Surgery and still healing

Sandra -

Posted 2008-04-06

I injured my coccyx during childbirth. Initially, I thought it might heal on its own given time. No such luck-the pain just became dull and everything depended on how long I sat anywhere. I live in the Raleigh, NC. are and there was no one that specialized in coccydnia.

Luckily, I have a great family doctor that assisted me as much as he could. He was familiar with tailbone problems and performed a manual manipulation on me that lasted for a few weeks. After that I tried cortisone shots, but all effects were temporary. It probably sounds strange to let my family doctor "treat" me, but I trust him and he was my only hope at the time. He was also the only doctor that took me seriously. In my case, X-rays didn't show anything in particular.

After some time, I stumbled across this wonderful website that led me to Charlotte, NC. to see Dr. Dickerson (see Doctors and specialists in the USA). He is now retired from surgery, but still does manual treatments. After more cortisone and after baby # 2, Dr. Dickerson recommended surgery. At this point, I was ready. He referred me to Dr. Ed Hanley (see Doctors and specialists in the USA), who is currently the only doctor that performs this surgery in North Carolina. After three and a half years of suffering, I had surgery in February 2008.

Dr. Hanley found that a portion of my tailbone was loose, which was the cause of all my pain. I had internal stitches and surgical glue on the outside of the incision site. The surgery itself was fast and I would have gone home the same day if I hadn't had a severe reaction to the anesthesia. I had to spend one night in the hospital, as my vomiting would not cease. This made the whole experience just horrible. I was a little surprised that nothing would make it stop-no matter how much medication they gave me. The next day I was finally able to go home. I found the car ride better than expected. I lay in the back and due to the pain medication; the three hour ride was bearable. I was put on antibiotics and spent the first week in bed.

It has been 6 weeks since then. Luckily I had family members stay for 3 weeks to help with my children and everything else. The recovery from surgery is definitely slow. For anyone who has young children and is considering this surgery-you will definitely need help around the clock. After 2 weeks I had my first check-up with my family doctor (they let me do this so that I would not have to drive all the way to Charlotte). I had some pain around the top of the incision where the glue was coming undone. Apart from that I was healing fine. After a few more days the glue came off and my pain increased. It looked like there was a small area at the top of the incision site that was not healing properly and had some drainage. I was put on another round of antibiotics and told that this is quite common. Naturally one really has to watch out for infection.

Currently I am still not all the way healed. I bathe in liquid Ivory soap every day for 15 minutes and wear gauze on the incision site. I am still sore but am getting better. After speaking to Dr. Hanley's nurse numerous times, I think that my healing process may still take a while and I guess this is quite common. I can sit pretty well, but driving for extended periods of time hurts. I will be going to see Dr. Hanley for a 6 week check-up and will post again once I am healed. I think that time will tell if the surgery was a success or not. I really hope so. I wonder if others have had problems with healing. Feel free to e-mail me.

Update, 2008-06-15

It has been almost 4 months since my surgery and I am happy to report that I am finally healed. It seemed like my incision site would never close all the way. My life quality has improved by 100% and I can finally sit again without pain. I am so thrilled that I am able to do things that I haven't done in over 4 years.

There is a little residual tenderness in the muscles when I sit for extended amounts of time, but I tend to think that this will slowly go away in the next few months. Dr. Hanley had said that it can take a full year to recover. It has definitely been a long road to get to this point. It still amazes me that a "small" surgery like this, is really a huge ordeal that comes with many surprises. It's definitely not smooth sailing all the way. I deliberated about having this surgery for a long time, but am so glad that I did it, even though I was terrified of all the risks.

Good luck to all of you and be cautious!

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