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This story recounts the experience of a patient who is receiving Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy (Sacral Neuromodulation), delivered by the InterStim™ system, for the treatment of chronic fecal incontinence. Please bear in mind that the experience is specific to this particular person. Not everyone who receives Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy will receive the same results as the patient in this story.
Kaylee’s friends love when she shares her life’s motto: “Keep your chin up or your crown will slip.” But after the birth of her first child, this was a tall order. A tear during delivery resulted in bowel incontinence. At age 27, Kaylee couldn’t feel the urge to go, couldn’t control when and where she’d have an accident. Her workday was interrupted with at least four 30‑minute trips to the bathroom. She avoided intimacy with her husband of one year, fearing leakage and odor. In short, Kaylee was, in her words, “miserable.”
Devastated and embarrassed, she hid her condition for several months before consulting with a local physician. “This,” she told her, “is not what my husband signed up for.”
“No, no,” she corrected her, “This is exactly what he signed up for - in sickness and in health.” Motivated by her statement and true to her motto, she lifted her chin and started the next phase of her journey, to a Houston clinic where she met Dr. Haubert and her “unbelievable team.” Following the advice of the team, Kaylee performed strengthening exercises and endured painful treatments every day to improve sphincter muscle tone. And every Friday, she drove nearly 8 hours round-trip, from her home in Corpus Christi to Houston, to meet with the team.
Hard work paid off but didn’t make life easy. Although she regained some continence, her condition continued to dictate many aspects of daily life — what she ate, where she parked, what she lifted, how far she could be from a bathroom. When Kaylee became pregnant with twins, her condition worsened. Twelve weeks into the pregnancy, she found herself back in diapers.
After the birth of the twins, Kaylee’s family was complete. “I was done having babies. I was ready to get my life back.”
Her Houston doctor thought Kaylee would be a good candidate for an advanced therapy — Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy delivered by the InterStim™ system. Unlike other treatments, Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy lets patients try it out with an evaluation before making a long-term commitment. Shortly after the evaluation, Kaylee remembers, “I was able to feel [the urge to go] for the first time.” Amazed, she and her husband celebrated with a glass of red wine and a steak — a favorite meal Kaylee hadn’t enjoyed in years because she knew it would cause her to have an accident. She told her husband, “This is it. This is working!”
Last year Kaylee’s healthcare team implanted an InterStim™ system. And 6 weeks after surgery, she was back on track — literally — running without accidents. Kaylee reflects, “If you told me one year ago that I’d be running marathons, I would have said you were crazy.”
The implanted InterStim™ system took a bit of getting used to. Kaylee can feel the stimulation at times and has made minor adjustments, such as finding the most comfortable sleeping and sitting positions to accommodate the implant. But the adjustments are well worth it. “It is amazing. It is the second chance at a life I didn’t think I was ever going to get back.”
Her joy is contagious. She wants to tell other sufferers, “You’re going to get through this. There are people willing to help you — more than you can ever imagine.”
Medtronic invited this patient to share her story candidly. Not everyone who receives Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy will receive the same results as the patient in this story. Talk with your doctor to determine if Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy is right for you. In addition to risks related to a surgical procedure, complications associated with the InterStim™ system can include pain at the implant sites, new pain, infection, lead (thin wire) movement/migration, device problems, interactions with certain other devices or diagnostic equipment such as MRI, undesirable changes in urinary or bowel function, uncomfortable stimulation (sometimes described as a jolting or shocking feeling), and others. Surgery is required to remove the InterStim™ system. Please refer to Important Safety Information. Always discuss the potential risks and benefits of the therapy with your physician. This therapy is not for everyone. A prescription is required.