Hey hulahoops 1974,
I'm sorry to read about
your recent experiences. It sounds rough. I took a lot of comfort in reading messages on here from people in the same boat, so I'll share my experience with you in the hope it has the same effect.
Firstly, even though fistula means the same thing, it does not mean everyone's experience of it is the same. Some people get barely any pain and the only thing they put up with is a bit of drainage, while others (like myself) experience medium to high levels of pain, especially post bowel movement. My theory is that this is due to the fistula
locations, and nerve endings involved. Nerves inside the anus are very sensitive. It also depends on what the inflammation is like. Since your abscess drainage wasn't long ago, it's likely still very inflamed. Unfortunately this area takes a long time to heal and get back to normal. I experience similar symptoms to yours post first drainage. Felt like I was sitting on a golf ball, and I looked sickly and felt awful for a couple of months afterwards. Luckily it DOES lessen, and get better. Please remember that. It just takes time.
I currently have a draining seton. I got one after my initial drainage about
10 months ago but I found the pain almost unbearable and it fell out after 2 weeks. I think my body was done with it! This second try at a draining seton has been much better. I still get pain post bowel movement, and a little bit of drainage but it's mild most of the time. Having the seton does make me feel like I'm ever so slightly always on the verge of needing to empty my bowels. I put this down to having a foreign object inside your anus. Once your body adapts to this feeling it will lessen a lot, even go away.
Just remember, the draining seton is there to mature the fistula track, lessen inflammation and stop any new abscess from forming. It is not a cure for fistula, but it's there to calm it down to a level where they can perform a follow up operation to finally get rid of it.
Also, one huge thing I've found during this experience is how much your overall health is effected by problems in the bowel or rectum. My specialist said we take that area for granted when it's working properly but it's so essential to our general well being. If something is not right down there then it can make us feel awful everywhere else. Skin problems, general unease, slight fevers etc. It's all related.
I'm having an endorectal flap (advancement flap) operation performed in two weeks. My specialist said that everything looks in the right place for him to do it. Since I don't smoke, nor have chrons, the success rate for my operation is relatively high, around 70%. If it doesn't work this time, they can try again down the track. Those odds are great to anyone with a fistula as it's a notoriously difficult thing to fix.
Once again, keep positive, if you're in pain then don't hesitate to see someone. All this WILL get better and it WILL be fixed sooner or later. I see Dimitri on this thread, he & I got our fistula at roughly the same time and went through lots of ups and downs. He finally got rid of his not long ago.
Hope all this helps. If you need to ask me anything then please feel free