Coccygectomy in S. Carolina - 6 weeks post op

Anonymous, USA

Posted 2010-05-30

I will try to keep it short. I am 28 years old and I live in Columbia, SC. I broke my tailbone when I was 26 and though I am so incredibly blessed to be alive, I've been in misery since the day it happened. I missed so many parties and get togethers, personal and professional. I barely finished my third year of law school and I was too medicated for the bar exam. I haven't even been able to work because I can't remember the last I had 3 good days in a row. Worst of all is the time I've missed with my family and the strain it has put on my husband and daughter, now 4.

I fell down an entire flight of stairs in my home on October 26, 2008 and broke my tailbone. I was told to wait 3 months before considering any other options. Had a terrible experience with Moore Orthopaedics. I decided to rely on my family physician of 18 years to help me through. I've been in pain since the day I fell. My injury seemed to be worse on the left side. I had numbness and pain in my left leg in addition to my tush. I've used several cushions of all different types, exercise, heat, ice, and the full range of oral meds. I was also told that cortisone injections would be useless. I had spent so much time cheating to my right side to favor my left that by November 2009, I had to start using a cane. Both legs and hips grew increasingly weak and painful so I began to lose my balance.

We began looking for a surgeon to perform a coccygectomy. I have a friend in Ohio that works as a trainer under a spine surgeon so she suggested the procedure. Our first referral fell through because the doctor had left the practice and of course, the practice was not about to forward me to his new location. Instead, they wanted me to "try" the replacement doctor, but no one could tell me if he had performed any coccygectomies at all, let alone give me his statistics.

In January 2010, my husband found this website and found a personal story from Donald Harris who had the procedure performed by John Glaser at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston (see Doctors and specialists in the USA, South Carolina). I met with him in February. I had forwarded my records in advance and I brought all of my image with me. Most telling was the x-ray that showed what my coccyx looked like in a seated position. He thoroughly explained the surgery including the risks and potential success as well as the unpredictable healing time. He explained that he did not believe that the surgery would correct all of the back and leg pain that I experience.

I had the surgery as an outpatient procedure (my insurance company denied it as an inpatient procedure, but I could be admitted if complications arose as with any outpatient procedure.) I had the surgery March 8th, 2010. I got to the hospital at 5:30am. I was one of the 1st procedures scheduled so I was taken back to prep immediately after checking in and I rolled in to the O.R. at 6:45 am. I was in the van on the way home by 11:30 am. I don't remember exactly when I woke up in recovery, but I was in pain and very thirsty with a sore throat from being intubated for general anesthesia. After I made a tinkle and my pain was under control, I was free to go on my merry, dopey way.

I felt pretty good when I got home considering I had a 3 inch cut on my bottom. I slept on my side for the two hour ride home. I had some trouble with bleeding, but my husband packed more gauze in and it eventually settled.

I felt worse the second day and by the fourth, my family doctor and surgeon coordinated to check out site and adjust the pain medication. So thankful I didn't have to drive back to Charleston to have that check up, but with the high infection rate, someone needed to look at it. Thankfully, no infection. I also got to take a shower on day 4. I went back for a 2 week check up and I was healing well, though still in pain. I did manage to survive the 2 hour drive sitting on my side in full recline.

I've so far weaned off the high dose stuff and use Percocet for breakthrough pain. I still have some issues that we knew wouldn't be resolved by surgery. HOWEVER, even though I still need the donut and I have to change my position a bit when I sit, I CAN SIT. The bone used to feel like it was rubbing against the seat through my skin even with a donut. The rest of the pain varies and I doing so much better than I believed possible. Of course everyone has a different tolerance and expression regarding pain, but it's just a different kind of pain.

I go in to see the surgeon for the last time on April 30th, then I will work on the lower back and leg issues that still remain. Those seem so much easier to handle without the bone issues and I am looking forward to it, not dreading it. The surgery was a fantastic decision and Dr Glaser was outstanding. If I had it all to do again, I'd have the surgery.

This website is wonderful and I can't express how much the personal stories and clinical information has helped me. I felt like I was losing my mind and this site showed that I am not alone.

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