This will be a very long story-review. It is needed to know the full effect of what pilonidal disease will do to someone and how life-changing Dr. Sternberg's procedure is.
I have suffered with pilonidal disease for about the last two years. The first couple times it became inflamed, it was extremely painful but the acute exacerbation resolved itself both times. During these shorter exacerbations, I researched pilonidal disease and self-diagnosed my problem. I even read about Dr. Sternberg on a pilonidal disease forum. I had a friend previously who had a conventional surgical treatment for pilonidal disease and he had a terrible experience with a big hunk of tissue removed from his tailbone area. Dr. Sternberg's technique seemed a lot different from that, but I decided that mine wasn't so bad and I didn't need any surgical intervention so I moved on with my life.
It wasn't until I was on vacay with my hubby in Ireland, June-July 2017, that it became inflamed and infected to the point of needing to go to the hospital! I was in so much pain I could barely walk or move and definitely couldn't sit without excruciating pain. I went to the A&E in Northern Ireland (the bright side of this story is that I got to experience a health care system other than the U.S... A long wait, standing for 3 hrs because I couldn't sit, in the A&E but no bill, no cost whatsoever. That was a shocker!). Anyway, the multiple providers I saw confirmed what I had already suspected, I had a pilonidal abscess. They wanted to do an incision and drainage procedure which would mean wound packing and staying in one Ireland location for at least 5-7 days (THE REMAINDER OF OUR VACATION). I opted out of this, they gave me antibiotics and pain medication and sent me on my way but insisted that I saw someone about the problem upon returning to the U.S., it was going to come back eventually. 'Ok, Ok, I will' I thought. The antibiotics did the trick and I was feeling better after a couple days. My husband and I made the most of the rest of our trip and came home.
After returning home, I was feeling fine and of course I didn't bother going to see anyone about my pilonidal disease. Then... The week leading up to Thanksgiving 2017, my monster reared its ugly head again. I was down for the count. I was in so much pain I couldn't even sleep, I woke up one night feeling terrible, I almost thought I was septic. I went to an urgent care clinic the next day and pleaded with the NP to not do the incision and drainage that she wanted to do. I promised that I would go see the surgeon I had previously read about. She gave me antibiotics and pain meds and I called Dr. Sternberg's clinic that same day. Thankfully, I already live near the SF Bay Area and would not have to travel too far to see him. I got an appt for a consultation in January.
Ok... I just have to be really careful and hope and pray that it doesn't get so bad again before January. Not to mention I was starting a new job as an RN at a hospital in January! I constantly had to sit sideways, alternating butt cheeks, sat on a neck pillow in the car on my way to and from work, I was miserable. I would feel it occasionally ramp up like it was going to get really bad, then it would go away...My consultation comes, I am a good candidate for the cleft lift surgery, YAY! Surgery won't happen until March, ughhh :-( I wait another miserable 2 months, unable to sit like a normal human being, having a constantly irritated tailbone area, and the ever-lingering threat of an infective assault on my body.
Finally March is here! I'm excited and nervous of course. I stay the night in the city with my mom who is also an RN and will be my wound-care nurse after surgery. Surgery is bright and early, the surgery center was wonderful. Dr. Sternberg was always positive, smiling, and assured me that all would be great. The surgery went well, I went back to the hotel and did homework for my online BSN I am obtaining, hopped up on pain meds but I still got A's on my assignments ;-) The day after surgery I had a post-op follow-up appt and Dr. Sternberg taught my mom how to care for the incision and drain. Drain out 6 days later. I am now a little more than 5 weeks post-op and I am fantastic!! I am SOOO happy I chose to go to Dr. Sternberg. Changed my life forever. Thank you Dr. Sternberg!!