Curing sinusitis

7. Read every hippie-dippy, holistic, all-natural website and public forum Google could find.

8. Added Apple Cider Vinegar to my sinus rinse. Low point in treatment, maybe in entire life. Felt like death but really cleared my mucus out, at least for a while.

9. Eucalyptus oil in a steam bath. Opened sinuses, providing temporary relief, but didn't clear out the mucus.

10. Chopped up garlic cloves and put them in a steam bath. Similar experience to No. 9.

11. Started reading up on biofilms, the hard-to-kill little bacteria that encase the infection and make it resistant to antibiotics.

12. Convinced myself that, hey, I have that!

13. Looked into various methods of breaking down biofilm. The two most prominent solutions I found during my research (thanks, Internet!): Xylitol, which is a natural sugar substitute, and baby shampoo.

14. Bought some Xylitol spray at Whole Foods. It kind of worked. As soon as I used it, snot started draining down the back of my throat. I heard some snap and crackle up in my frontal sinuses, the ones above the eyes. Some of the pathways were peeling themselves open, and, joy!, air was flowing again.

15. But the snot demon ball in my face had not been fulling exorcised. In a late-night moment of desperation, I overcame my reservations (there's research!, I told myself). I put a teaspoon of Johnson & Johnson's Baby Shampoo into my sinus rinse, which also contained salt, baking soda, Xylitol and distilled water.

16. And it didn't hurt or feel uncomfortable in the slightest. In one nostril and out the other. Disconcerting and maybe a little hilarious: A bubbly brew started streaming out my nose after the rinse, and everything smelled like my early childhood.

17. I didn't notice anything at first, but, gradually, my sinuses started popping, and mucus flowed down the back of my throat in big gushes. The baby shampoo broke through. I baby shampoo-ed my sinuses for a few more days, and now I feel better than I've felt in several years.

How one person used self-experimentation to cure his sinusitis. Ingenuity borne of frustration.

In 2003 I had terrible sinusitis and went through a similar quest as he did, but mine ended differently. I went to an ENT doctor who gave me a CAT scan. Then, to my horror, he sat me down and then stuck a huge needle through the roof of my mouth and drained some fluid out of my sinus for analysis. It felt like someone was sucking my brains out from inside my skull.

It turned out I had a cyst in my sinus cavity, and after surgery (they cut through the roof of my mouth to remove it) and a week of drinking soup I was cured.

So before you go rinsing your sinus with a formula including baby shampoo, maybe see an ENT.