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Kalei Can Breathe Again

by UPMC

Kalei Bogetti of Shamokin thought she was destined to live her life with headaches, chronic sinus infections, and the inability to taste or smell normally. She has lived her entire life struggling while only being able to breathe out of her nose.

When she was 17 years old, Kalei went to an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT) who diagnosed her with allergies and nasal polyps. He discussed surgery as an option, but Kalei was too nervous to pursue it. She was only a teenager and felt she needed more time as her body was still developing.

Impacting Daily Life

As time passed, it became more difficult for her to function in her daily life. Kalei needed allergy medication, nasal sprays, and sometimes pain medication just to get through the day. She spent many days in bed, wishing the pain would disappear. “Having sinus headaches every day affected my whole body and would make me sleep my days away,” says Kalei. “Sleep was the only time I wasn’t in pain.”

In June 2020, Kalei, now 20, decided she couldn’t live with the persistent pain and suffering, so she made an appointment with James Bland, MD, ENT, with UPMC in Bloomsburg. “I was tired of being sick, so I decided to have the surgery as soon as possible,” says Kalei.

ENT Surgery

Dr. Bland agreed that the best option for Kalei would be surgery. Dr. Bland suggested a dual-approach procedure which would not only repair Kalei’s septum, but also correct the obstruction by reducing the turbinate size and decreasing airway resistance through turbinate reduction.

“There are three turbinates on each side of the nose, and their job is to clean and humidify the air,” says Dr. Bland. “Kalei’s turbinates were inflamed and obstructing her airway. The procedure corrects the obstruction by reducing the turbinate size and decreasing airway resistance to improve nasal breathing and can also reduce nasal drainage and postnasal drip.”

“After my first appointment with Dr. Bland, I scheduled my surgery, x-rays, and blood work that day,” says Kalei. Kalei remembers a smooth and quick process on the day of surgery. She saw Dr. Bland before the surgery, which reassured her that she was making the right choice. “I felt like the whole surgery took 10 minutes,” remembers Kalei. “Everyone did their best to calm my nerves and ease my anxiety.”

A New Life

At her appointment a week following her procedures, Dr. Brand removed the splints on her nose. Kalei could breathe out of both her nostrils for the first time in her entire life. “I was so happy that I cried,” says Kalei. “I knew this procedure was the best decision I ever made.”

Three months after surgery, Kalei is healing and already notices a huge improvement in her breathing and quality of life. “I no longer get headaches from sinus pressure, and I feel great,” says Kalei. “I feel a thousand times better than I did before surgery, thanks to Dr. Bland and his team.”

“Outcomes like Kalei’s are those which we always strive for,” says Dr. Bland. “I’m more than pleased that we were able to develop an individualized care plan that worked for her.”