Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bad news/Good news

I had several medical appointments and procedures this week. Monday I had an upper GI, or EGD. More on that in another post once I get the final results. Today I had my Urodynamics test at the urology clinic. I have been having a lack of sensation and don't always know when I need to urinate. I don't have any other issues, thank goodness. It was just bothering me that I can't really "feel" the need to go. (I haven't had any issues with leakage or incontinence at all.) With all my nerve damage otherwise, the doc suggested we do this test to get a "baseline" reading. He said bladder function can change dramatically and quickly, and it is helpful (with nerve damage patients) to have this baseline. Since I'm numb in that area, I knew it wouldn't be uncomfortable or painful, so I thought "What the heck, let's do it".

Urodynamic testing (click HERE for more info on that) allows your doctor to see just how well the bladder is working, the sphincters, really everything they need to know. Of course, I took pictures while I was there. Here is the chair/contraption you sit in during testing:

Doesn't that look comfy? lol

My results? My bladder is dead. Not working. I was actually shocked. I truly thought my bladder was lazy, inefficient, but dead? What caused this? My nerve damage, all the trauma I had with my back and the delay (a mere 5 months) in getting medical treatment. I had this BEFORE I got the SCS - spinal cord stimulator - so he does not think that is involved at all.

It turns out that I have learned a compensatory measure for urinating - I bear down and use my abdominal muscles to void. I knew I was doing this some of the time, but didn't realize I do it ALL of the time.

Other good news is that this "compensatory measure" I use is very efficient, doesn't leave any residual urine in the bladder and that is great. Also, my sphincter cooperates when I do this and doesn't "fight" the process. If it did, I would get high pressure readings in my bladder and then that can cause pressure and damage in the kidneys. I don't have that, thank God!!! Had I had the backup pressure problems, I would have had to learn to self-cath. That's when you have to use a catheter on yourself to get the urine out. So glad I don't have to deal with that at this point.

Here is the equipment that reads the data your body and all the electrodes and catheters provides:

Doc said although it is a worst case initial reading, I have the best case situation. I void effectively and efficiently. My only directions are to now urinate on a schedule, going 3 or 4 hours at the most. If I do this, I should be able to guarantee I won't get any infections caused from stagnating urine. If you can't feel the need to go, you can really go hours and hours. You know, like guys do when you go on a trip and they try to kill us making us wait for a potty break? lol Guess I won't suffer anymore. :)

Will I have incontinence or leaking to look forward to down the road? He didn't know. Maybe, maybe not. He said everything is in such good shape, considering....that he would be surprised if it was anytime soon. I'm going to think positive, like I do on everything else, and continue doing my Kegel exercises to keep everything toned and strong.

Do you do Kegel Exercises? You should be. Click HERE. Many benefits to doing these regularly.

So, in closing, if you have a functioning know, the kind you don't even have to think about it?? Take a moment to be thankful and PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't hesitate one minute getting to the doctor if you injure your back. I only waited a mere 5 months, going to a chiropractor, trying to "get better", before I finally sought medical help. I was trying so hard to avoid back surgery. And by then? It was too late. Nerves are finicky - some people have years before they suffer irreversible damage and some people have months. Like me. I have a scary huge pain tolerance, and while I've always been so proud of that, what it got me in this instance was the ability to delay treatment and still walk with a massively crushed nerve. Do you have a high pain tolerance? Be very very careful.

I thought you would all appreciate me not having them take photos while I was being tested and sitting on that chair/thing. Happy to oblige. lol

Have a great day!

Cheri Share/Bookmark

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