Read this first… the prologue

It’s the 4th of October 2009. 8 ½ months / 36 weeks / 253 days ago I thought I had a haemorrhoid.

Or perhaps I should say 253 days, 36 courses of 6 different antibiotics, 2000+ painkillers, 632 salt baths, 18kg of sea salt, 9 packets of antibacterial wipes, 8 packets of Libra liners, 5 boxes of Movicol, 2 bottles of Coloxyl, 57 sick days, 30 needles, and 4 operations ago I thought I had a silly little haemorrhoid.

I have learnt a few lessons along the way this year, and I do choose to believe that everything I go through is a lesson to be learnt – I just don’t know why some of us are sent more lessons to learn than others! Perhaps my life to this point was preparing me to be able to get through this?

So to make this story as informative and helpful as possible, I will share my lessons and little known facts to spare anyone else who has the massive misfortune of hearing the words “you”, “perianal abscess” and “complex fistula” in the same sentence…


These posts are in date order with newest first (apart from this one) so if you want to read the whole story from the beginning, go on over to the right side-bar and start with the first post in January 2009.

WARNING: May contain graphic detail and offensive language – please stop reading here if you have a weak stomach or are easily offended… although I’m guessing you wouldn’t have started reading information on a website with the word “anal” in it if you’re that queasy :)


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7 Feb 12 – Pre-Surgery Update: The “I-think-I-can-I-think-I-can” Lesson

It is the 7th of February 2012. I am booked in for a coccygectomy in 2 weeks and I have a tooth abscess that won’t go away despite being on 3 different antibiotics since January. I have been to my dentist 3 times to have my wisdom tooth flushed out which helps to ease the infection slightly, but I can feel it all the way down my gum line into my next 3 teeth, and I know this isn’t just going to go away by itself. For some reason my body doesn’t really respond well to antibiotics any more, and I have a suspicion that this could be related to all the other abscesses that my body has attacked me with over the last 3 years.


I had another abscess on my thigh about 6 months ago, but luckily we caught it early and it was able to be lanced in the GP’s office with only 3 days off work to let it heal.


I rang my spinal surgeon today to let him know that I still have a tooth infection and he’s now worried about doing my tail bone surgery while I still have a raging infection in my mouth. Dammit! So now I’m trying to book in to see an oral surgeon to see if he will take my teeth out in the chair before my surgery on the 21st so that my spinal surgeon can still do his surgery and maybe I can start living life and putting all of this ‘behind’ me, pun intended :)


LKF: I have extremely stubborn teeth, I had to have a tooth pulled out last year and it took my dentist 2 hours to hack my tooth into 5 pieces to remove it. This was then followed by a dry socket (extremely painful!) and a reinforced fear of dental work. My bottom wisdom teeth are impacted (growing sideways under the gum) and my dentist can’t do the extraction herself so she has referred me to a very good oral surgeon.


I feel like I am the little train who chugged as hard as he could over the hill, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…


Lesson Learnt: I need all the positive self talk that I can muster up right now to drown out the doubts and the worry that I’m not going to make it to the finish line.

3 Feb 12 – Tailbone Update: The “shake-your-tail-feather” lesson

Present Time: My Tail-bone


The pesky little set of bones that sits at the bottom of your spine… Useless! That’s what I’m told by my first spinal surgeon. Useless? I ask… Yes even more useless than your appendix (I later find out that the appendix is actually still quite useful but that’s not the point).


I really don’t like this guy though… something about him just seems cold, he can’t wait to rush me out the door after my 5 minute consult that I just paid $200 for and all he told me was that he would remove my tailbone – and his receptionist would send me out the information about the surgery rather than him have to explain it to me there and then. His receptionist sends me a bill and a quote for surgery, no other info.


Removing the tailbone… that seems pretty extreme, and maybe the pain will actually eventually go away by itself? That was a year ago.

Continue reading 3 Feb 12 – Tailbone Update: The “shake-your-tail-feather” lesson

3 Feb 12 – Surgery #7: The “trust-me-I’m-a-doctor” lesson

3 Feb 2012


Today, it has been 3 years since my first surgery for all of this started… so it’s kinda fitting that it is the day that I finally get off my butt (no pun intended) to update this blog… it’s been quite a while in between, which has been nice!


I will break this post into 2 parts – the first about my surgery and then another post about my tailbone… so here goes…

Continue reading 3 Feb 12 – Surgery #7: The “trust-me-I’m-a-doctor” lesson

10 Mar 2010 – Pre-Admission: The “I-will-never-get-that-5-hours-of-my-life-back” lesson…



I get to my pre-op appointment, fill out the forms and wait to be called to see whoever wants to see me. There’s not enough room to write all of the surgeries so I squish them all up 2 per line.




I’m called by the nurse who is in charge of weighing and measuring me, and doing the basic obs.

