Chezzi Denyer on the debilitating condition that’s plagued her for years.

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Chezzi Denyer opens up to the readers of her blog The Chezzi Diaries about why they haven’t heard from her in the second half of the year, and won’t hear much until early next year. 

About a month ago, Scout had a bad cold as little kids often do when they start day care. She kindly passed it to Grant first, and he was unwell with a sinus infection and subsequent chest infection after that, and then I developed the sniffles and BANG, I was smashed with bronch-li something and while I was being treated for that, developed my worst ever case of sinusitis.

I have a bad history of sinus infections. They relate right back to when I was playing basketball in the US at age 15. During a game overseas, I was hit in the nose by an elbow, and the left hand side of my nose was smashed badly. I was not able to play basketball again.

As I was told I needed to have surgery at the time, but was not covered properly to have it done in the States, I opted to wait until I came back home a few weeks later. I never had that operation though as when I returned home, my nose had all healed and I was young and had no issues at that stage.

It wasn’t until I tried playing sport a few months later, that I realised I was now left with a loud whistle through my nose and sinus. Again, I was young and silly and actually thought it was kinda cool that I could whistle through my nose.

I could also impress my friends by sucking my left nostril completely closed just by sucking in hard. It was cool, okay!

Fast forward to my mid-twenties, and I was starting to have hearing issues out of my left ear. In fact, at one point, I had just under 10 percent hearing in that ear. When I got a cold (not that often) I would hear crackling in my left ear for weeks afterwards. Similar to when you’re travelling and your ear pops.

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I would hear that while just talking. I suffered from regular (probably about five per year) sinus infections, but they were easily treated and I didn’t think much of it at that time.

Early thirties and I now have a brand new bub, Sailor, and since being pregnant with her, I noticed some big changes in the structure of my nose (especially the left hand side which was beginning to look towards my ear).

My hearing was virtually non-existent in my left side which can be quite dangerous. I had balance issues. I would often trip or slip over and I would always walk into objects/doors with my left hand side.

I was constantly banging my left arm or leg and I was beginning to have some problems with my lower back, the left hand side of my lower back. Again, I didn’t really think much of it at this point and just struggled along.

During the last year we lived in Sydney, I was having recurrent sinus infections. Bad sinus infections where I would be left pretty much useless for a week at a time, head pounding, nose blocked and stuffy, unable to bend over without feeling my head would explode.

Hearing was akin to someone talking to me underwater when I was mid-sinus infection. I was put on heavy antibiotics weekly, for five months that year. I was also on regular and high doses of steroids and subsequently my weight ballooned with all the water I was retaining.

My face was always puffy and my under eyes carried suitcase-sized bags. I looked and felt like crap. Something needed to be done, but I had no idea what. I couldn’t go on this way.

My histamine levels were through the roof at the time. Turns out the previous owners of the house we lived in had cats, and I was severely allergic to cats, prompting such big reactions from me physically.

Sunday snuggles. ????

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I was sent in for CT Scans and also MRI’s and referred to Ear Nose and Throat specialists almost monthly. I was told by a few that I needed surgery.

I needed to have my sinuses cleared out and most probably, my nose needed some reconstruction to help prevent the current drainage issues.

I was petrified but knew something needed to be done to give me back my life. My zest for life. I was only young thirties but I was living like I was about thirty years older. Always tired, because my body was fighting infection, even though I was fit and usually bubbling with energy.

I didn’t realise that moving to the farm on the outskirts of Bathurst could hold so much relief for me and my sinus problems. I thought being a sufferer of hay fever for most of my life and being allergic to hay, that the move would only exacerbate it.

I hadn’t counted on or even considered that living in my previous house with all the cat dander that my body was struggling to get a break from its severe allergic reactions. If you’ve ever suffered from severe allergies, my heart goes out to you.

It sucks. It’s debilitating and it can be dangerous. During that year – I was admitted to hospital for a serious anaphylaxis attack all brought on my body’s overdrive to fight the allergic reaction daily.

So in our first few months of living on the farm, and my realisation that my life could be so much better now I could actually think without the constant fog from my cat hair reaction, I booked in for surgery.

