Posts Tagged ‘fecal incontinence’

Click

Click. Click. Click.  The noise of two pieces of metal coming together.  The sound of a fork scraping a plate at dinner, keys jangling, money jingling.  The sound that could instantly put me in a tailspin, a panic, a mind shattering experience when my PTSD was in full force.  The sound of forceps.  The sound of trauma.

The sound of metal.  The sight of forceps-like things…salad tongs, cooking utensils.  The sight and the sounds, in combination, left me in the fetal position on the kitchen floor, holding my ears in a booth at a fancy restaurant, in tears at a guest’s house for dinner.

These reactions were not pretty.  PTSD is not manageable without treatment.  My treatment for PTSD, although long and arduous, was successful.  But, I still cannot believe what I did this week.  What I COULD do, and what I DID do.  I did a Google search on “forceps deliveries.”  I clicked on videos.  And I watched.  With the volume up, and the picture large, I watched a forceps delivery.  And I almost puked.  NOT because of any remnants of the PTSD, but simply because of the barbaric nature of this form of delivery.  I watched as the forceps were placed, placing an instrument that is much too big for the vagina, and will more than likely tear the vagina, in the vagina.  I watched the doctor use some other medical device to further expand the vaginal opening by slicing the flesh around the vagina. I watched the doctor apply an extreme amount of traction to pull a baby from a mother’s unwilling body.  I heard the mother moaning and screaming.  I heard the click.

And, I think to myself.  My cesarean section was a piece of cake compared to the butchery of a forceps delivery. The elective cesarean section, the “major surgery” that I had ,was controlled, defined, and calm.  Each “click” was accounted for, each slice meaningful, each stitch done with the precision of a skilled doctor in a controlled environment.  It will always baffle me WHY forceps are used in a non-emergency vaginal delivery.  Although it baffles me, it apparently does not baffle the birthing community.  It seems many women still view a forceps assisted “natural” vaginal birth as a better option than a cesarean delivery.  The idea of women being stigmatized when considering their options between forceps and cesarean at the moment their delivery may deem necessary sickens me.  I feel that women should always have an informed choice and it is my mission to advocate for that choice.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

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The first step to Wellness

Navigation of treatment is one of the many obstacles that an individual faces when dealing with trauma.  In both physical and emotional trauma, the simple confession, if you will, to oneself of one’s situation needs to be the very first step.  Admitting to yourself the need for help is one thing, but sharing your problem with another is often extremely difficult.  Unfortunately, when dealing with stigmatized trauma, such as mental illness and incontinence, the essential step of sharing one’s difficulty is often never mastered.  It may not be achieved for years.  However, once you are able to discuss your physical and emotional traumas with another human being, you have made a great leap into treatment.  Talking about your worries is crucial to treatment.  My treatment model followed the following path over the course of 3 + years:

1. Admit to myself that something was not “right” with my incontinence. Talk with my husband, Talk with my mother. See my OBGYN.-Unsatisfied with results. See a new OBGYN-Unsatisfied with results.  See another new OBGYN. Diagnosed with fecal incontinence. See a Gastroenterologist. Begin Physical Therapy.  See a Rectal Surgeon.  Have extensive testing on the sphincter.  Discover exact defect.  Enter specialized Physical Therapy.  Admit to myself that something was not “right” with my brain.  Talk with my husband.  See my OBGYN.  Get prescribed medication.  See Cognitive Behavior Psychologist.-Unsatisfied with results.  See EMDR specialist. Diagnosed with PTSD with related anxiety disorder.  See a Psychiatrist for medicine management in conjunction with EMDR psychotherapy.  Leave work due to PTSD, anxiety and incontinence. Rectal Surgeon prescribes new treatment for fecal incontinence.  Have Interstim therapy implanted. Discharged from Physical Therapy.  Discharged from Psychotherapy. Titrate off of medication.  Cleared to go back to work.

As you can see, for me, admitting WAS the first step on a journey that would take over three years to travel to wellness.  However, I continue on my wellness journey daily and to date it looks like this:

Start a blog, continue blogging, become a patient ambassador for Medtronic Interstim, become pregnant with second child, turn off Interstim implant, experience setbacks with incontinence and pelvic floor weakness, attend Physical Therapy, have second child, experience wellness with incontinence once Interstim turned back on, facilitate a local support group for bowel disorders, get a part time job.….be engaged daily with a life that seemed unimaginable in the immediate aftermath of trauma….

You can do it too.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

 

 

It’s been TOO long!

As I sit and write this post, the thought of “it’s been TOO long,” resonates in my brain.  Yes, it HAS been too long since I last posted.  The excuses pile up…Yes, I have been busy with the baby.  Yes, I have been busy with the  general end of summer, beginning of fall, type things.  Yes, I have been busy sending my oldest off to kindergarten.  Yes, I have been busy getting a part-time job and engaging in my various other volunteer activities.  Yes, I have been busy.

