It's been about a year since I had sinus surgery, and I said last year I'd report results.
First, I've been disabled by ME/CFS since late 2003. I had enjoyed many years of excellent health that included a busy professional life, lots of travel, socializing, regular aerobic exercise and yoga, vigorous gardening, and I maintained an heart-healthy diet. I had EBV mono in 1998 and was half sick for two years while continuing to work and do all of the above, then took a one-month leave of absence. It seemed to do the trick, for three years, when I slid into worse health and have not recovered since. Now we'd talk about those three good years as "remission" but at the time I thought I had just recovered; I did not have a diagnosis of CFS until 2004, and now fit the criteria for ICCC ME, SEID, all of the more stringent ones, with chronic shingles/VZV/HHV-3, with POTS prominent, interstitial cystitis, many new food and medicine allergies and intolerances. I'm a patient of Dr. Chia and he has measured in my blood the viruses EBV, HHV-6, Coxsackie B5, an echovirus, another enterovirus, and Chlamoydophila pneumonia, a bacteria that acts more like a virus, especially responsible for chronic respiratory infections.
I also notably had previous long viral illnesses: Hong Kong flu in 1968 that kept me home from school for a month, and then a mystery virus in college in 1985 that lasted six months. In my teens and 20s I was susceptible to sore throats, losing my voice, had tonsils out at 20.
The sore throats and whispery voice have remained part of my symptoms when I have a big ME/CFS crash--and the worst ones seem to degenerate into full blown sinus and lung infections that can go on for months and a long series of antibiotics. I have also been among those who catch colds and flu easily, but they always would start with congestion in my right sinus, middle of my cheek, centered under my right eye. I've been a patient of Dr. Chia's since 2004. He thought that sinus surgery was helpful about 50-50% of the time and didn't push it for me either way.
After a few years of bad infections, last year I decided to have surgery. Because I am a patient of Chia's, we were able to arrange for a biopsy of sinus tissue for Chia to look for enterovirus, his area of research. I'd already had a biopsy of stomach tissue from endoscopy which showed enterovirus in my stomach tissue RNA, so was thankful we could check sinuses too.
Sure enough, enterovirus has taken up residence in the RNA of my sinus tissues as well. So the question became: are sinus infections starting for me because the enterovirus in those tissues is waking up during an ME/CFS crash? Or because of new pathogens? Or a combo, that new pathogens help wake up the enterovirus? Of course we can't know.
There is no doubt that the surgery created more room in my sinuses, and I think that's helping. More room means there's more space for swelling before something becomes infected. I have not had a full-blown infection since the surgery, but each time I feel on the edge of something respiratory, it's because of pressure in that same place--so enterovirus in my sinus tissues continues to be a big part of the story. However, I think having more space means also that my netipot mix* can better get to that area. I also continue to avoid people with the sniffles, use X-Clear (Xylitol-based) nose spray that I keep in my purse for whenever seamen near me sneezes or coughs, and to wear a face mask if I hear sneezing or coughing around me in a place I can't leave.
A year later, I'm glad I had the surgery. It has not improved my ME/CFS, but it may limit months of respiratory infections, and that has to help my overall health too. Keep your fingers crossed for me, especially as the cold and flu season continues.
*I sterilize my neti pot each time with washing with dish soap, and then boiling water. I use the protocol listed on the website of Heidi Peterson, ND: http://doctorheidi.com/nasal-irrigation-protocol/