The pain in my butt!

The title of this blog isn’t a saying used to describe a nagging wife or a battered, old car. No, this is literal. This is the story about the pain in my butt.

About two weeks ago, I started noticing a pain located right around my tailbone. I was still completing my 1/2 marathon training runs and participating in boot camp classes on my lunch hour. However, each day, the pain grew worse and worse. After finishing a 10 mile run, I felt tired and ready to sit down and rest. That day my body didn’t want me to sit down. The pain had gotten even worse. The next couple of days I could barely walk, let alone run. I created a standing desk at work just so I didn’t have to sit on my tailbone all day!

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I am still strong, despite my setback

Finally, the pain got to be so bothersome that I started asking my running coach, my co-workers and my family what could be wrong. After explaining the area of the pain and the severity of the pain, my running coach was certain it was caused by wearing two different pairs of running shoes while training. The same thing had happened to her earlier in the running season. Just a sore tailbone that needed ice and rest. I thought for certain that was why the pain was happening because I, indeed, had been wearing two different pairs of shoes depending on my mileage for the day.

The next weekend came and I was heading back to my hometown, Toledo, to attend family events. That two and half hour drive home was UNCOMFORTABLE to say the least. When I got home I was almost in tears and immediately laid down and iced my butt!

Pushing through the pain!

The next morning, my lovely mother, who against my will, took a photo of my rear end, finally solved the mystery! We sent the photo to my sister, a nurse practitioner and she knew immediately what it was. A pilonidal cyst had formed right in between my cheeks! But, the cyst had developed into an extremely painful and infected abscess.This is caused by an ingrown hair and bad hygiene (aka my lunch hour sweaty workout classes without showering!) My sister ordered me to get to the doctor immediately to get the abscess drained.

By the time I arrived at the general surgeons office at Toledo Hospital, I didn’t care what it took, I wanted the abscess drained! I’ll spare you the gory details but what was to follow was the most excruciating pain of my life! Two numbing shots in the rear that didn’t necessarily do their job, lots of yelling and tears and a whole lot of pain later, the abscess was drained of its infection and it had been packed with a medicated string to keep the infection from returning. Not only was the drainage immense physical pain, I was also experiencing emotional pain thinking about the months and months of training I had completed for my 1/2 marathon. Thinking about the race and the possibility that I might be on the sidelines cheering instead of lined up at the start. I had worked so hard and this stupid abscess was keeping me from reaching my goal!

Upon leaving the hospital, I started thinking more about the concept of pain. I really had never experienced pain like that, ever in my life. Then I started thinking about how lucky I was. Good lord, I had a 20 minute painful procedure. I wasn’t dying. I still had all 4 limbs. I still had a job, an incredible family, a roof over my head, a healthy body. I had so many things to be thankful for in the midst of the pain!

Continuing to ponder the concept of pain, I realized that the pain I had just been through was nothing. I started to think about the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House who have a young child enduring months and months of chemotherapy, doctors appointments, traveling, financial hardships. That’s pain. I thought about Jesus suffering on the cross for our sins. That’s pain. I thought about those that have lost a loved one from a horrible car accident. That’s pain. I thought about that paralyzed soldier that fought courageously for his country. That’s pain.

By the time I pulled into the driveway, I realized that the pain I had experienced was meager compared to the pain of this world. Life is all about perspective. I am thankful for that painful, infected abscess on my booty. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on pain in this life. I have been so fortunate not to have experienced much pain. I’ve realized that I’m not unstoppable. I need to take care of myself, even at a young, thriving age. A change of undies, baby wipes and more showers are in my future to say the least! (Uh, I really hate showers!) God has given me an incredible body, capable of incredible things. God also puts little roadblocks in your life (like pilonidal abscess’s on your butt) to grow you, teach you and equip you for the challenges that life brings.

I will leave you with one final thought. My best friend just sent me a very timely get well soon card that included a verse from Corinthians that really embodies this entire blog post:

“So we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” – 2 Corinthians 4:16

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