Archive for October, 2016

TCOL – #5 – *Warning for Women Only*

My innards went south or How I learned to love my prolapses!

This is probably the most difficult post I have ever written. I will try to bring some humor to my all too true story.

I was feeling really weird one day. I was feeling like I was walking around with a tennis ball inside my private parts. I have never been that curious of what my intimate lady parts looked like BUT the feeling was persistent enough that I decided to check it out.

On the bed with my mirror in hand and my bedside table light trained on the area in question I checked it out!

OH MY GAWD! I was growing balls or rather one large pink ball that was filling the whole area! Not what I expected or ever wanted to observe. Did I freak out? Yes! Did I immediately call my doctor? NOPE! I hit Google with frantic typing. Looking at images of how my personal domain should look and if I could find any illustrations that looked odd. I did happen to find some that showed a brand new word for me – prolapse. Hmmmm – and there were several options available for things that could be falling out of your body.

At that point I did make an appointment with my doctor. It was a month away. That for me was great. I had found one site that talked about an exercise I could do so I started doing it.

This began the time of my innards playing peek-a-boo. The lovely pink ball disappeared only to reappear. At some times I figured I could probably park a compact car in it. I was not a happy camper. If I did not do my exercises for a day or two – pouf – there it was – totally a nice pink ball filling the space.

Frustrated and afraid I decided to figure out what had gone wrong with my body and why I had developed a hole in my personal universe. I then started to figure out the signs that led up to this event.

It started out with what I chalked up to old age – I would go to the bathroom – pee – get up, wash my hands, go out the door take a few steps and then feel like I needed to go again. And sure enough yes I did . . . maybe a little maybe a lot . . . but I did go. Then there was my Pilates class. I take a private class with a friend and some of the exercises we did for the lower belly I could not feel. I could not feel the muscles contract at all. As hard as I tried to do them I could not feel them or if I finally got my body into a certain position I could those deep muscles but soooo lightly that it took a lot of attention to know that there was indeed a muscle there. The final thing that I noticed was that my low back issues had returned. That is why I went to PT in the first place. My lower spine L4, L5, and S1 tip different directions and that angers my sciatic nerve. Once again I was having hard tight hamstring muscles.

My doctor appointment was interesting. I thought I had some sort of prolapse but after feeling like a hand puppet and trying to squeeze my muscles over and over again so that my doctor could figure out exactly which muscles needed help. I discovered that I could not make any of them work. I had all three of them: Uterine prolapse (prolapse of the uterus), Cystocele (bladder prolapse), and last but not least Rectocele (rectum prolapse).

I had 3 options. I could do PT; get a pessary, or surgery. I am a huge fan of Physical Therapy. It worked great for my back and I chose that as my first option. I have gone to 2 appointments and have one more at the end of the month.

The first appointment was full of information. I discovered that no I did not have a huge hole in my body. What I do have is a basket of interlocking muscles that had weakened and due to that I had gaps between those muscles. How and why did this help? It gave me the information I needed on why I had to keep going to the bathroom right after I had already peed. My bladder is basically a balloon. When it is empty in is like a regular balloon just relaxing in the front of my basket waiting to be filled so that it can fill up and then release its contents and fill again. So with me my balloon was drooping through a gap in my muscles so that it was never getting totally emptied. So we began with the process of going and then leaning front, back, and sides until it was empty.

Then the really big new thing – the exercises – which are simple and easy – there are basically 3 of them. The first one is a Kegel exercise. What I discovered is that I had been doing them wrong! I was squeezing my glutes, which did nothing to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles. The movement you want to go for is the feeling of sucking in and up like trying to keep a tampon from falling out. Or being in those awful public situations when you feel that gas bubble ready to escape and you try with all your might to hold it in.

The most important thing I learned was that this would not be a quick fix. That I needed to repeat these exercises 5 times a day. I also was not to overdo them or underdo them. These muscles are really picky. If you overwork them they just refuse to do anything. If you underwork them they also refuse to do anything. I needed to do them through out the day. There was no putting them off to do all at once at night (yes I did try that) and it got me nowhere.

