A brief story relating to deformed bones

Louise - a.louise.cole@gmail.com

Posted 2006-10-01

I had my coccyx removed in May 2006. It is still painful in certain circumstances but every so often I do realise that there has been another improvement.

I think my case was a little puzzling as the pain started 2 years ago and I had neither had a fall or given birth or had any other operation! I had steroid injections 3 times and they worked fantastically but wore off initially after 4 months, then after 3, then after just under 3 months. My Specialist (Mr Stewart Tucker at the Wellington Hospital in London for whom I only have the highest, highest praise) (see doctors and specialists in the UK) had said after the first injection wore off the only permanent solution was to have the coccyx removed.

Unfortunately I did not hear, until just before my operation to remove it, that he has a reputation for NOT operating unless he absolutely has to!! If I had known that I might have made more of an effort to have it removed before I did.

However, having a busy job, I decided that I would have injections until I could either plan 3 weeks off "into my work schedule" or until my medical insurance refused to pay for any more injections!

The decision was taken out of my hands in the end as I got an infection and was in major, major agony after an injection in March. Although there was no reason why it should happen again, I was not prepared to risk it. So, when the infection cleared (and I had been on holiday to Mauritius!) I had the coccyx removed.

The main purpose of this "My Story" is to add another cause into the mix. It transpires that the bone was deformed and would have been that way since birth. There was an extra piece of bone on one side which would mean that my coccyx would never have been tucking underneath me when I sat and eventually it set up the inflammation and the pain. Unfortunately it was not enough of a deformity to have become obvious on previous x-rays and MRIs, but was enough to cause the problem.

It was a relief in a way to at least know why I had got the problem and that ultimately nothing other than amputation would have improved my situation.

So, now I am now nearly 5 months post operative. My discomfort level is probably equivalent to the first couple of weeks after the injections were wearing off - mild but noticeable. My Specialist has told me that the pain will continue to improve for up to 12 months post op and then stabilise at that level. My wound stayed nice and clean (I showered twice a day and salt-bathed once a day and used antiseptic wipes to clean the incision every time I went to the loo). The only issue with the wound was that it was slow to heal but that is just me - its something I have noticed before.

Two points about the few weeks after the operation:

1. The pain level for the first couple of weeks was nowhere near as bad as I expected... then the nerves began to heal and my nice little false sense of security was well and truly blown!!

2. I have suffered from mild depression in the past. 2 weeks after the operation I was hit by a major bout of depression for at least 3 weeks. Luckily, I had thought something might happen but I did not realise just how bad it was. My GP said that it was not an unknown side effect of any bone surgery to cause post op. depression. Apparently its something to do with how deeply you are anaesthetised.

So, that's me and my story. I am looking forward to continued reduction in pain and to finding out whether my "not tucking under me" coccyx was to blame for why I was frequently falling off horses!!!

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