Hi Kim and all the others on this post. I am new to this website, so not sure all will see this message. When I read these entries it made my heart ache and brougth back my own nightmare that started in April 1994 (wow, 20 Years ago!). I am happy to say that I healthy now.. But, at that time I was living in Swaziland, and working in international health, I was in my early 40s, very happily married, had lots of energy, enjoyed hiking and horse riding, and gardening and loved my job. I got sick rather suddenly while in Malawi.. had many of the symptoms described (headaches, dizziness, disorientation, joint and muscle pain, gastro issues etc and developed ohers later) in Malawi my symptoms baffled the docs so I was treated for malaria (which I didn't have) medevacced back to Swaziland, tested for everything under the sun (MS, lupus, coxsakie, all sorts of other viruses, by docs in South Africa, got worse for 6 months and was finally, finally diagnosed with Myalgic Encephlomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome,/CFS/Fibromyalgia-- it has many names. To make a long story shorter, I was eventually referred to a doctor who had made the connection between chronic sinusitis and fatigue, malaise, muscle pain, etc.. in fact this connection was discovered a century ago but lost as medicine became more specialized..so the fact that most of you are treating sinusitis is very great!. Most people with the syptoms you all have do not always make that connnection...the doctor I saw Dr. Alexander Chester, has studied this syndrome for decades has published papers in JAMA, LANCET etc, is well respected by his peers, but not all ENTs buy the theory.. AND not every person with sinusitis presents with this set of symptoms that many of you have described.. appartently some people are predisposed to this "syndrome" (google "nasal fatigue reflex" to read his hypothesis. So Dr. Chester's approach is to relentlessly focus on the sinuses.. to improve their function, clear up infection (which is difficult because one job of the sinus is to filter out/trap infections and prevent them from getting into your lungs) reduce what is causing chronic inflammation, swelling, etc. all of which triggers the fatigue, pain, neurological problems. (I also suffered from chronic dry mouth which he explained was from not breathing through my nose because of the swelling and mouth breathing, which dries the throat) I also had a chronic sore throat (caused by post nasal drip). I have to say that I was not even aware I had a sinus problem- I also discovered I had a few food sensitivies (wheat, dairy, fermented things like wine and beer) that also caused swelling in my sinuses, and chemical sensitivities that also kept my sinusitis chronic.. I consulted with a naturapath who helped with allergies and sensitivities.. Appartently, when the sinuses are also connected to the immune system (being the first line of defense for detecting airborn toxins etc, so it gets "up regulated" causing the flu like feeling that many of you describe.. The sinus connection also explained why I felt so bad in the morning.. when you lie down to sleep, the sinuses (no longer helped by gravity) fill and swell when infected or inflammed. so I also used things like nasal spreaders (strips you put on your nose) at night to keep my airways open..have a humidifier by my bed, and breathe steam first thing in the morning.. I also had endoscopic sinus surgery (septoplasy) to open up my airways, had allergy treatment changed my diet, took very good care of my sinus (saline rinses, water based lubricants, steam, warm compresses, avoiding irritants or allergens) raised the humidity in my house (dry hot air drys the sinuses- but you have to be careful not to have it so high that you get mold, as that is a common allergen) avoided chemical exposure (esp petrochemicals, new paint, new rugs, and other fabrics treated with fire retardents, as they triggered sinus swelling..) anyway, it took some time and discipline, but I am happy to say, that I regained my health, my strength, my ability to work and enjoy life. When I start to get a sinus infection, I jump on it right away, if I ignore it and it goes deep and undected, I start to spiral down and have to work harder to resolve the symptoms..
SO, don't give up, don't dispair, try different approaches to healing sinusitis (if you have ever seen a CAT scan of your sinuses, you will see that they are very complex!) try to find a doctor to work with you who sees the connection between sinusitis and your symptoms. I hope this helps some of you out there. It is a dreadful thing to go through.