On a very basic level, the fact that I CAN be busy….the fact that I CAN think of other things besides my past  trauma, my past physical and mental impediments, is exhilarating!!!!!  It is such a rush to realize that I am no longer tied to my past emotionally and physically to the point that the past is all I can think about.  The fact that my past no longer keeps me busy.  The fact that the present and future rule my world and I am not bogged down in irrational thinking and physical pain.

However, my mission will always be to shed light on birth trauma, in whatever way I can.  I am truly inspired by some wonderful individuals that post and write about a cause on almost a daily turn, a cause that I feel passionate about.  I am ready to get back in the swing of blogging.  I owe it to my past to pay tribute to a truly terrifying and difficult experience and to honor a hard-fought recovery.

Thanks for Reading,

Lauren

How To: Some More Konsyl Recipes

“Chocolate Shake”

1 frozen banana

1 cup of ice

1 cup of chocolate almond milk

1 teaspoonful of Konsyl

*blend until no chunks 🙂

“Almost Like a Pina Colada”

7-8 Frozen Strawberries

1 cup of coconut almond milk

1 teaspoonful of Konsyl

*blend until no chunks 🙂

“Vanilla”

1 cup of ice

1 cup of vanilla almond milk

1 teaspoonful of Konsyl

*blend until no chunks 🙂

 

Thanks for Reading,

Lauren

A Gathering

About a month ago, I was asked to facilitate a support group specifically geared towards those suffering with bowel disorders.  This group is the first of its kind in my area and I am humbled and honored that I was chosen to lead this gathering of individuals with similar issues.  Honestly, even with the outreach to individuals telling them about this group, I was hesitant to think that we may have a large turnout to this type of meeting.  It is an unfortunate truth that many individuals afflicted with bowel disorders remain silent…not because they necessarily want to, but more because society stigmatizes the ability to talk freely about issues such as these.

With great pride, I am pleased to announce that between 15 and 20 individuals showed at the first meeting.  Brave individuals who summoned the courage to share their stories, listen with an open heart and mind to others, and work with me to shape future gatherings into meetings that are both productive and encouraging.  I am truly blessed that I have been given the opportunity to facilitate these meetings.  I am excited about the possibilities of shattering societal stigma, beginning with the small group dynamic, and spreading out into the general public by raising awareness of these very personal issues.

Thanks for Reading,

Lauren

How To: The Konsyl Corner

In an effort to remain supportive and informative to those needing and requesting some of my fiber secrets, I’m dedicating a space on my blog to Konsyl.  What is Konsyl?  It is a fiber supplement that was recommended to me by my rectal surgeon.  I take it every day and it allows my bowels to work in harmony with my Interstim implant.  I have found this supplement provides me an easy way to incorporate additional fiber into my diet without ingesting large amounts of food.  Through daily exploration, I have found some pretty tasty ways to make Konsyl a part of my daily routine.  If you, like me, need to up your fiber intake, I invite you to try Konsyl as a way to get what you need.

My favorite Konsyl recipe:

8 ounces Vanilla Almond Milk

5 Frozen Strawberries

1 Teaspoonful Konsyl (Original Formula)

Place Vanilla Almond Milk and Strawberries in Blender. Mix until smooth.  Add Konsyl.  Mix until incorporated.  Drink Immediately. (It is important to drink any Konsyl beverage immediately due to the nature of the psyllium fiber-read warnings and instructions on supplement directions)

I hope to add more Konsyl recipes here in the near future.  For now, I encourage you to start adding fiber to your diet, regardless if you “need” to or not.  For more fiber recipes, check out this Bran Buds post or this Bran Buds post.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Getting the run around….

In reading about other individual’s experiences with elective cesarean, I have counted myself lucky that the opposition from medical professionals that many mothers face in obtaining the right to choose this type of delivery is something I have only READ about.  Until now.  This past weekend, my OBGYN doctor called me with a heads up that “we may have a little problem with your planned c-section.”  My doctor, (who is a huge advocate for my planned elective cesarean that is supposed to take place in 3 days), has received an e-mail from the hospital I am set to deliver at asking him “why is she (meaning me) choosing this mode of delivery electively at 38 + weeks gestation?”  Furthermore, the hospital is claiming that the amniocentesis appointment that has been set for months for the day before the scheduled c-section is not set up. (even though I have paperwork confirming the appointment). The claim is that there is no appointment, therefore, no ability to process to lung development, therefore, no elective c-section.  In addition to these claims from the hospital, my OBGYN has informed me that many mothers going in for an elective c-section recently at this hospital have been faced with “inconclusive” findings during the amniocentesis, therefore, the elective c-sections for these mothers have been cancelled, resulting in a later rescheduling or more likely, the need for the mother to go into labor prior to having a c-section.

I find this completely unacceptable for the hospital to pull this little stunt 3 days prior to my planned c-section.  Not only do I believe that elective cesarean IS the better choice for delivery, I have medical indications that support my right to demand an elective cesarean section without trial of labor.  These indications include:

1.  Previous BOTCHED vaginal delivery in which I was in labor for over 30 hours, pushed for over 3, and delivered a sunny side up 8 pound 14 ounce baby girl with forceps.

