Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hot Liquids for ENS....

Consistent with my recent theme of hot liquids, I want to emphasize one hot beverage that I thoroughly enjoy and seems to bring me at least some temporary relief of my symptoms. It is hot tea, sometimes with lemon and honey. Hot tea with lemon and honey is considered one of the best mucus thinners. I believe a real problem in our society is dehydration, which sometimes leads to sinus infections itself, and it is particularly important to hydrate even more when you feel like you might be coming down with an infection or if you are trying to fight off a cold. In my view, my favorite teas are generally decaffeinated and are herbal. I particularly enjoy Throat Comfort tea by Yogi Tea, as well as the Cold Season Sampler (which consists of Breathe Deep, Echinacea Immune Support, Cold Season, and Throat Comfort). I will generally drink these teas with honey, and sometimes a bit of lemon juice as well. Did you know that lemon is actually alkaline? Given the fact that lemon is very sour, you'd think it was acidic, but I was reading that it is in fact alkaline in a book called The PH Miracle. So, bottom line: lemon is good for you! Some of the herbs in these various teas include:

  • Licorice Root
  • Thyme
  • Eucalyptus
  • Basil
  • Mullein
  • Echinacea
  • Ginger
  • Cardamom
  • Clove
  • Peppermint
  • Slipper Elm Bark

Other teas I enjoy include chamomille and cinnamon spice. I find the spicy teas are not only soothing on the throat, but also promote healthy digestion.

In an upcoming blog post, I plan to write about some treatments that I have been trying of late to help promote better sleep. I actually had a great night of sleep last night, as I was sleeping more deeply than I have in a while. The treatment is cited in my book, and I plan to share this treatment ideas with those signed up at my ENS newsletter first ( and then on this blog. As an aside, I learned that the patient mentioned on my January 25th blog post had a turbinate reduction surgery by the doctor who was unreasonable about empty nose syndrome....go figure. In a future blog post, I also hope to pose "hard," yet incredibly important questions that must be addressed by ear, nose and throat specialists in America. Until then, I hope your sinus health is doing well and under control.

Friday, January 25, 2008

'ENT hurdles' in getting treatment help for ENS

I have copied the following testimonial from a writer at the general discussion at I thought it was a good testimony of what some ENS sufferers have to deal with, the hurdles ENS sufferers face in getting proper help, and the total lack of sympathy by some doctors who should know better. This patient has been through multiple turbinate reduction surgeries, so likely is dealing with some level of ENS. This testimony should trouble every person who reads it. All this patient wanted was to be listened to by a sensitive, caring, sympathetic, ENS-knowledgeable doctor who explores medical solutions and puts her health over the protection of a fellow doctor causing empty nose syndrome. ENTs, please take note: That's all we want. That's why we are overly appreciative of Dr. Houser for his work with ENS because we want help desperately -and need it, too. I have edited and shortened the following to highlight the key points. Here's what she wrote:

Hello All,

I have turned to these boards for some time, and especially recently. This winter with the dry heat in NYC has been dreadful for my breathing. I am in the process of sending my CT scans to Dr. Houser. This is a relief, after five years of being told by ENTs to do more procedures and/or that I was inventing a problem for psychological reasons. (As far as I know, psychological problems do not produce mucus that sticks inside the nose, but until I read Chris' book and found out about this site and Dr Houser's work, I was willing to believe I was crazy and alone.) Thank heaven there is a doctor like Dr. Houser who has a soul and a capacity to listen, care, investigate, and respond to our needs with medical solutions.

...I ended up making the mistake of letting my ENT argue for months for the turbinectomy, although I understood it was all or nothing -- no turbinectomy, no septoplasty -- at least this is how the doctor presented it. I had NO idea what a turbinate was and thought he was fighting for the whole surgery to get approved. Finally he told me things were a go, and I did the surgery. After the surgery, he told me "secretly" that although the insurance did not approve the turbinectomy, he went ahead and did it anyway! I just thought, maybe he is just a nice guy, if cavalier, but I did not expect a problem. Why would he have done this if he did not get paid? Was he trying to be a hero? Why didn't he inform me of anything regarding turbinates?

...It has been five years. I am confused. I had NO idea that the missing turbinates were causing my problem, for real, until about a year ago, or less. That is four years later!....I have been through departments!!!! NYU, NY Presbyterian. My current ENT dismisses ENS but still tries to treat my symptoms, at least. I pretend to his face that ENS is something "my worried mom" thinks I have because she does too much internet research. He completely dissed Chris's book to my face and Dr Houser, whom he appears to know, and right then I knew I had to stop trying to convince all these ENTs. Why are they so defensive of something that is standard practice but does not work on everyone? Is it just about protecting themselves from malpractice suits? I don't get it. It seems that could be avoided by informing patients of the risk of turbinate surgery....

Thank to you all for this lifesaving forum.


Thank you to the above reader for her comments. Here's my challenging questions to the defensive ENT.

1) Why is it that you acknowledge and know how important the turbinates are, but do not address the resulting symptoms from removed turbinates or potential reconstructive surgical treatment options for empty nose? Research has been published in a medical journal clearly defining and offering a surgical remedy for empty nose syndrome, so ENS is an indisputable fact - not something that can be dismissed.

