Cleft Lift Recovery Log

Discussion in 'Pilonidal Discussions' started by BrianS, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. Girlbooty

    Girlbooty Very Helpful

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    Ah yes, I really hope the new sleeping position works for you. Nothing like waking up sore and unrested!

    My drain removal was cake, I had a Penrose drain which was essentially a plastic straw sticking out between my cheeks. It sorta just fell out, she barely had to pull but I was nervous so I did take a hydro.
    It could be drainage, as sometimes the body has more to drain than goes into the drain tube, could be sweat or it could be your nerve endings playing tricks on you. I had feelings of moisture, like dripping wet, but it was always dry. I think my nerves weren't quite matched up yet and my brain was interpreting those signals as "you're wet!!"
    I understand your anxiety about the bottom part, I so do. Once you get the bandage off roll up gauze and stick it in your cheeks to get some air in there, and be sure you are getting enough vit a, e, c and zinc and up your protein while you are healing. All these contribute to tissue building and tissue healing.
     
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  2. BrianS

    BrianS Helpful

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    Still working on getting myself to eat better. Having more whole meals, but still no BM, guess I'm still a little nervous about that.

    Once I go back to Dr. Brand tomorrow, he is going to take off the original pressure wrap and the dressing underneath to look at the incision. Then I'll have to do daily dressing changes the same way, taping my but together and then wrapping the pressure wrap tightly around my waist. At least I'll get to take it off once a day, which will be nice. It feels like it's gotten tighter as the days go by, maybe it's from sleeping though, since my back gets pretty sore, too.
     
  3. stokliner

    stokliner Helpful

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    Sounds like things are going pretty well. Of course there are worries, but you're already a few days post-op and get your drain tube out soon. That's pretty exciting. You've got me intrigued about this whole pressure wrap thing, as I've heard nothing about it. Is it like a rubber band that goes around your lower waist to promote the draining? Are you able to sleep on your side at all?

    I'd eat a monster salad soon if i were you; it's not too heavy, and there's a ton of protein and all sorts of nutrients in leafy greens. Maybe throw some walnuts / almonds on it too for extra protein.
     
  4. Brandonw

    Brandonw Very Helpful

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    That should be a bit of a relief. Is there a lot of wrap that is used? The anesthetics are strong so its going to be a bit before you use the bathroom.
     
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  5. BrianS

    BrianS Helpful

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    The pressure wrap is hard to explain. I've read and heard from other patients of Dr. Brand's that the reason he uses the pressure wrap is to promote healing, or promote the tissue healing to the fat or something like that. I'm all for it if it helps it close up quicker. It has helped keep me from spreading my legs too far apart, however I still worry every time I get in and out of the bed. I do have a picture of the wrap if you're interested in seeing it stokliner (don't worry, there's nothing showing in the picture). It is somewhat thick, goes from just above the beginning of my cleft, down to maybe a couple inches from my rectum, at least that's what it feels like. I probably could lay on my sides, I did in the hospital somewhat during recovery, but some of the velcro from the pressure wrap felt like it was digging into my side, so it was a little uncomfortable to do it for too long. I might try it again though on the hotel bed.

    Thanks Brandon, that does make sense that the anesthetics would do that. Doesn't bother me at all though that I haven't gone yet, gives the incision a little more time to heal. Right after surgery whenever I sneezed, it hurt a little bit as I could feel the tightness down there, but I just sneezed a little while ago and I didn't really feel anything, so that makes me wonder if things are coming together and it won't be so bad whenever I do have to go the bathroom for the first time. The other thing that concerned me about going to the bathroom was soiling the dressing or pressure wrap since I can't take it off until I go back to see Dr. Brand tomorrow. With the daily dressing changes, I think it will be easier to use the restroom just before taking a shower, that way the area is clean when I have my dressing change.
     
  6. Brandonw

    Brandonw Very Helpful

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    I agree. It used to hurt a bit when i sneezed to lol. That will stop in time. Thats what i always did as well, I would use the bathroom and then take a shower just to keep everything clean. Didnt want to take any chances. You may not even have to go until the pressure wrap comes off.
     
