Fistulectomy on the 27th of May... (UPDATED!)

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Fistulectomy on the 27th of May... (UPDATED!)

Postby Maurice » 04 May 2011, 12:52

[[Big update!! : Oct 18 2012 : Long time since posting, but it's been over a year since my surgery My scar still swells up now and then after jogging or before my period, but no sign of a returned fistula. ]]
Hi guys! I'm 24, female, and I have been suffering an anal fistula as result from an abscess I had drained several years ago. I stumbled upon this forum as I was trying to find information on the healing process behind a fistulectomy. I've been to the doctor, discussed plans, and I go in for a colonoscopy for a look-see come the 20th. If everything looks good, I go in for the fistulectomy on the 27th.
I asked about the packing gauze and about recovery time. The doc said I'll be good to go on my vacation at the end of June if I just promise to take things easy. He told me most of his patients spend about a week getting their rest, and come week two, they're back to doing many normal things with their lives while managing the packing and sitz baths. He suggested that I not do anything too strenuous and not be lifting / pushing anything like furniture about the house as I recover. He said the worst part will the post-op pain and the itching while the wound heals, but other than that I'll be feeling much better and won't have to worry about the fistula drainage anymore. Which, yes, is a relieving idea since I'm tired of using up all my panty-liners for this literal pain in my rear.
My biggest concern is the fact I'm going to have a gaping wound next to my anus, and the thought of having a bowel movement after the surgery is a little frightening. I know I should start on the stool softeners and take my daily fiber supplement, soft foods, and lay off on the red meat and dairy products. What other tips and expectations can you guys give to a gal who is both excited and anxious about getting rid of her fistula?
Much love,
Maurice
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Last edited by Maurice on 18 Oct 2012, 14:24, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Fistulectomy on the 27th of May... (UPDATED!)

Postby Deleted User 579 » 04 May 2011, 15:03

Hi Maurice Image
I'm sorry you are suffering, but it's good that you came here. There are lots of great people who will offer advice and support. I don't think there is anybody currently posting who has had a fistula, but there have been quite a few in the past who, from the looks of things, got the surgery, healed and are now living happy lives. If I'm not mistaken, a few of them include:
motherluch
buttgirl
dano
afugh!!
Perhaps there are others I left out and someone else will add to this list. If you do a search in the memberlist your should be able to find their posts and read all about their experiences. It seems to me that a fistulotomy/fistulectomy is an alarming procedure because it involves more tissure removal; but, if I remember correctly what I've read here, it is surprisingly not as painful as people expect (not to say it doesn't hurt - but it didn't seem to hurt as much as people thought it would). Anyway, there is a sticky posted that describes the procedure too. There's lots of great resources here - including all the people who are here to help now, and who have left their stories posted so they could help us after they left. :D
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Re: Fistulectomy on the 27th of May... (UPDATED!)

Postby PaulsPain » 04 May 2011, 19:26

Hi Maurice-
I had a fistulotomy. I had a lot done in that surgery so it is hard for me to say how much it added to recovery.
My CRS didn't have me use packing. I think the key is to keep the area very clean. So if you don't have a hand shower it may be worth getting one. This is the most effective means to clean the area gently.
I hope you have success.
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Re: Fistulectomy on the 27th of May... (UPDATED!)

Postby Maurice » 05 May 2011, 15:35

Thanks for the warm welcome, the information, and the replies!
Hope: Thanks for letting me know which user posts to look up and for the support even though my case is different from the forum topic. :)
Paul: Thank you so much for your suggestion. I was thinking about picking up a hand shower sprayer. We used to have one in my home, but the hose sprung a leak. Probably can pick up a $10 one at the pharmacy when I go to pick up my magnesium citrate before the big day. How long did your fistulotomy take to heal to where you could be out and about like 'normal'?
I think another one of my fears at the moment is having a repeat surgery. Image Wouldn't that be infuriating?
Thanks one more guys.
Maurice
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Re: Fistulectomy on the 27th of May... (UPDATED!)

Postby Deleted User 579 » 05 May 2011, 16:47

hey Maurice - I didn't realize that a fistula could develop years after and abscess. That's good to know. Don't worry about a repeat surgery just now. I know that fistulas can recur and new ones can develop, but there's no reason just now to think that that will happen to you. Many people get surgery for a fistula and don't have to deal with another one. It's good that your doc is going to have a 'look-see' to rule out underlying conditions. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that everything comes back A-okay :D
Paul - I've read your posts and I have been hoping that you are doing alright. Your posts have helped many of us newer boardies, so thank you for keeping in touch! How are you doing now?
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Re: Fistulectomy on the 27th of May... (UPDATED!)

