Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Living with AERD: CT Scan and Surgery

The last of my appointments were a CT Scan and a follow up with my dr afterwards.  I wish I had a copy of my results, though I will be asking for them in the future.  The CT scan was a quick process.  I think it took me longer to drive out to the office then it did to wait and have the test done!   
Once I came out of the imaging center we went right across the hall to my doctor's office.  We went over my symptoms again now that I finished a cycle of Prednisone and Augmentin.  Which while I did feel better for the short time on them, as soon as I went off the Prednisone I was right back to square one.   I really enjoyed being able to breathe, sleep and smell again!  
At that time we were able to take a look at my CT Scan results.  My goodness they were scary.  It was very obvious that I had no ability to breathe.  Both sides are inflamed and blocking the nasal cavity.  The left side, the polyps are so bad they are actually OUTSIDE of my nasal cavity.  After seeing this, there was no question in my mind what had to be done.   My dr did discuss the options with me.  
1) go on living like I am now and just stay away from Aspirin & NSAIDS.  Eventually when I'm in my 70s this will/should go away.
2) Start taking Prednisone daily to reduce the size of the polyps and swelling.  As good as that may sound, Prednisone has many risks and I don't want to create more health problems in the future.  
3) Surgery.  

I opted for Surgery.  I know that these polyps may come back but that is a risk I am willing to take.  Once my sinuses are cleared out we can begin treatment to hopefully keep them at bay for a long time if not forever.  My surgery is scheduled for 2 weeks from the appointment!

I wanted to blog about this to get my thoughts out, track my progress and possibly help others as well.  There isn't much about AERD on the web and what is out there is mostly medical sources, not much in terms of first hand accounts.  I hope I am able to help fellow AERD patients.

If you have any questions feel free to ask!  I'm happy to talk about my life with AERD and all that comes with it!

New to AERD?  check out my links

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Living with AERD: Allergy Testing

This week is a busy one filled with 3 appointments.
1 - Allergy Testing
2 - CT Scan
3 - Followup

Allergy Testing.  

That is something that is definitely not fun, not painful just extremely itchy. I think the worst part was not being able to take my typical allergy medication for 7 days prior to the test. I was stuck with 8 sets of 8 skin pricks, 64 tests in all!   There was also no surprises either.  I'm allergic to all grasses, molds, weeds, cats, and dust.  The tested common food allergies on my though I did not respond to them.  I do know that I need to stay away from foods that contain Salicylates. I haven't started that diet yet.  I will be starting that soon.  Molds & Weeds, however caused a lovely, delightfully itchy rash up and down my right arm that just kept getting more painful as the day went on even after cream and antihistamines were given.  While this didn't show any surprises, it's nice to know that when I say I'm pretty much allergic to every thing.  I am.  

Except my dogs :D  I'm not allergic to them!  My daughter was thrilled to hear that.  

This is just another step in my treatment.  My next appointment is a CT scan and then meet with my dr for a followup and to see where we go from here.  

If you have any questions feel free to ask!  I'm happy to talk about my life with AERD, Allergy tests, etc!  

New to AERD?  check out my links

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Living with AERD: Early on...

My doctor told me early this month that I was following the typical AERD timeline, including when I was diagnosed with Asthma in high school.  I wanted to share a condensed history in hopes this helps others.   You can read my AERD introduction post here.

When I was younger I had allergies but nothing that wasn't handled by just taking an allergy pill during the spring and fall.  However during my sophomore year of high school that all changed.  I was diagnosed with Asthma and slowly it became worse, affecting my ability to play Field Hockey.  It was "controlled" but not well enough where I could go back to my old daily life just treating the symptoms that I was experiencing.

Fast forward to my college years, I started to get migraines that seemed to stem from eating certain foods, but instead of changing what I ate, my doctor prescribed me the NSAID Anaprox.   I couldn't have aspirin due to an allergy.  The same allergy my mother had, which eventually caused her death due to an aspirin induced asthma attack.  That worked well enough and I went on with my life.   I still ate MSG and other related food and just treated the symptoms.  

During my early 20s, I had moved from NJ to Virginia with my boyfriend (now husband).  I was working at a bank in Northern Virginia when I started to get a headache.  My coworker had an Aleve on her so I took that and within minutes I started to have a severe reaction.   This was one of the worst asthma attacks I had experienced in my life thus far.  Thankfully I was able to recover, and a note was then added to my medical records saying I was not only allergic to aspirin but to NSAIDS as well.  Again, symptoms were treated but nothing else was really done. 

All during this time I was also suffering from severe sinus infections.  I feel like I've been on some sort of antibiotic to treat them most of my adult life.  After this experience with Aleve, I have had worsening Asthma, Allergies, sinus headaches, and other symptoms that were always just treated but never really resolved.  I was suffering daily and it was affecting my family, home life and work life.  

