Monday, January 17, 2011

My Pilonidal Journey

November 2009 – January 2011


January 16, 2011


    I am currently lying on the couch on this Sunday watching Ellen. Two days ago I had a Pilonidal Excision which is outpatient but has a long recovery (4 – 8 weeks).

    I wanted to write about my journey with pilonidals because even though it is slightly embarrassing, I have noticed when I have posted about it on FB I have heard from friends who have struggled with it or know someone who has. So let's start at the beginning.

    In late November 2009 I was working at Chicago Title and driving about an hour and a half one way to work. One day I started feeling some pain in my tailbone area and later on I noticed a small lump at the very top edge of my butt crack. It quickly inflamed and became incredibly painful. I went to my regular doctor, who was unsure as to what it was, but determined it was an infection underneath the skin and gave me some antibiotics. At my check up appointment a few days later it was still there but it had shrunk due to the antibiotics. What was strange about it the doctor said was it had a large lump up top by the very top of my buttcrack but there was a tract that traveled downward. She recommended a specialist and I went to see him later that day. A coworker using web md was able to find about the Pilonidal cysts. The specialist confirmed this is what it was but felt the antibiotics were working. It eventually diminished.

    Fast forward to April 2010, when it came back. I went to my doctor who gave me a prescription for antibiotics. It took care of it last time so I thought that would take care of it. Unfortunately it didn't. I had a recheck appointment but it had increased so much that I could not wait. I went back to the doctor and he checked it and immediately left the room. He popped his head in after a few minutes and asked if I had ate, which yes I had had a piece of cinnamon and sugar toast. He sent me directly to the hospital to meet with Dr. Moore, a surgeon who would be lancing and draining this cyst. It was leaking and so incredibly painful! Dr. Moore was amazing! I could only have a local anesthetic because I had ate, and because the infection was so bad the local was not able to dull everything. I was awake and it hurt! Dr. Moore stopped and put more local in, but it was still painful! It took about a week to recover and after I was better I became a washing Nazi back there.

    A website that helped me out with a lot of information is Everywhere I looked talked about how it was mostly men who got this and the explanation that it used to be referred to "Jeep disease" as men in the army would get it supposedly from riding around in the Jeeps over rough terrain during war. The website addresses many questions I had and has some forums (not working yesterday, not sure what's going on) that allowed me to read other people's questions and see that a lot of women do struggle with this! I decided to write this blog because I've been so embarrassed of where the cysts come up and so I've been sometimes facetious of what it is and what's been happening. But then I got emails from a couple people who said they knew someone who had these or they themselves have had them and so that has made me want to write about my experience. It is nothing to be ashamed of and it's not my fault that I have these cysts.

    So everything was dandy, then over Thanksgiving weekend I started feeling a tingling in my tailbone. Saturday to be exact and I thought "Uh-oh" and wondered if the hours I spent on my behind in my car on Black Friday was the reason. By Monday, the cyst was full blown. Not quite the size of when I had surgery in April, but with only 2 days of growing it was large. My doctor was out of town so I did a walk-in at my doctor's office. They immediately called Dr. Moore's office. Dr. Moore was in the office, but his colleague Dr. Cornwall would meet me at the hospital. When I got to the hospital I met with Dr. Cornwall who gave me the options of doing it in the ER with a local or going with Conscious Sedation. After explaining my first surgery, Dr. Cornwall felt it was best we went the Conscious Sedation route.

    Dr. Cornwall explained to David and I that I would have to have the more extensive surgery soon, an Excision, as I would most likely continue to get reoccurring cysts. I'd had 3 within a year, 2 of which required surgery. I initially asked Dr. Cornwall if it could wait til May when I was done with school for Spring semester and he agreed. Later on David and I started talking about the recovery process (4 – 8 weeks for an excision), the kids school being let out, being laid up in the summer and the busy-ness of the real estate market in the Spring/Summer time. Also would I make it 7 months without another cyst and another surgery?

    The recovery for the second surgery was much easier on me (I thank the Conscious Sedation) other than the pulling of the gauze out of the wound the day after surgery. David did it after the first surgery and it was absolutely torture, I dreaded it and it was as bad as I remembered. I had David take a picture at one point to see how much was left. I've attached the picture below. Yes it is a picture of my butt. I'm over it, so anyone reading this should be too J.

We decided to work out a schedule of all online classes for Spring semester so that I could have the Excision sooner. At my recheck appointment we talked about the excision, the recovery time (4 – 8 weeks total healing time) and the high chance of infection during the healing process of the closed wound option. If the wound gets infected during the healing time, it will have to be laid open and allowed to heal as an open wound. This is something I wish to avoid. Obviously.