  7. BrianS

    BrianS Helpful

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    Yeah, I'm hoping that's the case. Someone else on here recommended trying to go to the bathroom between dressing changes and just before a shower, seems like the smartest thing to do.
     
  8. BrianS

    BrianS Helpful

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    Day 4

    Pain: Still not really much pain, still haven't taken the prescribed pain pills since the one they gave me after surgery. I've been sticking with Tylenol, and I've only taken one today, but I might take one tonight before I go to bed since I'll probably wake up sore again. Also going back and forth on whether it's going to be worth it to take one of the prescribed pain pills tomorrow an hour or so before drain removal. The ACE pressure wrap stays on until the next follow up which will be next Friday, November 21st, but tomorrow he's going to take the dressing off and show us how to reapply the dressing along with the pressure wrap . Then on the 21st, he'll decide if I can stop the daily dressing changes. I'm hoping that everything is closed up by then and I don't have the problems a lot of people have experienced at with the bottom of the incision being open. Don't know if my cyst being higher in the cleft will have any effect on this.

    Diet: Ate more cookies and crackers, but I had a tiny bit of eggs, some bacon (not the healthiest), and another turkey sausage. I also had some crackers and peanut butter today, and had an apple with peanut butter last night, but probably not a bad idea to have more fruits. Might have some more chicken and rice for dinner.

    Sitting: Still a no go. Once again, not painful really, just nervous about doing it. I don't know how to get myself over the idea of thinking that I'm going to damage the incision or pull it apart. I would just hate to ruin the surgery because of something I did.

    The drain: Not draining very much, it's consistently been a pretty small amount, but it is mostly still blood. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing? I thought a lot of people said their drainage went from bright red blood, to a more brown/yellowish/clear fluid?

    Bathroom: No problems going, but no BM yet. I do feel like I'm getting closer, but I don't think it will be as painful this many days out from surgery.

    Sleep: Got a pretty good night's sleep, aside from the usual soreness in my hips and lower back from sleeping on my stomach. I also slept for a little bit in the afternoon, but I've been getting up to walk around a decent amount. Trying not to walk too much though, don't want to damage anything.

    Overall, I'm still feeling pretty good all things considered, but I still have a lot of anxiety about something going wrong, or the wound not healing, or not draining enough fluid, etc. etc. I know I'm only 4 days post-op and need to keep being positive, but I'm having a hard time ignoring the negative thoughts. Hopefully the doctor's appointment for drain removal tomorrow I can get some peace of mind. I'll finally be able to get this dressing off too, at least for a little bit.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  9. Robert Eden

    Robert Eden Very Helpful

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    Glad to hear things are going well Brian.

    I never drained much into the grenade either.

    Eat something! (Jewish mother talking)

    Hopefully the pain will never come! It's possible, didn't for me. You may want to take a pain pill to help you sleep if you're having trouble sleeping.

    Robert
     
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  10. BrianS

    BrianS Helpful

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    I'm working on the eating part :confused:

    But I haven't had much pain either, so I'm glad. Just took 2 Tylenol before bed, hopefully I don't wake up as sore!
     
  11. stokliner

    stokliner Helpful

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    Gotta keep that positive outlook! My surgery is on the 21st, so we'll both see Dr. Brand that day. Ain't that somethin'. I wonder how many cleft lift procedures he performs... My cyst was all itchy and swolen yesterday. As much as I'm loathing the whole surgery process, I'm beyond ready to get this demon out of my body. Be thankful you're on the recovering side!

    BTW: What's he saying about showers? Have you taken one yet?
     
  12. BrianS

    BrianS Helpful

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    Actually, we had to move my appointment to the 25th because he does surgeries on Fridays. There was some confusion on our part. You're only 2 weeks away from a great decision. I'm feeling so much more positive today. Just think, in 2 weeks, your cyst won't be itchy or swollen anymore. You'll be heading towards a new life without it. If I had to guess, I think the cleft lift is his most common surgery, but I could be wrong.

    As far as showers, I'm just now allowed to take showers. I can take the pressure wrap off, but I have to leave the dressing on. Then you just change the dressing after the shower and put the pressure wrap back on.
     
  13. BrianS

    BrianS Helpful

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    Day 5 (First follow-up/drain removal)

    Went to my first follow-up with Dr. Brand since the surgery. Got my drain out, changed the original dressing, he said the wound looked good, and I feel great.

