Saturday, August 15, 2009
Guess What's Wrong with Me Now?
Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with asthma AND found out I was violently allergic to aspirin. I know, I know…but, trust me: these aren't the usual self-serving links to my own material. They actually come into play later. No, really! Keep reading!
On Friday, I returned to my allergist for yet another round of breathing tests. While discussing the results, I mentioned that I'd been having some issues with my sinuses. About six weeks ago – and if you're eating, you might wanna come back later – I developed a crazy amount of mucus that I simply could not clear out of my nasal passages.
I've had sinus problems since ninth grade, when I curled up into a tearful fetal position on the floor of the nurse's office at Jefferson Junior High, convinced I had a brain tumor.
But, my current condition wasn't accompanied by any sinus pain or pressure. Instead this build up of mucus had hit me where it really hurts. Y'see, for the past month and a half, my senses of taste and smell have come and gone. Oh, don't you dare roll your eyes at me. You knew what you were getting into when you read the title of this post.
(While we were in San Francisco a few weeks ago, we took a cab ride down to Ghirardelli Square. After reaching our destination, Mrs. Bootleg exaggeratedly exhaled. When I asked what was up, she looked at me wide-eyed and asked, "You couldn't smell the cab driver's body odor? Oh, my God!" Umm…apparently not. Similarly, there have been several times recently when I couldn't taste/smell much more pleasing scents/flavors such as my morning coffee, my evening cocktail or my throughout-the-day Doritos.
None of these items possess what I'd call "innocuous aromas".)
My allergist looked at me and said, "uh oh". I mean, really…outside of a specific diagnosis, is there a worse thing a doctor can say to a patient? Anyways, she reached for a book on the counter that just so happened to be turned to the exact page she wanted to reference.
"It sounds like you've developed nasal polyps", she said. "This could be Samter's Triad."
Wait, wait, wait…I have a condition that's named after someone?! This gets better and better! But, let's not get ahead of ourselves here. I bet you're wondering if nasal polyps are as gross as they sound (and look). Answer: YES!
Nasal polyps are soft, noncancerous growths on the lining of your nose or sinuses. They often occur in groups, like grapes on a stem.
It seems that Samter's Triad is a condition in which asthma, aspirin allergy and nasal polyps form a fabulous medical confluence. Depending on the size, polyps can be treated with corticosteroids or, if necessary, surgically removed. Of course, they almost always come back, so…yeah. I've got a CAT scan scheduled for next Friday morning to find out for sure. I'll be posting real-time updates on Twitter!
Shout out to my deteriorating insides for all the blog fodder.