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Avatar universal

Infection or Allergy

Hi.  I definitely have allergies (cats/ragweed) and asthma.  Two years ago in August, I was sick, vomiting I was so ill.  Twice, two weeks apart.  From that point on fatigue never left me.  Several months later, in February, I came down with a horrible upper respiratory infection at the same time I was exposed to a huge dose of animal protein and a very unsanitary condition filled with unimaginable filth.  I've never lost my voice before, but this time, I could hardly squeak out a word.

A few weeks later, my sense to taste altered.  I had what is neurological damage to the area in my nose that sense taste.  No doctor seemed to care.  I could smell the infection.  Finally, I did some exploration with a Q-tip.  There were open sores in deep in my nose.  One opened and drained like an abscess.  An ENT and a CT scan, and there was nothing.  I begged for antibiotics "for the infection that you don't have that doesn't show up in the CT scan" the ENT said, but he gave me seven days of Levaquin.   I said to him that I have white patches on my tonsils.  He said that they were from post nasal drip.  They went away with the antibiotic.

One sore in my nose improved with seven days of Levaquin, but the other persisted.  I felt better, but couldn't function past 3 PM still.  I went to a DO.  She was shocked, and said that I had a abscess in my throat.  I was losing my hearing in my right ear, my throat was inflamed.  I was in pain from the inflammation.  The throat and nose culture were okay.  She gave me two rounds of Augmentin and pronounced me cured.  I said to here that the sore was still there, and that the glands in my throat were swollen.  She dismissed them as salivary glands whose swelling subsided with antibiotics.  She cultured the sore, but it wasn't MRSA so it was nothing to her.  This was by August last year.  

But, I was still feeling fatigued, and the open sore high in my nose still persisted, but better.  Finally, and luckily, I had my first full blown sinus infection last February.  My allergist gave me a round of Amoxicillin and then Levaquin.  The sore in my nose went away.  I was still feeling fatigued, but could actually manage to make dinner.

Now, I could definitely see that antibiotics improved my health, even though I was being told I didn't need them and any improvement was just the anti-inflammatory effect of antibiotics.

On the other hand, I was feeling better and could actually walk a number of blocks and stay awake after 7 pm. So, I'd take any excuse for antibiotics.  Let me note that I am not one to go to a doctor.  I have an unhealthy fear of medical treatment.  All of these trips for medical intervention were acts of pure bravery and desperation.  

Luckily, I had a tick attach itself to me in June this year, and got prophylactic doxycycline.  That may have made me feel the best of all the antibiotics, although I credit Levaquin for clearing up the infection in the flesh in my nose.  Doxycycline just made me feel healthy, and gave me endurance.

A couple of weeks ago, a UTI, and with bravery, I faced another dreaded doctor's visit.  The nurse asked me how I had gone shopping when I had a UTI.  I said compared to how I've felt in the last two years, this is nothing.  Seven days of Cipro.  Again, I felt better still.  What I had been attributing to my lungs and asthma started to improve.  The pain in my rib cage and back disappeared.  I had asked the doctor if that pain could have been related to a UTI, and she actually laughed at me, telling me my kidneys weren't even close.  She sent me a note telling me the urine culture came back negative, although I wanted to see an actual copy of the lab results.  I went to her office for a copy of the results.  They weren't negative, but inconclusive, containing B group beta-hemolytic streptococci.  I guess from what I read that this is common, but I will throw in here that as a kid I was treated for a urethral stricture.  She told me that the pain under my shoulder blade and top shoulder came from asthma, and I needed to stretch those muscles, and that stretching according to her belief would cure it.  Obviously, she's never had asthma.  I didn't mention to her that a few weeks previous that I had tightness in the center of my chest.  The allergist suggested anxiety due to asthma, but I went for 25 years w/o being anxious about asthma, I doubt that I am going to start now, and I used a peak flow meter to test my breathing.  It was very normal.

Every time I have received antibiotics, symptoms go away.  I feel better, less fatigued, and what has been attributed to sinusitis, allergies or asthma heal and don't come back.  I went to the allergist a couple of weeks ago, and he told me that my nose and throat have never looked this good.  I said it was all the antibiotics.  I do have a long-term good relationship with him, and I can have conversations and challenge him, but he always defaults to allergies, or he doesn't comment.

I spent the two years clenching my teeth so hard due to the inflammation that I actually moved and loosened my teeth.  

Little by little, I peel away the things that I have been attributing the asthma and allergies, and find that they were caused by something else, but no one will believe me.

Right now, I still feel achey, and there's dull pain under my right shoulder blade and shoulder when I move them.  There's dull pain/soreness under my shoulder blade when I take a deep breath.  The allergist wants to attribute the malaise to allergies, but I keep getting better and staying better with antibiotic treatment.  I was able to spend the weekend with my cat with minimal symptoms.  I'm the best I've been with her.

