When car enthusiast Jim Mascola and his wife moved to the motor city, it felt like a natural fit. His nose, however, did not love the shift.

Jim's Story“I’ve suffered with sinus and nasal issues for most of my life, stemming from a broken nose as a teenager,” says Jim, 43, who works as a Lincoln Client Experience Lead at Ford Motor Company. “During high school track, I took a shot in the face from a medicine ball.”

After college, Jim moved first to Arizona, then Florida. In both places, he had sinus issues, trouble breathing through his nose and a runny nose. Desperate for relief, he met with doctors in both states.

“I always felt like they were trying to rush me into surgery, without any feedback on how it would help my sinus and nasal problems,” Jim says.

Instead, he tried to control his symptoms with nasal sprays, antihistamines and over-the-counter medications.

Getting Smacked by the Mitten

In late 2021, Jim and his wife moved to Michigan, and his sinus and nasal issues kicked into overdrive.

“Starting that holiday season, and throughout 2022, I really suffered,” Jim says. “Frequent sinus infections, ever-present postnasal drip and earaches from everything backing up in my sinuses. I got so stuffy I couldn’t breathe, and I had to keep tissues with me daily.”

Worse yet, his normal methods to control his symptoms weren’t working in Michigan. So, he added more over-the-counter meds, a humidifier and saline nasal sprays.

“I went through a 6-pack of saline sprays like others go through soda,” Jim says. “I even tried a Neti pot. But the problem with a broken nose or deviated septum is that nasal sprays and flushes can’t make it past the break in the nose, so they never drain or provide much help. I realized I needed to connect with a doctor to take another look at my options.”

A Different Experience

Jim's StoryWith poor experiences in two other states, Jim didn't think he would have much success in addressing his sinus issues in Michigan. But he was pleasantly surprised, starting with booking his appointment to see Dr. Laura Garcia-Rodriguez, an otolaryngologist (ENT) at Henry Ford Health.

“I had scheduled a wellness exam at Henry Ford when I first moved to Michigan, so I used MyChart to find Dr. Garcia-Rodriguez,” Jim says. “It was easy using MyChart to set up an appointment online, and throughout treatment I was able to see all my appointment info and test results, and even pay my bill. It was very convenient.”

Jim met with Dr. Garcia-Rodriguez at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, and he could tell the difference right away as she listened to his concerns and answered his questions. She also referred Jim to a Henry Ford Health rhinology specialist to address his constant runny nose. Jim made an appointment at the Henry Ford Medical Center – Plymouth.

“The Plymouth center looked brand new, and the staff was super friendly,” Jim says. “My appointment at the Plymouth location couldn’t have gone any better. They took the time to go through everything and didn’t use technical medical language so I could understand exactly why I was having my persistent runny nose.”

After meeting with both doctors several times, Jim made the decision to get a combined surgery. Dr. Garcia-Rodriguez would be performing a complex nasal reconstruction, including a septoplasty to fix Jim’s fractured septum. And the rhinology specialist would be performing a procedure for his runny nose.

“We discussed my options for surgery,” Jim says. “One procedure severs the nerves that are causing the glands to produce too much mucus. I was so miserable at this point that I wanted to go with the more drastic option. But they recommended intranasal cryotherapy, a minimally invasive option.”

Intranasal cryotherapy is a procedure that’s used to freeze nerve fibers of the posterior nasal nerve in the back of the nose, helping to reduce runny nose symptoms. In people who have an overactive nerve, such as Jim, this can cause the nose to produce excess mucus. Henry Ford Health was the first in Michigan to perform intranasal cryotherapy and was active in a study to test the procedure in a variety of allergic, nonallergic and mixed rhinitis patients.

The Surgery Day Arrives

Still, this was Jim’s first surgery since a tonsillectomy when he was 6 years old, so he was nervous about what to expect. But the day before the surgery, his care team called.

Jim was impressed. “The fact that they called me to check in, answered all my questions and walked me through everything? I knew I was in the right place.”

This level of support continued at the Plymouth Medical Center the next morning when both doctors stopped by to see how Jim and his wife were doing.

“It wasn’t just my doctors,” Jim says. “The whole thing, soup to nuts, was spot on,” Jim says. “It felt like the concierge service you get staying in a nice hotel. Everyone was friendly, and they were all focused on us, from the moment we walked in until they wheeled me out at the end. It felt like it was my own family.”

A Whole New World

Jim's StoryJim’s life is dramatically different now; he can also breathe better, and his sense of smell has improved dramatically.

“I walk our rescue dog, Vinnie, daily,” Jim says. “I can already smell new scents on these walks. The fall leaves and the smell after a rain shower were two things I never experienced before the surgery. It really has changed every day for me.”

Jim is also getting back to his active lifestyle.

“I grew up running and biking and continued that into my adult years, and it was extremely hard without being able to breathe well through my nose,” Jim says. “So, I’m looking forward to actually enjoying these activities again.”

Now that he’s through his surgery and recovery, Jim’s grateful that he finally has relief from the sinus and nasal issues that he’s battled for over two decades—and for his team at Henry Ford Health.

“From scheduling to the support staff, and especially my two surgeons, I could not have asked for a better experience,” Jim says. “The Henry Ford Health team sees countless patients, but they treated me like I was the only one on their schedule.”

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