Samantha - email@example.com
My tailbone pain started in November of 2006. Nothing happened to start it. One day I just remember thinking that I shouldn't sit on the floor anymore because it hurt when I did. It didn't get much worse than just minimal pain until later that winter I went sledding with my kids. It didn't hurt while we were sledding but by that night I couldn't even stand up straight and almost couldn't bear to walk.
My series of doctor visits started with my family doctor, who referred me to an arthritis doctor. He told me the pain was all in my head. Little did I know he wouldn't be the last person to think I was crazy. I saw that doctor three times and left in tears at each visit. He started me on Celebrex which did nothing for me. The second visit he did an injection in my tailbone guided by xray. That did nothing but make my tailbone numb feeling for about 4 hours. The third visit he told me there was nothing he could do for me because there wasn't anything wrong with me. I was just imagining the pain. I told him I wasn't crazy and he told me he didn't say I was. There just isn't actually anything wrong with me.
After that I saw a chiropractor who tried everything he could to help me but the stretching/decompression treatments made the pain worse instead of better. I saw a pain doctor who told me to use a tens unit to alleviate the pain. I think that would have helped, but trying to get the pads placed in an area where they would actually do some good is almost impossible. If you've tried this, you can understand, I'm sure! That doctor also did an MRI which he said came back perfectly normal. Once again, nothing wrong with me. He thought maybe I should try stronger antidepressants. Now to be fair, I have been on antidepressants for half of my life and when I was dealing with all of this pain the depression did get much worse. Pain makes depression worse and depression makes pain worse. It's an awful cycle. But the pain was real.
I saw a doctor in Wichita, KS who immediately wanted to remove my tailbone. The problem was that this doctor would never make eye contact with me and he didn't have very good things to say about the possible outcome of removal. He said infection was very likely and the chance of being pain-free was slim. He didn't want to do much talking about my options, he just wanted to do the surgery. The deciding factor for me was that he said he only does about one coccygectomy a year. I didn't feel like that was enough practice for someone I was pinning all my hopes for a pain-free life on.
I saw another doctor after that who I truly thought was trying to help me. He did two injections directly in my tailbone and they helped for a few hours, tops, but no real relief. When I moved on to the next doctor though, I requested a copy of my chart from him and on the very first page he had noted that I complained of tailbone pain even though I was sitting comfortably in his office. I'm not sure how he could have guessed how comfortable I was, but if I had known that right at the start I wouldn't have wasted my time and money with him.
Through all of this I had started taking Tramadol by prescription and that was the only thing that ever brought me a little bit of relief. But I had to take it every six hours on the dot which meant waking up in the middle of the night even to take it.
In August 2009 I finally found this website and the list of recommended doctors. There wasn't one listed in Kansas where I live, but the listing for Dr. Kevin Gill in Texas caught my eye [but see note below]. It said he had over 20 years of experience and there were several success stories listed. I told my husband I wanted to call and get some information about him. The first thing I did was called my insurance company to find out if I would be covered if I went to him and he was actually listed as one of my covered physicians. That was enough for me. I scheduled an appointment and a couple weeks later was on my way to Dallas to see the 9th different doctor about my tailbone.
I will say right off that I wasn't immediately impressed by Dr. Gill's personality. He seemed a bit preoccupied, which by the end of the visit I found out that he did indeed have a good reason for that so I couldn't hold that against him.
The whole three years I was going through this I kept telling my husband that it felt like I had shoved a golf ball between my butt cheeks and was sitting on it all the time. One of the first things Dr. Gill said was that the pain was located in an area about the size of a golf ball. It was then that I knew that I was finally in the right doctor's office. I was impressed by how knowledgeable he was about tailbone pain and how many coccygectomies he has performed. When I saw him he said he was doing about two a week. I could go on and on about how happy I was with him, his office and UT Southwestern Medical Center and if you want more information I would be happy to answer any emails.
I will say that on October 8, 2009 I had a full coccygectomy performed by Dr. Gill. The very minute that I woke up laying on my back, still fully drugged, I knew I was better. I was released the same day as my surgery and I sat in the front seat of our van the whole ride home, a six hour drive.
I had no trouble with infection, no severe pain after surgery and no trouble whatsoever afterwards. About three weeks after surgery I my pain was 75% better. Six months later it was 85% better. One year after my surgery I was 100% pain free.
I was very scared to take the final step to surgery and I can't believe I suffered as much as I did, for as long as I did, only to have my surgery turn out so wonderfully. I would FULLY recommend Dr. Gill to anyone and I would be happy to answer any questions I can about my experience.
I am thankful for this website for leading me to Dr. Gill and I hope that by sharing my story it will help someone else to find healing. We are not crazy.
Note from Jon Miles:
Dr Gill was recommended by several patients, so I listed him on this site.
However, other patients complained about his manner. Also one patient of his told me that he said he objected to being on the internet, and had tried to get himself removed. (He had never contacted me about being removed.)
So it appears that he is a skilled surgeon, but with a poor bedside manner. Anyway, since he said he didn't want to be on the internet, I took him off the list.