When I am actually exposed to a cat, I can feel the spots in my right lung and right side of my nose where it's inflamed where the irritant hits.  However, this is not true on the left side anywhere in my body.  All the symptoms I experience are on the right side of my body.

I'm fully medicated for allergies, Xyzal, Singulair, Advair, NAsacort, Maxair, and I'm a neti pot master.  Now that I've had antibiotics, the allergy treatments actually tend to work.

However, it's the dull pain in my shoulder and shoulder blade makes me think that this isn't just asthma.  In fact, the more that I think of the "asthma attacks," I had almost 25 years ago, at 25, when I first had any signs of an allergy to anything is nothing like what the allergist has been telling me is asthma in the last couple of years.  Yes, it could be just tight muscles from spasms.  But, take into account the fact that fatigue has improved, the distortion of my sense of taste improved and the sore in my nose that went away with antibiotics, post nasal drip, and inflammation of my ear, nose and throat has gone away.  Pain that girdled my body subsided.  This is all responding to antibiotics, and not getting worse once I stop them.  It seems to me that this is acting more like an infection than asthma or allergies, and that allergens irritate what is inflamed from an infection.   It's as if I have a respiratory infection, but I can never get enough antibiotics or the right one to cure it.  I only get enough to heal it partially.  

Yes, I've had a CT scan of my sinuses--normal.  And, a chest x-ray six years ago, and the allergist a couple of weeks ago thought that it was sufficient because it was clear then.  And, my lungs seem to test free from constriction from asthma.

I live in a city know for attracting very good doctors.  I just don't know where to turn where someone might listen and believe me.  I don't think that what I am dealing with is caused only by exposure to a cat.

Any ideas?  I've considered a couple.
3 Responses
942934 tn?1268111982
I do have experience with asthma and sinus infections. Chronic sinus infections will often flare up into an acute infection. I didn't show anything on CT scans between acute infections, but I was able to give a sample of my green mucous to my doctor. Only one acute infection isn't really indicative of sinusitis problems. My acute infections actually caused my adenoids to swell up bad enough that my ENT nearly surgically removed them, until he realized it was my sinuses that were causing the problems. I had a couple of sinus surgeries to fix the problems. Apparently during the first one he found the tissue in the sinuses to be quite infected and I had a bad deviated septum that was not apparent before. Hence the second surgery. Also my asthma was badly affected by the sinus infections. I had a terrible time controlling the asthma and was on a lot of prednisone to achieve the result. Even with the chronic infection, antibiotics were not able to get rid of it, as it was the deviated septum that was preventing good drainage. When it's chronic its very difficult to get rid of. I'm really not certain that your sinuses are the problem or you would have had way more acute infections and way more asthma problems (attacks and bronchospasms). Well, you could go to an ENT who uses newer technology (fibreoptic imaging). This allows them to see so well that he can see your brain matter through your sinuses. Otherwise, It could very well just be allergies.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your comment.  But my sinuses are not infected, and this is what is so hard to get people to understand.  I had two open and infected lesions in the flesh of my nose.  You can't put a Q-tip in your sinus.  My allergist made that clear!  Apparently, sinuses are essentially closed spaces with microscopic openings.  When they do sinus surgery to open sinuses, the openings are usually so small that the ENT simply makes a new hole.  I've only found one Website after years of looking that actually describes what happened inside of my nose.  You know that there are ridges in your nose whose name escapes me now.  They swell and cause congestion.  It's between these ridges that the flesh became infected.  I could reach them, but it took 1/2-3/4 length of a Q-tip.  Simple examination with that light gizmo that they use would not have detected them.  They are gone now, and scoping it won't show anything.  I have cleared that up.  Now, it feels like there's something in my lungs.  And, that's what is causing the muscles in my back and shoulder to pull my lungs open, as they do with asthma. I have a perfectly shaped nose, no deviated septum.
Avatar universal
I'm a subject of several nasal reconstruction attempts from an accident. Following was sinus surgeries also making things very complicated as a result of so many surgeries to my upper respiratory. Many courses of antibiotic's of different types did not cure infection problems. They failed! Bacterial infection, or the bug that causes it becomes very smart making a biofilm as to protect itself then being resistant to the antibiotics. I've learned to buy 100% grade pure cranberry juice in an organic food section, or health store. It is very sour so you might want to mix it half glass each with 100% cherry juice. Only use it, and no other sugar because the cherry has its own natural sugars the way it comes out of the jug. Mixed together and sip it away at least one glass a day, or if you can tolerate it, do one in morning and another afternoon. By third day for sure inflammation and infection starts to pass. There is an ingredient in the cranberry that seems to kill off otherwise resistant to antibiotic treatment. I learned about this through Argentina's medical practice as their approach to get rid of the biofilm, and bug that fails with other antibiotic resistant infections. If another develops in time I repeat.....What a relief to have found something that works, and is anti-inflammatory. Very good also for killing Dental Bacteria, or any mouth germ. Also good on other type infection also-----is a natural antibiotic!
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