Pain is Tricia Shanks’ constant companion as she goes to sleep, drives, works and most of all, sits.
Coccydynia, diagnosed about a year ago, is trying to wipe the smile from the 56-year-old woman’s face despite her best efforts to manage it.
The mother of three is uncertain how it is that her tailbone turned troublesome two-and-a-half years ago, but the future, and not the past, is her priority in going public on a private matter.
During a lunch break in Dubbo’s Elston Park yesterday, Mrs Shanks appealed to any other sufferers of the condition to share their secrets.
“Someone might have a remedy out there that might be the one that’s right for me,” she said.
“I’m at the stage where I’m looking at trying to find other ways to help.”
For now, based on statistics provided by a surgeon, Mrs Shanks is not keen on surgery.
Cortisone injections that initially result in “five days of bad pain” provide some short-term relief when it all gets too much.
Special cushions, suggested for those who struggle to sit in comfort, have not provided a refuge from pain that can permeate almost every waking hour.
“You have trouble sitting. You can have trouble standing. You can have trouble walking. It depends how bad it is at a particular time,” Mrs Shanks said.
“You have pains that go down your leg because of the different ways you have to sit.
“I’m currently sitting on my left side . . . taking the pressure off because at the moment it’s starting to get bad again.”
Basic tasks and short trips, not to mention getting to sleep, are now challenging and difficult.
“It will take me quite a while before I find somewhere comfortable (in bed),” said Mrs Shanks, who must watch the weight of blankets.
Bending down to cut her toenails “hurts”, as does driving to work or to see family and friends.
Mrs Shanks puts socks and stockings on from a standing position “because you cannot sit down and lift your leg up”.
Sitting down to dinner or in the family’s lounge room requires the careful positioning of numerous cushions, part of a collection that includes “my go-everywhere cushion”.
“If I want to keep going I have to cart a cushion,” Mrs Shanks said.
Doctors provide hope “that it will go away” but Mrs Shanks suspects at her time of life that’s unlikely.
n Tricia Shanks can be contacted by calling 68876204 or 0428876204.