Who thought I would ever apply one of my favorite Duck Dynasty sayings to my butt drama- but today I am “Happy! Happy! Happy!”.
I just saw my surgeon today for my follow up appointment.
Its been two weeks since he placed BOTH Seton Stitches in me.
That’s right- It’s TWINSIES!
He snipped my horseshoe in half and placed one up each tract. My mother had mentioned that she thought that is what he said when he gave her the update after my surgery but she couldn’t remember for a fact. (Well now we know……)
Now I am sure you are wondering why I can be so happy that I have these Seton’s inside of me.
If you aren’t caught up (or know what I am talking about): Read this post on my story before going any further.
(Don’t want to bother clicking the link to catch up… never fear: Two weeks ago I had two Seton’s placed inside of me after a partial fistulectomy and a Exam Under Anesthetic.- Now go click the link so you can find out what that is and why I needed it… 😉
If you are caught up: My update is that everything is looking very good. I have an open wound (The Seton’s are placed inside the fistula tracts to hold them open so they drain the nasty stuff/infection out of the body- to encourage inner tissue healing and prevent abscesses from forming) My surgeon told me today that the area is clean, from the outside looking great and is healing nicely. It looks like (from the outside anyway) that the Seton’s are doing their job properly and are staying in place! He won’t know the real extent of the healing until he can go in with more surgery to remove them and have a look. He’s optimistic that we are on the right track! As a matter of fact- everything is going so well- he is leaving the Seton’s in for at least a few more weeks- I will go back to see him at the end of April and we will revisit the topic of when my next trip to the Operating Room will be.
I am so happy with this news.
Like before- He told me that if this doesn’t work- he will try other methods (but warned me they may not be nicer methods- we will cross that bridge if we come to it…) and even his ‘worst case scenario’ outlook is 30% abscess recurrence rate.
30% recurrence- down from 100%???
Ummm…..I may think Math is the devil- but that doesn’t sound so bad!
Naturally I want 0% recurrence (which I would like to celebrate by going back to Disney World- I’m really trying to sell the Hubby on that one!) but I will throw a freakin’ party for 30%!!!! It beats the nightmare I have been living for all these years!
A lot of people have asked how I have been doing since the surgery.
Things are going well.
The first several days after surgery were painful, however- the pain to me was nothing in comparison to having an abscess or the nurses changing the packing.
The bruising was probably the worst part- It looked like I had bent over and someone had used one of those ball pitching machines to launch a baseball directly at my ass! It was so swollen and black and blue. I also had a problem with the throat tube from the anesthetic scratching up my throat- leaving me with no voice, a swollen uvula and feeling like I had the worst case of strep throat EVER (This can be completely normal post surgery and did in fact heal after a week) I was joking that the throat pain distracted from the butt pain.
It took me about a week before I could ‘somewhat’ sit comfortably and before I tried to leave the house.
I am now sitting as normally as I can. There IS a time limit on how long I can sit directly on my bottom (so I wont be visiting the movie theatre any time soon) and I usually end up leaning to the left (and side sitting) taking pressure off my center and right side. I learned the hard way a few days ago that bending and squatting is NOT a good idea.
Pillows!!! USE PILLOWS!! If you have one of these-whether its an abscess or the Seton I can not stress this enough. Do NOT waste your money thinking those inflatable donut rings will help you. They are a waste of money. I use these cheap, fluffy throw pillows from IKEA to sit on when I need comfort- especially on a hard surface. Invest in a soft pillow- NOT the donut!
Car rides sucked at first– they were very painful. They aren’t entirely pleasant right now either- but today’s car trip wasn’t so bad. I just wont be leaving the area or traveling for awhile (Which sucks with my husband being 5 hours away….)
Wearing denim jeans is NOT comfortable– so if you are reading this and you are researching the Seton/looking to learn about life with one and/or you are curious about what it will be like- make sure you have comfortable pants with room in the tush. I have been wearing jogging pants, loose yoga/running/athletic/ugly pants (Not the tight ones) and pajama bottoms when I am at home. The majority of my jeans are skinny ones and they are currently on hiatus. They do not go well with the Seton’s. I am wearing one of my regular fit jeans today- and they aren’t comfortable- but they aren’t as bad as the skinnier jeans. I am a bit of a diva- so I do not like the yoga-pant mom look if I am leaving the house- so I may have to wear dresses and skirts to rectify this if I go out and about to keep me comfortable and feeling somewhat fashionable and pretty. (It’s good for my mood to focus on things like that) I automatically change back into my comfy clothes when I arrive home.
Standing and Walking for longer periods of time was NOT fun at first and every day I had to push myself a bit further- but knew when to stop trying and go rest. You will see in my next paragraph how that goes…..
My husband and I bought a treadmill for the house– It’s hard for me to do certain activities. I like to stay active- yoga- pilates- zumba- use my elliptical etc…. but certain motions can aggravate the irritation and aren’t encouraged. So when my husband came home after my surgery- we bought a treadmill to add to my home gym (I have been wanting one for years anyway!) and while I am going through this- I can hop on the treadmill and watch Netflix while I walk. It’s okay to walk- walking is good. I have slowly built up my walking from five minutes to ten minutes to twenty…. etc….etc…. and now I am walking for an hour on it every day. I am aiming to turn that into two hours every day (Morning and Evening) in a week or two as I continue to improve and adjust to my life with the Seton Twins (When I am finally healed? Screw walking. I am going to be running on that treadmill like I am being chased by Zombies! While binge-watching my shows!) With the nicer weather showing up- I also hope to add walking outdoors into my routine on top of the treadmill- right now the comfort of being able to walk far, in my own home helps. I don’t want to walk a couple of miles away from my home to discover that I am worn out, sore and stranded in need of getting home. I am NOT going to let this stupid thing get in the way of my weight loss and physical activity goals.
