The Most Basic Advice

If any doctor or specialist diagnoses you with any one prolapse (bladder, rectal, vaginal), it is critical that you not allow a single prolapse repair. First find an ob/gyn who is experienced in evaluating and treating pelvic prolapse (which views the entire condition of the pelvic organs).

If the single prolapse is due to a weakened pelvic floor condition or another pelvic issue, other organs may be impacted and the surgery may lead to the next prolapse. A trained ob/gyn will decide in which order the prolapse(s) needs to be repaired. Having a single repair and then learning of the pelvic prolapse can cause complications.

It's your body. Take charge and get a second opinion from a board certified ob/gyn who has adopted viewing any organ prolapse as potentially pelvic prolapse.


Colo-Rectal Repair to Bladder Therapy

To say I was devastated when I discovered a rectal prolapse less than six months following the surgical repair which led to my requiring a blood transfusion was an understatement. I had the transfusion, abscess, and now a complete failure of the surgery itself. My body was exhausted, my emotions depleted, and the correct surgery was definitely major surgery.

It was in-hospital with a five-day stay. The incision went from belly button to bikini line. I don't recall the exact medical steps but it was basically pulling the rectum up. I was told some of my colon might have to be removed and a very small part of it only, thank goodness, had to be excised. A mesh sling holds my colon up so it doesn't place pressure on the rectum.  In preparation for the surgery, Dr. McKenna recommended an epidural for pain. I had always been terrified of anything going into my spine.

The day of my pre-admission testing and consultation, I argued ardently against it. The anesthesiologist said the pain would likely be unbearable without it. I relented and signed the release. The morning of surgery I was terrified of the epidural because it had to be done while I was wide awake. I was taken to a room where I was surrounded by good looking young interns. lol. One person reassuringly held onto me and told me everything that was going on. Honestly, there was no pain. I was so relieved to hear "it's in". Apparently having an epidural was a procedure not often viewed by interns or they had a new class but I had plenty of reassuring looks and hand holding.

Following surgery and for the next four days, I was amazingly pain free. The wire had actually just come loose and I was feeling around for it when Dr. McKenna's team came in for their daily rounds. They said they were there to see if the epidural line should be removed. When I said I thought it had just come out they said that was highly unlikely and the team leader went behind me. He held up the wire that had indeed come loose and announced, "The epidural is officially removed." Another lol.

A morphine drip was hooked up immediately. From no pain to OMG pain in a matter of hours. I requested oral painkillers about six hours later because the morphine seemed to do nothing. Pain was manageable with the oxycodone or hydrocodone, whichever they gave me, and I was released on Day 5.

After several follow up visits, I realized there was still some weirdness which turned out to be a mucosal prolapse. Dr. McKenna had warned me that, because of what Dr. DeLeo had done, he wasn't able to guarantee the outcome. Had he been the first to repair it correctly, he could have pretty much guaranteed there would be no more prolapses. This secondary prolapse was not as large and was manageable. While the doctor had described what he could do to "fix" it, he must have been having a bad day because it was something he would have done in his office without anesthesia. He stated it rather gruffly leaving me to believe I was a pain in his *ss. I was not going to have anything to do with a repair without anesthesia. I hoped exercise over time might tighten the muscles and lift it naturally. It did create pressure from the inside; however that didn't become as noticeable until after my bladder therapy.

While I was urinating up to 20 times a day, I kept being advised the bladder would have to be the last of the three orifices to be addressed. Finally I was referred to the bladder specialist.

P.S. More to come about Dr. McKenna and repair of the mucosal prolapse. He became very caring and respectful with help from my family doctor. Dr. McKenna was, to me, like Dr. House. The best bedside manner. I wouldn't have wanted anyone else doing the repair.


Hysterectomy to Mayhem

While an awful topic to address, I believe it is necessary because it might save someone else from having the same problem when it would have been so easy to stop. Since the time of my abscess, I had virtually non-stop, uncontrollable bowel movements. It was such a horrid time. As much as anyone hates to think of ever wearing Depends, I have to say they never let me down even though I froze in horror on so many occasions.

I became a recluse except for doctor appointments. I had gone into my ob/gyn appointment with that problem but Dr. Harkins said the main issue was to do the hysterectomy which might resolve the problem. It didn't. After several follow ups to the hysterectomy and no resolution to the bowel problem, I was referred to a gastroenterologist. He took one look at my medication list and immediately took me off two medications, each prescribed by Drs. McKenna and Harkins.

My body responds differently to most medications than one would expect. I was being monitored so closely but no one was monitoring the meds. Two were to prevent constipation and, at that time, I just did what I was told.  The great lesson here is to be your own advocate and ask about medications if your body is not doing what it is supposed to and no one seems to know why. I lived with that awful problem from early September 2007 until January 2008. I was simply in survival mode and really not thinking about one moment to the next. Hopefully anyone reading this will think to ask if you find yourself in a similar situation. Medications can cause very unusual body responses.

Within two days of following the gastroenterologist's advice, I was back at a more manageable level. No more Depends but needing the bathroom 10 or more times a day. I had a special diet that also helped. It was January 2008. I tried returning to work in February with clients understanding I might need a mid-session break which I hated to do.  But I was back at work.

Later in February,  I was accompanying a client to a meeting as her advocate. When I stopped in the restroom on arriving, I saw my rectal prolapse had returned with full force. Dr. DeLeo had "repaired" it in my near death surgery only six months earlier. I was once again devastated.

Returning to Dr. McKenna, he informed me that the previous surgeon had used the incorrect method of repair for my age and level of activiy (prior to the prolapses). He scheduled me for a colorectoplexy, abdominal surgery to repair the rectal wall and possibly remove a portion of my colon.

I tried to return to work until just before the surgery but my emotions were in meltdown and I could no longer keep my focus on my clients. My life as I knew it was changing.