    Drain removal/fluid: Painless. A little pinch, and it's out, just like that. I was worried it might hurt, but once again, Dr. Brand proved me wrong, as he's done throughout this entire process....he is an excellent surgeon. I was also a little concerned since I wasn't draining much that there would be a lot of fluid build up, but he said from looking at the wound, there wasn't any that he could really see.

    Sitting: Still a work in progress. We're making the 5 hour drive home from Chicago tomorrow morning and I will most likely lay sideways in the back seat. I will probably start testing the waters at home when I'm more comfortable.

    Incision/sutures: I didn't get a chance to take a look at the incision yet, but I was told that it is not that noticeable, and is in a straight line. I also finally found out that Dr. Brand used dissolvable sutures. I know that some people have an issue with the bottom stitch, or stitches, failing to dissolve, so hopefully I don't have similar issues. I'm glad they're dissolvable though.

    Pain/soreness: Again, I haven't taken a single pill of the Norco they prescribed since immediately after surgery, if you can even count that. I've been taking Tylenol ever since. There was some soreness in my hips during the initial day of surgery since everything was fresh, but that has gone away. I do still have some soreness in my back when I wake up from laying on my stomach, but I'm going to try sleeping on my side every once in a while. Overall, no real pain, and very little soreness. It was a little tight and I felt some pressure/pinching when he took the dressing off and examined the wound, but nothing too unbearable.

    Showering: I am now allowed to shower by taking off the pressure wrap, but I have to leave the dressing on. Once I get out of the shower, I have to change dressings and put the pressure wrap back on. It will definitely be a relief to shower again.

    Bathroom: Still no BM, but personally I'm glad I haven't had one yet. I feel like the wound has had a little longer to heal, and shouldn't be that much of an issue once it does happen.

    My next follow-up will be on November 25th. Until then, Dr. Brand instructed us how to take off the dressing and re-do it. We are to change the dressing daily, and continue to use the pressure wrap until the follow-up appointment. (The dressing is basically putting a thick layer of gauze directly over the incision, then using tape to pull the butt cheeks together, and then wrapping my waist with the pressure wrap from hip to hip). I will say this about the pressure wrap; while it can be uncomfortable at times, I am actually glad that he uses it because I feel like it keeps me from overworking the wound by spreading my legs too far apart of taking longer strides. I feel more secure by having it there while it initially heals.

    ****I also owe it to several of you on the forum who helped get me here. I bugged the crap out of some of you, but I'm so glad you stuck around to help out people like me, so thank you.****
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  14. Connie777

    Connie777 Very Helpful

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    Sounds like you're doing great! Sounds like you've had a fairly easy recovery! I'm so happy for you!

    I hope your journey home tomorrow goes well. Just lie down on your side in the back and relax.

    Keep us posted on your continued recovery!
     
  15. BrianS

    BrianS Helpful

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    Thank you! I have been very lucky this far. I am starting to feel just a little bit of pressure and some tightness, but I'm thinking it may just be from him poking and prodding the wound from my appointment this afternoon. I think the local anesthetic wore off a day or two ago also, so I won't give it much thought. Just going to take the regular 2 Tylenol and see how I feel in the morning. My biggest fear now is having a build up of fluid underneath the incision, causing it to break down.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  16. BrianS

    BrianS Helpful

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    Day 6 (Going home and the first BM)

    I'm feeling pretty good and I will probably post one more time tomorrow about my first day at home, but then I'll hold off for a little while. I feel like I've posted a lot on here and I've tried to give a good explanation of my experience with the cleft lift, so I don't want to clog up the forum for people who have urgent questions and are really looking for help, or who are in real pain. As always though, anyone who is reading this and has any questions at all about my personal experience or the cleft lift, send me a private message or reply here and I'll make an effort to get back to you as soon as I can. I want to help others who are dealing with this, just like you guys helped me out when I first started dealing with this.

    The ride home: If you have to travel for surgery, and you have access to an SUV, I suggest using it so you can lay down on your side or your stomach for the ride home. I laid on my stomach for most of the 5 hour drive, and switched to my side towards the end when my knees started to hurt a little. Overall, a little bumpy, but not too bad. Pillows and blankets help out a lot, too.

