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  • Writer's pictureadrianne

One More Time

I'm having surgery. Yes, again. Lest you think me a glutton for punishment, let me explain.

Five and a half years ago, I had sinus surgery--a sinuplasty, septoplasty, and turbinate reduction. Before that surgery, my ability to breathe through my nose was almost non-existent, and allergic rhinitis only exacerbated the problem. After surgery, my breathing was wonderful! Amazing and fantastic, it was one of the best decisions ever for me. Then I made one of the worst decisions ever for me--my doctor advised that I could end up in the same pre-surgery state if I didn't address my allergies. So I had allergy testing done and started on an allergy drop regimen that is supposed to slowly build a tolerance in the body to the things to which one is allergic. My doctor said my allergies would get worse before they got better, but I grossly glossed over that part. The full regimen takes five years; I lasted three months. I am not a quitter. I quit nothing. I am as stubborn as the day is long and earned the name Old Mule from Jamie for this. But I quit allergy drops because I couldn't take it. In retrospect, I realized each dose contained everything I was allergic to. So instead of a small reaction, I had a massive reaction. Every. Single. Day. Yes, I quit, and I regret that I ever started.

Since then, it's been like a switch has been flipped, and my allergies are constant and year round. Breathing through my nose has become more and more difficult, and I deal daily with my sinuses. To add insult to injury, a few weeks ago, Roscoe came barreling up to me and hit me in the nose with his big hard head. I've felt even more stopped up since.

I mentioned to Jamie that I thought I would bite the bullet and see a sinus doctor next summer. We have a lot going on til then, and we'd already dealt with a lot this year. "Why wait?" was his response, and he was right. I got an appointment with an ENT in Cumming, Georgia. A long way to travel, but his website said he dealt with difficult cases, and he has a couple non-surgical procedures that I hoped could help me. After examining me, he told me my problem wasn't my sinuses at all but a deviated septum. Well, if it wasn't deviated before Roscoe hit me, it certainly was after. He felt one of his procedures-the Vivair procedure at $2000 out-of-pocket-might bring some relief but also advised to consult with a facial plastic surgeon about a functional rhinoplasty, which should be covered by insurance.

I found and scheduled a consult with a doctor in Atlanta-Dr. Thomas Walker.

Full disclosure here: I found him by cross referencing doctors in my insurance network who do functional rhinoplasty. Not all facial plastic surgeons do, as I found out when I called one of the doctors recommended by the ENT. Functional rhinoplasty means filling insurance, and some just don't deal with insurance companies. So that's how I found Dr. Walker. Appointment made, I began researching him and discovered I had stumbled into an appointment with a doctor exceptionally skilled in rhinoplasty.

The appointment was quite humbling. Besides a deviated septum, I also have nasal valve collapse, enlarged turbinates, drooping nasal tip, and narrow nasal passages--all contributing to poor nasal airflow. He didn't just tell me these things; he showed me in photos taken of me at the beginning of the visit. He told me how he would fix each thing and even showed projected images of the final result. After seeing all this, I realized that I probably have never been able to breathe completely freely through my nose, even after my surgey five years ago. Better but not completely free. He said I will breathe freely after this.

That's the good news. The bad news is insurance doesn't pay for this. Well, that's not totally accurate. Inurance will cover the part to fix the deviated septum, but only after the deductible is met. We are self-insured, our policy period started over in September, our deductible isn't met, and our deductible is more than what insurance would pay anyway. It's an out-of-pocket surgery, and an expensive one at that. They had one open surgery date this year, but I had zero expectation we would take it. I left the office knowing though, that one day this would be the doctor I would choose to do this surgery.

I've suffered for years with stuffiness, congestion, allergies. It is a daily battle for me. I live by my sinus rinses, and I have tried every medication and product on the market, trying to find something that will bring me relief. Yes, I can live like this. I HAVE lived like this for a long time, but it's miserable. How important is breathing freely through the nose? It's highly underrated, as a doctor once told me. How wonderful it would be to not have life revolve around my sinus issues? (I know now it's not sinuses, but that's how we've always referred to it. "How are you feeling," Jamie might ask. "I'm having a good (or bad, as the case may be) sinus day" is my response.

Long story short, we talked about surgery--the financial, the recovery, the doctor, the timing, everything. In the end, we decided to take that open surgery date-December 18th. The thought of walking into the new year able to breathe...well, it makes me very emotional. The timing is good for our schedules too and will allow me to recover before work picks up in late January.

So here we more time.

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I guess breathing through the nose is pretty important.😜 hope this helps you get relief. Keep us posted❤️



Good luck next Monday. I hope everything goes as planned for you & your expectations are met.

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