
As someone who has suffered from the same allergy and sinus problems as you guys, and as someone in the nursing field who works for a PCP, I sympathize with you and your frustrations. I see patients like you guys everyday. But, Brian has it right when he says not to self diagnose!! Unless you are familiar with certain conditions and medical terminology, don't research the internet cause that will only increase your anxiety. First, let me just give you the 411 on what I went through. It is expected for most people to get maybe one, two sinus infections a year. I was getting upwards of six, seven a year. I had an x-ray of my sinuses in 2003 which showed a possible retention cyst. This made a little bit of sense since I could feel a little lump on the roof of my mouth. I was referred to an ENT, whom I still see today. This particular ENT is in my opinion, the best MD out there. He is kind, listens, doesn't rush, and understands. These are extremely important characteristics for an MD to have because, as you know, not everyone has gone to medical school and understands big medical words. Sometimes people need a little patience and explanation which, unfortunetely, not all MD's understand. I have been lucky to find doctors like this, although I do understand the terminology so that makes it easier. So, my CT scan was a mess. Basically everything was blocked. I ended up having surgery during which he opened up everything that was blocked and removed some of my sinus cavity. So, in normal circumstances, I should of gone down to perhaps, one sinus infection a year. (That's another mistake people make after having surgery. It doesn't mean you'll never get an infection again.) I am not a normal case though, since my surgery in July 2004, I have had 12-13 sinus infections. He has looked in my nose and I have had a repeat CT scan, everything is nice and open. But, the problem I am having is allergies. My increasing allergies have been irritating my sinuses and causing inflammation. Like Red 34 said, post nasal drip can be causing your sore throat. Especially if you have cobblestoning in your throat, the mucous can linger in those ridges and make a sore throat worse. Allergens certainly cause shortness of breath. You probably have mild asthma, which I have too. Painful lymph nodes can accompany any kind of infection really. If you had some sort of cancer that was causing the pain, most likely your nodes would be huge. Since your MD did not feel anything abnormal, I wouldn't worry about those. You may be experiencing more symptoms on your left because that is the side that is occluded, or blocked. My left sinus cavity was blocked, but not my right. If your sinuses are dripping primarily from the left side, then of course the left side of the throat would be irritated more. Allergies don't necessarily have to be in your whole head. I have had just one eye get really itchy and watery. Allergies can cause more than just sneezing, coughing, etc. My allergies cause me upper respiratory issues but also stomach problems, itchy skin, itchy eyes, etc. Emily, you say you are tired all the time even when you sleep a lot? I was like that too. Infections can cause fatigue, mine just happened to be a Vitamin B-12 deficiency. Once I started injections, I have felt great. I don't need to nap all the time. If your mono and strep were negative, and there is no sign of bacterial infection as far as your doctor can see by listening to your symptoms and examining you, then, they assume that is has to be some sort of virus. Doctors are human too, they may have medical degrees but sometimes, they even can't decipher what is wrong. Unless you have a sinus x-ray at the time, doctors don't know that you have a sinus infection. They can't see it. But they listen to symptoms and if your sinus cavities are sensitive when they press, then they will most likely treat you. It's not like an ear infection or strep where they can actually see the infection or test for it. That is why there are specialists, experts on those particular issues. I see a lot of patients get mad when they feel the PCP is not helping, but, then get angry when we want to send them to a specialist. They complain that we are treating them like guinea pigs. Well, that is what specialists are there for. Primary care is generalized. Don't lose faith in the doctors or think that you'll never be 100%. Continue your Nasonex and wait until your CT scan comes back. Until you have that report in front of you, you won't know what you are dealing with. Also, get allergy testing. Did you know that milk allergies can cause congestion and upper respiratory problems. Just because you don't get diarrhea doesn't mean you're not allergic. I am allergic to milk, eggs, trees, molds, dusts, cats, dogs, and about 25 other kinds of foods. Get a RAST test, that will have the plants and trees that are common to your region. It will also see if cats, dogs, molds, weeds, and common bugs are bothering you. Let me know how you both are doing.