About two week, I noticed that I had a very bad sore, scratchy throat and a cough caused by the inflamed throat. I had trouble swallowing. Aside from that, I was not feeling any other symptoms. After it did not get better in a week, I knew something was wrong. I thought that I had inflamed tonsils or, at the worst, throat cancer from my long years of smoking so I got an appointment with a specialist.
I had a thorough examination of my nasal passages and throat. It was not the tonsils or cancer (thank God!). My left maxillary sinus (think cheekbone) is completely obstructed and densely packed with mucus or something else. On the CT scan, it shows up as if it were solid, not hollow like the right one. My doctor tells me that this condition has probably existed for some time, and he is surprised that I feel no pain. My body has evidently contained the infection until recently when the inflammation spread to tissue at the back of my throat.
I am on penicillin for the next two weeks to try to clear up the infection. Within two days of popping the pills, I felt some of the swelling go down in my throat.
I had not been going to yoga this past week because I didn’t know if I had something that might be contagious. Today I went to class at Thrive and it was amazing. For the first time, I practiced without feeling my breathing obstructed. My sinuses had swollen so much that they partially blocked my breathing. This affects me especially at the early phase of the session before I was warmed up.
I know that this condition has existed for years because when I started my pranayama and yoga practice three and a half years ago, I noticed that I did not seem to breath fully. I also tended to make more noise breathing because I was forcing air through smaller air passages. I thought it was rhinitis (when the nasal passages get irritated and swell up) and consulted a doctor at work, but he seemed to think it was not anything serious. I started doing nasal rinses with saline water to clear out my nose. Although the use of a neti pot did (and does) clean out my nasal passages, it did nothing for my sinuses. Today on the mat, I noticed that I had adjusted my ujay breathing to take advantage of my swollen sinus, tightening my throat higher up. Now I have to relearn how to do ujay all over again.
Perhaps the most serious thought is that I’ve been carrying around an infection for years and my body has been fighting it off, confining it and clearing away the toxins, but never completely getting better. It has probably been a drag on my energy and health all that time. Maybe my yoga practice has helped ward off the worst symptoms.