I can hardly believe it - another abscess surgery

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 769
   Posted 5/18/2009 6:58 PM (GMT -7)   

Hey everyone,


I had my first abscess surgery about a month ago and had my follow up yesterday. After sleeping all weekend and being in extreme pain (I called my surgeon and asked him to fax a script for some pain meds through to my local pharmacy), I knew something wasn’t right and things weren’t healing properly.


Turns out the setons are working but there is still infection to the side of where my abscess was originally. This area had been tender even after the setons were inserted but I was assuming this was because it was a big abscess and took time to heal. When it started to get increasingly painful I knew something was wrong.


So now I have to have a second surgery tomorrow. I have to take MORE time off work which is so awful because I am still new and this is the second time I have had to have days off for surgery.


I know I shouldn’t worry but I do; my contract is up at the end of June and I worry that they won’t renew it. its so depressing, my boss has been really nice but it is so hard.


I am having a drain (a cylindrical one) put in which will come out of the one of the seton holes. This drain is only temporary, and is in to assist the abscess in draining. Apparently the setons are working, its just that pus is being created faster than it can be drained by the seton.


My 2nd seton is also too tight apparently so its being replaced.


My dad is coming up on the train to look after me.


I’m frustrated and being really worn down by all of this. When I had the drains put in originally I told myself it was for the best because the abscess would be GONE and I would never have to worry about it again, and that every day I would be getting ‘a little better’ and things would get easier each day and to find that I’m going backwards and things aren’t getting better each day is so disheartening.


I’m hoping this surgery doesn’t smash me around as much as the last one did. I am having tomorrow off for surgery and Thursday off to sleep, hoping to be back Friday. The dr said there is no medical reason why I shouldn’t be back Friday so I am hoping she is right and it isn’t as awful to me as it was last time. At least this time I have decent pain medication!



Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 5/18/2009 11:39 PM (GMT -7)   
I just wanted to say I am sending good vibes your way...
I'm sorry you're going through all of this ugh. As long as your pain meds are working though.
I wish you the best :)
20 years old, Diagnosed with moderate to severe Crohn's and Colitis in May of 2008.
Currently taking:
Prednisone 10 mg, pentasa 2 pills 4x a day, bentyl as needed, omeprazole in the morning, prenatal multivitamin, humira every other week, and Align probiotics given to me by my GI.
Surgery for ectopic pregnancy most likely the result of severe Crohn's inflammation in July of 2008.
Diet almost completely without refined sugars, wheat, flour, gluten, high lactose dairy, and/or junk food in general.
Learning how to live again.
"He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how."

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1220
   Posted 5/19/2009 6:28 AM (GMT -7)   
I am so sad this is happening to you Phoebe! My first abscess was bad because I had totally ignored it until it was huge and dangerously nasty. I then had a bad surgeon make two incisions that further damaged the area and cut into the fistula. I healed from the first abscess surgery, but the damaged fistula branched. Over the next year, I had two more abscesses in the same area. Unfortunately, it sounds like something similar is happening to you. Each additional abscess was smaller though because just like you did now, I was able to identify what it was very early and get it taken care of when it was small. I'm praying this is the last one for you, and that the abscess is very small.

This just takes time. I have been abscess free for over a year -- yeah!!! You will work through this. You are young and your body heals quickly. Just let the doctors do what they need to do to get you well. Take care and let us know how you do!! I'm glad your Dad is coming to be with you!
Diagnosed with Crohn's in early 2007.  Several peri-rectal abscesses and two fistulae with setons.  Allergic to Remicade and Humira.  Currently on 6MP, and vitamins D and B-12.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 5/19/2009 6:33 AM (GMT -7)   
Just wanted to send BIG HUGS to you. Hope this next surgery goes better for you.

