söndag 23 juni 2024

Mélisa Champion's Tragic Struggle with Empty Nose Syndrome

In memory of Mélisa Champion, who passed away on May 23, 2015, at the age of 33, her parents Marcelle and Jean-Yves Champion share the heart-wrenching story of their daughter’s battle with empty nose syndrome (ENS).

Mélisa was a vibrant, sociable, and friendly individual who pursued a career in tourism with aspirations of becoming a flight attendant. She had a passion for traveling and experiencing different cultures. However, her life took a devastating turn following a medical procedure that was meant to improve her quality of life. 

In 2007, Mélisa experienced persistent ear pain while traveling, prompting her to consult a family doctor and subsequently an ENT specialist in Quebec. She was diagnosed with a deviated nasal septum and advised to undergo septoplasty, a procedure to straighten the septum and improve airflow. The ENT specialist assured Mélisa that the operation was straightforward and failed to mention that it would involve not just a septoplasty but a complete septorhinoplasty and bilateral reduction of her inferior turbinates. If Mélisa had been informed about the full extent of the surgery, she would have refused it.

Mélisa's video was recorded approximately December 16th year 2014

If Mélisa's embedded video doesn’t work use this link

The surgery took place on November 11, 2007, and marked the beginning of Mélisa’s prolonged suffering. Initially, she experienced nasal dryness and had to undergo constant and increasingly painful treatments to clear nasal secretions. Over time, she developed severe allergies and asthma attacks due to the rapid passage of unfiltered, unhumidified air through her nasal passages, which now lacked the essential turbinates. She suffered from facial pain, eye pain, ear pain, throat pain, recurring headaches, and a constant feeling of her lungs being "frozen." To alleviate her lung pain, Mélisa resorted to drinking hot water and consuming breadcrumbs

In 2008, Mélisa began receiving allergy vaccines to manage her symptoms, but her condition continued to deteriorate. She lost her job due to her declining health and had to move back home with her parents. By 2013, her symptoms had worsened to the point where she sought further medical advice. In October of that year, she was placed on sick leave due to ENS and was urgently hospitalized in May 2014 for anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that could have been fatal.

In May 2015, another ENT confirmed the grim reality: Mélisa had developed total paralysis of her sinus functions, and her nasal tissues were dead with no possibility of recovery. He advised against any further surgeries due to the severe atrophy of her mucous membranes. Despite the bleak prognosis, Mélisa appreciated the ENT's honesty and understanding.

To survive, Mélisa relied on an AIRVO device, an integrated flow humidifier, which she received in 2014. This machine was essential for her to breathe as it humidified and warmed the air entering her lungs. Without it, the cold, dry air would cause her bronchial tubes and lungs to inflame, leading to prolonged and painful asthma attacks. The constant use of this machine was necessary to manage her unbearable lung pain.

Mélisa’s condition severely impacted her quality of life. She was confined to her home, dependent on the AIRVO device and various treatments to manage her symptoms. Despite her debilitating illness, Mélisa found solace in small moments of happiness with her loved ones, reading, listening to music, and trying to keep herself informed and relaxed.

In her final days, Mélisa expressed a deep acceptance of her situation. She prayed for peace and a place in the afterlife free from suffering. Her parents, Marcelle and Jean-Yves, emphasize that Mélisa's death was due to a long illness and not by suicide, unlike other victims of ENS. They hope that the medical community will recognize ENS to prevent others from enduring the same suffering.

Mélisa’s parents also highlight the financial burden of her condition. Mélisa needed a transplant procedure available only in the United States or Germany, costing over $50,000, including travel, hospitalization, and other associated expenses. Despite efforts to raise funds and seek help, Mélisa did not receive the necessary intervention.

Mélisa Champion's story is a poignant reminder of the importance of informed consent in medical procedures and the devastating impact that ENS can have on a person's life. Her legacy lives on through her parents' advocacy for the recognition and prevention of ENS.

Click on the image to enlarge

The complete Testimony of Marcelle and Jean-Yves Champion, the parents of MélisaIn memory of Mélisa, our daughter, who passed away on May 23, 2015, at the age of 33.

