Asian woman stares ahead while nasal polyps on her face are highlighted

Nasal Polyps

Nasal polyps are quite common in those of us with cystic fibrosis. It is not something I was even aware of because I had a late diagnosis.

In my youth I had sinus issues, and it always seemed like I had a cold. I remember always blowing my nose as a young kid and thinking I had a lot of boogers. It was always a persistent problem.

Then it got worse in my teens because I could no longer breathe out of my nose. I was always sniffing and sniffing and nothing. I would look in the mirror and notice these masses in there, but I had no idea what they were. I went to several doctors and I was mostly ignored and given nasal sprays and it was blamed on allergies.

Nasal polyps caused by cystic fibrosis

When I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when I was 24 years old, I was told that I had nasal polyps. I looked it up online that day and I was shocked to find out that patients with cystic fibrosis grow them frequently. I was frustrated that all these years I was ignored and made to think I was crazy.

At age 24, I was a mouth breather my entire life because breathing out of my nose was hard. It became a literal chore because it took a lot of force to take a breath in and out of my nose. So, I became a mouth breather for over 14 years by that point. It became my normal that my nose was just there, it did not work.

Nasal reconstructive surgery

During my first ENT visit with a specialist who worked with CF patients, he told me that polyps grew so large they obstructed and destroyed my nasal cavity. I would need a complete nasal reconstructive surgery to fix the damage and give me something I could not do in many years, breathe out of my nose!

During surgery, there were - as the doctor put it - 8 physicians and specialists in the operating room. Because of my CF, they wanted to ensure if a medical emergency did arise the right people were in the room. Since I struggled to breathe laying flat, they made sure I was safe.

Finally able to breathe

The surgery went great, and I had a new nasal passage that worked! My nose did not look so swollen from having polyps pushing up against the passage, so it was difficult to recognize myself. It was harder learning how to use my nose again because before it was just there as an accessory. For the first time since I was little girl, I was using my nose to breathe! It was overwhelming!

I do find myself breathing out of my mouth because I am so used to it but it is nice using my nose and breathing from my nose again! I do nasal rinses daily and use a special nasal spray to help keep my passage open.

I am so happy to be given the chance to breathe again from my nose. You never realize how much you miss something until you can not use it. I want to thank all the doctors and the medical team who gave me this chance to breathe easier through my nose. I am so grateful!

Have you or your loved one with cystic fibrosis needed nasal reconstructive surgery for your nasal polyps? Share your experience with us!

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