So for years, I’ve had a cyst. I discovered it sometime during my freshman year in college. I was sitting in bed doing some homework and I felt this excruciating pain. I didn’t know what it was from or why it was occurring but I knew I was in PAIN! The pain stayed for about a week or two then went away. It came back. But I still hadn’t truly discovered the source of the pain yet. That would take some time.
One day, the cyst started showing! I was getting dressed and notice like a quarter sized “ball” on my tailbone. It actually came outside of my body and formed a collection of cells on my skin. Then one day, the cyst actually “erupted”, yeah I think that’s a good word for it. It was all of this puss and blood, completely gross! I had finally laid eyes on what was causing me soooo much pain! I didn’t know what to do about it, so I just washed it off and put a bandaid on it, then kept on going.
I had a new system. Put a bandaid on it until it had completely leaked into its sunken state. Perfect right!? WRONG! Smh. There would be days where I had no clue it was coming and it would all of sudden be there. I would be going to class, work, church, hanging out, or whatever, and then bam, LEAKAGE! It was so embarrassing and at that time, I was keeping it a secret. A secret from my parents and doctors and friends and everyone really.
A couple years go by.
One day my little boyfriend at the time was giving me a hug and accidentally brushed against it when we were separating. Of course I screamed out in pain. He asked me what was wrong and what did he hurt?! I said nothing it’s just my butt. 🙄 He wouldn’t accept that answer, sooooo yeah, I had to tell him that I had a cyst. I was so embarrassed. Here I am, finally growing into myself and then I find yet another horrible flaw!? You would have thought I was growing another head out of my neck or something the way I felt. Like how does a 20-year-old explain some weird growth that a doctor called some pilonidal cyst that they can’t even pronounce (I showed my doctor at that point)?! Oh yeah babe I just have this weird thing growing out of my butt!? Is that how!? Cuz I didn’t have a clue! But I told him it’s a cyst and it hurts when it’s here but it’s fine when it’s not big, that answer sufficed for him. But for me, it was emotional torture to have to reveal that secret to someone.
More years go by, the cycle of it reoccurring then going back to the flattened state, after it bursts, continued all the way until last Wednesday, October 11, 2017, when I got surgery to remove the cyst. Mind you I was a freshman in college during the 2008-2009 school year. That’s a LONG TIME!
Let me tell y’all how I got to that point though! Smh it was definitely an adventure, but not a very fun one at all!
So I woke up on September 21, 2017, I woke and said enough was enough! It was back and yet again, I was in pain. I emailed my job, told them I wouldn’t be in, and that I was going to the hospital. I go. They lance it, in order to give me some pain relief for the weekend, and give me a referral to a surgeon. That appointment is for the following Monday. As I’m getting ready to go, I get a call saying that the surgeon had an emergency and they needed to schedule me for the next day with another surgeon. So I go to work and then go to the appointment the next day. When the surgeon exams my cyst, he’s like oh naw (of course those weren’t his exact words) this is an invasive procedure that you need done. You have to be put under anesthesia and it requires pre-op appointment so that you can get a medical clearance from your primary care doctor first. I needed a physical, blood-work, and an x-Ray of my chest. He also wanted me to take an antibiotic before the surgery. 😳 say what!? All of that!? Umm ok! So I handle getting the appointments set up for the next day and getting my prescription filled and all of that. By then, it’s like 230. No need to go into the office for 2.5 hours, well really two by the time I get there. So, I go home and cook.
I go to work the next day and of course they were shocked to see me because you know, I was supposed to be getting surgery the day before! So I explain to them what I just mentioned (about the pre-op appointments for medical clearance) and that I had to leave at 1:30 for my doctors appointment so that I could get cleared for surgery on the 11th. Uh oh. Why’d you say that Maya?! 😒 I got instant attitude! Wanna know why? Because my supervisor was scheduled to be on vacation during that week. I was told that my surgery couldn’t happen at a more “inconvenient” time. I was asked, well more so told, is it really that serious because they keep rescheduling me. They also asked me to reschedule it for another date.
At this point, my blood is silently boiling. I’m ready to explode. I don’t. I remain calm. I go back to my office and the tears are welling up in my eyes. You want to know why? Because in THAT moment, I realized I wasn’t important. I was nothing more than just a body filling a position. My health didn’t matter. My pain didn’t matter. I didn’t matter. Everything is all good when I’m not making any noise, but as soon as I need to take care of me and it doesn’t work with someone else’s schedule, it’s a no go! Naw bruh, that’s not how it works! If you don’t take care of you, you’ll be no good to anyone or anything else! If you abandon your health long enough, you’ll be critically ill, or even worse, dead! I refuse to let anything or anyone kill me!
