the saga of my health issues……..and the promises of technology

I”m hoping someone with similar issues will stumble upon this post and share what works for them.

In the meanwhile, I am plagued by two health issues: a seemingly untreatable and serious sinus infection and frustrating insomnia. While they are no doubt related, I don’t believe that the former is the cause of the latter.

1. Sinus infection. After sinus surgery in May to clean out a bad infection that was lodged up near my eye (and to make a few other adjustments), I am back with a sinus infection that feels just as bad as the one that prompted the surgery. So, yesterday, I was examined by one of the three best sinus experts in Connecticut. (Why Connecticut and not Massachusetts, where I live? He is in my health insurance network, plus I didn’t want to go back to the original surgeon. Plus I was impressed by the information on the website.) The little video he took of my sinuses showed that they are an unholy mess. So, we start with a culture. He says that it’s bad, but he will figure out what needs to be done to treat and cure it. I’m sure that my immune system is shot to hell as I try to fight it off, and I feel sick and tired all of the time. I’m wondering if I should go to an endocrinologist.

In the meanwhile and in desperation, based on some of my own internet research, I am wearing this all of the time — and, damn, if it doesn’t make a difference!! My sinus don’t itch or water when I’m wearing it but do when I don’t. It’s not a cure for the infection, but it makes my life tolerable while I’m waiting for the cure. There is no way I would get on a plane without it.

2. Insomnia. Except for the last two nights (more on that coming) I have not slept more than three hours a night for the past several months. And then only for an hour at a time. I don’t fall asleep until 3 or 4 am. I’ve tried all of the suggested herbs, all of the homeopathic remedies, all of the relaxation techniques, just about all of the prescription alternatives. Nothing has worked. So, again, I did some extensive internet research and I discovered this, which is one of many such devices available. A little more research about its effect on the very important vagus nerve made me think that this might be worth a try.

A CES (Cranial Electric Stimulator) is very similar to a TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulator), and I happen to have a TENS device, which is used for muscle pain management. So, I decided to try using the TENS the way they use the CES. Did it several times a day, including before bed time.

Last night, I actually fell asleep reading. I can’t remember the last time that happened. On top of that, I don’t feel constantly hungry the way I usually do, and I wonder if that’s because it’s stimulating the vagus nerve as well. I’m thinking of buying a CES if I can get my chiropractor to give me a prescription for it. But, in the meanwhile I’m going to keep doing the TENS stimulation on my mastoid bone and see if I keep getting the same results.

Placebos? Maybe. But the medical profession hasn’t helped me much, and these are technological processes that seem to work and have some bases in science. The medical professionals don’t even bother investigating or considering these options. They probably don’t even know about them

I’d love to hear from others who are dealing with the same issues as I am. Sometimes we just have to help ourselves.

7 thoughts on “the saga of my health issues……..and the promises of technology

  1. Sorry to hear about your health problems. As a fellow insomnia sufferer I have little advice I can offer other than the usual do’s and don’ts. While i never have a problem falling asleep, staying asleep is something else.
    As far as sinus infections are concerned, has anybody suggested the use of a Neti pot?

  2. I, too, had miserable sinus problems and knew my otolaryngologist all too well. The good news is that for some mysterious reason all of my sinus problems ended. My older sister had the same thing happen to her. My wish is that this will happen for you.

    The end result after many years of various agonies is that I hear less well in one ear and my senses of smell and taste are less acute than they were. I gladly embrace these small changes for the end of pain, procedures, doctor’s visits and medication. Both my sister and I had these problems in our forties. Maybe you are a late bloomer and soon you, too, will have a miraculous cure. Good luck!

  3. Sorry about your illnesses….I have discovered books on tape and when I go to sleep – I put a tape in and the reader begins and I fall asleep till pp calls at about 4 am…..then its back to story or just to sleep….if you would like a better explanation call me on the phone….508-588-3637.

  4. Sheila, I have books on tape, and that used to work. For some reason it doesn’t any more. I have meditation music that used to work but that doesn’t either. Something screwy is going on in my head and I’m going down every avenue to try to figure it out. Thanks for the suggestion, though. I’m just a tough case. I have a sleep study scheduled for next month. Maybe that will tell.

  5. Hi Elaine, stopped by to see how you are doing. I have sinus problems that are not as bad as yours, greatly improved by Neti. A few years ago when they first started, it turned out to be caused by an tooth that had developed a drain, rather than an abscess and so wasn’t detected by my dentist during routine checkups. I’d had both a crown and a root canal done several years before so there was no pain. It wasn’t until I had the sinus issue for 6 months that learned (on the internet) about teeth sometimes causing sinus problems. The tooth could not be saved, but extracting it cleared up about 80% of my sinus issue. The remainder is controlled to my satisfaction with the Neti rinse. Another good home remedy is apple cider vinegar. I used that a lot during the worst part of my sinus infection, before tooth was pulled.
    About insomnia, again I have had spells but nothing to match yours. At present hot flashes (primary cause) are greatly diminished as I age. A fan helps me for both the breeze and white noise. Turning off the brain sometimes not so easy, I have always had trouble falling asleep, but once I do, I typically sleep well. Especially troublesome nights call for a glass of wine and a book…
    Maybe a new mattress / pillow would help somewhat?

  6. Hey Gina, it’s been a long while. I use a Naslaline syringe instead of a neti pot; it works better for me. I only wish I could have a glass of wine before bed, but that just gives me really bad reflux. (I’m a mess from my waist up!) My sinus infection has cleared up and I’m OK as long as I do a nasal wash at least once a day. The herbal concoction of extracts I put together is helping me fall asleep, but I’m not sure it’s a good thing to take long term, so I’m going for a sleep study consult tomorrow. In the meanwhile, I’ve been getting my heart and thyroid checked out just to make sure they are not involved in the insomnia problem. There are so many chemicals and hormones that have to work together to keep our bodies and brains functioning well that’s it’s almost impossible to figure out what the right balance is. But I’m working on it. I’m wondering if you are still teaching at SUNY and are still in Castleton. I guess I’ll have to track down your site.

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