The good news is that the ear canal of my left ear, the ear on which the surgery was performed, now looks largely indistinguishable from the ear canal of my right ear. The bad news is that this is because the condition of my right ear canal is deteriorating as a result of the eczema that’s plaguing both ears. I hadn’t actually entertained that as a possibility, and I’m still trying to figure out just how hysterical I should get about this. About ten to fifteen percent of each ear canal is now covered with granulation tissue. In the left ear, that’s the tissue that hasn’t quite finished growing back from the surgery, a process that has been stopped but not reversed by the eczema, and in the right ear, it’s the result of deterioration due to the eczema. For most of last week, the eczema seemed to have gotten much better, but it returned with a vengeance on Saturday, so I wasn’t completely surprised by this news.
Where does this leave me? The problem now has been reduced to addressing the eczema. Doing so should cause both ears to heal correctly. The left ear has gone as far as the powder will take it. Before the cholesteatoma had been diagnosed, I had intermittent problems with eczema in each ear, and various drops always seemed to address it effectively. We’re going to stop the powder, and instead try drops that include an antibiotic, an antifungal agent, and a steroid. Though the powder and other drops we’ve used have generally been some combination of these three components, this is a new one (actually, it’s a very old one that’s rarely used anymore), and drops are generally more effective in treating eczema (where the powder is apparently better as a protective agent). We may have to try alternating between the drops and the powder. I’ll go back next Wednesday and see where things stand, but after the first usage of the drops, my ears do feel a bit calmer.
Perhaps the worst news is that I now have to keep both ears dry until I see the doctor again. That means blocking both of my ears with cotton and vaseline for every shower, and that will effectively mean no significant workouts for the next week or so. But I can take some comfort in the face of this in the fact that mine are now clearly the most difficult ears the doctor has ever had to deal with. So I’ve got that going for me.