2) Why is it that you appear to be more concerned with protecting a doctor who is causing harm via turbinate removal than the health of that patient?

3) Why is there no professional standard regarding the amount of turbinate to remove in turbinate surgery?

It would be great if that doctor could answer those questions satisfactorily. As the old saying goes, if you are not part of the solution, then you might be part of the problem. Makes you wonder if this particular doctor is part of the problem or solution. Thoughts?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Comments from a reader

Below are some comments from a reader and fellow ENS sufferer, Jdog. I tried to put them in as a post, but he nor I was sure how to do it! Frustrating since I want this blog to be interactive. Here are his comments followed by my own:
Subject: Great work Chris, love the blog.
I think the reference is great for awareness and the low readership is more due to a lack of understanding.
It's obvious that alot of ENS suffers dont know theyhave ENS. However that is changing fast with the forum, book and net in general. The more people thatknow what they have the more people will know what to look for. Keep up the good work. Love the articles.
Chris replies:
Your comments are much appreciated. I agree that a primary reason for low readership of this blog is lack of awareness. It is astounding how many people might be suffering from this condition, at one level or another, yet don't know they have it. Those who don't have it still think it's rare, which couldn't be further from the truth. I very much agree that the Internet has been the primary reason my book has been able to sell as well as it has, and it is the primary means of communication for raising awareness on empty nose on many fronts. The forum, book, and various Internet sites have threatened a medical cover-up, for lack of a better way to put it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Carbonated water for ENS?

My most recent post discussed how staying properly hydrated by drinking water is an important part of treating empty nose syndrome (ENS). As mentioned in one of my newsletters, a friend of mine suggested that drinking carbonated water is a somewhat effective at treating ENS. He buys many bottles of tonic water at the store. I agree and acknowledge that having the stimulation from the effervescence probably does help a seemingly "dead" throat/inner nose by stimulating otherwise inactive nerve cells. And I encourage you to try this remedy and to report back to me at this blog with a post (just click on the time button at the bottom of this post in order to post).

However, I personally believe the key when drinking water for treating ENS is to keep it warm or hot, which increases blood flow to the throat, helps stimulate the cilia, perhaps even kills bacteria, whereas cold water can do the opposite. Hot water also seems to promote healthy bowel movements, and BMs seem to decrease the stuffiness in my nose; this of course should not be surprising given that the mucous membrane extends from our nose right down to our digestive tracts. This same friend informed me he had started coming down with the beginning stages of a sore throat, but drank many cups of hot water over a period of several days and that effectively cured his sore throat at that time.

What do you think?

Another thing about water and hydration...have you ever noticed that if you drink a lot of water, then your skin becomes less dry and you have less of a need for hand lotion, even if you live in a cold climate, as I do, this time of the year?

On my next post, I'll talk about different teas that are worth drinking for ENS, so stay tuned....

Monday, January 21, 2008

Liquids for ENS....

As an ENS sufferer, I find that liquids are very important for maintaining healthy mucous membranes. The most important liquid for an ENS sufferer is water. Water is considered the universal solvent because it dissolves more substances than any other liquid. Water is a mucolytic because it helps thin mucus by increasing its water content. Thinner mucus drains better. And ENS sufferers need thinned mucus! I believe many ENS sufferers (and Americans, for that matter) are often dehydrated. The first signs of thirst are often an indication of dehydration. Dr. Rob Ivker, in his book, Sinus Survival, recommends drinking even when you are not thirsty. You should drink 8 cups of water per day as a rule of thumb, and upwards of 13 if you are engaging in a fitness program.

Now, here are some tips to make the water even more effective: make sure the water is pure and heat it up. Hot water is particularly effective at draining thick mucus that has accumulated in your throat. Drinking numerous cups of hot water per day will help moisturize your throat, perhaps even partly substiting for the heating and lubricating role of your removed turbinates. Granted, please be careful not to burn your throat if the water is too hot, but do heat the water up. Is it not surprising that Dr. Ivker (if my memory serves me right) recommends sinus sufferers live off the western coast of Florida because of its heat and humidity? Ice cold water, conversely, as Dr. Grossan points out in his book, freezes the cilia and mucus stays there longer.

My wife, Colleen, and I went on our honeymoon in Maine and stayed at a place called Green Woods. Below is the view from our cabin where you can see the ocean water.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Direction for this Blog: A focus on nasal health tips & ENS News Updates & Pics

As you might notice, it has been a couple weeks since I blogged last, as I have been very busy with my growing family. (And, while writing this post, I took a 1.5 hour break to assist my family, which isn't a bad thing - although I'm more tired right now. We are very blessed, but I am stating a fact). Between my family and job, I have had little time for much else. However, I have fit in an upcoming, second book signing at Park Row Books in Clinton, NY, on February 9th, from 1-3, and I am looking forward to that. This bookstore is the one such store in my local area that has been very supportive toward me as a local author.

