Sunday, April 19, 2009

Crack In My Diagnosis Pt 3

It's Easter and as promised Dr. Graham showed up at the hospital to examine my hiney. I told him how last month I was in the hospital with a high fever and sore rear; how they told me at the time it was a fissure and the fever they weren't sure about - maybe the only thing causing it was my low white blood cell count. Dr. Graham was suspicious, but said little before my exam except that it's really not possible to feel a fissure. He seemed to think the last butt doctor I saw in the hospital was merely guessing.

I was rolled over into butt exam position...drawers dropped...humiliation galore..."is this it?" POKE! And he knew exactly what it was, what was going on with me and how to make it better.

I'm going to stop there for a moment. I figure since I'm being so honest here, I'll go ahead and really humiliate myself. That exam - that horrible, horrible exam. Because there is nothing more embarrassing than having someone poking at you bottom and asking questions, I felt the need to make things as wickedly humiliating as humanly possible for myself...

Now remember all day Saturday and Sunday I was in nasty pain. Wonderful Dr. Edwards had given the thumbs up on as much pain medicine as I could handle. The pain meds were able to halt any diarrhea that may have happened from the antibiotics. In fact, the pain meds tried to make it so I'd never poop again. Ever. EVER! Soooo much discomfort. I told my nurse that I've got a bottom full of poo that absolutely will not come out. "No problem, Sheri!" and off she scampered the get me three different types of laxatives that I took all at once (I'm not kidding!) The sad part? They didn't work.

Sunday night rolls around and I'm full of laxatives that aren't working and I'm due for a butt exam. I didn't see how this was going to go well. I looked down at my distended stomach - said a little prayer and rolled over for my exam. You know how when you blow up an air mattress and the air stays pretty much inside even when you don't have the valve closed? But if you touch the valve a little - just the slightest bit of pressure - the air will come rushing out? Either you understand what I'm trying to say or you don't; whatever the case I'm not going into anymore detail for you.

The exam was rather quick (I'm not sure if that's the norm for him, or if my free flowing air rushed him along.) But he let me know, in no uncertain terms, that the other doctors had been wrong. I did not have a fissure. The lump on the outside of my bottom was an abscess. While he couldn't see the inside, his guess would be that I had another abscess or worse inside my rear. He explained that abscess was shooting infection throughout my body which was causing my fever. He said they were wildly painful and couldn't believe I'd been living with it as long as I had. Dr. Graham was ready to operate on it right then and there.

He explained what the surgery entailed; how the abscess was full of infected puss that needed to be drained. The only thing that would have made that moment any better would have been if I had been eating a bowl of tapioca pudding. Gah! He said once he had the thing drained I would feel soooo much better. While I wanted the thing fixed as quickly as possible, having surgery right then and there wasn't possible. I needed to make sure that Dad, Tom, and the kids were taken care of first. It seemed to me that it would be easier for everyone if I had the surgery the next morning while the kids were in school.

7:30am Monday and I'm ready for the pain to be over. In and out of surgery! I'm back in my room by 10:30am. It was clear, after the surgery, that I was wrongly diagnosed. I never had a fissure. What I had was a large abscess on the outside and an even larger fistula on the inside. I'd never heard of a fistula, so it was explained to me that it was something you do NOT want. My fistula was started from an untreated abscess that was deeeeeeep inside my butt area (you know...the part where poop comes out.) My untreated abscess formed a hole in that super sensitive area of mine. The hole welcomed germs and all kinds of other guests. They weren't happy to just sit there either. Nope. They thought they should see the world! A tunnel was formed. Apparently, it was quite large, too. Abscess drained and fistula closed and stitched up.

I'm a new woman! I may not be able to have my next chemo treatment on time now. Dr. Young gets to examine my bum on Friday and decide if the area is healed enough for me to receive my poison. If I'm not healed, I'll be delayed a week. A part of me wants it delayed, but another part doesn't. I'm sooooo stinkin ready for chemo to be over.


  1. Better 'n better.

    Is an exam when you're So Sick like having a baby? You know; the janitor can check your dilation and it's okay. Is it like that with the pooting during an exam?
    It's surely not the norm. (Is it Sheri?)

    I hope you can get your tx.
    How many more treatments in the 67 days?

  2. Sometimes I think doctors only guess at what's wrong with a person. Obviously, the one that said it was a fissure totally guessed wrong. I'm thrilled that it was figured out and handled. Hopefully, it will be one less thing to worry about.

  3. so glad he found the proble, quickly, & has taken care of it. just makes me angry you had to suffer sooo long with it, because of a misdiagnosis. that happens way too much with too many!
    get that butt better soon sweetie, & back to chemo then. ;)

  4. No I never had an abscess. All things considered, I was lucky with the chemo side effects-no infections or hospital stays. The general cruddiness that I had with the Red Devil, bladder spasms with Cytoxan so I didn't always pee where I was supposed to, and the myalgia with Taxol in which I couldn't get comfortable were no picnic.
    But the look on the doctors' faces as you 'deflated' in their faces must have been a hoot. That's what they get for tinkering too much with the 'valve'. Are you delayed a week from your schedule or more? Seems like your white blood cells were working overtime.

  5. I'm so glad they finally listened to you and it was taken care of! It just goes to show it pays to be a squeeky wheel...and unfortunately we really have to advocate for ourselves to get the treatment we need! Happy healing!

  6. Oh my goodness I am sure you are feeling better! I have to admit you had me chuckling a bit at your comontary.

    I know what you mean about wanting to skip chemo, but then just wanting to get it overwith. Hope it works out for you which ever way.

  7. I think they should fire that doctor for such an idiot diagnosis and no follow-up. Sheesh, you should not have suffered so, bless your heart and bum! Blessings and praying it will heal quickly.

  8. Sheri, I'm so glad you got some relief and a legitimate answer AND solution to your issues of fever and bottom pain. Jerks. Let them have an abscess, pump themselves full of poison, pile on antinauseas and pain pills for atrocious constipation and see how that works out for them.

    Half the time, if the Docs would just LISTEN things would be much easier.

    I'm done ranting. I have a question. Did the doctor say where the abscess and fistule came from?

    I'm praying your next treatment goes much more smoothly. You SO deserve a break!


  9. So you had me giggling pretty loud at the air mattress analogy. Oh Sheri, what you have been through. I am so glad you don't have to worry about your butt anymore. Makes me so mad that you went for so long before someone finally figured it out. I'm praying that your butt problems are gone for good now.

  10. Kel - I still have 4 horrible treatments left. I was having flashbacks to being pregnant - the only difference being that I was asking people to check my butt. I don't remember calling in nurses to check my hoo-haw while I was with child. (the norm? it's something we'll talk about when we get together in person.)

    Sue- thank you! the myalgia is driving me nuts! I didn't realize how bad it was until I got my hiney pain fixed. It's not just the rear that is making me uncomfortable - it's the Tax!

    Sharon - like everything else that happens, they blame the chemo. The butt doctor did say that while this isn't common, he has seen it quite a few times in cancer patients.

    Janeil - glad I could make you laugh with everything going on in your crazy life. You stay in my prayers.