Travelling nine hours to get coccyx removed

Jennifer -

Posted 2006-12-03

My name is Jennifer and I live in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. I have been watching and reading this site for over two years. As with many of the posts, I have the same symptoms and was finally diagnosed with coccydnia.

Through my primary care physician, I have had cortisone injections, acupuncture, iontophorisis, pain medication, cushions, chairs and nothing seems to work. I was referred to three orthopaedic surgeons, none of whom had any experience or success in the coccyx.

Through this site, and out of my network providers, I have found Dr. Joel Zamzow in Duluth, Minnesota (see Doctors and specialists in the USA). Dr. Zamzow is 9 hours from me and the closest specialist I could find. I made an appointment and I had an exam two days before Thanksgiving.

Dr. Zamzow told me after x-raying that my coccyx is broken in two places, after all the physical tests I am a good candidate and would benefit from surgery. I am going in for pre-op next week (5th) and am scheduled for a removal on the 18th of December.

I am scared and elated at the same time. I have read so many positive comments. I will update as I move through my progress. I would appreciate any advice as to what to bring to the hospital and how long will it take me to be able to drive myself the nine hours home. (I have friends in Canada that are picking me up, as Dr. Zamzow does practice every other week in International Falls, MN).

Updated 2007-01-14

Hi there!

I just wanted to let you all know that I am home...I had a terrific experience with an exceptional Dr. Zamzow.

I no longer have the coccyx pain, just surgical pain. I can't believe it! I would do it again. I was told I was Dr. Zamzow's only patient that got up and walked right after surgery...I didn't sleep much in the hospital, so I wandered the halls at night.

Darren brought Kali to see me and she fell asleep on my bed. I was the most popular patient, because I had a toy dog in my room. Kali just gave everyone kisses.

I had to have some fun...I was alone, remember. I was sitting in admissions and asked the lady if I could borrow her purple marker. I put an "X" right on my, in post-op, I told Dr. Zamzow the nurse did it. I then fessed up. He laughed so hard! He said, "Jennifer, the coccyx is like the appendix, there is only one!"

Dr. Coffin was my anesthesiologist. I asked him if he ever felt as if he chose the wrong profession... At any rate, we got along really well. After the nurse scrubbed me, my "X" came off. I asked Dr. Coffin if he would do some artwork on my ass. He put a smiley face on one cheek and a big frown on the other. He came in the next morning about 6 am and said we had the OR cracking up - no pun intended.

I hurt...I am going to lay down. I promised I would update.

Jennifer, Wisconsin

December 26

Hi All,

This will be short...boy, do I hurt. Darren said my incision looks great, but I feel like I was hit by a mack truck. I am going up and down the stairs, once a day. I have a hard time typing on my laptop.

We had Christmas in bed...that was interesting, opening all the gifts in here....Darren made a great meal, but I haven't had much of an appetite, although I did devour the crab legs. I am not reading, I can't concentrate too difficult.

So that's about it for today.

Love you all for you support and good thoughts!


January 9

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to let you know that I did not drive myself to Duluth - I can't take the pain in the car, and I have been listening to you all. I felt like superwoman for the last week, but it is definitely catching up with me.

I now have what feels like a grapefruit or tennis ball on my sacrum or near and boy is it a pain in the ass. I am not comfortable doing anything and my stupid DVD arrived today.

January 13

Hi everybody!

As you all know, I did not go to Duluth for removal of stitches. I wrangled my way into my Doctor's office and he called Joel Zamzow. Dr. Zamzow told Dr. Kramer his sewing technique and where to put the seam ripper! One of the two annoying flies I have turns out to be a low grade infection inside my right cheek. The other is the nubby sternum. He gave me antibiotics and sent me home with an "aren't you glad you didn't drive to Duluth for this!?" It was a total of two minutes!

So, I came home feeling great. It was a gray day...Kali needed to go potty so I put her leash on, opened the door, didn't pay attention and the stairs and sidewalk had turned into a sheet of ice in a matter of two hours. I went down the stairs like a water slide. I was laying there - three cars passed me...I couldn't get traction. I slid over to the grass and pulled myself up. I was balling!!! I skated over to my neighbors, not wanting to attempt to walk up my stairs and she had her boys put salt all over the sidewalk and stairs.

I can say without a doubt that I didn't break my tailbone (LOL), but I am in more pain than when I left the hospital. I had Maleah take a look, and nothing split, but my muscles everywhere hurt.

So, now you can all call me klutz of the year! (and it just started - the year)

Love and healing,


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