Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Dr. Mahat called me a few hours ago to say my CAT scan showed nothing abnormal, except for a small cyst, which is usually due to a clogged mucous gland, and which Dr. Mahat said should cause no symptoms. To which I say, phooey. And also, I will not be deterred.

I'm not saying the cyst is the problem. I am, however, taking the test results with a healthy dose of cynicism. Anyone with Chronic Lyme knows medical tests are not always 100% accurate.

What I do know is that three weeks ago I took matters into my own hands, medically speaking. Into a teaspoon of water I dissolved two pills: my antibiotic Biaxin, and my antifungal ketoconazole. Both are supposed to help with any sinus infection I might or might not have. I poured the resulting liquid into an empty herbal tincture bottle, adding in a couple of drops of Teasel because it also had a good effect on the (possibly real) sinus infection. Lastly, I screwed an old nasal spray top onto the herb bottle, and voila! I had my own sinus spray. For three weeks I sprayed the liquefied pharmaceuticals into my left sinus, then lay on my left side and carefully angled my head until I felt the spray dripping down into the itchy, back passages of my sinus.

Here's my DIY nasal spray, in a handy spot on my desk.

So OK, this was my idea, not a doctor's. However, I ran it by Dr. Ross two days later, saying I planned to keep going with it, and he didn't tell me to stop. I also told Dr. Mahat about it in my appointment yesterday. He did not say "bad idea."

Empirically, my DIY approach has been working. By the end of three weeks, my sinuses felt better. Less fluid filling up that back passage by my ear. Less runny nose. I actually had no need to stuff my pockets with Kleenex every time I left the house. I was no longer waking up in the morning with my sinuses filled with fluid. The coffee grinder no longer sounded like an airplane lifting off.

I stopped the nasal spray two days before going to Dr. Mahat. I didn't want it interfering with his diagnosis. And now, on day four off the spray, my symptoms are coming back.

Dr. Mahat might have been a strike, but not strike three, and not the third out. As Yogi said, it takes a fat lady, and she's not on stage yet.

I have an appointment with a different ENT on April 24th, to get a second opinion. Meanwhile, I'm going to restart the sinus spray. Maybe I'm crazy, and I don't have an infection after all. Or maybe, just maybe, my own crazy home brew will kick this imaginary or un-imaginary sinus thing in the butt.


heather said...

hi Naomi,

did you ever find anything out about your sinus symptoms? i like yr homemade nasal spray idea - i might try that with zithromax. i'm currently being treated for a sinus infection (i have lyme as well) that has lasted for nearly seven weeks. driving me totally bonkers. i have no insurance though and can't afford an ENT at this time. anyway, would love to know how you're feeling sinus-wise and if you ever found anything out!

thanks, and take care,

Naomi said...

Hi Heather:

Dr. Ross, my Lyme MD, convinced me I truly didn't have sinus infection, because the CAT scan didn't pick it up. (And the CAT scan was really expensive, fyi if you don't have insurance!) I don't know if my homemade nasal spray had cleared any previous infection by then. Anyway I stopped using it in early April, and gradually my sinus symptoms are getting better.

In the interim I also came to the end of my Lyme treatment, but have continued to take the anti-yeast enzyme Candex, and am taking probiotics (including Sacro B and Butyrate) to build up my good bacteria. That might seem irrelevant, but I read in The New Yorker that having enough healthy bacteria in your body can help with allergies.

I am told that a nasal spray of salt water can also be helpful, although I haven't tried it. Some people swear by the neti pot.

I wish I had clearer answer for you! Good luck!