Continue reading 10 Mar 2010 – Pre-Admission: The “I-will-never-get-that-5-hours-of-my-life-back” lesson…

17 Feb 10 – BOOKED: The “I’ve-been-waiting-by-the-phone-all-week” lesson

I’ve given the assistant over a week to call me, and finally get a hold of her today.




People ask if “congratulations” and “how exciting” are the right sentiment – Yes! Yes they are!


His assistant is very helpful and says that I am on the surgery list for 12 March, then says that I could probably go in sooner but do I mind who does the surgery? I tell her I’d much prefer that he does it, but understand since I’m public that I don’t get to choose.


She tells me that they had spoken about me the other day and that he really wanted to do my surgery, which strangely I actually feel really good about as perhaps it means that he wants to make sure after all the drama that it’s done right.


She says the only way that I’ll get bumped off the list is if he gets an emergency surgery come in (understandable) and then I would be put onto the next fortnight list on 26 March. She suggests I call back on the 1st to confirm.


3 weeks… 3 little weeks until I might be fixed.


Yay would be an understatement. Someone remind me of this on the 13th of March when I’m in excruciating pain :)


5 Feb 10 – Surgeon Visit: The “chickens-are-hatching” lesson…

So I toddle off to the long-awaited private appointment with my surgeon at which he will have the report for the MRI results and be able to tell me what next.


He’s very busy and I’m asked to wait in the room next door to see him, he eventually comes in and asks the inevitable question of “can he have another look to see how it’s going”. Of course it’s never just a “look” but I grin and bear it.


He seems impressed and tells me the MRI results are good and it is now in the “low fistula” category which means he should now be able to “lay it open” like he originally wanted to. Apparently it’s quite common if they can get the infection under control that the fistula can shrink and it makes operating a lot more successful.


LKF: for those that can’t remember the explanation from the beginning, a “low” fistula involves 30% or less of the sphincter muscle – my fistula originally occupied about 60%.


I ask him to go through again what “laying open” exactly entails and how long he thinks it would be for me to recover. He explains that he will cut the whole thing open, about 1 – 1 1/2 cm deep and it won’t require packing (which makes me want to break out into a dance). He then says something about putting a couple of superficial sutures in but I don’t really understand what he means and feel like he’s too rushed to ask.


I ask what the risk of incontinence is and he says there have been studies that report cutting into up to 50% of muscle with minimal issues. I’m still worried, but I have to trust that I am in capable hands.


I ask again how long til I should expect to feel better and be able to sit, he tells me about 2 weeks – which means more like 3-4 weeks given the last 5 operations.


I leave with mixed emotions… I’m relieved and even excited about the fact that this may be over very, very soon… and on the other hand I’m exhausted like I’m almost at the finish line and I’ve finally relaxed to the point that I’m totally done and trudging towards the checkered flag.


So now it’s the waiting game… wait for his assistant to call me to book me in… waiting… waiting…


27 Jan 10 – MRI: The “you-want-to-put-that-thing-WHERE” lesson

Happy Australia Day Mates!!!


2 days ago marked one year since this whole saga started… magnetic resonance imaging sounds like a great way to celebrate yeah?


So we go to my MRI appointment today, don’t even have to sit down and wait which is a pleasant surprise… I’m led to a change room with a lovely backless gown and told to follow the blue line to the MRI room when I’m done.


So far… so good…

Continue reading 27 Jan 10 – MRI: The “you-want-to-put-that-thing-WHERE” lesson

17 Jan 10 – Happy New Year: The “good-things-come-to-those-who-wait” lesson…

A new year… I’ve decided this one is MY year!


I haven’t updated in quite a while so thought I’d let you know how I am and fill you in on what’s coming up…


So I was hoping to be fixed by end of 2009, but I’m still waiting… The good news – I’m feeling the best I have felt in a whole year since this all started. (For those who have just started reading this, go to the first blog in January 2009). I can walk properly, lie on my back, go to gym… the only thing really is sitting still hurts after a while but I have my trusty donut to help with that.

Continue reading 17 Jan 10 – Happy New Year: The “good-things-come-to-those-who-wait” lesson…

6 Nov 09 – Surgery Recovery: The “my-bum-is-a-playground” lesson…

Day One Post Op


My bum would rival Jennifer Lopaz at the moment, I can’t fit into my undies because it’s so swollen. I’m worried about going to the toilet as I don’t think I’ll be able to wipe as my bum cheeks have welded together.


Because of this I have no idea what they’ve done, and I’m not all that inclined to go have a look either. I’m wearing the hospital issue mesh undies and the elephant sized pad again, and there’s a lot of “stuff” oozing out. In short – I’m feeling sexy.


We get home from the hospital and I pretty well pass out for the rest of the day, still fuzzy from the meds.

Continue reading 6 Nov 09 – Surgery Recovery: The “my-bum-is-a-playground” lesson…