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HISTORY: I want to give a background about what I had been experiencing because I think it is important to understand that everyone is different in their hemorrhoid experiences. My dads side of the family suffers from bowel and digestive issues anyway so it wasn't a surprise when I got my first hemorrhoid at the age of 20 (1990) It was my wedding day and I was bearing down trying to poop so that I wouldn't have to poop later and "pop" my first one. My wedding night was a treat. Preparation H and misery...not what one would expect. Over the course of the next 15+ years or so I would have an occasional episode where it would "flare up" and be swollen and uncomfortable. Mine very rarely, if ever itched. Let me add that my hemorrhoid was prolapsed and ALWAYS hanging out and couldn't be pushed back in. When I've read about people being able to push theirs back in, I've always been perplexed because mine certainly couldn't be. It was always there which meant that even when it was swelled I had to be thorough with cleaning around it after a BM. However, sometimes it would swell and become thrombosed to the point of pain. In 2011 I started noticing that I had more bleeding and was having more flare ups. I went in for a colonoscopy and they determined that I had a total of 3 decent sized hemorrhoids with one of them prolapsed. They suggested banding. I eventually scheduled my appointment in 2012 not really understanding what I was in for. The local surgeon (not a colorectal specialist) had me bend over the table and he banded the first one. He said I definitely had 3 internal ones that he was going to take care of...again not the external one. He got the band around the first one and it was so painful that I actually made him stop and not finish the others. He gave me a prescription for painkillers and sent me on my way. It was so bad that I stopped at the bathroom in the facility to go because the pressure was unbearable. I went straight home crying from the pain and my husband had to go get my prescription. I was so angry that they didn't give me something ahead of time and suggest that I have someone there to pick me up. I started researching banding and everyone said the same thing - fuhreaking horrible pain. I was livid because I was given no warning. In addition, there were no recommendations to go easy on food for the few days prior so that I could prolong any bowel movements. I actually screamed out in pain the first time and like so many others, the best description would be hot shards of glass that or sandpaper perhaps. I have a had a c-section and a tummy tuck and I remember saying that I would do both of those over again before I would do a banding. Fast forward to 2013 or so and now the bleeding has gotten to the point that I'm saturating pads and clothes and the external one has become more consistently thrombosed. I went to see a local surgeon and when I told her about the banding she was appalled. She said that at her practice they would knock me out for the procedure. Also, she scared the crap out of me (no pun intended) that there was a chance that they would come back. I also want to say that my flare ups were at this point almost 100% related to eating spicy foods. If I ate anything with a jalapeno in it or some sort of hot spice, I knew that two days later I would have a flare up. The following day would always consist of this drainage (not blood but mucus) and a mild discomfort ..the second day I was a hot mess. I started trying to tweak my diet and avoid spicy foods and it helped for a while. Needless to say, I chickened out on getting it done and focused on dietary changes. Fast forward to December 2016. At this point, I was having flare ups several times a month regardless of food choices. I went to see a colorectal surgeon at UVA and she suggested a full hemorrhoidectomy. I scheduled it for June of 2017.

About the same time, I started Whole 30 and noticed a short term difference in how often I was having flare ups so once again I chickened out and canceled the surgery. 2018 until August of 2019, my life as far as my butt was concerned became a living hell. I had started weight training and I believe that the strain from lifting heavy weights sent me into a whole new realm. I spent this last year with a swollen thrombosed external hemorrhoid for at least 80% of the time. The bleeding from the internal ones was constant and regardless of my food choices, I was flared up terrible. When you live with a thrombosed hemorrhoid the size of a damn plum all of the time, it changes everything. I swear to God it changed my walking gate and my hips because of how often I would need to shift to my left side. There were times when I would have to get up in the middle of the night 3 times to take a hot bath. I was exhausted. Also, I lived my life with a sanitary pad all of the time because of mucus and blood drainage. This caused a urinary tract infection this summer. Needless to say, it was fun times around here. I decided to see a colorectal surgeo. I gotta say, her bedside manner and her frankness were a welcome experience. She basically told me that if I didn't have the surgery, I would spend the rest of my life like this. She said she wanted to take care of 2 internal ones and then the external thrombosed one. I had one internal on my left and a large internal on my right. The thrombosed external was also on my right. She was very honest and told me that the first week post surgery would be "torture" but the 2nd week would be less. She said some people go back to work in week two but others need more time. She said to plan for 4 weeks to be on the safe side. Of course the month leading up the surgery I only had 3 flare ups. I can't tell you how close I was to canceling but my son and husband both reminded me that I would regret it and that a week of "torture" was better than a lifetime. Also, my son is taking me ona trip in November so I really didn't want to be a hot mess for that. Okay so that is the is the surgery...

SURGERY: I had my surgery on September 19th 2019. She recommended that I go ahead and knock out my colonoscopy as well since I'm almost 50 and I hadn't had one for 7 years. This served two benefits, one that I kill two birds with one stone: one that I would have my colonoscopy at the same time saving money and time and most importantly two that I would be all cleaned out and not need to poop for serveral days after the surgery. So I started the prep on the 18th at 4 pm. The morning of the 18th, I had an activia yogurt at 6:30 am and 1/2 plain bagel with egg and cheese at 10:30. My surgery was at 1:30 pm on the 19th. My surgery was removal by cutting out of the hemorrhoids. It wasn't laser or banding. They actually cut them out and stitched me up. I wanted to be clear about this because there are several different ways that it can be done. My doctor said that the full removal was the only way to ensure that they wouldn't come back.