    Bathroom: It finally happened. And I'm glad it did, not using the restroom for almost a week was a little weird and caused a little back up, so I was going for longer than I expected. I felt a little burning sensation at first, but like others have said, it wasn't too bad. Maybe a little bit of pulling/tugging, but I suggest not trying to strain yourself or push too hard. Luckily, it happened just before my first at-home dressing change, so I can try and clean up the area in the shower. I also suggest a removable shower head, if you have one, to gently clean the area and try and get anything you missed. As for sitting on the toilet, I just leaned forward a little bit and kind of perched myself on my thighs. Can't get over that fear that I'm going to rip the incision open though, but I trust Dr. Brand, and you guys have helped ease my mind a bit.

    Shower: I have to leave the dressing on, but I can take the pressure wrap off. First time I'm allowed to shower since the surgery. Still tilting my head forward to wash my hair, don't want anything falling down there, especially loose hairs.

    Sitting: Sitting on the toilet made me feel a little better about trying to sit using my coccyx cushion, so I might give that a shot later. It's still in my head that I'm damaging the surgery or the incision, or that I'm pulling everything apart. I know I need to get over that feeling to start making more progress, but I'm not going to rush it if I don't have to.
     
  17. Robert Eden

    Robert Eden Very Helpful

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    Excellent Brian!

    I was sitting and laying on my back from day 1.. don't be afraid, do what you're comfortable with. If it hurts, stop.

    Now you can see how those of us in the forum shudder when we think about what folks with excisions needlessly go through. Welcome to the cleft lift club!

    Robert
     
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  18. BrianS

    BrianS Helpful

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    Thank you Robert! And thanks for the advice! Now I'm just trying to manage all the little "scares." Just have to make it to the next follow-up!
     
  19. BrianS

    BrianS Helpful

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    Day 7

    Last "recovery log" post for a while, feel like it's been a good week and I'm moving along well.

    Sitting: I plan on trying to sit for short periods of time tomorrow. I know there are different opinions on this, but I feel like I need to eventually, and if I'm feeling this good so far, and I don't feel much pain or discomfort when using the restroom, I shouldn't have too many issues trying to sit using a coccyx cushion. Sitting feels like the last hurdle to me after conquering the drain, the bathroom, and everything else. May just be for 5 or 10 minutes at a time, but it's a start.

    Bathroom: Still going well in this department, but I definitely recommend stool softeners. While the stool softeners make it easier to go, I am having a hard time cleaning up. Sometimes feels like you're constantly wiping. It is hard to keep the area clean, especially with the dressing, which has worried me because of the possibility of infection. I wipe a lot but worry that I'm still not getting the area clean enough. Not sure what else there is I can do about this.


    In the end, still glad that I went through with surgery. I had an excellent surgeon in Dr. Brand, and I feel that the surgery went very well. I know I'm not out of the woods yet, but I'm just trying to take it easy still until the next follow-up. I'm still having those little "scares," with small amounts of blood on the dressing during dressing changes, trying to keep the area clean, not spreading my legs too far apart, getting in and out of bed, the list goes on and on. That being said, I would recommend the cleft lift to anyone considering surgery for their cyst, despite your cyst status. Whether it is your 3rd surgery, your 6th surgery, or even you first, like mine. I have several more weeks ahead of me, but thanks to the cleft lift surgery, and because of Dr. Brand, I feel confident that I am going get back to my normal life, my career, and the goals that I had before I found out about this terrible disease. Thank you again to everyone on this forum who helped guide me here.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2014
  20. stokliner

    stokliner Helpful

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    This is all excellent news man. It seems like things have gone as well as they could have, and I hope I can say the same for mine when the time comes... 1 week. Your log has given me hope and been very informative, so I can't thank you enough for all the posting. Other logs are great too, but we see the same surgeon and at very similar times, so I imagine the process is basically identical.

    Maybe baby wipes could help with the clean up process.

    How much more time do you have off before going back to work? I was planning on returning to work on day 10, but not expecting to sit much, if at all. My biggest worry is doing the dressing changes on my own, as I will only have help the first 10 or 12 days.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2014

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