Mélisa was a very sociable and friendly person. She studied tourism to become a flight attendant. She loved traveling and discovering other cultures. When she traveled, she complained of ear pain, which led her to consult her family doctor and then an ENT specialist in Quebec, who suggested septoplasty because her nasal septum was deviated. He never mentioned to Mélisa that she would undergo surgery on her turbinates. He only said that he wanted to make more space in her nose so that air could enter more easily. If Mélisa had been warned, she would have categorically refused such mutilation. When our daughter received her surgery report, it mentioned “complete septorhinoplasty and bilateral reduction of inferior turbinates” (surgery performed in 2007).

A few months after this surgery, she was not doing well and developed several symptoms, the first of which was nasal dryness. To evacuate the secretions, she constantly underwent treatments that became longer and more painful, leading to exhaustion and extreme fatigue. Allergies and asthma attacks followed. In the absence of the inferior turbinates, the passage of air was too rapid, and the air was no longer filtered, warmed, or humidified. She also had facial pain, eye pain, ear pain, throat pain, and recurring headaches. She had lung pain and felt they were "frozen." Mélisa drank hot water and ate breadcrumbs to alleviate her lung pain and no longer had sodium in her blood. From 2008, she received allergy vaccines to desensitize her.

Obviously, the consequences were predictable: job loss, poor quality of life, and moving back to our home. Over time, her condition and quality of life had significantly deteriorated, so much so that she saw her ENT again in September 2013. He noted several symptoms she had developed. In October 2013, Mélisa was on sick leave for empty nose syndrome and was urgently hospitalized in May 2014 for anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction that could be fatal).

In May 2015, our daughter met another ENT, and his diagnosis was unequivocal, stating that Mélisa had developed "total paralysis of the sinus function, that the tissues, the sinuses were dead, and there was nothing more to be done." He advised her not to undergo further surgery because her mucosa was severely atrophied. She preferred to know the truth rather than be given false hope. She found this ENT to be humane and attentive: he took the time to explain things to her.

Her nose was so dry and no longer performing a normal respiratory function that she had to live permanently with an AIRVO device (an integrated flow humidifier received in 2014). Without this machine, our daughter automatically suffocated because there was too much air entering, and it was too cold, causing her lungs and bronchi to become inflamed, leading to asthma attacks that could last for hours. She could no longer do without this machine; otherwise, the lung pain was unbearable as if her lungs were in an "ice pack," horrible! She was once again diagnosed with empty nose syndrome by this ENT.

Her friend, Carole, who suffered from atrophic rhinitis following turbinectomy and bilateral cauterization of the inferior turbinates, communicated with and supported her. Carole asked Mélisa what she loved most in life. Here is what Mélisa replied in writing: “Since I am disabled and confined at home, plugged into a machine, I try to appreciate the small moments of happiness with my loved ones and find peace of mind so I can leave peacefully in the near future… I no longer have any quality of life, so what I love, I no longer know because I can no longer do anything! The illness has weakened me to an extreme point! I try to keep busy by reading, listening to music, reading newspapers, staying informed, and taking moments of relaxation without thinking about anything. It feels good.”

Shortly before her death, Mélisa wrote, “I prayed. I asked the Lord to make a place for me beside Him. I know you are waiting for me, and my place is already prepared in your kingdom. To live in peace and without suffering with you, Lord. I let my soul dance towards a new life in love forever because health is the greatest wealth in the world. Amen.”

We hope that this condition, empty nose syndrome, will be recognized by the medical community because we cannot conceive that such an operation could cause so much suffering and lead to the irreparable, the loss of our child.

We also insist on the fact that our daughter died of a long illness on May 23, 2015, at our residence and did not commit suicide like other victims of ENS.

Her parents, who will forever keep Mélisa in their hearts,

Marcelle and Jean-Yves Champion, Canada.

Below you find all the information we have about Mélisa. The document can be downloaded or printed from the bottom right corner

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