Gail *Nanners*
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Anxiety/Panic Forum
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, and Calcium and Xanax as needed. Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission.
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 305
   Posted 5/19/2009 7:35 AM (GMT -7)   
I just had abscess surgery 1 and 1/2 weeks ago and I have the drain in now. It's inconvenient but boy do I feel better. I don't know when they'll take the drain out but I can relate to your frustration. Sometimes it feels like I just cant make any progress. I start feeling good, start going back to the gym and then BAM...something else pops up. It's very frustrating. Best wishes, Tony
Crohns 30 years. Ileostomy for 15 years. Symptom free for 14 years until 8 months ago. Now on Remicade, B-12 injections and iron. Feeling much better!
God Bless. Tony

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 5/19/2009 10:43 AM (GMT -7)   
Feel better soon!!
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night.  I take xanax prn for situational anxiety (aka no easy bathroom access). 

Elite Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 5/19/2009 3:25 PM (GMT -7)   
So sorry, Phoebe. Good luck with the surgery.
Co-Moderator Crohn's Forum.

New meds thread

New Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/20/2009 2:56 PM (GMT -7)   
I have to say it could be worst, I more then any one understand your pain. My journey started on feb 12 2007 I got my first abscess it was so painful and I like you didn't know what it was, how i got it or how long it would last. Since then I have had 14 more abscesses, 13 surgeries, and have been to 5 different doctors in 2 different states. I have had to take alot of time off of work and like you worry about my job every day. I do have the ablity to work from home when the pain isn't to great but with the economy as still afraid. I have had 3 setons and a drain also. If you have any questions please ask as I am sure I have been thru it. You are not alone... good luck. Amy

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 769
   Posted 5/20/2009 7:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone thanks for the well wishes. I am not in as much pain as I was when the setons were put in. the drain is big and ugly and stitched in! But I am confident it’s doing its job, the abscess it is draining is quite small and can feel the infection going down already.

I have to go back next week for a follow up. One thing I have no clue about is how long this drain will be left in? What are your experiences? And when they take it out do they put you under general anesthetic again or do they just take the stitches out in the dr’s rom?

I was told the infection was not draining as fast as the infection was being created, hence the need for the drain. It is a small abscess so I am hoping it won’t be in for long?

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1220
   Posted 5/21/2009 4:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Phoebe. I am so glad the abscess is small. That is wonderful! You caught the evil thing early. I've never had a drain, so I don't know how long you can expect to have it. Mine have all been cut wide open. I hope you heal very quickly and are back on your feet again soon!
Diagnosed with Crohn's in early 2007.  Several peri-rectal abscesses and two fistulae with setons.  Allergic to Remicade and Humira.  Currently on 6MP, and vitamins D and B-12.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 769
   Posted 5/21/2009 4:22 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Fallcolours


You’re so right, I think it makes a big difference to catch it early. I could tell it was banking up with infection and it was hardening under the skin, so I caught it nice and early. That’s probably why I was so slow to recover from the first one, because it was a big abscess. This one was off to the side of the original abscess, it just wasn’t draining properly. I can feel already that the skin isn’t hard there any more so I am happy the drain is working! Even if it is BIG and scary and full of stitches and poking out of my poor skinny little bottom!!



I had a look last night and it looks like they’ve taken out one of my setons!! I had two ties going through the fistula hole/abscess wound and now there’s only one. I wonder whether this is just to make way for the drain….. its all such a mystery, but I guess my follow up next week will sort the mystery out. I hope I don’t have to go under to get the drain removed.


Fallcolours and Ivy: I was wondering – do you have facebook accounts? I’d love to add you as friends and ‘see’ you in the flesh!





Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1220
   Posted 5/21/2009 7:45 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Phoebe! Glad you are doing so well. I don't have a Facebook account but thanks for asking! Email me anytime!

There is power in being able to detect abscesses early! My second abscess really shook me up - I couldn't believe I had another one. Then four months later, I start to feel a little unwell -- a little "toxic". Then I felt a small lump. "Oh!! I know what you are!" I said, and immediately put in a call to my surgeon. He actually called me back two hours later. I said I know I have another abscess. Because I had been right the other two times, he said he believed me -- and told me to come to the hopsital the next day and go to the surgery place. They admitted me and prepped me for surgery. The Doc came out and confirm that I had an abscess, and then rolled me right in to the OR!! It is so nice to have a doctor who trusts you! And the abscess was small!! Yea!!

