So much has happened since I last posted that I don't know where to start really. Things got really bad - I ended up completely bedridden - but it turns out that this was actually a good thing. My dad called out the doctor and he was rightly concerned, and although he didn't know what it was, he gave me a week of strong antibiotics. These had a dramatic effect and had me walking to the loo again by the end of the week. I also had more fluey type symptoms as if my immune system was actually starting to recognise something was there. I had a few weeks off the antibiotics (maintaining the same level) while they did some more blood tests for things like lyme and bone cancer. Fortunately these all came back negative and in order to be strong enough to go and see the ENT specialist I requested more of the antibiotics from this new doc.
The visit to the ENT proved to be incredibly useful (although he as a person was not not so congenial) because it turns out that my chronic sinusitis is actually caused by a deviated septum. In fact I do remember the incident, although I don't remember precisely when it occurred: I opened a door rather hard into the side of my nose! The broken part looks like an aeroplane wing and so produces turbulence in the nostril. This causes irritation and inflammation which is exacerbated by any allergens, particles or chemicals/fragrances in the air. The other nostril is also so narrow now that it blocks off easily causing sinuses blockages. The chronic inflammation and limited air flow to my sinuses allowed a chronic infection to take hold which led to me gradually going further and further downhill. I believe this was probably exacerbated by my body suppressing the immune system by increasing cortisol levels to combat the inflammation.
So the good news is I now have a plan to help me recover. I need surgery to correct the septum and I am continuing with the strong antibiotics to clear up the sinus infection. Because they don't like to hand out strong antibiotics I have had to phone up each week to say I still have the infection to get more, so it's definitely still a case of being my own advocate. As I continue to take them I get stronger and am hoping to be well enough to come off them next week. (I will know when the sinus infection is gone when I stop getting yellow mucus in the morning.) As for the surgery, I am not on the waiting list yet as I am still waiting to hear from the hospital as to when I can go for a CT scan (to check if my sinuses also need operating on). I really hope I don't have to wait too long!
Anyway the good news is that I am now able to drink tea out of a mug again and shower every day! I am so glad for little things! Of course, it is as always incredibly important that I pace myself. I strongly believe that the most important thing that we can do for ourselves when tackling chronic fatigue is to rest fully and pace activities (see The Importance of Resting). I intend to gradually build up what I can do in this way to reduce the likelihood of the infection getting the upper hand again. The other thing to consider is that with chronic fatigue (whatever it's cause) latent viruses tend to reactivate themselves (I saw this on the summary presentation of a CFS conference in March that was posted online). I know this to be true in my case because a year ago I had a blood test that showed my Igg antibodies to Epstein Barr to be very elevated. I also had shingles at the age of 10, so this virus could also have reactivated. It is going to take time for my body to get strong enough to get these back into submission and also to get rid of my chronic yeast infection. I am fortunate though, at least I can get a leg up on it all as I get stronger with the antibiotics.