This semester has brought about my return to the gym after a 4-5 year hiatus. I have established a bit of a routine. I hit the exercise bike for 15 minutes to warm up, then go on to the elliptical for 10 minutes, and walk/jog for 20 minutes (much more walking than jogging I’m afraid). I didn’t sleep much today and had such a rough start to my morning that I debated not going. I managed to drag myself out of a bed by some miracle of will power and get to the gym. I simply hit the exercise bike for 15 minutes quite leisurely, drank some water, and then started walking on the treadmill. You can tell I wasn’t ambitious at all because I was walking at the incredible rate of 2.5 mph.
A 60-70 year old man ,who is a morning regular, stepped on to the treadmill next to me. He gave me a cough of disapproval and then set some ridiculous incline on his treadmill, hung on for dear life by the front bars, and power walked as fast as he could. You see, I know he saw me leisurely biking, I know he thinks I’m accomplishing absolutely nothing by walking so slowly on that treadmill. Well there’s something he doesn’t know.
I once used to be in good shape. I practiced martial arts, played basketball, hiked, and biked. Then I got a pilonidal cyst and that turned my world upside down (ingrown hair that forms a cyst between your butt cheeks, please don’t google). I eventually got surgery after suffering for all 4 years of high school and now after a very long healing process I’m back on a treadmill and an exercise bike without bleeding into my pants.
I remember the summer after my surgery being so optimistic. I was vacationing in Rome and there was a small gym at the hotel, which was rarely used. “Maybe I can lift some light weights and go on the exercise bike today”, I told myself. I remember sitting on the toilet before taking a shower and seeing blood drip down into the water. I was at a high end hotel so if they saw a problem with your sheets, they changed them. They changed mine every day because I was getting blood on them, from exercising. I eventually realized that I wasn’t ready to exercise yet and spent the next 2 and a half years limiting myself to medium pace walking and very light jogging in real life contexts, not a gym.
I don’t expect this man to know how much it means to me to be back on an exercise bike again or jogging briefly on a treadmill. I’ve tried light exercise so many times before, only to damage the healed tissue back to square one. I’m not even sure if I can keep up the exercise and it has been almost 4 years since surgery. So far it has been going well and hopefully I can move on to some more intense exercise that I’ve really been craving (I love basketball and haven’t played in years). To the man at the gym, I’m trying man, just give me some time. Trust me, I’m trying. I’m not angry with him to be honest, he’s the least of my worries that have resulted from those hairs between my legs.
I will without a doubt write a lot more about my experiences recovering from/having a pilonidal cyst. This is just a small portion and I’m holding so many things deep inside that need to be let loose. There are too many stories to tell for just one blog post, but over time a complete story will be told.
Pilonidal cysts are somewhat common among adolescent male teens, so my surgeon told me (rarer in women, but far more painful, if that’s even possible). I’d like to shed some perspective on the situation if I can because it poses several social, and medical problems that are quite unique which I have perspective on. It’s an issue that gets put in the black closet a lot and if I can help someone else who is suffering from this problem I definitely will.
*And if you were wondering, yes pun was intended (the title)