I'm sick all the time! 10 courses of antibiotics in the last 15 months. Please help!

sickness

#1

I get sick a lot and I’m sick of it! I’m posting this on the forum seeking help/advice from ya’ll. I’m willing to do pretty much anything.

I’m desperate!

I have two young kids who bring a lot of sickness home and I travel a lot. That being said my wife doesn’t get sick at nearly the same rate (maybe once a year) and doesn’t get any sinus infections.

Recent Illness List

These all follow the same pattern. I start out with a cold which I get over fairly quickly. I start to feel good again for a day or two then I get a sinus infection.

I do a zinc nasal spray when the symptoms start and use a neti pot. I take 12-hour Sudafed and cycle Afrin (no more than 3 days in a row). I take Flonase 2x per day. I super hydrate and rest.

The illnesses range from 2 weeks to 1 month in duration.

Date Description
1 Sept 1st, 2017 7 days Amoxicillin. Came back after 10 days. Got 10 days Doxycycline + prednisone 6/5/4/3/2/1 pack
2 Nov 4th, 2017 10 days Augmentin
3 January 2018 7 Days antibiotics (not sure what kind). Came back after 14 days, 10 days antibiotics + Prednisone
4 March 2nd, 2018 10 Days Ceftin + Prednisone
5 June 15th, 2018 10 Days Augmentin
6 Sept 20th, 2018 10 Days Amoxicillin + Prednisone (2 tablets for 6 days)
7 Oct 24th, 2018 Sick, but didn’t get a sinus infection!
8 Nov 13th, 2018 7 Days Amoxicillin + Prednisone (2 tablets for 6 days)
9 Nov 27th, 2018 10 days ceftin and prednisone 6 pack

Immunologist

I’ve gone to an immunologist and they saw that I have a low (but not super low) IgG3 which makes you more susceptible to upper respiratory infections (including sinus infections).

To raise my igG3 levels my Immunologist told that I can IVIG infusions which I believe are weekly and would cost me $30k/year out of pocket. He has no ideas other than that.

ENT

I went to an ENT and she saw that my sinus pathway could be improved to allow more drainage and improve CPAP therapy (more on that below).

She removed my tonsils, fixed a deviated septum and did a turbinate reduction on me in one surgery. She then did a second surgery to further reduce my turbinates and now says I’m as good as I can be.

I do drain better but I’ve had two sinus infections since that second surgery.

Pulminologist

I’m almost always tired when I wake up, even after I sleep 10-11 hours.

My kids (7 and 5) have asked me why I spend so much time in bed and why I get sick so much :cry:.

I saw a pulmonologist and he did a sleep study on me. I had an AHI of 66 (meaning I stop breathing 66 times per hour) on my back while I sleep.

I started CPAP therapy about two years ago. I noticed an improvement but I still sleep a lot more than the average person and wake up tired. I also wake up during the night a lot.

I get a leak out of my mouth while I sleep (even with a chin strap). I now tape my mouth shut with 3M paper tape so the leak doesn’t wake me up.

Dental Device

My pulmonologist told me that I could also benefit from a dental device that I wear at night that pushes my lower jaw forward and would further open my airway.

I’ve had that for almost a year now and I wear it with my CPAP. I notice no improvement with it.

Sleep Habits

I’m in bed between 8-9pm and typically fall sleep quickly. I wake up between 6-7am on the weekdays and sleep until I wake naturally on the weekend. I reduce blue light and wear a sleep mask.

Over the past 3 years, I’ve alternated taking melatonin before I go to bed. I’ve gone as high as 5mg time released but now I’m on .5 mg before bed.

Here’s last week’s sleep schedule which is typical for me.

Day of Week Hours Slept
Saturday 11:30
Friday 7:17
Thursday 9:17
Wednesday 9:09
Tuesday 10:16
Monday 9:42
Sunday 9:12

Diet and Exercise

I eat a mostly plant-based diet high and fruits and vegetables. Little to no fried food and sweets. I do no caffeine after 12 pm. I exercise a lot (lifting and cycling) but not totally outside the bell curve for a 36-year-old man.

I’m lactose intollerant and have recently (maybe 2 weeks) decided to try to avoid all dairy where I can to see if that improves anything).