As the new year continues to proceed, I believe it is a ripe time to consider the future direction for this blog. I believe this blog should have two goals: to become more interactive and to create a larger readership. I have done about 50 blog posts in the past year and not a single reader of this blog has posted a comment. In order to post, all you have to do is click on the time underneath the message and then post away. Some might suggest I am writing on a narrow topic or readers don't know how to post a reply, but the number of email responses to me has indicated a healthy - no pun intended - number of responses. So I need to make it more interactive. On most given days, I have between 10 and 40 page loads of this blog which, honestly, is very low readership. I'm not sure quite why this is, whether it is I don't blog frequently enough or because the topic turns some off or if it's because the blog focuses almost exclusively on my book - or maybe it is all of the above.

So, my hope for this blog in the newyear is:

1) to encourage readers to post on this blog.

2) to increase the readership of this blog.

It's interesting because the Internet and specifically are the primary reasons my book is able to have any impact. The vast majority of my books sold have been through the Internet. has a host of nonfiction, niche books that otherwise would receive little attention in bookstores (which are often indifferent toward self-published authors) or in the media. allows the viewer to be at the doorstep of your book, and you can market it any way you want. Plus, I believe the more savvy readers are those who buy items from the Internet, as you can often find better deals on Internet sites than through local stores.

I am getting on a tangent here, but the question is, how will I encourage readers to post on this blog and increase its readership? After some thought, I am planning to focus this blog more on treatment tips for nasal sufferers (and specifically empty nose sufferers), to blog on a more frequent basis, and to attempt to present the most current news with respect to empty nose syndrome. To some extent, I already do the aforementioned through my empty nose newsletter (which has about 30 readers), and I will keep the newsletter on the cutting edge of my thoughts - that won't be provided through this blog - but I will post more regularly on what I find has been helpful to me as an empty nose sufferer.

And maybe I'll even add some more photos, so you can get to know me better. Below is a photo of the view of the valley about one half mile from my house on my road, which is where I run during the summer months. And, yes, that is what it looks like this time of the year, snow covered and all!

So, please stay tuned...because in the coming days and weeks, my blog will take this turn, hopefully for the better.

Friday, January 4, 2008

New Year's Resolutions, a fitness plan, a THANK YOU

It has been a couple weeks since I wrote last because my computer monitor totally crashed shortly before my third child, Luke, was born. I bought a monitor earlier this week - wow, was it expensive. I am told I got a deal, as a kind friend referred me to it and I paid $125 for it. Yet most cost more! For the price of most monitors, you might as well buy a new computer. Anyway, I'm glad to be up and running again...and posting.

Each year I excitedly set before me New Year's Resolutions. This year, I have three resolutions: the first is to spend more time doing Christian devotions with my family each night; the second is to spend more time reading the Bible with my wife after my children go to sleep; and the third is to rid myself of sinusitis and allergies once and for all. Although I cannot regenerate the turbinate tissue that was removed, and thus have to suffer the effects of the turbinectomy to some extent, I CAN control the sinusitis and allergies to a large extent. It's going to be a real challenge, but I believe it can be largely cured.

The main areas in which I really need to improve in order to control my sinusitis include 1) improving my diet - e.g., I have been taking many herbal supplements, eating more vegetables, and decreasing the amount of dairy food of late - and developing a fitness program. I have been reading "Fitness Your Way" by Jim Lafountain. Jim is the athletic director where I work and owner of the All-American Fitness Center in New Hartford. I would strongly recommend reading his book that is chok full of practical suggestions on how to begin developing a fitness plan to meet your particular needs. You can buy it at This book has so much useful information on fitness that I can't believe I was following some of the lies that the media promotes. One such lie is what Jim calls the myth of mindless miles. Basically, this belief amounts to the fact that more is better when it comes to running. Jim reminds the reader that our legs will tire and like a vehicle, will experience much wear and tear over time, causing knee injuries to the chronic runner. He notes that while mild discomfort is to be expected, pain should not be tolerated in a fitness plan. He notes a mixture of running, walking, biking and - yes, stretching, might help you meet your cardiovascular needs. That's a simplification, but you get the gist. Jim recommends ensuring that your fitness plan has three components - cardiovascular, stretching, and resistance training (strength training), but that often people focus on just one aspect of fitness, excluding the other two. This is a mistake, in his opinion. His book is really a great book, and I would heartily recommend it for getting help developing a fitness plan on your terms.

Finally, I would like to kick out a thank you to Dr. Winston Vaughn of San Francisco, California. Dr. Vaughn trained at Stanford Medical School and, according to his online resume, is also on the Board of the American Rhinologic Society. Given his connections, now I know why he thought my book was having an impact among the ENTs. Clearly, he is a distinguished professional. So why do I kick out a big thank you? Dr. Vaughn enjoyed reading Having Nasal Surgery? so much that he bought 10 copies of it. He plans to share these copies with those in his journal club and with other ear, nose and throat specialists. That is wonderful. It is a great feeling to win the respect of intelligent people. I learned of this because one of his patients told me. Thank you so much, Dr. Vaughn, and I hope the other specialists enjoy the book as much as you did. And I hope they buy a number of copies for their fellow doctors and colleagues. I and other empty nose sufferers much appreciate your attention to and support of this worthy cause of empty nose syndrome.