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Tag: urinary incontinence

A Journey to Being Incontinence Free

I’m a mom of two awesome, active boys who has suffered from incontinence for 7+ years. This is my story and my individual solution to fixing this issue that has plagued every run since October 2008.

At the end of May, I had TVT surgery for incontinence. For the last 7+ years I’ve lived in silent embarrassment whenever I’d run, teach class, coach, or play in the yard with my two boys.

I thought that I had done everything possible to fix or aid my leakage. When I was finally fed up, I went to see a Urogynecologist for help. After very little thought, I scheduled my surgery. I was sick of being wet. I was done dealing with it. After my surgery, the recovery was unlike anything I’d gone through. Having babies feels a million times more natural than having this surgery. It all heals in time and you do get your fitness back, slowly.

About 7 weeks post-op, I made the mistake of googling TVT surgery and recovery. I ended up reading horror stories! When I initially investigated the surgery, I was mainly looking to understand the procedure. After the surgery, I somehow ended up reading all of these horrific stories of the mesh becoming infected, detaching and dislodging into the uterine wall, or not even working, I freaked out. My doctor had warned me that there was a 1% risk of these things, but c’mon 1%?!

I soon became aware that this surgery was making waves that were crashing down on women who have already suffered. The worst thing I read was that the FDA moved the surgery from being medium risk to a HIGH RISK surgery. Why didn’t I know this before? Some other things that I came across were kegal balls, jade eggs, vaginal massages, physical therapy vaginal stimulation, AND Kim Anami! Kim Anami stopped me in my tracks! The things she can lift with her pelvic core muscles is jaw-dropping! As I attempted to get my body back in running form at weeks 6 and 7 week post, I wasn’t 100% fixed and I did wish I had found Anami before all of this. All that new information made the recovery even more difficult. However, because there is no turning back, I put the newfound knowledge aside.


I ordered a pair of Dear Kates to take away the worry and any noticing of leakage on my runs. I’ve been told and also found out myself that Dear Kates are amazing! They feel great and you can’t notice if incontinence or your period is causing problems while you are being active, i.e. running, hopping, dancing, etc…

At 10 weeks post-surgery, I am getting my body back slowly and noticing an extremely little amount of incontinence. I used to spill over a Super Plus pad and now I use just a panty liner and am not even sure if I need it – that’s a great sign. However, due to the increasing number of horror articles and posts, I am not sure that I would recommend the surgery. I was terrified that I’d be the 1% and the 1% is scary! My job as a patient, is to continue to strengthen my pelvic core muscles and listen to my body on all other levels as I try to regain my strength and fitness.

My advice to anyone going through this, is to listen to your body. Try everything possible before you give a yes to surgery. In 2014, I had reached the point of trying everything that I was told do try. I didn’t know that in 2016 there were a few other options that could also help me. Exhaust all resources and then make the decision with a competent doctor. I feel extremely fortunate to have had Dr. Denman – her work is priceless.






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The Journey: Part 2

Dr. Denman is a young doctor, well she looks young. The first time I met her she immediately reminded me of a combination of two of my greatest friends and roomies from college, Meg & Mis. She was quick-witted, smart, confident, gentle, and equipped with the best sense of humor. I immediately felt like my “rocks” from college were with me in that room. After she explained what the surgery entails, she said “You can’t have sex for 6 weeks.” Then she smiled and said, “You have a 7 1/2 year-old and a 4 year-old, I’m sure you’re fine not having sex for 6 weeks.” I thought that was brilliant, because she made me laugh and she was right. I was definitely more concerned with not running for 6 weeks rather than not having sex for 6 weeks. Scheduling my surgery with Dr. Denman was a no brainer, since I felt like Meg & Mis were somehow in that room with me.

What I loved most about my experience at OHSU was that every person I came in contact with was a woman – check-in, nurse, anesthesiologists, surgeons, assistants, etc… I felt so proud and comforted seeing all of these intelligent, capable, and kind women in this setting. When Dr. Denman met up with me before my surgery, she had the same demeanor and perhaps turned it on even more because she knew she was behind and I had been waiting around for awhile. Of course, if you know me, you know that I’d probably sit quietly for hours, waiting patiently. I listened to the conversations around me and watched the busy medical personnel rush around from patient to patient. I listened to caring, thoughtful words of the staff with various patients. I didn’t mind having to wait at all.

In preparing for this procedure, there are two things that worried me most – going under general anesthesia (I have a crazy weak stomach) and not being able to urinate after the procedure (needing a catheter). About 45 min before I went in to the operating room, this young, beautiful anesthesiologist told me that she wanted to just put me in a deep sleep but not go under general anesthesia. I was thrilled! Dr. Denman agreed and before I knew it I was being wheeled into the OR. I think I was talking to them when I fell asleep because I woke up talking to them. It felt really funny.

People have asked me why I don’t drink alcohol and I say things like, I’m not me when I drink, I make poor decisions, etc… That’s what most people like about alcohol, but I like being in control. When I was coming out of my “deep sleep” I really enjoyed the feeling and I noticed that I am really good at pretending I am ok. I can walk fine and communicate well but in reality, I am really trying to hide my not-in-control feeling. The nurses kept on saying “Wow. You are doing great. Wow. This is amazing. I’ve never seen anyone recover so quickly.” Feeling that good feeling, enjoying it, and also being able to “get by” that I was fine was another reminder that living substance-free is definitely for me.

One thing that I couldn’t fake was emptying my bladder. Luckily, I was able to empty my bladder completely earning applause from the staff and a “I’ve never seen that!” I was able to be released without waiting any longer or get catheterized. Upon discharge they gave me a prescription for Norco for the pain I’d most likely be feeling the next day. I told them I didn’t want it and I’d be just fine with Tylenol. My husband took it just in case.

This morning, Joe asked me what it felt like. Dr. Denman said that I’d feel like I got kicked in the groin really hard. I had asked if it would feel like I did after giving birth and she said “close.” I’d like to report that it doesn’t feel like either of those things. It feels like I got stabbed in the abdomen in two spots. It hurts, but I know I will be fine. I will only take Tylenol. I will continue to rest in my bed. Miles doesn’t have school today, so we will snuggle in bed, play Lego, play the “Marble Game,” watch the Peanuts Movie and read books.

The journey continues!

Thank you to all of my friends and readers for checking in!

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