And that is happy news about the one seton!! Maybe you will only have one. What color is it??

So now I am not nearly so freaked out about abscesses. I think I can spot them now and catch them when they are small. So take heart!!! WHen it comes to abscesses, there is power in experience!!!
Diagnosed with Crohn's in early 2007.  Several peri-rectal abscesses and two fistulae with setons.  Allergic to Remicade and Humira.  Currently on 6MP, and vitamins D and B-12.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 769
   Posted 5/21/2009 8:46 PM (GMT -7)   

My setons were both bright red – like fire engine red! They have taken one out and I’m not sure why, I had almost grown fond of it and was disappointed to see it gone, I just hope they know what they’re doing in taking it out! There were two – and they both went into the fistula hole/abscess hole – so I am guessing I only need one in order to keep that hold from closing and allow it to heal slowly? I’m not sure; it’s all pretty confusing down there when I take a look! The drain is pretty big so maybe they took the 2nd seton out to allow room for the big tube and the stitches. I’m not sure. I will have to ask them at my follow-up…….. I kinda miss that 2ns seton because I knew it was doing a good thing and it was just getting comfortable!


You’re so right; an abscess can be life-threatening or a minor procedure depending on how long it is left. Now I know why you wanted me to get it seen to ASAP – the longer I left it the worse it was and the longer it took to heal. I caught this one nice and early and I feel so good for doing so! If I had left it a week longer it would have been awful I think

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 201
   Posted 5/23/2009 6:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Can you explain what the symptoms for an abscess are? Where are they located? Thanks

Robert P
Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 127
   Posted 5/24/2009 5:11 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm curious, has anyone tried Jini Patel Thompson's protocol for syringing Wild Oregano Oil into an open abscess or fistula?


Dx Crohn's 1999; Started Flagyl 6/8/08 (500mg 3/day) in an effort to eliminate a persistent perianal fistula.  Aside from that have been drug free for a long time thanks to a number of lifestyle changes, much of which was learned from the Listen to Your Gut book.

"Coming together is a beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success."
- John C. Maxwell

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1220
   Posted 5/24/2009 11:12 AM (GMT -7)   

Hello Robert,

I have only had peri-rectal abscesses, so I can only speak about them.  With all three abscesses I felt a hard, tender lump.  I also ran a low-grade fever and generally felt unwell for a week or two before hand.

As for "Thompson's Protocol", have you tried it or known anyone who has?  I am skeptical about several things:   

  1. An abscess is infection that has been walled off.  I find it hard to believe that applying oil, or anything for that matter, to the skin will be able to get into the abcess.  Some abscesses are deep too. 
  2. While the oil may help to keep the inside of the abscess to clean, it wouldn't help the tissue outside the abscess to stay free of infection.  This infection is what normally makes you feel sick and can even go septic.
  3. How does her "protocol" get rid of a fistula??  Once one has formed, it is there until it is surgically removed.  It may shrink down to nothing so that you never have another problem with it (unfortunately rare in peri-rectal fistulae), but it is still there.
  4. She stresses you must only use the products she endorses (alarms going off!!).
  5. Does she have data to support any of her claims??  I'm not believing much without data.
  6. She describes herself as "health writer and consumer health advocate who healed herself of widespread Crohn’s Disease (small intestine & large intestine)."  Healed herself??  And she makes her living off of this??  Alarms are getting louder.

IMHO, abscesses that don't heal well are often because the surgeon doesn't have enough experience with CD abscesses.

Diagnosed with Crohn's in early 2007.  Several peri-rectal abscesses and two fistulae with setons.  Allergic to Remicade and Humira.  Currently on 6MP, and vitamins D and B-12.

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