Nancy, age 57, had accomplished a lot as an executive. But her moments of success were overshadowed by concerns about her bladder. She recalls giving a presentation before the senior management team, "I had worked very hard on the project, but I know my delivery was compromised because I could feel myself leaking and I was preoccupied about odour."
Nancy began to have urinary frequency, leaking and frequent bladder infections. She had to go every 45 minutes to an hour during the day, and at night she would get up 4 and 5 times. She always wore pads, but often they weren't adequate. "I can't tell you how many times I left my grocery cart in the care of strangers while I hurried to the bathroom," she says. Her condition made it difficult to fully participate in family gatherings. For her family's happiness, she tried to be a "team player," but it was a conscious effort.
Often she couldn't make the half-hour commute to work without stopping at a gas station to use the restroom. "I was always dead tired, and it was embarrassing to have to use the restroom so often at work," Nancy says. Her employees knew something was wrong and she felt their unspoken concern. Always a go-getter and an optimist, Nancy says her condition "really dimmed my spark."
Medications provided only momentary relief. She tried biofeedback but didn't feel that was the answer for her. "I felt things had spun out of control," Nancy says. "I told my doctor, ‘Something is really wrong. You must have a better answer.'" She was referred to a urologist who offers sacral nerve stimulation. Though she was concerned about the idea of electrodes in her body, nothing else had worked. Knowing it was reversible, she decided to try it.
When Nancy had her test in December 2007, she experienced a night-and-day difference. "Initially, I had 90 percent success," says Nancy. "It was beyond belief." Since her implant surgery in January 2008, she's been working on getting the settings right because she occasionally has small leaks. "Now I would say my success is nearly 80 percent, but compared to where I was, I'm more than thrilled," she says. She gets up only once a night and goes about every 2 hours during the day. The far-reaching effects of sacral nerve stimulation have made Nancy feel like her "real self again." Instead of being silent and serious, she has a sense of humour again. Her co-workers have noticed the change, saying "It's good to have you back." For Nancy, sacral nerve stimulation "has been an utter gift."
This story recounts the experience of one patient who is receiving sacral nerve stimulation for the treatment of urgency-frequency. Medtronic invited her to share her story candidly. Please bear in mind that the experiences are specific to this particular person. Results vary; not every response is the same. Talk to your doctor to determine if sacral nerve stimulation is right for you. In addition to risks related to a medical procedure, complications from this therapy can include pain, infection, sensation of electrical shock, device problems, undesirable change in voiding function, and lead migration, among others.
This story reflects one person's experience. Not every person will receive the same results. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.