Hi and welcome to HCM,
I have gone through your problem with details and read the lines repeatedly.
Your question was "Could it be something other than tonsillitis??? " ---
Ans: YES, It might be "tonsilloliths" (ON chronic tonsillitis
I will try to explain it -
An inflamed tonsil is very painful and there might be fever
associated with it. Simply enlarged tonsils (Bilateral & hurts to swallow) may be signs of chronic tonsillitis (NOT "Acute tonsillitis" which symptoms are same like you have suffered earlier many times. The repeated effects of acute tonsillitis leads to chronic tonsillitis and finally a chronic tonsillitis may lead to tonsilloliths. These are tonsil stones and lies inside crypts of tonsils (deep into tonsils, like you explained). When removed you can see the crypts (small hole, as you mentioned). So, provisionally i think it to be "tonsillolith" on chronic tonsillitis. Seeing is always better then assuming, so you definitely have to take help of your local doctor.
So far treatment part is concerned, tonsilloliths itself needs no treatment other then oral hygiene
BUT, in your situation, you have difficulty (i.e., hurts) on swallowing (due to enlarged tonsils, may not be inflamed) and also you had repeated previous infections, so i think you will need "tonsillectomy". (It is not done in inflamed tonsils. Inflammation have to subside.) In my personal opinion, antibiotics, baking soda gurgling and prednisolone
are absolutely NOT needed. You may do a "povidone
iodine" gurgle rather.
I hope that i could draw your attention to the actual problem you are suffering and perhaps convince you with this concise explanation.
I sincerely want you to get rid of your problem very very soon and wish you an early recovery.
Take care and thanks