Posts Tagged ‘fecal incontinence’

Happy Assiversary

Today I celebrated my “assiversary.”  Yes, 1 year ago, August 5th, I had my permanent Interstim implant placed squarely in my upper right butt cheek.  1 year ago, my quality of life significantly enhanced, 1 year ago, the symptoms of fecal incontinence were erased.  And so, I celebrated. With 30 or so of my closest friends and family.  We laughed over appetizers of Nutella, chocolate covered raisins, toilet bowl bread bowl, and turtle chocolate candies. We dined upon sloppy joe, sphincter rings (onion rings), and roughage (salad and watermellon).  We talked about how far I have come, how much their support has meant to me, and how grateful I am for Interstim and the technology.  We overused phrases like “you bet your ass I’ll be there!” “that’s a big ass cake!” and “what a crappy time this is!” And we laughed and smiled at the success I have experienced in the past year.  Thank you for all who were a part of my special day.
Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Advertisements

Ambassador

In an effort to strengthen my advocacy with causes I believe in, I have become a volunteer patient ambassador for Medtronic Interstim.  In this capacity, I am available to chat with those interested in the therapy, those wanting to learn more about my experiences with fecal incontinence,  and those wishing to understand how Medtronic Interstim therapy for fecal incontinence has changed my life.  This free service is one that I hope many people take advantage of, especially those who need a hopeful conversation in the realm of fecal incontinence therapies.  If you are considering Interstim therapy, and would like to talk with myself or another Interstim Ambassador, use the following link to sign up.  Interstim Ambassador Program  I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Let Freedom Ring

On this 4th of July, we celebrate our freedoms. (At least in the United States we do)

I’m celebrating my freedom to:

1.  walk out of my house and know that my Interstim, years of physical therapy, and high fiber diet will keep my incontinence in check.

2.  enjoy the day free from PTSD triggers knowing that my EMDR therapy has processed all of them.

3.  recognize the fact that I am empowered because of my experiences and have the ability to advocate for myself and others.

I’m celebrating the freedom I have found in myself, with thanks and praise to those who founded our freedoms in years past and those who continue to protect our freedoms today.  Happy 4th of July!

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

 

second opinion

The search history on my computer is fraught with the following terms: fecal incontinence, PTSD, childbirth, trauma, tears, Interstim.  Essentially, if someone who did not know me seized and searched my computer history, they would be inundated with my passion to understand, research, and illuminate others about topics not always talked about candidly and publicly.

Recently, I came across this gem of a program regarding the medical community and their stance and understanding of fecal incontinence.  To watch the full episode  as outlined on the website, Second Opinion, does require a time commitment, but it is well worth it if you or a loved one is suffering with fecal incontinence.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

How To: Add Fiber in your Day

As I mentioned in my earlier post, 40 grams, eating fiber is truly essential to my success with continence.  The way I look at it is that the Interstim Implant is more than helpful in getting the right nerves stimulated, and the fiber helps with the consistency and regularity of the stool.  Doing both in conjunction with each other is necessary for complete success with fecal continence.

-Adding Fiber in Your Day-

compiled by Lauren at peaceoutofpieces.com 

  • Buy Bran Buds!  These little circles of fibery goodness pack a punch.
  • Mix 1 cup of Bran Buds with yogurt, fruit, chocolate chips, nuts to achieve a parfait pleasing to your palette.
  • Mix 1 cup of Bran Buds with other small food items to create a crunchy trail mix.
  • Be daring, make a Bran Bud cookie by melting chocolate (I prefer dark chocolate chips), adding dried fruit and Bran Buds, and let set.
  • Ingest insane amounts of fiber at your breakfast by adding a crumbled high fiber granola bar, or high fiber brownie to your cup of Bran Buds and yogurt.
  • Add Bran Buds to your instant oatmeal.
  • Add Bran Buds to your other cereal.
  • Do not grind the Bran Buds up or add milk unless you like the taste of sludge or glue.

