Ambassador 7 – Diane’s Story
When Diane Freer beat breast cancer the first time she was elated. When she beat it the second time – she was thankful too. But second time round and aged in her 70s, Diane’s recovery was complicated – she lost her teeth, hair, movement on the right-side of her body, and her bladder control – loss of bladder control (diagnosed as overactive bladder (OAB)) became her biggest challenge.
That’s when the chairs started appearing and the cat was blamed.
It sounds like a line from a fiction novel, but it’s not. In fact, Diane isn’t the first woman with OAB to ‘blame the cat’.
The active, Brisbane-based grandmother of two, started placing chairs with towel covers on them throughout her house in case she didn’t make it to the toilet; she’d call into friends’ houses to ‘use the loo’; and, she started telling lies to hide her secret. It was exhausting.
“I used to say the cat slept on the chairs as a way to cover-up they were really for me. The chairs were everywhere – at the front door and throughout the house. But at least that was a way I could deal with my condition within my own home. It got worse when I went out.
“I love aqua-aerobics but I was in and out of the pool three or four times in a session, and I can’t count the number of times I fell asleep at the movies or even the dinner table. Needing to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes – especially at night – is tiring. I didn’t have a good night’s sleep for more than 12 months.”
Despite hiding the severity of her condition to her friends, Diane did seek answers. She tried botox, which worked for six months and then ‘fell to pieces’ and she even answered an advertisement for recruitment in a trial involving an experimental pill at a local hospital. Although initially denied participation in the trial due to having had breast cancer, Diane was later accepted. The pill made Diane ill and she was withdrawn from the trial.
It was at this time Diane believed there was nothing else she could do. Then she heard about sacral neuromodulation (SNM) and as it turned out, she could have done it sooner – reclaiming her life and her ability to sleep.
“The operation was the best sleep you could ever have… and I’ve been sleeping soundly since. Although initially I was very aware of my implanted device, it was never uncomfortable and it is now so much part of my life that I don’t ever think about it. I might need to get up once a night now, but I sleep soundly until 6am. It’s a lot different to getting up three times every hour.”
Her experience has helped Diane build empathy for others with similar issues; “My husband is currently having an issue with his prostate and I can completely relate to how miserable he must feel. Spending every 20-45 minutes in the toilet means you miss out on a lot of your day.”
Going into the procedure and the consultations for surgery, Diane admits she wondered how it would be handled and what it might feel like in terms of personal privacy. Her concerns were allayed when she met her clinician.
“My doctor is wonderful – he has been the only specialist I have known to be totally un-invasive of my privacy, and make me feel totally at ease. Since receiving SNM two years ago I have had the stimulation adjusted, and while I would still never pass up the opportunity to use a toilet when I’m out and about, I now have total control of my bladder and I’m so much happier.”
The cat probably is too.
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This patient testimonial relates an account of an individual’s response to the treatment. The account is genuine, typical and documented. However, the individual’s response does not provide any indication, guide, warranty or guarantee as to the response other persons may have to the treatment. The response other persons have to the treatment could be different. Responses to the treatment discussed can and do vary and are specific to the individual patient. Please consult your healthcare professional for a full list of benefits, indications, precautions, clinical results, and other important medical information that pertains to the therapy or products discussed.