‘He literally gave me my life back’
I am about one year post-op from my cleft lift surgery with Dr. Sternberg. To be honest, I thought all surgeons were the same after my first failed operation. I suffered with my pilondial cyst for over a year. It all started on a road trip from Michigan to California. Just as I was approaching San Francisco (little did I know at the time – Dr. Sternberg was located there), I was in excruciating pain. I had no idea what it was (I thought it was a hemorrhoid at first). I finally drove myself to an urgent care only an hour from SF in Santa Rosa because I could no longer walk. I had the cyst drained and the doctor pretty much told I’d likely need surgery if I didn’t want it to return.
I ended up flying back to Michigan (where I’m from) to have the operation there. I knew nothing about pilondial disease – I had literally never heard of such a thing. I was a young, happy, care free 20-something year old and did not do the research I should have before allowing someone to operate on me. I went to a general surgeon in Lapeer, MI who took one glance at me and told me I needed surgery and that he would stitch it up but there was a HIGH chance it would return. What the heck is the point of the surgery if there is an extremely high chance it’s going to return? I didn’t know any alternatives at the time, so went forward with it. I had the surgery and 3 weeks later moved back to NYC.
I suffered that entire year. I couldn’t sit for long periods of time, there was a tiny pin sized hole that never stopped draining, I never felt 100% great, and worst of all I couldn’t exercise like I used to. I finally went back to MI to see my surgeon 6 months later who told me that the hole would heal and he didn’t think it would come back. I ended up moving out to SF March of last year and finally made myself an apt to see Dr Sternberg. When I went to see him, I was extremely emotional after dealing with this for over a year and (as you could imagine) very upset when he told me I’d likely need another operation. I ended up not scheduling my surgery for a month or two because I was in denial.
The cyst ended up returning and I knew this was going to be the only chance I had to get rid of it for good. I was so nervous to have the operation (since it is a bit more extensive than my little cut & stitch it up that did nothing for me) and Dr. Sternberg was SO patient with me. I had a million questions and was so annoying looking back! Even with an office full of patients, he went out of his way to answer every question I had and assured me that this was going to be the answer.
The operation went well and I was back on my feet within a few weeks. I never even ended up taking the pain meds (but I wouldn’t recommend that considering I was in some pain post-op for a few days). I cannot put into words how grateful I am to have my normal life back. I’m back to the gym, running, biking (all of the things I loved) and I owe it all to Dr. Sternberg. He literally gave me my life back. If you are suffering with this, please know that there is an answer! Dr. Sternberg is an expert in this. If you are suffering, please go see him!!!
– Amanda W.
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