Having a runny nose after developing a cold is infuriating. It’s uncomfortable and it requires having tissues on hand at all times. Now imagine having a runny nose that lasts for 18 years, hinders your sense of taste and smell, and keeps you up most nights. Nadia Campbell, 38, spent 18 years of her life seeking any experts she could find in the field of sinus relief and even underwent three surgeries to no avail. She finally found the help she desperately needed at Loyola University Health in Illinois, which boasts one of the top otolaryngology centers in the United States.

“I used to wake up at night literally every hour to blow my nose because there was so much congestion and difficulty breathing,” Campbell told Loyola. “I never got a restful night’s sleep.”

Doctors at Loyola were able to diagnose Campbell with Samter’s triad disease, a rare condition characterized as a combination of nasal polyps, asthma, and aspirin intolerance. Even after patients undergo appropriate sinus surgery, polyps, noncancerous growths on the lining of nasal passages or sinuses, can continue to return. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, acute sinusitis is the most common medical ailment with over 37 million Americans suffering at least one bout.

“Sinus conditions can be very common, but it really takes an academic medical center to diagnose and treat rare cases like Nadia’s,” said Dr. Monica Patadia, otolaryngologist at Loyola. “I coordinated an integrated medical team, including an allergist/immunologist and pulmonologist, and together we collaborated on Nadia’s care and solved her health crisis.”

Campbell’s doctors reviewed her medical history and performed a series of testing, including a special surgery-planning computer tomography (CT). They also used a special endoscopic nasal camera to view the nasal polyps. Following a noninvasive operation, doctors were able to remove the polyps and open her sinus cavities. She was also given immunology treatment to desensitize her reaction to aspirin, in addition to putting her on a specific medical regimen. A week later, she was back at work with her sense of smell and no tissues.

“I literally cried with joy when I walked into Loyola and they understood my condition and were very familiar with the treatment,” Campbell added. “Previously, other medical organizations had told me they couldn’t help me. Dr. Patadia specializes in sinus conditions, took my case on, and expertly guided me to care. Since the surgery, I've been able to sleep all night without waking up to blow my nose. I am truly a new person.”