On Life and Love

When a Nasal Polyp Isn’t a Nasal Polyp

I had a pretty gross thing happen to me today.

It started with a long, thin scope being poked into my nose — deep into my nose. They need to see where this mass in my nose was attached before they removed it.

I’ve been carrying around this fucker for about seven weeks. It came with as many as three nosebleeds a day sometimes, obstructed breathing, some loss of sense of smell, and a very high level of annoyance. I got a humidifier. I kept it damp. I took my Flonase as prescribed.

Basic internet research lead me down two paths: a nasal polyp, or cancer. Polyps are described as being caused by chronic inflammation, but my allergies and asthma are pretty damn well controlled. Cancer… the odds are too low to really worry about.

I finally saw my doctor after about six weeks of being a bloody mess. She took a look and shipped me off to an ear, nose, and throat doctor, who I saw today.

I went in thinking that they’d prolly confirm it was a polyp and snip it out, then I’d be on my way.

…Except I clearly didn’t think through the process of how the removal process would go or feel.

After the scoping, which provoked lots reflexive tears and me nearly crawling up out of the chair, they collected their tools (forceps and suction) and began numbing my nose. That was a singularly unpleasant shot into the inside of my nose, and I had to catch lots of blood.

The removal seemed to just be them snipping out chunks. Unfortunately, it was bigger and differently shaped than a normal polyp, so it took multiple passes. (A couple of those pieces were collected for testing.) Once they cut out as much as they could, they tried to control the bleeding with silver nitrate. That proved to be too slow-going a process for how quickly the numbing was wearing off, so they numbed me again (the needle seemed even bigger the second time!) and switched to properly cauterizing the inside of my nose.

If you’ve ever had a cavity filled, you’re probably aware of the smell of your own body burning. Turns out it smells more horrible when it’s in my nose.

Who knew?

Tears, hysterical giggles, tension, and utter body horror aside, the end result of today’s visit is that I can breathe again. I’m really happy for that. I won’t know anything about my not-polyp until the labs come back, but the doctor was kinda stumped. He suggested either a hemangioma or angiofibroma, both of which are (roughly) masses of blood vessels.

If it’s something malignant, I’ll need surgery. If not, we’ll try treating my allergies differently, with more focus than piling Flonase on top of Xyzal. (The doc thinks the Flonase contributed to the quantity of blood I’ve been dealing with.) I might end up starting allergy shots for the biggest offenders (Greg-the-cat and Jackie).

My next active step is to get tested for allergies next week, which I haven’t had done since I was a teen. Sometime between now and next Friday, I should hear back about the not-polyp.