Diagnosis: Silent Sinus Syndrome

For as long as I can remember I've had horrible allergies, sinus infections and congestion. I get at least 3 sinus infections a year, and I'm always stuffed up all winter long. 

After YEARS of allergy medications, nasal steroids & alternative and holistic forms of medication, I asked my family doctor to refer me to an ENT Specialist. I was really sick of the anxiety I was getting from putting who knows what kind of chemicals and damage to my organs from all the medications. I just wanted to feel better.

My appointment was made for 3 months later, so I sat and waited. Had good days, had bad days.

The day of my appointment I was SO excited and hopeful to get the confirmation and answers. I was SO disheartened by the end of the appointment. I don't think I'd been more frustrated. 

The specialist was VERY cold. He blew into the room like he was being held up for something more important (I immediately started to get defensive, which to me, was warranted). He did a basic exam by putting a scope into each side of my nostril and down into my throat. Upon taking it out he said he didn't see anything wrong with me, and that I didn't sound congested at all. I told him my family doctor noticed my right side was restricted and that was why he sent me. He thought it was a possible Deviated Septum

The specialist kind of laughed, but I kept informing him that I never felt like I wasn't stuffed up. He reluctantly decided to send me for a CT or CAT Scan.
(To be fair, he probably sees A LOT of patience that think they're sick and they know what's wrong when he doesn't. BUT that's no excuse for a poor bedside manner, at least in my opinion)

Three more weeks go by and I get a call for an appointment at the specialist's office to review my
results.

Now, I was going with very low expectations that they had found anything, and that again he would tell me he saw nothing wrong. I had been planning all the things I was going to ask him. Should I see an allergist? Could it be something in my diet? Well, I got quite a surprise with the appointment. 

It began with my CT scans. I was shown exactly what was going on with me. I was diagnosed with Silent Sinus Syndrome.

(NOT my scan) Image from:  radiologyinfo.org

(NOT my scan) Image from: radiologyinfo.org

What this typically means is that the maxillary sinus (the one in your cheek) spontaneously collapses, bringing the orbital floor (the floor holds your eye in place) down, causing the eye to sink back into the skull, giving a person the appearance of a sunken eye and droopy eyelid. (see below)

Former 'Dance Moms' Star Chloe Lukasiak famously suffered from Silent Sinus Syndrome and had the surgery after her eye noticeably fell.

Former 'Dance Moms' Star Chloe Lukasiak famously suffered from Silent Sinus Syndrome and had the surgery after her eye noticeably fell.

Now, this is where I differ from a normal case.

I didn't have the physical manifestation of Silent Sinus because my right maxillary sinus never fully developed. Essentially this means I have a very tiny (the size of say, a pencil eraser) sinus. So the constant pain from fullness happened daily, because it just couldn't drain anything.  

And that was only the beginning. 

Next we moved to the left maxillary sinus to find a cyst (think golf ball) filling up space, making that sinus a fraction of the size it was supposed to be. So all that time spent being stuffed up and uncomfortable? Yah, there was good reason. 

Third on the list of findings was that my septum is severely deviated to one side, making it (surprise surprise) restrict air flow. 

So what's next? Well the only way to treat Silent Sinus Syndrome is surgery. The same with the deviated septum. And because my syndrome is a little different my surgery will involve creating a bigger sinus where there wasn't much of one at all. 

The wait time is about 4-6 months, but I am so thankful to finally have some clarity with my problems. Am I nervous? Hell yes! Did I watch every nasal/orbital floor surgery/septum reshaping surgery I could find on YouTube? You know I did. 

Unfortunately with the long wait for my surgery and the approaching winter season, I can count on several more sinus infections before I get this taken care of. But the good outweighs the bad. In a years time I will (hopefully) be free from all the pressure and sinus infections and finally leading a healthy life!

Lastly, I would like to stress to everyone reading this the importance of trusting yourself. NO ONE knows your body better than you do. If you know something is wrong, don't give up until you figure out what you need to make things right. I've been suffering for years with this problem and no one thought anything of it until I started asking for more. 

If you have any questions for me, don't hesitate to ask! I'll do my best to help you!

- CarlyBellexo