2.  A third degree tear, dislocated hip, and severe postpartum hemorrhage immediately following delivery.

3.  Resulting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with related Anxiety Disorder directly related to trial of labor and vaginal delivery.

4.  Resulting permanent damage to rectal sphincter and fecal incontinence directly related to trial of labor and vaginal delivery.

5.  The medtronic Interstim for fecal incontinence device that I have placed on my sacral nerve does not support the trials of labor and delivery, a c-section is indicated as a better mode for delivery.

6.  The current SPD, symphysis pubic dysfunction, that I am dealing with will only get worse with a trial of labor and delivery, a c-section is indicated as a better mode for delivery.

Because of all the above indicators, my anxiety level is through the roof just thinking about a trial of labor, that could possibly result in a vaginal delivery.  Also, the closer I get to my due date, the more likely my elective planned c-section will become a c-section that results after I go into labor, which is not an ideal situation for me, emotionally or physically.  I know with certainty that my OBGYN is on my side with this, and he is currently trying to sort the whole thing out with the hospital.  Later today, I have an appointment with my OBGYN doctor and I hope it brings good news.  It’s just a shame that I need to spend these next couple of days worrying over a choice that I should have the right to make without the hassle instead of mentally preparing myself for the joy of meeting my son via the certainty of a planned elective cesarean delivery.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

A Surprise while Sneezing

Last week, while reclining in a nice comfortable chair, I sneezed.  Not only did I sneeze, I simultaneously sneezed, passed gas, and forcefully pushed parts of my rectum out through my sphincter.  Was I surprised? yes. Embarrassed? yes.  Realizing that this is just another thing I get to deal with as a result of my previous birth trauma? yes.  Just another simple joy that has come along with this pregnancy.  Although initially surprised at the unwanted protrusion that now permanently makes itself known, I was not at all caught unaware that this would most likely happen.

The birth trauma that I sustained during the birth of my first child is permanent.  My sphincter was and IS damaged.  As you well know, if you have been following my blog, the physical therapy, diet modifications, constant supervision by medical professionals including my OBGYN, physical therapist, and rectal surgeon, helped me “cope” with this reality during the initial few years of my recovery.  A little over three years postpartum, Medtronic Interstim helped to CORRECT this reality, allowing me function, clenching ability, and the shot at a “normal” sphincter.  So it really is no big surprise that now that the Interstim is off, as per pregnancy safety regulations, that my symptoms of fecal incontinence, saggy rectal tissue, and pain have returned full force.

Adding to the difficulty of turning the Interstim off, my body has also been dealing with symphysis pubic dysfunction.  With both of these factors affecting my body on a constant, unrelenting basis, my ability to have any sort of normal function in regards to fecal regulation has ceased.  I am right back where I was prior to having the Interstim placed.  Incontinent and in pain.  However, by no means am I playing the pity card here.  This was my choice to carry another child, my choice to get pregnant, my choice to turn my Interstim off.  Unfortunately, it is also my reality for the next three months as I wait for my baby to be born.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Celebrating my 100th post!

This is my 100th post.

I thought I should probably make it somewhat meaningful, possibly a celebration of how far I have come, or a glance at what I have become.

Or both.

Well, I have come from a place of despair, of darkness, of hopelessness, of fear.

I have become a fighter, a survivor,….. an advocate.
In March 2008, I gave birth to one of the most precious blessings in my life.  4 1/2 years ago I experienced both the best and worst day of my life.  At the same time this beautiful light entered my life, my own light went out.  I suffered both physical and emotional consequences I could not have even imagined.  My world stopped making sense.

Through my struggles my family remained by my side, supporting me in my therapies, medical testing, and surgeries.

Slowly, with time, support, and extensive therapy, I began to emerge, a stronger, better, LOUDER, advocating individual.  I fight for women’s choice in birthing options, access to timely and correct prenatal and postpartum care, and recognition of the very real devastating effects of physical and emotional birth trauma.

I am happy to announce that I have been able to take the next step in my life journey.  I am expecting.  A thought, a dream, that I could not entertain for months, years, because of the physical and emotional ramifications of my first delivery.  I am so very happy to be able to share this with you, my readers, with the very real hope that I am offering YOU hope.  Things can and will get better.  It is possible.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren (and baby bump)

I’m in the Office

I’m in the office.  The doctor’s office.  That flyer regarding Medtronic Interstim for fecal incontinence that the doctor distributes?  It highlights my words, my experiences.  What an awesome outcome from my work as advocate.

“I could feel again. I could clench again. I could CONTROL my bowel movements again.” — Lauren

As I’ve said time and time again, advocacy is my way of dealing with my birth trauma, with my fecal incontinence, with my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  OK, Advocacy and a whole lot of therapy, time, medical interventions, medications, and support helped me overcome the many obstacles that plagued me.  However, at this point in my journey, support and advocacy are all that remain in my mission to lessen the stigma of birth trauma.  It has been so very exciting to see my words in print by way of Medtronic Interstim advertising materials.  It is encouraging that my words and my experiences are being distributed to those who may need the inspiration and information.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

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