My Journey

 

In 2007, we moved to a spec house and 2008 I put in a pool.  If I was going to sit and talk, I had to wear a pad and when I was ready to go into the pool, I had to go into the house and remove it.  What a bother!  So off I went to see the urogynecologist.  She was a little rough around the edges, but I liked her. 

She did the usual tests then explained I needed at least a partial hysterectomy – fix an organ prolapse and something about a fistula.  She assured me that she had done hundreds of these procedures.  I had surgery on December 19, 2009. 

After surgery, I had a catheter. I was unable to urinate on my own.  After two weeks, she taught me to self-cath so I could drain my bladder.  Little did I know then that I would not urinate on my own for over six months and even then, would still need to cath.  Many medications, and doctor visits later, she decided that maybe the mesh was too tight.  Two months later she did a second surgery. Rather than a two-hour surgery to release the mesh, seven hours later, she had picked out pieces of mesh that had entwined with my urethra.  I spent the night in the hospital and remember her coming up to the room in the early morning and asking if I would sue her.  She never really came out and said anything meaningful and I didn’t know what to ask. 

I now was totally incontinent and any liquid that went in my mouth came straight out.  I tried to immediately go back to my teaching job and normal life but was unable.  I applied for short term disability.  The doctor’s only “recommendation” was talking about literature stating it would be best to wait four to six months before I did anything further.

Thus began a long journey…

I had no clue what was going on or what questions to ask.  United Healthcare had provided me with an RN that called monthly.  I had lost trust in the current doctor so she recommended a “premier” urologist.  After seeing him several times, running multiple tests, he said there was nothing he could do. He referred me to a doctor, who I visited at his local office and he also practiced at Mayo Clinic. 

More visits and tests before he said there was nothing he could do.  He had just been to a conference and referred me to the Head of Female Urology at the University Medical Center two hundred miles away.

The UMC doctor took his time and explained all the possibilities. We started with a spiral sling, which allowed me to urinate, but I would have to self-cath to drain my bladder. 

 

my-journey-wreath-gift

 

When the UMC doctor dismissed me after four years of different procedures and surgeries, I made him a wreath with many of the different supplies I had used.  The middle white bonnet is what you put in the toilet to measure your urine.  There are gloves, a leg bag, a specimen collection cup, a syringe, etc. It’s the doctor holding the wreath, me and his PA.