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Running from Pain to Relief

Lyn Purkerson is 48 years old. She learned to swim when she was four and was running competitively, with her father, when she was 11. She was a cheerleader in high school and a Rally Cat for Clemson University.

Dr. Jones describes in detail how the Balloon Sinuplasty procedure provided relief for his patient, Lyn Purkerson.

In sum, she has spent most of her life on the move, running marathons, engaging in triathlons and pursuing a number of other demanding physical activities. She had the wisdom to marry a fellow athlete, Rob Maples (see photo), and they have two active children.

And then, six years ago, Lyn Purkerson lost a kidney. “I had absolutely no symptoms,” she recalls. “I was very active during both of my pregnancies, both running and exercising, and we simply didn’t know I had a tumor. I’m one out of 15 million people that this happens to. The tumor ruptured, and when I woke up in ICU, it was September 14, 2010. The first thing I told my doctor was that I had a race scheduled the following April, and he said ‘You’re not going to make that.’ I replied, ‘Yes I am’ and I did—and I finished among the top 100 runners. It was a 10 K run—6.2 miles—and I have a nice picture of me with my big old kidney scar. I still had the bruising from the surgery.”

Rob Maples, 55, husband to Lyn Purkerson, 48—both ardent fans of active physical fitness activities.

She engaged in a very demanding and disciplined rehabilitation program with great success, before the onset of another problem.

Sinus Infections

As she was regaining strength, she learned to deal with another serious health issue. “I began having a series of sinus infections,” she recalls, “something I had never had before. Apparently my nose has very narrow openings. And soon I found myself talking with and being examined and counseled by Dr. Richard Jones at Mann Ear, Nose & Throat in Cary—who ended up becoming a faithful fan and friend as well as a wonderful doctor.”

Other Options

“Because at this point I only had one kidney,” she continues, “I was reluctant to take a lot of antibiotics or other medications on a long-term basis for my sinus issues. Every time I was sick with a sinus infection, with the doctor’s consent, I avoided taking antibiotics. At the same time, we were assessing other options.”

Dr. Jones:
A Special Interest
in Pediatrics

Dr. Jones joined Mann ENT in 1998, after completing a year-long Fellowship in Pediatric Ear, Nose, and Throat at Emory University in Atlanta.

A graduate of the University of Georgia, Dr. Jones earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia, did his otolaryngology residency at the University of Maryland at Baltimore (where he was chief resident), and completed a two-year post-doctoral research fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. He is married to a dentist, Dr. Theresa B. Robinson. He is board-certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Notes Dr. Jones, “Lyn Purkerson came to us with ongoing evidence of chronic sinusitis as determined in a number of ways. She reported a history of nasal congestion, facial pain and pressure, fullness over the affected sinuses, decreased sense of smell, headaches, and fatigue that had all been present for at least 12 weeks, significantly interfering with her lifestyle.”

Detailed examination simply confirmed that this patient was seeking relief of chronic sinusitis. Explains Dr. Jones, “Sinusitis occurs when the linings of your nose, sinuses, and throat become inflamed—possibly from a pre-existing cold or allergies. When you have frequent sinusitis, or the infection lasts three months or more, the problem may be chronic sinusitis. Symptoms may include pressure, pain, congestion, and fatigue—all of which Lyn Purkerson was experiencing.

“And,” adds Dr. Jones, “we concluded that an in office ‘balloon sinuplasty’ was the most appropriate step forward to offer this active young woman well-deserved relief. It’s really a three-step procedure. The purpose is to safely and effectively dilate sinus openings, resulting in relief from sinus symptoms.

“As a first step, a soft, flexible guidewire is inserted into the blocked sinus. The balloon is advanced over the guidewire and is inflated to gently expand the sinus opening. And finally, the balloon is removed leaving the sinus open. With the right candidates, this is an effective path to relief.”

Such was the case with Lyn Purkerson. Stay tuned: she may well appear the next time a group of runners pass by, in the flesh or on the screen.