Depression, Mental Health

There’s a Fungus Among Us

Little bit of history here.

I swam a LOT as a child.  Swimmer’s ear was a constant companion to me as a child.  Way back in 2002, I began to have some severe problems with one of my ears.  My hearing was almost nonexistent in my right ear and I was having gunk constantly drain from that ear.  I was also able to hold my nose, blow, and my ear would whistle.  In fact, it was so loud that one day in my classroom, I told my kids to listen and they all heard the ear whistle.  It was time to figure out what was wrong.

During a visit with my ENT he said it looked like there was a lot of fluid in my ear and began to suction it to see if he could clear some of it.  After a few minutes, I heard the doctor say to the nurse, “Oh my goodness, come look at this.”  Then there were several “Ooh” “Ugh” and “Oh gosh” comments from him and the nurse had a terrible look upon her face.  I remember telling him that even though I couldn’t hear anything from my right ear, all those Ughs were traveling around to my left ear and I could hear each time he said something and that he needed to stop because he was scaring me.  At that point, he stopped and told his nurse to go out and give some Dr. M. a call to see if he could work me in the next day.  After she left the room, he told me that he was going to have to send me to Augusta to an ear specialist because there was “something in there.”  So, the next day, a quick trip to this Dr. M. took place and I was in surgery the day after that to remove a cholesteotoma.  After a lot of quick research I found out what it was and that it was most likely due to the many ear infections I had had as a child.  After surgery I learned that it had destroyed all the middle ear bones and a large portion of the mastoid bone and that plastic implants had been put in.  Healing took place and a bit of the hearing was restored in ear.  However, during surgery the doctor evidently implanted some crazy little man who is practicing for a horn-blowing competition because he blows his horn 24/7.  This has been an on-going problem since the surgery.  Occasional trips back to the ENT took place for ear maintenance and life carried on.

Present Day Status

A couple of years ago, I started having problems with the ear again.  There had been constant draining and pain.  Back to the ENT.  He has worked on it for these two years with no improvement so I finally gave up on him and went back to my Otolaryngologist to get an answer.  And, Lord, did I get an answer.

Here’s my answer.

  1. I have an aggressively-growing fungus in my ear.  This requires the following procedures each time I see my doctor (2 times a week for now – 180 miles per visit):  suctioning, physical removal of fungus by digging it out, cauterizing of raw areas, and application of fungus medication.  Seven trips so far and each time, more fungus has grown back.
  2. Once all fungus is finally gone and ear is completely healed and is clean and dry for at least two weeks, surgery can be done on this ear.  That surgery will consist of repairing the damage to the ear drum, repositioning of the plastic implants that had been placed during original surgery, and the building of a new air space behind the implants that will allow them to work.  This is due to the fact that because of the size of the fungus masses, the ear drum was pushed back into the canal, pressing upon the plastic implants causing them to invade the necessary air space behind them.
  3. At-home drops to the ear every 4 hours of an athlete’s foot medicine and of an antibiotic.  (Just thinking that I’m using the same meds that someone uses for athlete’s foot just blows my mind.)

That’s the answer for my “bad” ear.”  Now, for the answer about my “good” ear. (And I didn’t even know there was a problem with my “good” ear.)

  1. I have a cholesteotoma in my “good”  ear that must be removed.
  2. We won’t know until surgeon gets in there as to whether the middle ear bones are still intact and working.  If they are damaged, he will place plastic implants in that ear.
  3. Maintenance visits for both every 3 months to Otolaryngologist, NOT to an ENT.

And all of this because I used to swim every day, twice a day, as a child.  Sigh………….

This ear crap is doing nothing to help with my depression.

~~ Betty