No, in no way do I get paid to endorse the Bran Buds product.  Would I enjoy that?  Sure!  Sign me up!  Regardless, Bran Buds have helped me have a better day, and they may help you too.  Give them a try 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

So, what do you do?

When meeting someone for the first time, often, the following question arises during the initial small talk, “so, what do you do?”  At times, I struggle to answer this question.  At this point in my recovery, I say “I’m happy to be a stay at home mom.”  However, my lips itch with the urge to spill my guts, to answer in a much more truer sense.  The answer I would love to give is the following, “I’m a stay at home mom.  And, I love it.  However, I am also a teacher. I went to school for many years to obtain this degree.  I achieved tenure because of my good reviews and practice in the classroom. I fought hard to find a job I loved, and I did find that job.  I went back to work when my daughter was 6 months old, and I was OK with that.  Physical and Emotional birth trauma eventually caused me to step out of work on a “medical” leave.  I loved being a teacher.  I still am a teacher.  And, I love being a mom.  The best thing for myself was to leave work to focus on getting myself and my family healed and better.  In fact, I am better now.  And, at this point I choose, not my mind, not my body, I choose to stay home with my daughter.  I will go back to work eventually. ”

Being that answer is often too much, too soon, for casual acquaintances, I often keep that to myself.  But, I do want people to know, people who read my blog, that leaving work was one of the hardest decisions of my life.  For my physical body, the answer was clearly that I should not and could not work.  My fecal incontinence caused numerous accidents throughout the teaching day in which I would need to change my undergarments, take frequent bathroom breaks, feel uneasy about sitting in meetings, and  need to remain in close proximity to a bathroom.  For my mental body, the toll was far worse in my work environment.  Being that pregnant women, the smell of cleaner, and assisting with special education student’s  toileting  needs (ex. cleaning up bowel movements) were triggers rampant in my work environment, anxiety attacks, extreme panic, and the inability to focus were parts of my daily routine in the classroom.

Leaving work was really the only way I could get better.  It took a lot to convince me of this.  It took being escorted to the hospital, from the school’s nurses office, when I thought I was having a heart attack.  (A severe panic attack).  It took being in therapy and realizing the only way I would get better was to stop putting myself in the midst of triggers.  It took me swallowing my pride, to leave a job I loved, and was good at, in an effort to reclaim myself.

And guess what, leaving work was an effective way to assist in my treatment for PTSD.  Removing myself from a constant triggering situation helped me focus on therapy, my family, and myself.  It really was the only way.

Of course, leaving work essentially cut our income in half, caused a change in our health insurance benefits, and manufactured the need for our family to live with and adhere to a budget.  A lot of people assume that going out on “medical leave” means you have some sort of disability payment assistance, especially when the medical leave is “prescribed” by the doctor.  Sadly, that is not always the case.  I still, (2 years later), am fighting to reclaim any disability payments I may have been allotted due to my condition(s).  Luckily, I have a lovely organization that can do this for me (for a small fee).  However, it is important to dispel the myth that “medical leave” automatically means that the person is being financially supported in one way or another during their recovery.  This simply is not true.  Hopefully, at some point I will obtain the disability payments retroactively to support my stretch of “medical leave”, but, that remains to be seen.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

 

How To: Enema

*I’m adding a new category to my blog.  It’s “How To:”  Adding my personal insights into processes inherent in dealing with physical and emotional birth trauma may prove beneficial to my readers.

Since I have been diagnosed with fecal incontinence, I have become quite proficient in many areas related to the incontinence, from the practicalities of buying the right protective undergarments to the preparing for the invasive and uncomfortable testing that is often a necessity to check rectal function.

One thing I have become a “pro” at is giving myself an enema.  Something, quite frankly, I didn’t expect to do as much as I needed to do before I turned 30 years old.

Understandably, before undergoing medical tests and physical check-ups of your rectum, your rectal surgeon may request that you cleanse your colon in order to get an accurate read on your rectal function.  The following is a how to list  I created that I wish I had been able to peruse prior to giving myself my first enema, because, let’s face it, the scant directions on those enema bottles provide only the barest of directives.