But you know, I still tried to see if I could be accommodating. So I called the surgeon’s office to see if they could schedule me for the end of that week or the following Monday after the Wednesday that I was scheduled for. They stated that they had given me the last open appointment for October and the next available one wasn’t until mid-November. That answer was simple. No thank you, I’ll keep my current appointment. You see, there was only a 30-day window for my pre-op physical, blood-work, and x-ray to be valid. I got that done in September and accepting an appointment for mid-November would have put me way beyond my 30-day window. I let my job know that my appointment would remain the same and let’s just say they were less than excited.
I then had a sit down meeting about my available leave. Long story short, I was basically told that if I use all of sick leave and vacation leave during my recovery time, my job couldn’t be guaranteed because I wasn’t there long enough to be eligible for FMLA. *BLANK STARE* I was growing more and more pissed by the way I was being handled. 1. At that point I was only scheduled to be out for 1 out of the 6-8 weeks of my recovery time. 2. I had MORE than enough time to cover me being out an additional week and a half or so. 3. Are you hoping something goes wrong!? 4. I’m over it. 5. Let me just do my best at my job until it’s time to go out for surgery. 6. Wait, I thought we were better than that, why don’t you care about me?
*After that sit down, they said they would work out the scheduling * 🙄
Time goes on, I have the surgery. I know I shouldn’t say this, but ima say it! That anesthesia stuff bbbboooyyy it ain’t no joke and it’s a miracle worker! 😅🤣 The nurses thought I was quite the little comedian when I woke up lol. But on a serious note, the cyst was deeper than they thought so my time off of work was extended from one to two weeks. You see, oftentimes you don’t know how severe a problem is, until you get to the root of a thing!
Can I just publicly thank my parents!? They took such good care of me throughout the process! My mother took off work and took me to my appointment, cooked for me, cleaned for me, spent the night, and waited on me for the first two days after surgery. My dad brought me food and gave me a re-up of my bandages. Oh he brought me Motrin because they give you a certain amount of Percocet/OXYCODONE and when it’s gone, that’s IT! I get why because l that stuff is GOOD, in regards to pain relief, but it also makes you feel a little uh “elevated” !🤔😅 But seriously, I’m so grateful for my parents! I thought others would step up more, although that didn’t happen, my parents proved that they will always take care of me!
*A few days go by*
I got my dressing changed. Shout out to my aunt Cheryl for doing it, who by the way is a nurse because she witnessed me being born! 😁 After that, she made the decision to become a nurse and worked with little babies in the NICU for years! Who knew that years later I would really need her to be a nurse, my nurse!?
But y’all!!!!! When she took my bandage off, I decided I wanted to look to see what it looks like to be cystless and I have a hole in my butt. Like a whole HOLE. When I saw that, I felt a wave hit me! I felt overcome with emotion after seeing that. But I had to keep it together for a second because my aunt was here. But y’alllllllll can I tell y’all what I felt!?
First of all, I CRIEDDDDDD when my aunt left. Like full on WEEPING AND WHEEZING! I felt relieved, relieved that after years of pain and embarrassment, it’s over, it’s finally over. I felt hurt, hurt because people in the workforce tried to tell me it wasn’t that serious. I felt emotional because yes it was a physical procedure, but it represented something emotional for me as well. But it’s all over, no more pain with walking, no more pain with sitting, no more pain with laying on my back, no more being afraid it would start oozing and bleeding when I didn’t have any bandages handy. I can finally walk around and feel normal again. I don’t have to worry about if my bandage is showing through my bathing suit. I don’t have to worry about if I’m bleeding through my clothes. I don’t have to worry about being careful of brushing anything up against it. I don’t have to worry about limiting my workouts. I don’t have to worry about my butt being sore EVER AGAIN! 🙌🏽🙏🏽
Even in writing this, the pain I feel is horrific and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy!!! I had my first post-op follow-up appointment today and the doctor says it’s healing well but pain is to be expected. When he checked it I wanted to cuss him out and punch him in his throat! 😡😤 I told him I was in pain and he put something in it to cause more pain!!!! I was so upset with him!! 😂😂😂 But I’m thankful! Thankful because I know that when this pain is gone, that’s IT! There will be no more pain because the healing process will be over and it will be permanent because I got to the root of the issue!
Never minimize what other people are going through. You never know how long they’ve suffered or how severe it is. You never know how they are experiencing whatever they’re going through. It may be a physical problem, but that could be the easiest part of the problem, if they’re also experiencing mental and emotional turmoil. Be kind. Be understanding. Be compassionate. Be loving. Let’s be more Christlike and treat others with more respect. I truly thank God that horrible chapter is over!