Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I've suffered from chronic sinus pain and allergic symptoms for five long years, triggered mostly by pregnancy and its detrimental impact on my immune system. I've had rhinitis since I had a horrible allergic reaction in the straw fields at Glastonbury 20 years ago. I remember I went to First Aid sneezing my head off, my eyes watering like I'd been chopping onions. They took one look at me and said I had hay fever, giving me a few antihistamines. So that was the first I knew of a condition that has plagued the rest of my life, debilitating me at times, spoiling my fun of life; making me dependent on a daily antihistamine, even through winter.

Pregnancy made it worse. I think the lowering of the immune system that happens naturally during pregnancy was to blame, as my sinuses exploded and nothing seemed to help. For me, pregnancy always felt like flu for the first four months: constant sniffling, sneezing, exhaustion, total fog, itchy face. Last time, I spent a load of money on acupuncture believing it would solve my "flu" so that I could avoid taking antihistamines during this third (and last ever, hopefully) pregnancy. Unfortunately, it only worked during the time that I had the needles stuck in me. I tried EFT, nasal flushing, Quercetin, immune boosters such as vitamin D, C, Zinc, probiotics, changing my diet, every type of antihistamine going, solpa-sinus, you name it, everything.

Every day I wake up sniffly, clicking my throat with nasal drip, exhausted from my immune system diverting energy to my sinuses to fight the explosion, clawing at my painful, itchy nose and forehead. I've been tested - I'm allergic to loads: dogs, cats, pollen, mould and dust, but chemicals and other animals set me off, as does the cold, air conditioning and sudden sunlight. About once a week I have an allergic meltdown, where not even antihistamines help dampen down symptoms so instead I sneeze constantly for the day and my nose runs and my sinuses explode. This exhausts me.

The reason I'm writing this is that I feel that after 20 years of suffering, after taking thousands of antihistamines, spending a fortune on other treatments, and feeling overwhelmed and run down by this, today I have finally found something that has given me hope.

An allergy nurse I saw the other day who tested my kids for hereditary allergies (they recruited me for a long-term study during my first pregnancy looking at the difference breastfeeding and/or probiotics made on inherited allergies) looked inside my nose and said she could see white polyps. She said there was a very good steroid spray on the market called Avamys, but only available on prescription.

Anyway, cut a long story short, today my internet order of Avamys arrived in the post (well I wasn’t going to spend €45 going to see my doc just to get a prescription and then spending more in the pharmacy – much cheaper to order from doctorfox.co.uk) and I took my first two sprays up the nose.

A miracle happened. The facial itching eased down and the sniffling stopped. I felt clear-headed for the first time in god knows how long. Wow.

I've had a few more sniffs since then and, wonder upon wonder, it’s keeping symptoms at bay. And the best news of all, it’s the first day in years that I’ve not had to take an antihistamine. Yeehah!

It’s still early days but I’m optimistic, finally. I wanted to share this because I know so many other people who suffer from sinus issues, and have spent years and fortunes trying to fix their plague. If you’re interested, more info about the spray is found on here….

And there concludes my health bulletin ;-)

**>> 24 hours later. Well I went to bed, amazed I wasn't sniffling nor bunged up as I fell asleep. I got up in the night to see to my baby and I didn't start sneezing when my body got cold nor sniffle for half an hour until I managed to get warm again and fall back to sleep. But what thrills me the most, is I woke up this morning with a clear head. I'm not rubbing my sore burning eyes constantly, I'm not scratching at my nose and forehead and I'm not allergic to the occasional wisps of my own hair falling against my face. And I'm not feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. I can think straight and I'm not feeling like a bear waking up from hibernation, exhausted and wanting everyone to go away. Is this what normal feels like? I can't believe this is how I was supposed to feel all these years and I didn't. I felt like crap. I got on with it, because the fog became my norm. All doctors said was take antihistamines so I went on to try alternative things as well. Was the brain fog of the last five years not caused by pregnancy/breastfeeding after all??!?

Oh my god, I'm doing a big re-assessment this morning...

It's wonderful, and I feel alive. I've taken a few more sniffs of Avamys and I love that I can breathe clearly through my nose without a shuddering reaction for the first time in at least a decade. Oh please god let this last...

1 comment:

Maire said...

Hope it is still working well Amy - sounds amazing! (missed you thismorning - made it to Louise's).