"Now I Can Get On To Being A Wife and Mother"
By Cindy (Submitted July, 2005)
As far back as I can remember, I've had problems with extreme urgency and sometimes even incontinence. It is so frustating and embarassing I can't tell you.
In December 2003 I had a hysterectomy and a bladder repair for pelvic relaxation. That is, the ligaments and muscles that supported my pelvic organs were stretched out of shape, causing my uterus and bladder to droop. I thought this would help my incontinence problems, but it actually made them worse. I had to undergo a second more minor procedure to help loosen things so that I would finally be able to urinate again.
After a whole month, the doctor finally felt comfortable removing my suprapubic catheter. The trouble was, I continued to have problems emptying my bladder. I went to see a physical therapist, who diagnosed me with "overactive bladder". She prescribed exercises and a "timed voiding"schedule, both of which made my voiding problems worse.
I finally went back to work three months post op, but still had to catheterize myself every day that I worked. My doctor sent me to a specialist in Kansas City, who ran some tests, but the results were normal. So I went to a different physical therapist, this one in Kansas City. She prescribed different exercises, which actually did help, but I continued to have one bladder infection after another.
In August 2004, I was fired from my job. I was able to find a new, less stressful job, but my problems did not go away. I was almost to the point of carrying spare clothes in my car (I'm a home health nurse) when my doctor suggested I be tested for I.C. Sure enough it came up positive. I've been on Elmiron for just three weeks and am already seeing improvement. I still have my days when I barely make it to the bathroom, but it's getting better.
At least I don't have to stop and find a bathroom before and after each home visit. Another thing we are doing is bladder instillations with heparin (a blood thinner), a steroid (for the inflamation), and lidocaine (a local anesthetic). My doctor thinks this gets quicker results than just the oral med alone.
It is a relief to know my problems are not all in my mind. Even though the symptoms of this disorder are very vague, they are also very real and very detrimental to a person's self esteem. Just knowing there is a physical cause is a very important step toward healing. Maybe now I can get on with the business of being a wife and mom to my husband and two daughters (ages 8 and 11).
Revised: 7/31/05 - kj