Monday, February 20, 2017

Living with AERD: Introduction

I recently went to to the doctors and was diagnosed with AERD.  I had a feeling I had it after finding it on a facebook page and playing with Dr Google but I was officially diagnosed with it last week.  I want to blog about my journey to get healthy so I can see how far I've come and to maybe help others who also suffer from AERD.

From https://aerd.partners.org/ 

What is AERD/Samter’s Triad?
Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease (AERD), also known as Samter’s Triad or Aspirin Sensitive Asthma, is a chronic medical condition that consists of asthma, recurrent sinus disease with nasal polyps, and a sensitivity to aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Approximately 10% of all adults with asthma and 40% of patients with asthma and nasal polyps are sensitive to aspirin and NSAIDs
What are the symptoms?
Patients with AERD/Samter’s Triad usually have asthma, nasal congestion, and nasal polyps, and often do not respond to conventional treatments. Many have experienced chronic sinus infections and can lose their sense of smell. The characteristic feature of AERD/Samter’s Triad is that patients develop reactions triggered by aspirin or other NSAIDs.
Reactions include:

  • Increased nasal congestion or stuffiness  (I have!)
  • Eye watering or redness (yup!)
  • Cough, wheezing, or chest tightness (I have that too!)
  • Frontal headache or sensation of sinus pain (and this!)
  • Flushing and/or a rash 
  • Nausea and/or abdominal cramping (yup!)
  • General feeling of malaise, sometimes accompanied by dizziness (too often!)

I will update as I have appointments & information available.  

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Word of the Year: 2017

Last year I started off the year with one word to focus on.
I really tried over the last year to be present.  To put the phone down, to not let life's distractions take me away from my family, friends, and faith.  While I was not 100% perfect, I was more mindful over the last year to be present.  I will continue in 2017 to be more present in my life. 

That brings me to 2017's word of the year.  
This year I want to focus on what's important.  It uses last year's word as a stepping stone in my life and gives me the platform to grow.  I want to focus on my family, my family, my job, and my faith.  HOWEVER at the same time I don't want to lose the progress I've made over the last year.  Focus allows me to let update my goals as the year goes on and I grow in every part of my life.  

Along with choosing a word, I also chose a verse that will help me focus on what is important throughout the year.  

Colossians 3:2 

Today is the first page of a fresh new book.  Now is your chance to write a masterpiece.  

What is your word of the year?  

I try to use my own pictures when available and if I do use other pictures I cite the source.  There are times when I'm unable to find the source for the pictures I use.  If you find that I have used one of yours please let me know, I will gladly give you credit!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

On This Day: In Case You Didn't Know.... (originally posted 9/28/2009)

I was feeling nostalgic so I went to my original blog, A Trucker Wife and thought it would be fun to pull old blog posts every once in a while just to see what craziness was going on in my life.  On this day back seven years ago (2009?!?!) We were reminded that The Beatles rock.  
What were you doing in 2009?


We had kids tag our neighbor's fence Saturday night. It sucks because it looks horrible but really if kids are going to vandalize something this is what they chose to say?

Yes, they do rock but this just cracks me up!

The police came by to write a report up for them to turn into their insurance and reassured us that from what he knows, there are no gangs in the Hampton Roads area using this sign. Whew, I was worried.

Friday, September 23, 2016

RECIPE: Grandmother Snook's Apple Walnut Cake

This recipe/posts received so much positive attention from family and friends that I had to repost it on my personal blog.  It's been said that my Grandmother Snook only baked her apple walnut cake for special occasions and I can see why.  It was delicious!  I also want to keep the tradition alive and also reserve it for special occasions.  My family however is very impatient!

(Originally posted on 7/31/2016 on my genealogy blog Discovering Family Roots. ) 

Mildred Snook (nee Swezy) is my grandmother on my dad's side.  She was born 1919 and died young at the age of 43 in 1953.    About 6 years ago in 2010 I received a letter from my cousin (actually first cousin once removed) who enclosed a few old family recipes.  Sometime after that I had misplaced the letter, I was devastated.  Even after moving from our old condo into the new house, I still could not find them.  Making up the spare room this past July I moved an old photo album and they fell out!  I was so excited!   I showed my father the Apple Walnut Cake recipe the following week.  He hadn't had that cake since he was about 12 years old.  It was a cake that she was known for.  I knew I was going to have to make it soon.
My grandparents Edward & Mildred (Swezy) Snook
My Grandmother Mildred Snook (Swezy)

This past weekend I finally made it!  I called my dad to check on a few things hoping he would remember, like how big were the chopped apples and what kind of pan did he remember her using.   Once it came out of the oven, I sent a picture to him and it let me know that it was just as he remembered.  Success!  The house smelled wonderful and my husband and daughter both agreed, it was delicious.  

  My father also said that the walnuts came from an English Walnut tree they had on their property.  It was the only in in Vernon.  Unfortunately that tree is no  longer here, it was in 1967 cut down to make room for the now Minerals Spa.  At that time it was 5ft in diameter.

I've included the recipe in my post.  If you plan on using it, I only ask that you please credit me & my blog in anything you post.  Thanks so much!