Allergies

I’m a long time allergy sufferer. I’ve gone through immunotherapy via weekly allergy shots. I’m on my third round right now in my life. I’ve had an allergic reaction to it on the “green” vile (green, yellow then red).

I’ve tried at home allergy drops and I break out in hives as soon as I get to the yellow vile.

I do Flonase 2x per day.

Supplementation

I’ve usually a pretty evidence-based type of person but I’ve gone off the deep end for supplements and I’m willing to take anything to help me improve my immune system. The further down the list you go the more I feel I’m just wasting money but I’m willing to try anything.

I also try to drink kombucha fairly regularly to help build up bacteria that I’ve killed via medicine.

Supplement Daily Dosage
Fish Oil 1,000 mg of DHA
Vitamin D 5,000 IU
Magnesium 200 mg
Tart Cherry Juice 8 oz
Everything below this line I started taking recently -------------------------------
Vitamin E 450 mg
Creatine 5 grams
Glucosamine Chondroitin Someone told me this would help my sinuses drain…
Green Tea Extract 500 mg
Elderberry 400 mg
Airborne Gummies + Probiotic Vitamin 2 doses a day
Vitamin B-12 500 mcg
L-theanine 200 mg
Ginko Biloba 100 mg
Mushrooms: Cordyceps, Reishi, Lion’s Mane 500 mg each
Jiagulan tea extract Doctor recommended this, haven’t tried it yet

Other Medical

I’m 6’6, 36 male and am 189 lbs. I do regular DEXA scans and have a DEXA BF around 14% and fat caliper BF around 9-10%.

I have low cholesterol (around 150 with an HDL of 69ish).

Blood pressure is usually around 120/90 but last test (this week) was 90/60 (not sure why it was so low).

I used to get blood work done a lot in my 20s (the company I worked for let you test quarterly). I usually was good for everything. I have a lowish but not too low hematocrit of around 38-42.

I’ve also had many blood tests with a high bilirubin. I will turn slightly yellow (jaundice-y) if I workout too much and get tired or before I get sick.

Help Needed!

Can anyone help me? I’m willing to buy any magic herbal crap or fly across the world to see a doctor in order to fix this problem. I’m tempted to try the $30k/year daily infusions just to get a major portion of my life back so if you have a suggestion that’s less drastic than that I’m willing to hear it!

If you have any other medical questions for me I’d be happy to answer them. If you have anything I should bring up to my doctor(s) I’m willing to do that too.

In my mind, my poor immune system is what makes me tired. And it does such a poor job against bacterial infections (seems to do fine vs viral infections) that even if I rest 100% in bed while I’m sick I still get a sinus infection. I’ve gone as long as 3 weeks trying to beat a sinus infection without medication and I haven’t been able to.

Please help! You can also email me at nate@trainerroad.com if you don’t want to post in the forum.

edit

Here’s what I’m going to try based on responses so far. Please keep them coming.

Additional Suppliments

Supplement Daily Dosage
Allicin 500 mg
Renew Life - Ultimate Flora Probiotic Extra Care 50 Billion
Lactobacillus rhamnosus V lysate

Second Opinions

I’m going to try another round with local doctors then try to reach out to my executive health network I’m a part of and try to go to a top end medical place.


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#2

I have never struggled with illness like your issues. But I found this through a friend several years ago. It seems to help me stay healthy after strenuous workouts and being around others who are sick.

I take one nightly with my meal. I take 2 or 3 if I think I’ve been around really sick people or if I feel anything coming on. It’s not a magic bullet. But I get a feeling that it works for me.

https://www.delimmune.com/

https://www.delimmune.com/about-del-immune-v/


#3

Lots of information. You certainly have explored a lot of different things but the two things that stand out are the sinus issues and the sleep issues.

My suggestion is to get another opinion for a top sinus surgeon and possible sleep doctor at a major academic medical center. While I don’t know the ENT’s at Mayo Scottsdale, I do have a good friend who is a Chair of another Department there and could get you in touch with the right person. Mayo tends to take a comprehensive approach to problems, which is sounding like something that you may need. If you are interested, please feel free to look up my contact information in the TR database and email directly and I can work on finding out the contacts for you.


