Sunday, January 22, 2017

Takes the Piss Outta Me

Peeps, I had surgery one month ago today. I thought about whether I was going to write about it or not because it's not a comfortable, dinner-table conversation. My doctor told me that my life would change so much that I would write a book about him after I win my next marathon.

My doctor knows NOTHING about running.

He was right about the life-changing part, though.  The following topic may or may not be relevant to you as a runner. I suspect that many Mother Runners will know exactly what I am writing about. Today I ran ten miles with Shelby, and I did it pee-free. . .That's right; I didn't piss myself once!

I have been running for about five years now, but I have been a mother for over fourteen years. As many women know, childbirth can cause damage to your urethra, bringing about stress incontinence. This is why so many of us will NEVER jump on a trampoline. While I have managed to avoid the trampoline, I did not want to give up running just because I can't seem to control my bladder.  I tried every possible fix ranging from plugs to pads to drinking less water to changing the way I carry myself while running.  Nothing worked.

I invested in a LOT of these.

I tried these.

And I tried these.

For years I made do with incontinence pads, but when I started putting in more miles, especially in the heat, this became a real pain in the. . . well, you know. Chafing caused me to scream every time I took a post-run shower, and no amount of Glide or Vaseline could prevent it. I had scars; it hurt. It almost made me give up on running my first marathon.

See the big bulge on the back of my belt (I'm in the yellow)? That is an extra pad I had to carry with me in case I needed to change during the race. I look like I have a growth coming out of my butt cheek. 

It looks even worse here.

Finally, I went to see a doctor about my problem. To be honest, I probably wouldn't have done it if Dr. Apostolis' office wasn't just down the street from my house. Anyway, after a few tests he decided that I was a good candidate for a urethral sling. I was less-than-thrilled; I don't know what I thought he would do for me--wave a magic wand? give me some magic beans?--but I hadn't considered surgery. The deciding factor was what Dr. Apostolis told me when I asked him what would happen if I did nothing:

"Well," he said, "believe it or not, you have a very mild problem right now, so it must be very tempting to just bear it. Today it's just when you run; five years from now, you'll pee your pants when you sneeze or cough; ten years from now, it will happen when you laugh or just get up from a chair."  That is when he finished with the remark about writing a book about winning the marathon, which was so ridiculous it was cute, but I got the point: This was a quality of life decision. Three days before Christmas I went ahead with the surgery.

The procedure itself took about half an hour, and I was under general anesthesia for it. I woke up completely alert with very little pain (yay drugs!), and after proving I could urinate by myself, I was allowed to go home. The whole shebang-waiting, prepping, surgery, recovery, testing-took about four hours. I took pain killers for two days, and then I was fine.  Really fine. I spent the next week of vacation recovering--basically napping and walking laps around the mall.

Two weeks later I had my follow-up appointment, and the nurse-practitioner gave me the go-ahead to run and/or basically do all the stuff I did before. I was amazed. "Really? Just like that? I'm ok to run?" She nodded and that was that.

And that was how I ran ten miles in complete comfort today.  Thanks, Doctor Apostolis.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I run 10 miles in complete comfort.

If you would like more information about stress incontinence or my surgery, feel free to email me at I know there are more of us who experience this problem, and I made myself vulnerable today so that I can let people know that there is hope.

I hope you run happy this week, Peeps!

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