Linda is a 72-year-old wife, mother, and grandmother who has beaten breast cancer. Most recently, she’s been working to beat a new problem – fecal incontinence.
Linda says that she’s always been prone to stomach problems during stressful times. Stomachaches and diarrhea were common for her but were always “controllable.” Unfortunately, she began to have episodes in which she could no longer control her bowels.
“The first time it happened, I was just in the kitchen, cleaning cabinets. And, out of the blue, I had to go! And I couldn’t get there in time,” she recalls.
After that, she says, “Every time I had to go, I had to go! I would rush but barely get there on time.”
“This is Not Good”
She became uncomfortable leaving the house, even just to walk the dog. After an attempt to go to lunch with a friend ended with an unsuccessful bid to find a bathroom along the interstate, she went to see a doctor.
She began taking BeneFiber at the doctor’s recommendation but says that, after two months, it was still not helping. She had another accident while at the grocery store and decided to see a different doctor. “I can’t hold it!” she told the doctor. “I’ve pooped on myself twice in public now. This is not good. I can’t deal with this anymore.”
The doctor told her that she had lost muscle control in her rectum and recommended a surgical implant. (Linda calls it a “pacemaker for your butt!”) While she was desperate for a solution, she wanted to know if there was a more conservative treatment available before committing to have surgery. The doctor suggested that she visit KCP to explore physical therapy options.
“They Always Had Time to Listen”
“I was a little embarrassed to tell my story again, but I figured there was a reason my doctor sent me there. So, I just told Joy how it was,” Linda says. “Her bedside manner is fantastic. She makes you feel so comfortable. And she just listens without being judgmental.”
Physical therapist Joy Pfuhl helped Linda to incorporate an exercise program designed to help build muscle control. She says that not only have the exercises helped “tremendously,” but also that she is feeling her confidence and sense of well-being return.
She also credits Joy with encouraging her to think about the bigger picture regarding her digestive system. She’s looking for more answers based on diet and nutrition in addition to exercise.
“I’m just so thankful that they understood how I felt and that they weren’t critical of me or my condition. The surgeon that I saw basically just said, ‘If you want surgery, come back, but otherwise I can’t do anything else for you.’ At KCP, I always felt like they had time to listen. Joy spent so much time listening, helping, and asking questions. That was just so important to me. Everyone treated me with such kindness and compassion.”
Joy says, “I thoroughly enjoyed working with Linda. We worked on solving the puzzle of her issues together piece by piece. Each time, we would discuss some thoughts and suggestions, and then Linda would come back to the next session with a revelation. Working with Linda reminded me of the importance of ‘just listening’ – a skill too frequently lost in today’s healthcare system.”
Treated Like “Part of the Family”
Linda says that her experience at KCP was a positive one.
“They treat you like you are part of the family,” she says. “They’re very professional, and it’s so peaceful there. I needed a lot of help with the exercises, and they might have had to show me four times how to do some of them, but they never lost patience with me. They were always patient and kind, and very professional. I’m so grateful to them.”