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Monday, August 16, 2010

Mock Me Monday - Public Service Announcement

While I'm usually satisfied making you chuckle during my Mock Me Monday installments, I wanted to do more this week.  You should know, though, that i have had second, third, and even sixteenth thoughts about this one.  There's the usual humor/humiliation element, but this one is personal.  And I don't usually get this personal -- all the 'experts' warn you about getting personal online.  Never share anything you wouldn't want on a billboard in Times Square.

Good advice.

Except, I KNOW there are others out there like me. And I KNOW if I share, it could help someone else.  So my real goal here is to help others, and if you laugh at me in the meantime, so be it.

Oh, and guys? This might get a little uncomfortable for you so if you are at all squeamish, you might just wanna click to your next blog, no hard feelings.

Part of me still can't believe I'm doing this.  I SOOO hope I don't wake up in the morning with a panic attack. 

It is estimated that one third of women over the age of 18 suffer to some degree from stress incontinence.  In plain terms this means that every time you sneeze, cough, laugh, run, or jump you experience a tiny bit of bladder leakage.  This is, obviously humiliating and degrading in and of itself.  Women rarely talk about it, even with their closest girlfriends. 

Well, I'm talking about it now.

For my part (and like most women), it happened after the birth of my kids. It was just often enough to make me worry every time I felt a sneeze coming on.  My mother had complained about it when I was growing up, so I just thought it was one more thing we women had to suffer through.

I hated it.  I felt old.  And I worried.  If this was a problem in my thirties what the heck was going to happen when I was sixty?   I developed ways to cope.  I made frequent trips to the bathroom to keep the bladder as empty as possible.  I sometimes wore a liner, just in case.  I did my kegels, and  braced myself before every sneeze, cough, or laugh.

Ack.  That's no way to live, my friends.

What I didn't know then is that it is a legitimate medical issue, but one most of us don't even consider discussing with our doctors.  We're too ashamed and just want to forget about it.

Until now.

I had heard something on TV about a treatment, but had missed most of the pertinent details.  So at my next check up, rather than doing everything I could to get in and out of those damn stirrups as fast as I could, I gathered my courage and asked my doctor about it.  She referred me to Dr. X.

I'm not one that cares whether my doctor is male or female. Up to this point in my life, my doctors had always been OLDER than me.   Dr. X turned out to be young. MAYBE 30.  Dark hair, big blue eyes. Mmmmhhhmmmm.

So there I was, feeling old and really uncomfortable being forced to admit to the most attractive physician I'd ever had that I had difficulty controlling my bladder when I ran, jumped, coughed, laughed, sneezed, etc.

I had to confess to periodically wetting my pants to a very young, very attractive, very blue-eyed boy and hope to hell he had a solution for me. 

How humiliating.

But that wasn't the worst part.

Oh no, not by a long shot.

How could it get worse, you ask?

He had to verify.

Yes, verify.

And so I was asked to lie down on the exam table with an absorbent pad beneath me.

And I was asked to cough.

And "bear down"

And fight against over 35 years of psychological training to NOT EVER lose control.

All while he watched to see if indeed there was leakage.

Yes he watched.

Oh, and the nurse watched too.  But she didn't bother me much.


Quite possibly the most humiliating experience of my life!

Did I mention he was attractive?
And young?
And watching me pee?

Okay, so even I laughed at that last bit. 

I'm over the humiliation now and it was SOOO worth it in the end. 

There is indeed a treatment! There are a couple options, actually.  One is a shot of collagen the other involves surgically inserting a "sling" to support the bladder/urethra.   I went the sling route and am SOO glad I did.  I have not had ONE incident since then.  I can run and jump.  I can sneeze and laugh myself silly.  Not one incident. 

I KNOW there are some of you ladies out there who, like me, are thinking this is your lot in life.  I'm here to tell you that you do NOT have to put up with this, and I have outed myself in this public forum to help YOU.

If you have questions, feel free to email me:  missvspeaks(at)gmail(dot)com. 


Ted Cross said...

I had no idea this happened. I wonder if my wife has such an issue? I could point her to your post. Thank you for sharing!

Nicole MacDonald said...

oooooo this is disturbing - yoga yoga yoga!!

Karen Walker said...

How brave of you to talk abou this. And how wonderful to share that there is a solution for such an embarrassing problem. SO happy you got it fixed. My first gynecologist looked like Paul Newman. I can so relate to how you felt with your young, handsome, blue-eyed doc.

Lenny said...

hi miss vicki! its just real important to tell your doctor when you got a problem. im real glad you did so now you got it fixed. its hard to share out stuff like that but you did and i like that you did so it could help other people and thats a really nice thing for you to do.
...hugs from lenny

Anonymous said...

I've shared about my colonoscopy (but not the pics the doc took). If it helps other people, so much the better. Props to you for sharing with the world.

Stephen Tremp

Tahereh said...

awww vicki! this was a hilarious and very serious story. thanks so much for sharing -- and for keeping us on our toes!


Theresa Milstein said...

Do not have a panic attack over sharing this. I felt every squirm and mortifying moment with you, but so worth it. Not only did you help yourself, but while I haven't had much of a problem with this, now I know there's help out there. And for those who do have a problem and haven't sought help, now they know they can.

Candyland said...

OMG!!! I'm dying right now!!! HE watched?!!! Wow. Who grows up and thinks they want that job...

Jen said...

Wow Vicki, you certainly have the stories lined up don't you! What a story to tell as well. I think it's very important this was shared for those who do have the issue, it's nice to have things addressed and not be afraid of what might come of it! I'm glad to hear that it worked, even though it's the strangest thing that he watched. Very disturbing... very very disturbing.

PS - I normally see you stopping by my blog everyday and I seem to be missing you on my blog roll, I have to remember your blog title and name just to get over here... it's a nightmare but once I'm here it's always worth it :)

Tamara Narayan said...

Go Vicki! This is a tremendous post. Thanks for sharing this important information. I don't know if I could "let go" in front of a handsome, young doctor, though. I had some of these instances when pregnant, but am okay now, but who knows what the future has in store?

Carolyn V. said...

Wow, he watched. (I hate it when they are attractive!)

I had a friend with this same problem, she got the sling and is so glad she did. =)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I had no idea what the treatments were. I have a friend who had "something" done...and is really happy about it. Thanks for putting yourself out there, Vicki! You are something special!

Little Ms J said...

I'm glad you found an option that works for you, hot doc or not!

Angela Ackerman said...

You are so brave to share this, and it is for the greater good. The thing is, yes it was embarrassing, etc, but it's done now and you're happier than ever. :)

Angela @ the Bookshelf Muse

Palindrome said...

I'm not going to lie. I've done it too. Fortunately, it's not something the plagues me often. Thank you for sharing! LOL! Hot doctor watching me pee...huh, should I pray that that happens to me? Or should I be horrified at the thought? Details later.

loveable_homebody said...

I'm glad there is a treatment and that issue is getting airtime. Might help to reduce the stigma and help more women come forward, I think. Thanks for your courage and honesty about this here. I haven't yet worked up the courage to write about such things in my own blog. Well done!

I'm sorry you're suffering with this. It's not something you should have to worry about, so I hope you get the proper treatment and that medical professionals and other people treat you with dignity.