-Giving Yourself an Enema-

compiled by Lauren at peaceoutofpieces.com 

It’s not pleasant, but almost always necessary, to give yourself an enema prior to any rectal exam or test. You’ll be advised of this request when setting up your appointment. Sometimes, two enemas are suggested. Here’s how to get through it—it’s a process that has worked for me:

  • Have someone else buy it if it is a trigger for you. They are cheap, and often come in two-packs.
  • Have someone else there that is available to watch your child while you are administering your enema. You need to be able to focus on you.
  • Find a quiet place—for me it’s my bed in my bedroom with the door closed.
  • Make sure that place is located by a bathroom.
  • Place a towel where you will be laying and have something to read close by.
  • Administer the enema according to the directions on the package.
  • While you are waiting, read whatever you have selected.
  • When you strongly feel the urge to defecate, use the towel to protect yourself from having an accident on the floor as you go to the bathroom.
  • Let it go in the toilet. It will come in waves so wait a while.
  • Put on some sort of protection because you will continue leaking while going to your appointment. If possible, have someone accompany you.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

A Letter to My Daughter

So, I recently figured out that one day my daughter may read my blog.  And, I’m OK with that.  In fact, I’m more than OK with that.  However, I want her to read this blog when she is older, and I want her to read this post first.

Dear Daughter,

Please don’t ever feel guilty about what happened to Mom.  It’s not your fault.  I love you with all my heart and would gladly be torn apart again and again just to have your joyful face in our lives.  I cannot tell you how much I have worried that my mental illness and physical ailments could have impacted you in your formative years.  However, all my worry is for naught.  You have grown into a happy, productive, smart, and clever 4-year-old.  A 4-year-old unencumbered by Mommy’s trials and tribulations, but instead, supported by Mom and Dad’s strengths and unconditional love.

You are an amazing human being.  You intuitively recognize the times when Mom needs your help and you give me that extra support.  You provide me with the best reminder that something beautifully grand can come from a  devastating experience.  You fill my heart with joy and love each day.

I love you, sweet girl.

Love, Mommy

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Searching for….Interstim?

A really cool thing about WORDPRESS, the blogging site I use, is that it tracks your stats.  One stat that is particularly interesting to me is viewing the “search” words that individuals use that result in producing a link to my blog.

By far, the most used search term to reach my blog is “Interstim.”  I find this linkage very exhilarating and useful.  When I was first exploring the option of Interstim, I, like many people, turned to social media to get “the real scoop.”  Knowing how a person implanted with Interstim contemplates the surgery, experiences success, and lives with the implant is an immeasurable tool when deciding upon a life altering procedure.  

I’m happy to be that person to so many people.  I would encourage those searching my blog for information and/or with questions regarding my experiences with Interstim to either contact me directly at peace4Lauren@gmail.com, or leave a comment.  I would like to be able to relate my most positive experience with Interstim with you in a way that is meaningful to you.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Biking-in the water?

My bike seat for land will be arriving at my house shortly, like, this week.  Glorious!  I can’t wait to strap my ham hocks onto the seat that is created to protect my tender pelvic floor.  I hope it works, fingers crossed! If you are so inclined, feel free to read my earlier post about biking.  I also hope that our weather cooperates.  I don’t know how it’s been where you live, but we have hit mid 70’s one day, snowstorm the next.  Wacky!

One place I do not need to worry about biking in the elements is the gym.  I’d like to be very clear, I’m not talking about “the spin class.”  I tried that, once, before I had my daughter.  I couldn’t walk, for days!  Hmmm, bikes at the gym, that aren’t in a land spin class?  Where are said bikes I speak of?  In the water of course!

Hydro-biking is an amazing workout for those with pelvic floor damage.  The hydro-bike allows you to “spin” and workout with limited pressure on your pelvic area.  It is an awesome resource that I am very lucky to be able to use at the weekly hydro-bike class at the gym.  Kudos to my gym for trying something new.

So, for someone who was told they would never ride a bike again, I say, I CAN and I AM bike riding! (with modifications).

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Next entries » · « Previous entries