Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Interstim after two months, and other stuff

Two months after getting hooked up to the device, I'm still trying to decide whether I made the right call. I'm pretty sure it has improved my frequency/urgency situation, but it's an incremental improvement, say 25% or so. It seems to give me a few extra seconds to get to the bathroom, but I'll still be purchasing Depends by the case from Amazon (fellow cheapskates take note: Amazon will cut 15% off the price if you sign up for regular shipments, which you can always delay or decline). I still feel the device causing my right foot to flex slightly, which can be annoying when I'm stuck behind a desk at work. The incision has healed nicely into a rather bad-ass-appearing scar, but it remains somewhat sensitive to pressure.

On the down-side, though, I feel like I still haven't recovered the level of strength and stamina I had before the procedure. Which I guess shouldn't surprise me, seeing as how I went about a month before I could get into the pool. I'm trying to be pretty aggressive about getting back into shape, but I still feel wobblier on my feet, more prone to a stiff Frankenstein gait after sitting for a while. I've got some knee pain when I flex my right leg or when I try to get up off the floor. And it's starting to get too hot outside for a 15-minute walk around the block.

Bad timing, too: we've had a really nice new porch built that needs to be stained before the wood suffers water damage. We've also got several new windows that need at least 2 coats of polyurethane, and a muddy back yard that needs landscaping. On top of it all, last weekend we got 6" of rain, so the basement is wet (again). Since finishing classes a few weeks ago, Carmen has gotten heaps of stuff done around the house, but I wish we had the money (we spent our stimulus rebate on veterinarian bills last winter) to have somebody else do a big chunk of stuff.


hunebear said...

I have been googling the interstim procedure and came across your blog. I recently had the trial and went through with the final surgery. I am almost 2 months post op from surgery #2. I was wondering if you would mind sharing your thoughts more with me. I found it has greatly improved my symptoms of OAB, but in the past week or so, I've had a pain in my lower back or what feels like a pinched nerve in my right leg. So I've been trying to figure out if its a problem with the leads, the batteries hitting something, our recent rise in 100 degree temperatures causing water retention (I live in MD) OR if its an injury after returning to the gym 2 weeks ago! Anyway... was wondering if we could possibly pick each others brains over the pros and cons of the surgery and any problems you may have had. My email is if you care to respond :)

Doug Lee-Knowles said...


Since the surgery, my Interstim hasn't given me any trouble. For a while, I was concerned because there was a visible little bump on my lower back right where the lead from the gizmo dives into the spine (my wife noticed it first). But my urologist said that was normal and was not cause for concern unless I developed skin irritation at the site. I also still notice my right big toe flexes upward when the device is on (that's why my Interstim is no longer set to cycle the voltage up and down). I haven't experienced anything like what you've described, though.

Overall, I'm not sure the small benefit I get from the device is worth the surgery and expense (though my HMO paid for everything). If you're thinking your troubles might be related to the device, your urologist ought to be able to sort it out. My urologist has a nurse who deals solely with Interstim patients, and the nurse has a special device for communicating with the Interstim for running diagnostics, etc.