The surgery was substantial but it was a success! It took me a few months to fully recover, but for the first time since I have no idea when, I was able to taste food! I could hear! I could smell things.

I had relief from the torture I had felt for so long and it felt GREAT! The surgeon commented to me after the surgery that the left hand side of my nose was so shattered; it resembled something of a footballers nose.

Being left to heal and calcify for so long (around 18 years since the accident) it had developed some serious twists and bends, and had all but cut off any sinus drainage I should have had.

As I mentioned above, the surgery was substantial. I looked battered and bruised for a few months. A year on and my surgeon wasn’t happy with how my nose had taken to the surgery.

I had developed a bit of scar tissue that he felt would be a problem down the track, so we decided to undergo surgery again (quick surgery) just to ensure it would all be OK in the long term. That second surgery was a success and I was happy!

I’m telling you all of this because this month I’ve been told I need to have more surgery. The week of my birthday earlier this month, I was sent to hospital with a severe migraine pain in my left hand side of my head.

I’ve not experienced anything like it and thought it was caused by me detoxing. Not realising that this year I have been treated for eight sinus infections until the doctor at the hospital informed me, did I realise this dreadful condition had somehow come back.

I was told I had serious pressure built up behind my left eye and I was told not to drive for a few days. That’s not easy to do when you live out of town and have two small children.

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Within a week, the migraines had become so bad; I was unable to really see and had to lie in a dark room with my eyes closed to try to get some relief. I was on three different types of antibiotics and again, on heavy steroids but nothing seemed to be working.

On my birthday I celebrated by having a CT scan and MRI! Yay! And as soon as the results were sent to my surgeon, I was back in Sydney in his office being told things had flared up badly and I needed to have some more surgery to try open up my sinuses to get some relief.

He is unsure what is actually happening in there, so he also wants to take a biopsy. From my sinus. OUCH.

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Now that surgery is scheduled for December 6th. Not too far away you might think. Well in the interim, I am left really struggling to just get through my everyday life.

Some days are worse than others. Some days I have such severe vertigo that I nearly fall over if I get up too quickly or if I move my head in a certain way. That’s not ideal when you need to drive your family 20k’s into school and back each day. But I can deal with the vertigo; well I have been managing as best I can.

What really troubles me is the pounding foggy brain sensation I am suffering from most days. It’s like my head is full of water. I have a bubbling feeling (like you’ve accidentally snorted up water in the pool kinda thing) after I blow my nose. Every time.

My ears won’t pop and it feels like the sound is distorted. I have recurring headaches. I’m finding it incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for longer than ten minutes. I regularly have to lie down, on my left side. Even this post has taken me nearly seven days to write, little by little. And it is seriously driving me crazy….

BUT the worst thing is that it has made me impatient and cranky as a mum, and that’s just not fair on my beautiful little kids who just don’t understand why mummy is cross most of the time…

So, in trying to do my very best job being a mum to my two little girls, I’ve had to savour all my energy for them. Hence, why you’ve barely seen me on social media lately. Why you haven’t really heard anything from me of substance (Have you ever? Haha) for some time now AND why you won’t hear much from me for the next four to six weeks while I try get myself through this crappy ending to what has been a really strange and unpredictable year.

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For now, I am filling my days with acupuncture and various treatments to try keep the migraines under control until surgery. As I mentioned above, some days are great and I’m able to get a bit done but other days are tough and I just have to ride them out as best I can.

My beautiful and loving husband is my tower of strength and I’ve been depending on him so much lately, and I love him to absolute pieces. Thank you, Grant. And when he’s away, my other pillar is my beautiful mum, Shelley and I’m so grateful for this support and love.

I just want to sign off sending out a message to anyone who is suffering from an illness or debilitating condition, my heart absolutely goes out to you every single day.

I realise I am one of the lucky ones and that I will soon have surgery to restore some balance and normality to my life, hopefully, while others may not be facing such a certain future.

You are in my thoughts and my prayers. Stay strong.

Chezzi

Xoxo

This post originally appeared on The Chezzi Diaries and is republished here with full permission. 

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