Yup two posts in one day.
Guys, you get a pass today unless you feel like reading about how women regardless of their child-bearing experience (but it affects it for sure) can leak some pee when they sneeze, cough, run, jump, dance, laugh … you know: exist.
I am coming out right now: I had a surgery back in 2007. It was called a “transurethral sling implant” because I leaked when I did any of the above living behaviors.
I did a lot of research. I did a lot of investigating. If you know me, you know how absolutely tenacious I can be when it comes to research. So, when it comes to research for an elective procedure (which conversely did affect the quality of my life) I’m slightly insane. Not that I’ve had any other elective procedures. Other than a brain transplant. It failed; they had to give mine back.
So the “brand” of device I had was called the “TVT-O” and here’s why I needed it: despite years of stoplight kegels, pelvic floor exercises, weight loss (to reduce the pressure on the bladder and urethra) I still leaked.
I wanted to stay in shape, but that meant I had to make arrangements. No matter how many arrangements I made: it didn’t work. I’m 5’5″, 135#; pretty average. I couldn’t run. I couldn’t dance. I couldn’t laugh without a >splee!< down there.
The final straw came at a major family event that I attended. I wanted to shake it up on the dance floor. Cut a rug. Get my groove on. I am active! But I ended up dancing like a 92-year-old post-op fitness instructor. My feet shuffled, they never left the ground. My youngest son wanted to do the preschooler dance, the constant “jump and hop” with me: nothing doing. My legs were fine, as were my lungs, heart and attitude but my urethra? That freaking TINY little tube the length of a small paperclip was my master.
I was out. It was awful. I couldn’t dance at this huge, glorious event.
It’s technically called, “Stress Urinary Incontinence” (SUI). I called it freaking embarrassing and utterly frustrating.
I put up with this condition for
seven eight NINE years.
I was determined then to investigate. After finding a doctor thanks to a good friend, and then interviewing her good friend who had the procedure I was looking into, I called the doctor (not all doctors are certified to perform this procedure, by the way).
We had to go through a couple phsyicals, tests, and some sort of exam she gave me to determine my candidacy for the surgery. Apparently I pissed (ahahahahahhaaaa!) with flying colors.
It was my anatomy. My urethra was positioned in such a way that it managed to hold on to some urine despite my efforts to fully empty my bladder.
After literally looking at me without even physically assessing, she said, “Yup. You’re a candidate. Your bladder is empty. But due to age, weight changes from carrying babies, gravity and the tilt of your uterus, you have a ‘dip’ or ‘pocket’ in your urethra which holds urine that didn’t void. So when you run, laugh, jump: it leaks for you. Your pelvic floor is strong, there’s no doubt of that because it’s what’s putting the pressure on your urethra which causes the leaks, but what you need now is a sling to hold it up or reduce the dip… Does that make sense?”
She could’ve been saying “doggie go boo-boo in the banana tub running heartaches with lollipops and salad casserole carpools” and I wouldn’t have cared. But when she said ‘You’re a candidate.’ I stopped listening, even though I didn’t stop hearing.
Three weeks later, I went in. The procedure was outpatient in her office and it took all of 20 minutes. Local anesthetic here, there, “Blabitty blah, how’re the kids? Do you have any plans for the weekend? No, I haven’t seen that movie, I hear it’s great. I can’t believe they made a third ‘Shrek…’ I know right? Yes, it’s incredible that Brad and Angelina are having twins… Try not to laugh … annnnnd we werrrrrrrre done. Scoot up, get dressed, come see me in my office and we’ll talk about after care and recovery.”
Six weeks of no heavy weights. I couldn’t run. But I was allowed to laugh.
The benefits were INSTANT. It took a little while for me to trust it, to get used to not having to suppress my laughter or cross my legs when I’d sneeze or cough or shout, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly.
I’m sharing this because I hear about this problem for many of our sisters. I learned about the procedure when I started to open up, talk about it candidly and ask for help. Here’s where I am: I’m here to help you. You don’t have to ask me any questions, you can chat me up privately or simply share the info with someone you love who’s talked about it.
I’m six years post-op today, as a matter of fact, and I’ve never regretted getting this done. There are contraindications (if you’re planning to have a baby is the first and yo-yo weight fluctuations is another) you should consider.
ps – here are other posts I’ve written For The Ladies