Excision with Open Healing - 10/11 week Recovery: I'm Feeling Good

Discussion in 'I'm Healed and OUTTA HERE!' started by Lex Luthor, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. Lex Luthor

    Lex Luthor New Member

    Aug 10, 2015
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    tl;dr - Had a pilonidal cyst, didn't like it. Had excision with open healing, took about 11 weeks to heal, I'm happy with my progress and recovery.

    Back in April I turned twenty three and had one of the best birthdays ever. The weekend was amazing and I really thought life was looking up. A couple of days later and I started to feel a pressure around my tailbone. I had felt a pressure like this before but it usually subsided in a few days. This was different and after three days I was in a lot of pain whether sitting or walking. That Friday I got home and as I was changing out of my work clothes I saw blood and pus all over my underwear.

    Not wanting to take any chances I kept the wound dressed until I saw my primary physician the following week. He told me it was a pilonidal cyst and that he actually has one that bothers him every couple of months. He said his was mild and that if I were interested in treatment options I should go to a specialist he knew that does general surgery and colon & rectal surgery. He put me on antibiotics for a week but told me that the only way to really deal with it was surgery. For all of these operations that he had done, his rate of remission was 1%. How accurate this percentage is I don't know but the doctor is clearly an expert in his field.

    For the next month I struggled with the decision to have surgery or not. Unfortunately every week repeated the same cycle: The cyst would fill up until it was large and swollen and then I'd drain it painfully in the shower. I had a lot of people telling me to do the surgery and a lot telling me not to. It's a hard decision but one that I am glad I made. The procedure was done at an outpatient center and went incredibly smooth. I was so out of it from the anesthesia and medication that I really didn't have much on my mind.

    Week 1: I bled a lot. The doctor said bleeding is normal but that I was bleeding a greater amount than usual. Comforting. While I slept through the first couple of days, I started to become restless by having to always lay on my sides. My whole body became sore from not being able to sit or lay properly. I was prescribed strong medicine that I only used for the first two or three days. After the third or fourth day the unpacking and packing of the gauze was becoming increasingly painful. My mom handled the packing for me from the first day to the last. I'm incredibly grateful for her.

    Week 2: Tried to go back to work at the end of the first week but still needed more rest. Still bleeding quite a bit and more restless than I had ever been. It would be a fair assessment to say I was mildly depressed. A lot was going on in life and this was the icing on the cake. The packing and unpacking was difficult and I gained a noticeable amount of weight from eating a lot and doing little. Needless to say I was starting to unravel a bit.

    Week 3: The wound was really starting to recover at an impressive rate and the pain was beginning to subside. Packing and unpacking was still unpleasant but you adapt to the pain. It's over so quick and before you know it your back to whatever you were doing with mild discomfort.

    Weeks 4-6: I lump these together because while I thought I'd take notes on each week of recovery my perspective on the whole matter really changed. I was grateful that I had this surgery because more and more people I knew turned out to have them to varying degrees. A good friend of mine has one but does not have health insurance and couldn't afford treatment. I accepted everything that happened and how I was glad I did the surgery and the countdown to 8 weeks started to matter less. Living in South Florida and not being able to swim or do really active things while recovering during the summer can be a real bummer. These weeks changed my view on it from the end of the world to a temporary pain for a better future.

    Weeks 7-8: The recovery was definitely nearing a finish although the doctor said it looked like I may take a bit longer to heal. Every check in I had with the surgeon since the operation was good and it helped to know that I was healing quite nice. While I was hoping to be fully closed by 8 weeks I understood that after dealing with it this long it didn't really matter if it would take an additional week or two because I've got it on lock.

    Weeks 9-12ish: So as it may be evident from the shifting focus of my timeline, I haven't really kept count of how long I am into the recovery. I was fully closed around the tenth or eleventh week but still avoided swimming or bathing till today just to be safe and let the new skin have some time to set in. While I was worried the scar would be gross and really discolored it is looking better and healthier every day.

    I understand this is a wall of text but I felt like throwing in the gist of my experience because this stuff is scary. When I first found out I had it I went online looking for help and as this site warns most of what you'll find are the extreme cases. This was not an extreme case. I had it, it was a problem, I had the surgery, and now I'm feeling good. My final check up with the surgeon is this Wednesday and if anyone would like I can post the results in this thread. If you have any questions I'd be more than happy to answer.

    Some basic tips that you may or may not already know:

    • Shower every day before you unpack and repack gauze into the wound. It helps with the removal and pain a lot.
    • Don't stress over the pain. You'll impress yourself with how quickly it becomes manageable.
    • Whether you keep track of your progress or try to ignore it, know that every day you are closer to being healed. Stop stressing over the 8 week expectation and do your thing.
    • As your recovery progresses, start out slow but hang out with people again. Don't do anything that could agitate the wound like some strenuous activity but relax and laugh.
    • Get plenty of sleep, eat well, and stay hydrated. This is an important time to give your body the strength it needs to recover.
    Farid and Courey found this helpful.
  2. Courey

    Courey New Member

    Aug 1, 2015
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    Thank you....these are the words I needed to read tonight.
  3. S2015

    S2015 New Member

    Dec 18, 2015
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    Wow! Very encouraging words and I am looking forward to getting to the point where you are !!! I just got through my 1st week and it is feeling like forever in this recovery stage, but your weekly recovery process is encouraging!!!
  4. Farid

    Farid Helpful

    Nov 20, 2015
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    thx for posting ur experience . for how long you have been packing ur wound ?

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