#4

I can’t offer anything that will necessarily help, only that I suffered really regularly with minor Illnesses when my kids were a similar age to yours, usually when the started at a new school / club / soccer team etc etc. I was also travelling regularly at that time.

Since my kids got a little older, now 11 and 9 I’ve noticed that they are ill far less often and as a result I have just (yesterday) gone a full 12 months without illness for the first time in memory. TrainerRoad and improvements in my health in general have helped I’m sure, but I’ve no doubt that improvements in my kids own immune systems has had by far the bigger impact. Also, I travel far less on public transport (flights, trains etc). Recognise this isn’t an necessarily and option for you, but perhaps you need to delegate more? Particularly when it comes to travelling…


#5

Nothing to add other than I can totally relate, what you describe sounds exactly like what I’ve got (see my thread on Chronic sinusitis), and that I feel your pain. Good luck finding a solution and please keep sharing your insights through here and on the podcast because it’s a subject of great interest.

Good luck.
Thom


#6

Nate have you ever had an air quality test done in your home?
Relatively cheap and easy, but good one to rule out that you don’t have something potentially causing you respiratory issues unknowingly.


#7

I’m not a doc or even heavily into supplements but could stress be a major factor here? You’ve built your own company, been rolling out major improvements to the TR platform in the last 12 months or so, training like a madman (Leadvillle and now the 24 hour relay) and can’t get out of bed (which could be depression).

I also wonder about all the interactions going on between all the supplements and using, likely, the same metabolic pathway (think 2C9 which is a common pathway for meds). This might be a good starting point to research and then sit down with your doc about any inhibitors.

I really feel for you @Nate.


#8

I’m no dcotor, @Nate. But I feel for you. I was pretty sick a few times this summer derailing my training and goals - and it all stemmed from my asthma. I’d get a cold and my lungs were not recovering. It was miserable. Couldn’t sleep. If I did get to sleep I’d wake up and cough for hours before hitting my inhaler. I was on prednisone, using nasal spray, neti pot; you name it. Supplements, emergen-C etc. My doctor got me on some different inhalers to go with my workout inhaler/rescue. Once he found out I was using nasal spray, he put an end to that real quick. He thought the nasal spray was making things worse - or at least not helping. I was using nasal spray before hard efforts and races. It was amazing. But the side effects, according to my doctor were not worth it.


#9

I had similar problems in the past. I supplement vitamin B12, folate (B9), B6, B1 and iron (that’s supporting healthy nerve function and the production of red blood cells, you seem pale to me, but maybe that’s the lighting of the live podcast :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:). Especially B12 deficiency is more common than you think.

But the one thing I think that helped me the most over the last years (I had no bacterial infection in 3 years - fingers crossed) are

bacterial lysates (of “bad” bacteria)

Once a year I am “training” my immune system with them (in Germany they are available under the name Broncho Vaxom). I found something very similar that could be available in the US: Pulmigen. Essentialy, it’s millions of those bacteria you usually try to avoid but so weak that your immume system can show who’s the boss.


#10

Hey @Nate does your CPAP display an AHI after a night’s sleep? If so, what is it? I have literally identical sleep issues to you, have had one surgery (different than yours tho), tried the dental device (didn’t work) and currently use CPAP. For me the CPAP helps but I’m often still tired. My AHI is 2-5/hr usually, and I’m always tired. You may want to be tested for central sleep apnea as well, if your sleep doc feels its appropriate. I’m likely going that route soon myself.

In terms of your health issues it seems like you are doing literally everything right. I’m an RN so I’m not a layman per se, but certainly not an expert. You’ve tried everything I would have if I was in your situation. There’s likely no over the counter magic solution though. I would consult another immunologist asap as this is obviously affecting your quality of life.


#11

Yes, I’m on the ResMed Air Sense 10 and it says I have a AHI around .2-.3, so basically no sleep apnea. I had not heard about central sleep apea so I will bring that up. My sleep doc retired so I need to find another one. It will be good to get a second opinion.

I’m part of this executive health network thing where I can access doctors around the US. I’m about ready to pull the trigger on that. This thread was the first step in that direction to document everything.


#12

I do take B12 (added it to the list) but not the other Bs or Iron. I was worried about iron supplementation in men and I haven’t gotten it tested recently (I did before and it wasn’t low). I do usually test high on bilirubin but not always. I’m usually pretty pale but I will get this yellow twinge to my skin if I workout a lot, get tired or start to get sick.