So I'm a worrier. Most people that know me would already know this. I check on my kids throughout the night to make sure they are breathing…one of my greatest fears is dying and them not knowing me or remembering me throughout their life. One of my top 3 greatest fears is General Anesthesia. The date of the surgery (January 14) was ever present in my mind and the fear that I would not wake up from GA held on tight and would not let go. Two nights before the surgery I was crying from fear. It's silly. I know this, you know this, but it is a fear. The night before the surgery I wrote each of my kids' letters. Yes Yes I know. I'm a freak. So what?

Lucky for me and my fear, the anesthesiologist recommended an epidural and sedation instead of General Anesthesia! Thank you Anesthesiologist lady! Love her! I wish I would've known this all along, then I would have focused my worry on something else!

The surgery went fine and I have a check up appointment on January 24 with the surgeon. It took me forever to feel my feet and then it took me even longer to pee. I tried for a good 2 hours. Really. I was so upset because I just wanted to go home and I could not pee! You have to pee before you go home because you can easily get Urinary Retention from surgeries (I googled this while trying to coax myself into peeing). I finally went and got to go home!

The surgeon left a long-acting local in the wound so I haven't been in tremendous pain from that yet, more achy from lying around and from the epidural. Today (Monday, January 17, 2011) I took off the white tape and diaper-ish thing I've been wearing since the surgery. Tomorrow I shower (I can't freakin' wait!)! I took pictures with my diaper thing on, please see below (if you want) and then had Blythe take pictures when the tape/diaper stuff came off. I can't see where the stitches end.

I will hopefully be vigilant enough that I will continue to discuss my healing journey on this blog. That's my hope. I also have high hopes this will take care of the damn things. They are very hard to get rid of (per my surgeon) and I had only one tract and it was removed but I still have a 20% chance of reoccurrence. I know you are jealous. Hah!


Pictures of Pilonidal Cyst

Surgery 2 - Gauze left in wound. This HURT!

Excision Picture:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Year, Resolutions and a Look Back on 2010

My dear friend, Heidi, posted a note on Facebook last night and the idea of it was purely brilliance! I am here and now making a Resolution (#1 in this post but perhaps not in importance in my life) to do this every year from here on out! That's how brilliant I think it is!

2010 Moments I don't want to forget:

~Got engaged! (Woot - Woot!)

~Went to Disney World (first time Evah for me and the kids)

~Enjoyed the kids' amazement at their first view of the ocean in Savannah, Georgia

~Took a 9 day trip with stops in Charleston, WV; Savannah, GA; Disney World; St. Augustine, FL and Nasvhille, TN

~Bought a house!

~Bought a 4 wheel 8 passenger SUV that I Love Love Love!

~Started College at the young age of 32

~Rocked out 2 semesters & 1 class in the summer with all A's

~Over college spring break went to Grizzly Bear Resort in Utica, IL and our family hiked through the remaning snow and ice in Starved Rock

~Spent time with family (but never enough)

~David placed #5 out of 170 of all applicants for the Fire Dept. and he is eligible to be hired over the next 2 years!

~Met more of David's family at Shanna's wedding ~ LOVE THEM!

~Made some ridiculously awesome friends (when I say made, I mean forced) and kept the ones that I already had (mostly)

~Had a fantabulous Birthday Bash for the kiddos, then followed it up with 2 parties: Halloween Boo-tastical Costume Party and our Holiday Food Fest

~Took 3rd place at the Unofficial Biggest Loser contest

~Lost 10 lbs (15 more to go)

~Had 2 surgeries (Dislike!)

~Found a hatred for Black Ops that I never knew I had

~David's Favorite Moment: He got a motorcycle

~Fell in Love... with Blakey (Candice's baby, but soon to be mine)

~Had amazing family pictures done at the beach (a dream of mine) - Thanks Wendy!

~Went and saw Justin Bieber (can't believe I had to look through pics on FB to remember this)

~Got a Shedd Aquarium Annual Pass and have gone a few times with the kids who love it!

~Went to Bad Axe and visited GG & Pops (and had doughballs in Caro - YUM)

~Visited Tony & Wendy Plus the Boys in Iowa (my back was out but the kids had a fantastic time)

~Saw Huey Lewis & the News at the Elkhart County Fair

~Spent a lot of time at the beach

~Got a Nook! (now incredibly envious of the new NookColor)

2010 was filled with great memories and if I'm forgetting some, it's only due to my seriously bad memory.... Moments are created every day and I am looking forward to what awesomeness 2011 holds!

New Years' Resolutions

1. Lose 15 more lbs and keep it off

2. Spend quality time with my family and appreciate them every day

3. Force 3 additional friends (clock starts ticking now) to be my friend

4. Make Every Day Count!