Jen - Sweetjenjenn@aol.com
Original posting 2003-01-12:
I am a 30 year old mother of 4. And really did it well. I was up on a high back chair putting the lights around the top of the Christmas tree, went to step down and the corner of the chair slip right up my bum crack and you got it, slammed right into the bottom of my tail bone. OUCH! Now I can handle pain, but I was speechless, I think more afraid that if I opened my mouth anything I had eaten would come out.
That was a Saturday, I waited until Monday to go to the doctor, knowing even if I did crack it there is nothing they could do. Well, I separated my coccyx from the sacrum from what they said and it's pushed up and to the right. Here I am about 6 weeks post break waiting for an appointment to an orthopedic doctor. The bone is starting to fuse, but into the location it was dislocated to. I asked if they could just set it and primary says no, more then likely will have to be removed. My heating pad is my best friend, and vicoden my pal.
Sitting hurts, walking too much hurts, can't lay flat because I can feel the lump where it is, you can see the lump where it is. Guess I'll find out soon if it's to be removed or not. I'm more leaning toward that then anything, I don't want a lifetime of complications from this.
Back in December I had stepped off a chair and the corner of it slammed the bottom of the coccyx, fracturing and displacing it. I went through all the "conservative" treatments, anti-inflammatories, PT, shots, aqua therapy, ultra sound, rest and to no avail. I saw three different orthopedic doctors and finally it was the last one who sent me for an MRI to get a better idea of what was going on. First, it was beyond the coccyx, I have a bulging disc and tear at L4-5, a suspected compression fracture as well as end plate damage. The coccyx was sitting an angle in a 90 degree turn. Ouch. So afterwards we talked. He asked what I wanted to do. I asked for some thoughts from him. Well, it's been 8 months and the pain I am in was no likely to get better, I could make the decision to live with it, or remove it. But, cautioned there is only about a 50/50% chance that will help. Well, 50% is better then none so I went for it.
I am 2 days post-op and won't lie, I've never in my life had pain like this, but don't regret it either. I would suggest to anyone about to go through this, eat very light the night before, I added to my misery by eating a regular dinner and then not being able to pass anything. It's painful to try.
I'll post here and there and let you know how I made out later as time goes by. Until then, just praying I'm in the 50% that it works for.
Well, 9 days post-op. I feel mostly human. I think I have forgotten how it feels to sit comfortably anyway.
I'd say the first 5-6 days were the worst. In addition to the pain of the surgical site, I had major pain in the "cheeks" like deep bruising. I assume it was from whatever they use to separate that area? They sent me home on Vicoden which was a laugh and after many tears of frustration and just hours of major pain I called. Was given Percocet, now that's a decent pain killer, but it didn't touch the pain and I was getting very worried that something was majorly wrong. I had so much swelling that the pressure inside was making it impossible to move my bowels, you name it I tried it. I have even gotten to the point where I can drink prune juice without making a face. For now I have left all prescription pain killers behind and have found ibuprofen to be the most effective for me. I had to wait for anti-inflammatories as I was on blood thinner for a week post-op due to a blood disorder I have. My stitches are really bothering me, and yes, of course the "new" tip is a spot of irritation but I have much less lower back pain then I had before surgery. I read some of everybody else's after stories and came away with some questions I should have asked my doc before the surgery. I was never told to not sit, only to resume normal activities as I am comfortable. I forget who else suggested the stool softener for before, and not to seem obsessed, but do it. There is enough pain to deal with after surgery, no need to add to it.
I am taking things one day at a time, I try not to spend too much time in bed, my hips hate me. I think my whole butt is swollen and has grown a size or two :) I make small strides daily, and am optimistic about the outcome here. All I can hope is if the surgery doesn't make it better, is that it doesn't make it worse either.
I'll try to post here and there, I know I enjoyed reading the after stories as well. I just wanted to say, I did do most other treatments that were out there before I resorted to surgery. I did PT, water therapy, shots, massage, rest. My back just got worse and worse and pain was spreading. Due to the way the break was we knew it would never "heal" per se. It would always be dislocated, the hope was scarring would help to stabilize it. I went to three different OS before I found one who would do this, and that was only after he checked on my other treatments, did his own x-rays and an MRI. I think it helped as well that it was a teaching hospital. He was very clear in that he felt there was only a 50/50 shot at this working (much lower then I've read elsewhere) and that the biggest risk is infection. Don't give up if it is really that bad. This is your life, and it was effecting my quality of life way too much.
Well, it's going on a month since the surgery. I feel most of my energy coming back. Sitting is still a sore subject, it has to be a firm surface, and not for very long. I am walking fine and have started to do my sports walking. Not as far as what I had been doing, but am up to about a mile a day. Lifting is OK, umm, still can't lay flat on my back.
Is it better? Well, I no longer have the SHARP pain which was to a point where it was constant. I still feel very optimistic. I saw my surgeon and discussed some of the other back issues and have to be honest, short of it being MAJOR I will not do back surgery again. In addition to the tail bone fracture I have a bulging disc with tear and evidence of a compression fracture.
So, am I glad I had it done? Yes, I am, and have no regret. I know that this can take time to heal, but at least now I feel like I have a better shot of healing now that the bone is not there inflaming the area.
I am mostly off pain medication, taking it more at bed time then anything.
I don't know how much this helps anyone trying to make the very important decision on whether or not to have this done. I just know that for me it was the best, and the right decision.