I balance my rest and my activity.
I am a firm believer that when you are ill and/or recovering that you rest. (Even though resting can be irritating- trust me- a few days on post surgery bed-rest and you will lose your mind! It gets boring FAST!!) I have a lot riding on how this fistula heals- so I need to focus on that. I AM taking time for myself to heal. This is my body and health at stake.
I make sure that I am sleeping as much as I can (hard when you are an insomniac) and that I am not over doing it. My mom has been an angel and has been living with us through this time so she can help me with the kids and around the house. (My husband is currently relocated to the States for business this year so he isn’t around to help with the exception of some weekends) I know that some people don’t have the option to take much time off work- or get outside help- but if you can somehow arrange something- I personally recommend it. I am lucky that I have people who can come stay with me to help with the load. If you can find or hire someone here and there so you can put your feet up- I would go that route. It doesn’t have to be for long. Just long enough that you can adjust and let your body do what it needs to do.
While I have been doing some light household chores etc….to keep me up and moving (Very important not to always be laying around!) I have also been focusing on relaxing activities- Reading, Writing, Blogging, Netflix Binges and my new favorite hobby ‘Watercolor Paintings’ (Which you have seen!)
I am off the painkillers now and hoping to start driving my car again this week.
My wound is located in a position that makes things like putting pressure on my right butt cheek and leg irritating- and sometimes I get these shooting pains from the wound inside my butt and down my right leg into my foot. I know from my abscesses forming/packing aftercare that using the gas pedal can be tricky with my wound location- so I am not sure how my stitch will react to my driving and putting pressure on the right side. I wont know until I try- right?
My first time back behind the wheel will be a short errand to test how it feels.
Going to the bathroom sucks.
This is by far the worst part of the entire ordeal.
I am not going to sugar coat this. It’s a blasted hassle and it’s not fun to have IBS problems when you have to sit in a sitz bath after every bowel movement, then take a shower and all the rest.
I can become quite agitated in these moments and it’s not uncommon for my family to come knocking on the bathroom door asking me if I said something; because I am typically swearing and muttering under my breath in a tirade about how I hate people who can wipe their butts without the rest of the drama. (I may be cheery and trying to stay positive going through this- but I do have my moments- and it is usually in the moments leading up to the sitz bath…..especially if it is the third or fourth one of the day!)
(Please don’t think of me the next time you go to the toilet- because that will make this weird)
Tip for those who are going through this: Blot wipe and/or use baby-wipes. Wipe away from the wound- which can be tricky. My doctor has me take a sitz bath for every bowel movement. I time it for five minutes (Which is all I can actually handle) then I rinse off in the shower. After I dry off- I use a gauze pad, rolled up and tucked in between the cheeks, covering the wound to protect it and catch all the drainage from it. One of my former nurses dubbed this ‘The Tootsie Roll Method‘ (Good luck eating one of those now…..) I change the gauze several times a day.
I have so far avoided any infections, rashes and complications that can occur. *knock on wood*
I won’t lie. I cuss the shit out of anyone who can take a luxurious bubble bath right now. All I want is a nice bubbly soak in a hot tub. But noooooo…….it’s not allowed! Me and my first world problems. (I keep having to remind myself this is temporary and will all be worth it in the end)
What does the Seton feel like: Well I am not going to lie. It’s as annoying as you would assume. At times painful- but it is NOTHING I can’t handle after all the abscesses and packing changes over all these years. It feels like I have a bruised bottom and a wedgie at all times with the odd electrical buzz of pain here and there if I move or sit wrong. Not the most delightful feeling but in the grander scheme of things- BUT it could be a lot worse.
I can’t really illustrate it on a numeric pain scale- because at this point my pain tolerance is actually pretty high. Having so many abscesses reoccur in the same spot on your arse over the span of several years makes a hemorrhoid feel like a dream. (And trust me- those like to show up frequently in my life on top of all this- so I can make that comparison with great ease)
If anyone has any questions: Feel free to ask. I know that these posts get long and I share (perhaps even over-share) a lot on this topic- but I love how I am connecting with fellow sufferers by putting this out there as well as educating people on what a frustrating yet common (yet taboo…..) problem this is. If my story helps someone understand or feel like they are not alone- that is all I can ask.
Thank you to all my friends, family, fellow bloggers and readers for your support, prayers and understanding and compassion while I go through all this.
If you are a fellow Chronic Abscess/Fistula sufferer or part of ‘Club Seton’ – Let’s talk! I know how frustrating, embarrassing and hard it can be to go through this. You are NOT alone! Don’t hesitate to ask questions or contact me whether it is through the comment section or via my Contact page. I went through this for years without knowing or having anyone that I could relate to and it was extremely hard. When I finally had friends to talk to, who also suffered- it was nice to have company- even if we were bonding over an unwanted but quite literal -pain in the ass.