It costs around $400 total. If it is in your budget and your insurance won't cover it, I recommend doing it. I have read a lot of stories from people who went through this in countries with national health care, and I gotta say that more than ever I am unbelievably grateful to have my own choice about healthcare coverage.

RECOVERY: On the way home (about an hour drive), I started to experience mild pressure like I needed to fart or poop. We stopped at the grocery store to get my meds and by 4:45 the pressure got pretty intense. I wouldn't call it pain, but definitely that pressure you get when you have to poop and someone is in the bathroom so you are doing the poop dance. I took a shower when I got home and actually peed in the shower. This is a good thing because some people experience the inability to urinate. The warm water helps and I would say that even if you pee in a warm bath tub that would be good. I had mild nausea but nothing too intense. I tried to eat some egg drop soup bug the texture was grossing me out so I just ate a handful of oyster crackers and called it a day. I took one dose of Miralax at 5:30 pm and a Valium (5mg) at 6pm . I was able to sleep until 8:30 pm. That evening, however, I began experiencing more intense pressure similar to the pressure I had been experiencing with the thrombosed hemorrhoid over the last year or so. The difference, though, was that no amount of soaking was going to help me get away from it. I kept pacing and wasn't sure what to do. Finally I broke down and took one Oxycodone and 2 ibuprofen at 10. I was actually able to sleep for about 2 hours. Warm/hot baths do help you relax. I mentally felt better sitting on the toilet even though I knew nothing was going to come out, but I set up a stool so I could lean forward and not put so much pressure on my bum. Also, it is difficult to pass gas at first because everything is numb. Lying in the tub, I would draw my knees into my chest and then straighten and repeat. Then I put one foot on the faucet and cross my other leg over that knee and that helped to push the gas out but I did not bear down or strain. It will come out when it's ready. I just keep doing knee tucks and yelling at my butt to hurry up already. The people who do sounds for scary movies ought to record someone post surgery laying in a tub. The sounds from the instestines are horrifying sounding and crazy! Seriously, though, the need to pass gas is probably the most uncomfortable thing. It doesn't hurt when you do but the "spasm" of the sphincter muscle is a little uncomfortable. Best to do it in the tub. Also, be aware that it will sound like air escaping from a helium balloon and will last longer than any fart you have every heard in your life. I also got comfort by turning the shower on and then getting into childs pose with my head resting on my hands in the tub and let the shower hit my back. I've done that quite a few times. Today I'm on Day 3 post surgery. I passed some blood during one of my gassy moments (on the toilet thankfully). It was nowhere near the amount that I was passing from my hemorrhoids so this was nothing to freak about. It was darker and thicker. I slept for about 7 hours last night. For me, taking one single oxycodone with 3 Ibuprofen seems to be the best for the longest amount of time. But I alternate with the Valium because I don't want the ibuprofen to mess up my stomach. The valium doesn't last as long and I have read some information that it isn't good to combine valium with narcotics but my doctor's office said to just alternate. I am also using Analpram and Lidocaine for the outside part. I'm taking colace 3 times a day to help with potential constipation. Yesterday, I ate pumpkin ravioli with some plain sourdough bread. I also ate a pineapple popsicle which I may regret as I've since been told from another post surgery peep to avoid acidic foods. This morning was the first time I experienced any kind of "burning" type discomfort. It reminded me of the healing of my abodominal surgeries so I think it's the wounds closing up. Also, it was similar to how it feels when you have had a bad "run" haha of diarrhea and your butt feels sore, raw and sort of acidic.

As far as sleeping, try tons of different options to feel the best. I realized that lying on my side but mostly my belly in a fetal like position with my feet elevated slightly on a bolster was the best and most comfortable position for me. I didn't move for 7 hours.

I have to be honest. So far, nothing I am experiencing is as bad as what I've been dealing with over the last few years. A thrombosed hemorrhoid is truly terrible pain. So for those of you that are going in for surgery and you have not experienced that at all....then this recovery will probably be very uncomfortable for you. I still wouldn't call this pain.. more uncomfortable than anything. Of course, I haven't pooped yet but I'm sure it will be similar to the one I had after the banding which truly sucked but wasn't something I couldn't handle...although I did scream out each time. I'm hoping that since I was cleaned out prior to surgery, my stitches may have a little longer to heal than those who didn't do that. Even if you don't schedule a colonoscopy, it might be a good idea to clean yourself out the same way just to prolong the need to poop. Of course, check with your doc on that since everyone's situation is different. I was so lucky to have a surgeon who specializes in this and she made sure to do everything possible to ensure that I would experience as little pain as possible. She was honest about the first week being torture, but so far I don't feel tortured. I just feel gassy and a lot of pressure with mild burning. Meds are helping. I'm drinking a lot of water and I'm walking around and not sitting still for too long. If you are doing this surgery just because you know you have a hemorrhoid and it bugs you knowing it but your doctor isn't recommending removal or you aren't experiencing life altering issues with may want to consider other options. If you just experience bleeding and it isn't altering your life or wreaking havoc on you and your doctor isn't recommending it for other reasons, you may want to consider other options. However, if you have debilitating evil thrombosed external hemorrhoids that make your life a living hell then this won't be so awful for you because you experience this "Shtuff" on a regular furhreaking basis anyway. I will post an update in a few days but so far on day 3, I'm super glad I did it and I am so grateful for my doctor for encouraging me to go for it.

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