Impending surgery - now had it

Nana -

Original message: 2002-06-02

I am mostly called Nana these days (I have 8 grandchildren, the oldest is 8!) so please feel free to address me that way. I was prompted to write because of Jeff's story and the fact his orthopedic surgeon works with a colorectal surgeon when removing the coccyx.

My pain started September 29, 2001 when I was wheeled out of surgery after having 19 inches of my descending colon and most of my rectum removed due to diverticulitis. My number one complaint from day one after the colon surgery has been pain in my rectum. At three months post-op the colon surgeon did a sigmoid scope exam which was normal. Because I continued to be in such pain, he did an extensive internal that was unremarkable except for excruciating pain when he put pressure on my colon adjacent to my coccyx. I went to see my orthopedic surgeon and he too found extreme pain when examining my coccyx both externally and internally. He had two conversations with the colon surgeon and my impression is the colon surgeon completely dismisses the notion that it could have been a result of the colon surgery. I also believe, because of the expression on his face, that my orthopedist is not that convinced that it could not be a result of the colon surgery.

In the meantime I have had 2 MRIs, a CT Ssan, Xrays, 3 cortisone shots, 1 lumbar epidural, and have been on every medication available and nothing helps for more than a few days to a week. I can't sit so I have missed a lot of time from work (thank goodness I have a great boss who lets me come and go as my pain dictates). I can't sleep because I can't get comfortable; before and after having a bowel movement I'm in dreadful pain; I can't drive more than 10 minutes, and when I walk any distance the pain is like bones rubbing together. My pain has spread to my buttocks, mostly on the left side; my heels hurt like I have stone bruises; my thighs ache; my legs get so weak sometimes I feel like they won't move or will collapse under me; I get pins and needles in my feet, and the nerves/muscles in my legs jump so much you can see them move.

I have every confidence in my orthopedist, he has moved me along slowly trying everything he can. I take Lortab for the pain and Ambien to help me sleep, and I am scheduled for surgery on June 11th, I feel I have no choice.

I'm going to take a copy of Jim's story with me when I go for my pre-op visit next week and I'm going to send a copy of it to the colon surgeon. I will keep you informed of my progress and of what both doctors have to say when I give them a copy of Jim's story.

Thank you for this opportunity to share my situation, I guess misery really does love company. I look forward to hearing from folks and would particularly like to hear from anyone that has had a similar experience following colon/rectum surgery.


Update 2002-06-16:

Hi, wanted to let you know that I had my surgery last Tuesday, June 11th, at 7 am and was home by 1 pm. I was worried about the trip home, but I have a van, and the 3rd seat lays flat so it wasn't as bad as I had feared. Actually the whole experience so far has not been a traumatic as I had anticipated. After trying all the chairs in my house I found I can sit for a short while on a caned seat chair. I cannot shower or bathe (just sponge bathe) for a week and I have to have the bandage changed every day and check for infection. I am on pain medication and took it regularly the first few days, now I'm taking it as needed which is once or twice a day and at bedtime, along with a sleeping pill. I have a check-up one the 19th and get the stitches out on the 27th.

I was told I can start thinking about going back to work in four weeks, depending of course how long I can sit, particularly in the car. I have a 30 minute drive barring any traffic tie-up, which happens pretty regularly. Fortunately for me I have a very understanding boss who will work with me, and is even considering letting me telecommute for awhile when I'm up to it.

I have developed pain in my hips which I'm sure is bursitis as a result of only being able to sleep on my sides since this happened. I'm taking Vioxx, which was prescribed for my coccyx but didn't work for that. I'm also putting ice on them several times a day for 20 minutes at a time. I'll discuss it with my doctor when I see him next week.

I'm very angry at the colon surgeon as I feel all the pain I have been going through for so long could have been resolved very quickly if he had been straight forward from the beginning. It took nine months for me to get to this point and now I have the pain in my hips to contend with too.

Have been disappointed not to hear from anyone, was hoping to find out if anyone else had a similar problem after colon/rectal surgery.

I will keep you posted as to my progress.


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