Posts Tagged ‘Interstim’

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

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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

Security

One part of the Interstim therapy that takes getting used to is the fact that you have a little device inside your body that will set off security systems and that the device can potentially be ruined by some security systems.  In knowing this, Interstim provides all implanted patients with a nice little medical card that states that “I have a device that may set off your airport/security system.”  Since getting my device implanted, I have had to use this medical card in situations that require me to pass through security systems.  Some security guards at these security checkpoints have been more than professional, some downright rude.

It is important to note that the protocol which I have been instructed to use as an implanted Interstim patient encountering a security system is the following:

1.  Present medical card, explain to the guard that you have an implanted medical device that will trigger security and could be damaged by certain systems.

2.  Ask for a pat down versus going through the security system.

Unfortunately, even with this very polite request, backed up by a medical card, some security guards have been downright befuddled at my request.  On more than one occasion, I am met with the response, “Well this system won’t really impact the device,” or the baffling “I’ll just scan you quickly.”  I have also been refused entry unless I was scanned, after the security guard refused to meet my request for a pat down.  Additionally, I have been embarrassed on more than one occasion as security guards talk in loud tones about my physical situation, inquire why I have the device, and talk about how I can just have the scan done because “this guy over here has a pacemaker in his heart and he never has had a problem going through.”

If you are met with the above situation, where security guards are not accommodating your medical situation, contact Medtronic.  Medtronic will advise you on the second course of action while going through security which is to do the following:

1.  Turn off your device.

2.  Ask for the handheld scanner (no magnets).  I am not even sure if you can go through those huge walk through devices safely.  I never have since being implanted.

3.  Place your hand over the implant.  Advise the security guard that scanning directly on the device will wreck the device, ask them to scan around.

4.  After going through security, turn the device back on.
I am hopeful that as the Interstim surgery and device become more prominently known that the training of security personnel in accommodations for security systems while increase.

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

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

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

I’m not a Doctor

Often, people will utilize my blog when searching for information about Interstim.  As I have stated in earlier posts, I am more than thrilled that people are finding me, my blog, and my story as a resource in an effort in getting the word out there about this life changing surgery.  However, it is important to note, I’m not a Doctor.  I have no authorization to give medical advice.  See my Disclaimer.  I can only speak to my own experiences and how the surgery has influenced my life personally.  I can also direct interested parties to the official Interstim Website to obtain a medically professional opinions.

That being said, I am obviously more than ready to share my personal story, trials, and tribulations surrounding the Interstim surgery.  Often, and understandably, people feel more comfortable privately writing to me about their questions and concerns.  I urge you to do this.  In future posts I hope to answer my most frequent questions publicly, but, rest assured, your name and other identifying information will never be revealed as I will only be compiling my answers to my most frequently asked questions in an effort to assist those who need those answers but are unwilling to ask.

So, keep asking those questions, you can e-mail me privately (peace4Lauren@gmail.com) and/or post a comment to the blog.  I promise, I will answer as truthfully as I can regarding my personal quest with the Interstim implant.  But remember, I’m not a Doctor.

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

Interstimcise

So, it’s March. And, I need to lose weight.  What better idea than to join the March Meltdown at my gym!

Since the birth of my daughter, in March 2008, exercise has been tricky.  Swimming, my main form of exercise, was not happening for a while (that whole fecal incontinence issue really put a damper on getting in the pool).  Anything that involved my pelvic floor (ab work, cycling)-not happening due to extreme pain.  Additionally, anything that wiggled my dislocated hip, caused me to let go of embarrassing gas, or possibly triggered my PTSD was not an ideal exercising situation.

So, I sat, and ate, and gained weight, until I weighed more than I did at my heaviest pregnancy weight.

February 2011, I joined a gym.  After years of physical therapy, and my high fiber diet, I felt that I could have a good handle on the pool situation.  I tentatively began aquasize classes, and slowly started swimming laps.  Of course, my going to the gym was always dependent on what kind of day my sphincter and mind were having.  I began to lose weight.

July/August 2011, I had my Interstim surgery.  Because of the healing time, I was out of the gym rotation for about 6 weeks.  You guessed it, I gained again.

And here we are.  March Meltdown.  Time to get serious.  Time to explore what I like to call “Interstimcise.”  This time, I am working with a personal trainer who knows about my Interstim Implant and can suggest productive, and safe, exercise that does not jiggle the implant, or put pressure on the site of incision.  Ever since I received my Interstim implant in August, I have been tentative as to how to proceed.  I have only done the low impact, aquasize classes. I am super excited to work with this trainer in an effort to learn more, burn more calories, and get back into the world of exercising with limited restrictions.

The Interstim Implant does not prevent you from exercising, however,  it is important to  proceed with the help of your Interstim provider as well as a knowledgeable trainer, so as not to disrupt the great gift that Interstim will give you.

Thanks for Reading,

Lauren

 

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