Posts Tagged ‘taboo’

99 Calls

99 Calls.  As of next week, including my scheduled calls, I will have placed 99 calls as a patient ambassador for Medtronic.  In a little less than two years, I have spoken with 99 people regarding my experiences with Interstim.  99 “official” conversations about fecal incontinence have been expounded upon in an open and honest manner.  99 conversations that, prior to 2008, I could have never imagined having.  99 conversations that, on average, are 30 minutes a call, that’s 2,970 minutes, 49.5 hours, a little over 2 full days of talking about an issue that is stigmatized, traumatizing, and devastating to many people.

Modesty aside, I can say, I feel good about that.  I feel great that I am able to do something, able to help people at the time where they are questioning their future with fecal incontinence.  Able to alleviate fear and provide a sounding board for life’s stresses with fecal incontinence.  I feel as though I am providing a service that I so desperately craved at my time of decision, at the time where I was wallowing in the woes and uncertainty of a future filled with severe fecal incontinence.

The most amazing thing for me, however, is that 99 calls is just the tip of the iceberg.  The bowel disorders support group that I facilitate, the multiple e-mails I negotiate from my blog, and the conversations I have with people face to face all serve to get my story out there in an effort to let people know they are not alone! To date, this blog has been viewed over 17,500 times.  It is hard for me to even wrap my head around that number.  It is hard for me to imagine that those 17,500 + views have hopefully helped someone by educating them about my experience and hopefully provided empathy for the viewer’s individual experience.

I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story, and I invite you to pass it on.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

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It’s just not funny

Recently, I came across an article about a woman who lost her job due to incontinence.  The headline reads: Opera Singer Can’t Stop Farting After Surgery, Loses Job.  The woman, who suffered a botched episiotomy at childbirth, now endures incontinence issues such as uncontrollable loss of gas and feces.  She is suing the hospital due to loss of control, and subsequently, the inability to perform as an opera singer, her occupation.  As someone who also, ultimately, had to leave her chosen profession due to incontinence and birth trauma issues, I relate to this woman on a very personal level.  I applaud her ability to pursue legal action, and I admire her for going public with this very real, and very embarrassing issue.  I was initially introduced to this story via my Facebook feed, but then dug around for other news outlets carrying the story.  Largely listed under, “weird news,” and on the news feed “gawker,”  I now find this story to be listed in the media as a joke. Well, guess what, it’s just not funny.  Nor, is it “weird news.”  The fact that the media needs to portray an article like this under “weird” eliminates it’s ability to become a mainstream health issue.  Furthermore, the comments listed as a response to these articles are largely littered with middle school level jokes and puns about poop, farting, and loss of control.  So, congratulations media, for making a mockery of a very real problem for a lot of women, and also, creating an outlet for those wishing to relive their middle school years with crude wisecracks.  I’m not laughing.

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

Opposing Views

I subscribe to many blogs.  As someone posts, their blog pops up in my e-mail and I am instantly privy to the blogger’s latest post.  I applaud bloggers for being open, honest, and straightforward in their views, yet, I often struggle with opposing viewpoints.

Sitting side by side in my e-mail today were two opposing blog entries.  One explored pro-natural birth, one pro-elective c-section. I know I have written on this topic before, but, I will continue to preach on. It was amazingly disconcerting to me that the blog that talked about natural birth left NO real option to explore elective c-section.  In fact, the blog talked about women needing to get over their fear of natural birth and just do it!  On the other hand, the blog that called for elective c-section recognized that the choice for a c-section may not be for everybody, but it should be a personal choice based on medical history and preference.

I am continuously baffled by the fact that women’s choices are restricted by one camp (all natural at any cost) and left to personal choice by the other (the ability to choose an elective c-section).  As I have said before, both options for birth are viable.  If  a mother has all of the literature, a competent medical professional, and a good head on her shoulders, she should be able to make a choice about her body and her baby.  It is when restrictions are placed on a choice that it becomes stigmatized and not socially acceptable.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks for reading,

Lauren

Advocacy is the Key

I’ve found that advocacy, ME being an advocate, is the key to my healing.  Believe me, I am not discounting the endless hours of therapy, medical surgical advances, tears, and strife that I have gone through by wrapping it up in a neat little package of being an advocate.  It is because of those things that I can be an advocate.  It is because I recognize the pain, both physical and emotional, that I can relate to, empathize with, and educate those in similar situations. 

Being in my own little corner of the blogging world, I can begin to reach out to others in a way that I was not able to before.  I appreciate all of the connections that I am making with my statements, and urge the followers of my blog to reach out and the name of my blog to others that may be needing support.  The thing about fecal incontinence and PTSD as a result of childbirth is that it is mainly a hidden, almost taboo, subject so you never really know who needs to be reached and when!  It is my hope that my blog can erase the taboo nature of birth trauma and educate the medical community and our peers about a very real problem in our society.

Thanks for Reading,

Lauren