The handy dandy tool was my hand mirror. That let me check (when I felt weird) if anything was playing peek-a-boo. So far I am making progress. My new goals are to get my private parts back where they belong and to stop immediately checking for where the bathrooms are located in a new place.

If you are having issues with leaking or frequent urination you may not need meds. You just may have a pelvic floor that is allowing all or some of your innards to go south. See your doctor and try PT first!

This is the end of week 3 for me and I am showing some signs of this beginning to work.

My final advice is: Learn about your body especially if you are getting older. Beware of picking up kids, grandkids, and gardening. Any position you put your body in where you are squatting and pulling up a child or nasty wild grape vines will result in a force that pushes down and out of your innards. The answer is to prepare your body before and while you do it. Suck those deep muscles in and up and hold them while you are exerting that effort. A few seconds of a deep squeeze can cancel a lot of worry and effort. Me once everything gets back in place I will be very happy to do 2 sets of these very simple exercises everyday for the rest of my life.

A huge thank you to my doctor and my PT people that have been there and have done this and will honestly answer my questions no matter how odd they seem to me! You all are stars!

 

 

 

I was reading a letter written to a 7-year-old girl from Hillary Clinton. Her words at first made me so happy for all the little girls and young women of today. Then I started to tear up, and then I started to shed those tears. At the age of 16 I failed. I failed myself. I was afraid! These are the words that made me cry.

“If the space that you’re in doesn’t have room for your voice, don’t be afraid to carve out a space of your own.”

http://www.scarymommy.com/hillary-clinton-won-my-heart/?utm_source=FBOnsite

Yes back in the fall of 1967 I was sitting next to my very cute football star chemistry partner. We were working on a project and I was showing him how to do it. I was so happy to have this cool guy right there next to me. After I had finished showing him how to do this. He turned to me and off the cuff said these words to me:

“Oh, so you are the intelligent type.”

Yes, I am. Yes, I am a nerd. Yes, I wanted his attention. BUT . . . at that point I learned the very awful idea that it was not always good to be the best and the brightest. So did I carve out that place for myself and say YES I AM?

Hell No!

I became less than I could be. I made sure that I made the B honor roll every semester but only occasionally the A. You see B would keep my parents happy and there were lots and lots of boys and girls on the B honor roll. I could fit in.

Another deadly comment was from another male friend that I could help show off my boobs if I wore long necklaces with a heavy pendant. I was the Donald Trump approved weight of 117 pounds not quite tall enough at 5’6 1/2 inches.

Then came the Women’s Liberation Movement. I went back to carving out a place for my voice and myself. But to this day . . . that teenager still lurks repeating those questions: Are you smart enough but not too smart? Are you pretty enough? Are you too fat? Do you open your mouth too much? Are you too . . .

My husband told me today I should probably take some time away from this campaign. I told him, “Probably – but this is too important – especially for women.”

And it is – I do not want any little girl or young woman to think that she needs to hide her intellect. I don’t want any little girl to think she needs to be a Barbie doll. I don’t want any little girl or young woman to think of herself as only a walking vagina.

“Donald pulled me aside at his wedding,” Stern said in comments that had not resurfaced until now. “He said, you know I am getting remarried, but Howard, vagina is expensive. I will never forget those words. The guy is right. Those were the exact words!”

We are more than that.

We need to be seen! We need to be heard! We need to be judged by what we actually do.

My goal is to be the best Yaya I can be for my grandchildren, to love them with my whole heart, to be smart, to be kind, and to fix broken toys.

My favorite compliment was said by one of my amazing grandchildren over a broken toy”

“We can take it to Yaya. She can fix it. She can fix anything.”

So far – Yes, I can – I like tools, I like thinking outside the box and I like a challenge and fixing stuff is a challenge. So yes, this 65 year old lady will continue to carve out a place for herself and love that 16 year old me that thought by being smart I was NOT good enough. I will just remind her that she needs to carve out that place for herself and be proud of who she was, is, and will be.

Hugs to all and be the best you you can be!