I will also look into that probiotic(?), thank you.


#13

I am a health professional but have no specialist knowledge in this area.

I also have children and know your struggle from that POV. Our GP (family doctor in US?) told us kids can be carrying colds pretty much year round and we have all been struck down around transition times (e.g. starting school).

Re: IVIG - $30k/yr is insane. Maybe you could move to Canada or the UK? Citizenship/relocation costs might be lower.


#14

Thank you, I will try this.

Thank you for the offer. I am part of this executive health network that I think I’m going to tap into. It’s supposed to get me access to the best doctors around the country. I agree with you that I want a comprehensive approach and a second and third opinion.

I’m actually a pretty good delegator I think :smiley:. Daily work isn’t bad but traveling can be rough. one thing that I could do is add extra travel days on either side of my trips to get more rest. I feel that there’s still a root cause that’s causing these things and more rest wouldn’t fix it (as I already rest more than anyone I know).

I have not. My wife is a clean freak, and if anything our home is too clean? I buy the highest quality air filters and change them every three months. We’re on a concrete slab so there’s no chance of mold growth under the house. We’re also in a very dry climate. We are moving to a brand new house in the next 3 months so that should eliminate the air quality variable.

I’m really not that stressed believe it or not. The TR team is great and everyone is doing great as I give them more and more responsibility. I also don’t think I’m depressed. When I’m at the tale end of a sickness (like today) I have to force myself to rest more as I want to go do a 2 hour ride and lift weights and get shit done!

That’s good insight. My suppliment list has really balloned recently. For the last two years it’s been mostly fish oil and D3. Just in the last month or so I’ve been buying anything and everything I can get my hands on that might help. I will bring it up with my doctor(s).


#15

I agree! If I truly didn’t get sick anymore (or at least anymore than the average person) then I think I could increase TrainerRoad’s revenue by way more than $30k/year if I got 3ish months of my life back each year.


#16

Same with me, especially after hard VO2max workouts my creatine kinase and bilirubin levels are elevated. The breakdown of red blood cells in the body produces bilirubin. One reason could be that they are to weak/small.

The problem with B12 supplements is, if a deficiency is caused by a lack of the intrinsic factor, taking them won’t get you far. In this case, there are tablets you put under your tongue until the dissolve or injections. There are tests for B12 deficiency.

If your iron levels are okay, don’t supplement.

Actually it is not a probiotic, you don’t want those bacteria to live in your colon permanently :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#17

I’ll chuck my 2c in just for variety:

Ten hours sleep per night is a lot, 9% body fat is pretty low. Supplements aren’t necessarily taken up by the digestive system.

If you’re sincerely willing to try anything, move to an average American diet, and an average American BF. You never know, it might work, and you can always go back to your existing habits.

I’ve had kids for thirteen years now, three of them, it’s true I get sick twice a year now when before I rarely got noticeably sick at all. I just don’t believe they’re the Plague Mary’s some would have us believe. And being sick is totally normal.


#18

I was on that about 3 years ago (listen to the early podcasts) and was around 210 lbs with 24% BF. I ate a lot of Popeyes and McDonalds.

I’ve also had three stretches where I didn’t do any cycling training for around 1 year (building TR, first child born and second child born). No improvement in how often I get illnesses. This happened in high school too.


#19

I can’t chip in on the bigger picture here but regarding sleep I feel like earplugs have made me sleep better. Not that I had real issues regarding sleep but since I wear earplugs at night it somehow feels like my sleep is deeper and of higher quality. However this could definitely be placebo effect.

Won’t be a big change but every bit helps.


#20

I used to travel every week for work, often multiple cities in a week. I used to get respiratory illnesses quite often. I also have a deviated septum and some sinus blockage which exacerbates things when I do get a respiratory illness.

I became super diligent about washing my hands, and using hand sanitizer multiple times a day. And also consciously avoided touching my mouth, nose or eyes during the day (when I monitored my behavior, it was surprising how often I did this).

This helped a ton. Hand sanitizer can easily be applied anytime. It takes a while to train yourself not to touch mouth/nose/eyes, but gets easier over time. Worth trying and see if it helps.