Hello there, I posted this earlier in the week under it's own thread but got no replies - once I realized that people actually subscribe to threads and get notified of activity I figured I should move my post here...Thank you in advance for reading my story and offering any advice or comments you may have. I have spent the last three days reading each of those threads - what a wealth of information! It's overwhelming and I now have a huge list of questions for my doc, though I'm having trouble organizing them in my head so that I can ask them clearly.
Let me tell you a little bit about me; and then I have a question that I'm pretty sure someone here can help me with
When I left my doc's office last week I was so excited that he could "fix" me. Then I found these threads and I'm totally reconsidering my excitement.
I am 42. My son just turned 9. He will always be my little "pain in the ***"! He was baby #2 for me (I now have 4 kids) and he was VBAC (and my only vaginal delivery). He was 8 lbs 13 oz and was three weeks early when my water broke. I hadn't decided if I wanted to deliver vag or have another C but I was terrified of delivering vaginally. So scared and tense that I think I was getting in the way of my own labor and when my doc (actually my doc's partner) told the nurse to prep me for a C I totally relaxed. When I relaxed, the baby moved down and when the doc came back from lunch he decided I should deliver. Well - forceps, vaccuum and a 4th degree episiotomy later, I had my son. It was a terrible experience, but hey, whatever, it's over. Except that it's not!
When my son was 9m old, I got pregnant again and started having BM issues. Nothing terrible, no accidents (that I remember anyway, it was a long time ago), just feeling as if I never finished what I started when I tried to poop! Or I'd think I'm done, stand up and realize I wasn't. Or go back to pee hours later and realize my underwear was dirty. Or having a BM after my shower and needing to take another shower to get clean again....on and on, as you can imagine, I'm sure.
(It's amazing to me how many of the posts here describe what happens so clearly - such a great feeling to know that I am not alone. So many times in the last few days I've read a post and thought to myself, "OMG, that's EXACTLY what happens to me!")
My OB referred me to a Colorectal surgeon who I absolutely hated. Granted, I was pregnant so there wasn't much he could do, but the man was an a$$hole. No compassion, no bedside manner, I felt that he thought I was an idiot for coming while I was pregnant. Anway...fast foward 8 years to now....
I still have the same issues - not much worse, pretty consistent over the years. When I have to go, I have to go! I know I have to go; just can't tell always when I'm done or I know I'm not done but can't finish. I have had a few accidents - one in a restaurant, thought it was gas, it wasn't - one when I was nowhere near a bathroom (in fact, I was on the subway with a bunch of friends and my kids). I can't even count how many times I've burned pancakes or raced home in order to make it to the toilet.
What made me go to the doctor again is that I've been training for a race; I am running a half-marathon on Sunday. During many of my training runs I've had leakage - sometimes lots of it. I've gotten to the point that it doesn't bother me too much (sick, what we decide is okay). It's only bad if I'm on a run and I have to go... then I'm stuck. If I'm on a run and I leak a little and don't know it until I'm back, well, I'm back so I toss the panties and take a shower. No biggie.
Wow, this is getting long - thanks for hanging in as I'm not even to my question yet!
I went to my OB, he suggested another doctor. This doctor was WONDERFUL! Easy to talk to, explained everything, his staff is great. He did an exam (probe, speculum, stuck me with a toothpick to check external nerves). He said that my outer sphincter is a horseshoe shape, he said that there is a timy tear in the innermost sphincter (the one that is involuntary and should always be closed unless you are going). He said the space between my vagina and my rectum (perianeal or perianum?) should be one inch long is only 1/4 inch.
He said that I am absolutely a candidate for an overlapping sphinteroplasty. He said that the success rate is 85% (what happens in the other 15% of cases?)... do they get worse or simply stay the same? He did say that the nature of our muscles are such that they may deteriorate again over time - related simply to age. So does surgery today make that better tomorrow? Or is he saying that I will be no better come my 60s and 70s anyway? He was pretty up front about the duration of recover time - at least I thought so until I found this forum. I guess I'm curious of the posters here who have had such a hard time recovering had more extensive issues than I have or had more than one procedure done at the time....???
He is sending me for an anal EMG, an ultrasound and a defogram. He said that my external nerves seem fine, he said that he didn't see (or feel) any evidence of a recotcele (I think that's what he called it - a little pocket is how he explained it).
While I'm not sure I will go through with the surgery, I figure that it can't hurt to go for the tests. I may as well know the extent of the problem. Expecially since reading all of these posts makes me realize that I actually am quite lucky that it's not worse. I'm not sure I'm willing to give up 6-8 weeks of my "so called normal" life to fix a problem that isn't a HUGE issue for me.
So, any advice that anyone might have would be carefully considered! What questions do I need to ask??
Okay, finally my most immediate question. I am running in a half-marathon on Sunday. I am most afraid of having an accident like I did during one of my long runs. I want to do all I can to prevent that and have considered not eating (HA - that's not possible!). Does anyone have any tips on how I can safely do that? I plan on taking an immodium, and I plan on doing a warm water enema before I leave my house for the race. (Leaving at 6:00am, race start is 8:00am, I plan on finishing in just over 2.5 hours.) I am hoping that I have to poop when I wake up that morning - though if I don't, I assume that the enema will help that.....?? What are your thoughts on that?
(I do need to add that there was a stomach flu going around my family that week that I had the accident during my long run - I might have had a touch of that. I also had had coffee before my run AND I used a rehydration GU with caffeine in it....all those things probably worked against me and contributed to any gastro issues I had that day - and of course, I will not be doing ANY of that on race day. After that I ran another long run and with one bathroom break around mile 8 (I stopped to pee and actually had a little BM unexpectedly too) I made it home with clean pants! That felt like a huge accomplishment! To only be focused on the strained leg muscles was like a gift that day and I'm hoping that I will be just as fortunate on race day.
You are all so strong - I admire your efforts to get through each day facing the issues you face... thank you in advance for any advice or comments you might have!!!