Postby PaulsPain » 05 May 2011, 20:47

Hi Maurice-
I had a lot cut during that surgery - 2 fissurotomy, 1 skin tag removed, fistulectomy, and LIS. So I had 5 wounds to heal at once. So my recovery was pretty long and very painful - months before the spasms settled down. I also found out last fall I have Crohn's disease after I had an abscess in Sept. So I assume that I healed slower because of that also. At the abscess surgery they found another fistula deep in muscle. So I still have a draining seton in place and have started medication. So I have pretty much not been "normal" for 6 years now.
I was back to work in 3 days though. I sit at a desk at work. In general, I did take it easy but was still active. Probably the worst thing was getting in and out of my car. I think everybody has different ways they handle pain. For me I would much rather be working than wallowing in pain at home.
Hope- I am still kind of status quo. Fistula with draining seton hoping that medication will heal it. The medication has not helped so far and side effects have been brutal - nausea with massive fatigue. I have had a blood draw every two weeks since December - so that is getting old. They finally cut my dose about 2 weeks ago since my white blood cell count dropped to low. I am taking an immune suppressant. So I think come June I will be moving to Remicade which has me kind of freaked out.... But I keep positive and deal with things as they come. Thanks for asking.
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Re: Fistulectomy on the 27th of May... (UPDATED!)

Postby Deleted User 579 » 06 May 2011, 08:16

Hey Paul - you sure are putting up one helluva good fight! That must be so exhausting, though. I hope that the seton doesn't make you too uncomfortable and that the meds heal that fistula very soon.
I'm so sorry that your meds have such brutal side effects. I can understand why you'd be freaked out by the Remicade - that has some pretty serious side-effects from what I understand. I really hope that your Crohn's goes into remission very soon. You definitely deserve a break. It's great that you are staying so positive - we are rooting for you! And we are here for you when/if you need help staying positive or just need to chat with (or vent to) some friends . Image
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Re: Fistulectomy on the 27th of May... (UPDATED!)

Postby Maurice » 06 May 2011, 12:48

Hope:
Yes - fistulas can surface months, even years after a drained abscess, but you're right. I should focus on this surgery and the healing I will be doing afterwards.
Paul:
Man, you have it rough. I'm sorry to hear that you have to go through all of this. Keep fighting the good fight and godspeed. I'll be praying for you. Once again, thanks for the advice you have offered.
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Re: Fistulectomy on the 27th of May... (UPDATED!)

Postby rockpine » 07 May 2011, 10:22

Maurice:
I had a fistulotomy, LIS, and a hemorroidectomy done on April 27.
I am healing pretty well and am probably already 70% back to normal activity already. The procedure and recovery wasn't as bad as I had imagined earlier. The worst was the actual anticipation of the surgery and of what BMs would be like before it happened because it's in such a sensitive and private area and you don't openly talk about such things with people.
BMs for me aren't very painful anymore and there isn't much blood or seepage from the incision anymore. The area is currently sensitive and achey and that's not bad for having three procedures done at the same time just over a week ago! Each day gets better.
My fistula appeared when I was 15 (and now I'm 34) and I didn't even know it was a fistula until after the surgery was over! I was too embarrassed at 15 to see a doc about it due to its location and just lived with it since. My CRS seemed to be the only one who knew what he was seeing -- a skin tag or fistula. All of the other GP docs that I have met thought that it was an external hemorrhoid. Plus, he was the only one who told me that my problems with pain were from a fissure, not hemorroids.
I'm really glad I got the surgery. It is good to nip it in the bud and clear out that area so that things there move as easily as possible. Some people get their nose fixed to better their lives...I got my butt fixed! Image
Good luck with everything and I hope the procedure goes well for you!
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Re: Fistulectomy on the 27th of May... (UPDATED!)

Postby Maurice » 07 May 2011, 13:59

Rockpine:
First - Wow! That's a quick healing time. You must be Wonder Woman. I hope my personal healing time is just as quick. :D
Second - I have a similar story about being a teen with a problem nobody else wants to deal with / knows about. I had a cyst in my breast which seeped from when I was 12/13 years old until my final year of college. None of the doctors wanted to do anything with it, and finally, I found a doctor who said: "Yea, that's not normal. We need to put a stop to that," and she did. :)
I'm reliving that again, but with this fistula. Like you, when my abscess first appeared, all my doctors just thought I had a really severe hemorrhoid which resulted in prescribed useless painkillers and creams. It took me two weeks of pain, suffering, no sleep whatsoever, and a fever before somebody snet me to a specialist. Said specialist knew exactly what he was looking at right after I pulled down my jeans. "Yea, that's an abscess, and a nasty one at that. You have a lot of pain tolerance if you put up with this for two weeks." So right there in his office, he lanced and drained it out. That was an instant relief, and I healed up in about two weeks' time.
When I came back with similar pains in that same region, he figured it would eventually come back as a fistula, and here I am today. I'm glad I found a place where I could get some support and smiles, some joking too. This is a very odd topic and even is embarrassing to speak about my rear-end with my mother. Somehow, the anonymity of the internet and people sharing similar cases makes the topic a lot more easy to discuss. I completely agree with you on your last statement - I surely want to get my butt fixed! I could just live with a drain for the rest of my life, but I want to try this first.
Thanks for your feedback, and hope for a quick recovery time!
Maurice
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