I am an 18-year-old girl from Mumbai, who has fought a long and hard battle with sinusitis. I remember I was only in sixth grade in 2012, when I would wake up in the middle of the night, with a splitting headache and writhe in pain. This began to worry my parents a lot.
There were times when I would burn with high fever, and my folks would be up all night for me. I remember all the visits to the doctor. Unfortunately, no medications worked, be it allopathic, homeopathy or even ayurvedic for that matter.
That’s when we realised there’s a bigger problem.
You know how there are some things that you are unable to figure out, but some luck factor plays in, and you do! This was one of those days.
I was in Class 7 and I remember I didn’t want to give an exam, and I told my parents that I have a splitting headache and I cannot make it to school. My parents got so worried that they took me to the hospital right then. Incidentally, the ENT suggested that my parents get my MRI done that very day. And guess what? That’s how we came to know of this problem!
Ever since my childhood, I have always struggled with frequent coughs, cold and fever. Sometimes, my temperature would spike up so much that I had to face convulsions. It used to scare my parents a lot and gradually with medications, it would reduce but didn’t go away.
Initially, it wouldn’t affect me as much, but with time, I started having even more severe headaches, and giddiness, and it started to hamper my daily routine.
I was a child who was always willing to try out new things, new sports, games, activities and hobbies, and my parents have always been very supportive. But when my condition began to worsen, it was then that my parents restricted me from being adventurous.
For the first time, I felt that my life may be getting impacted because of my illness. From a very young age, it had been instilled in me that no matter what life may throw at me, physical, mental, emotional, you cannot let it win over you. I always believed that my problems cannot come in the way of me wanting to reach a goal or attain something that I wanted.
I knew that as long as I have my positive outlook and peace of mind, I would be able to achieve whatever I needed to in life.
But in 2014, my condition started to go downhill, and that’s when the thought of a surgery came to mind. It was pretty risky because my previous medications had caused blood thinning, and my anaesthesia specialist was not too keen. But because of my condition, we had to go through with it.
It was at the beginning of seventh grade when the session had just started that I was scheduled to go through the surgery. I recall that I had started to get very irritable, grumpy and moody, because as a 12-year-old, when you’re not allowed to participate in any of the curricular activities or you cannot go to school regularly, it tends to get to you. Yet, my parents were very gentle with me.
When we shifted to Odisha, my health started taking a turn for the worse. We noticed that the humid weather was not conducive for sinusitis
Sinusitis did not only cause medical issues in my life, but I was refrained from doing a lot of things and it started hindering my daily activities. My lifestyle went through a lot of changes, which, as a 12-year-old, I was not ready to accept. The surgery had gone perfectly well, and I was back to normal. But within three months, the symptoms started to show up again. I rushed to get another MRI done and my doctors told us that my maxillary sinuses weren’t proceeding.
When you get a sinusitis surgery done, they back up your nose for the span of 48 hours and you have to breathe through your mouth. Breathing from your mouth just becomes another Herculean task, and trust me it’s not easy.
I was dreading the thought of another surgery, but that is what the doctor suggested. Another surgery scared me, because all I feared was missing out on so much again. Luckily enough, after my second surgery, the extreme pain and excruciating headaches stopped.
I knew that I had a long road ahead of me. But what mattered the most at that time was that I could live my life normally again. I was just another teenage girl and my health did not get the better of me. I cannot singularly point out something that I learned from sinusitis over time. There were so many things that got inculcated in me, be it an array of values, lessons, realisations and delayed.
I am still getting to know them with time. As a 14-year-old, it can be me learning to be patient and understanding that my mental peace is key. As an 18-year-old, while I’m still battling sinusitis, I know that in order to be healthy, I need a simple life and need not miss out on a week of college or a week of spending time with my friends, living my life. I need to maintain that regularity.
I need to refrain from a few things but in the end, it is extremely crucial to look at the bigger picture. It is extremely crucial to realise that your ailment is not your identity. I am a person with bigger capabilities, I can achieve things and sinusitis does not define me.
I have been fortunate enough to have people around me pick me up at my lowest. When you are facing a medical illness it is important to realise that you are not the only one who is going through it, there are people who are dealing with you as well. And that is what you need to understand.
One of the key aspects of dealing with everything is to surround yourself with people who love you and will value you. Because when you’re medically ill, your mental health takes a toll as well and it starts getting to you, those are the people who pull you out of it.
Everybody faces challenges in their life, but our responses to those challenges are the ones that decide whether we reach glory or not. it is imperative to understand and to focus on the positive side, to look at the glass that is half full. Because as long as you’re focusing on what you don’t have, you will never realise what you have.