The first week of May is nearly over and we’re still sitting in Sacramento. Unfortunately, Julie is taking longer to heal than we’d hoped. We’ve had to push our departure back a month from our original plan. Our new departure date is May 17.
There seem to be some misconceptions about Julie’s pain in the a**, so a little more explanation might help. Be forewarned that this may be too much information (TMI). Please skip this post if you’d rather not know.
First, Julie’s cyst was not a boil or an infection just under the skin’s surface, but inflammation and scar tissue deep in her right cheek, most likely caused by her new bicycle seat. A typical bicycle seat provides a pretty small piece of real estate; so sitting on a bike saddle concentrates most of the body’s weight on a small part of each butt cheek. Add friction and the repetitive motion of pedaling to that pressure point, and bruising and inflammation are common.
So, here is a non-medical description of what the dermatologist told us happened: Julie likely had some internal bruising at her sit bone where her weight concentrates on the saddle. The body tried to wall off the inflamed area, creating a cyst. The cyst grew and eventually became a big lump of scar tissue that Julie could feel deep inside her cheek.
In order to remove the scar tissue, the dermatologist made an inch-long incision, then sliced deep into the cheek to get to the scar tissue and cut it out. She removed a 2.5 cm (1-inch) long piece of tissue. Mark was there and he says it was BIG. Then she stitched Julie up with both internal and external sutures.
The external stitches came out a few weeks ago, but Julie is still healing. There are two areas of pain. The first is the incision, very close the fold where the leg, butt cheek and girl bits all come together. The second is internal: her cheek has a one-inch void that her body needs to knit back together again.
The surgery has made regular movement uncomfortable, to say the least. Sitting is, of course, a challenge. But surprisingly, so are standing, walking, or other movements. Even though the cyst was in the fatty portion of the cheek and not the muscle, everything is connected, and using the glute muscle pulls on the injured and inflamed area.
Last Friday, the incision healed enough that Julie could finally sit rather gingerly on the saddle, but once she tried to pedal, the inside of her cheek rebelled. Imagine sitting on a ballpeen hammer. Owie Kazowie!
This week, Julie has continued trying to ride – first to the end of the block and back, then around the block, and today, about ¼ mile. She is slowly improving, but not nearly as quickly as she’d like. We’re hopeful that by the time we leave on the 17th, Julie will be ready to ride at least 10 – 15 miles. That’s optimistic, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.