The Pain and Frustration of Urinary Symptoms to Instant Relief: One Woman’s Life-Changing Experience with InterStim Therapy
The unrelenting need to urinate. Excruciating bladder pressure and pain. For approximately six years, 56-year-old Joy Brumbeloe experienced those problems on a daily basis.
“You learn to live with things, and it just becomes your norm,” Brumbeloe explains. “It was extremely frustrating, but I just knew this was my routine.”
It was the same drill each night. Just before bedtime, she would go to the bathroom. Then Brumbeloe would get in bed and hope to fall asleep as quickly as she could before her bladder would start hurting again and she needed to return to the bathroom.
This cycle took place repeatedly, causing Brumbeloe to make 12-15 trips to the bathroom throughout the night. It wasn’t until she became completely exhausted that Brumbeloe would be able to get anything resembling deep sleep.
Her irritated bladder would cause frequent bathroom pit stops during the day. When shopping with her children, they became used to Brumbeloe dashing to the restroom the minute they arrived at a store. Car road trips proved difficult as bathroom breaks took place one after another.
After seeing two different urologists about the problem, and trying several different medications, Brumbeloe walked away without a remedy or diagnosis. It wasn’t until she visited Dr. Edan Shapiro at Georgia Urology for a kidney stone emergency that Brumbeloe got an answer to her incessant issue.
“Our conversation turned to my bladder and urination problems,” she recalls.
Dr. Shapiro explained a potential solution: InterStim Therapy. A small, implanted wire sends a gentle electrical stimulation to the nerves located near the spine. This helps regulate the signals being sent between the nervous system and the bladder, which are responsible for normal bladder function.
“Some people are intimidated by the idea of a permanent wire placed inside your body,” says Brumbeloe. “I’m a nurse practitioner, so it didn’t freak me out at all. I was so thrilled it might give me some relief that I was willing to do anything.”
The next step was to perform a quick office-based, painless trial where a temporary lead (thin wire) is inserted to gauge its efficacy. Only the wire is placed into the body, while an external battery is taped to the patient’s back and can be worn discreetly under clothes. Symptoms are tracked during a 3-5 day period, and the wire is then simply removed in the office.
Fortunately for Brumbeloe, she saw a remarkable change. By the second night, she began experiencing relief. The bladder pain was gone, and the pattern of urinating all through the night finally subsided.
“It was immediate and amazing,” she says. “At my follow-up appointment a week later, I told Dr. Shapiro, ‘Let’s do it! I love this thing.’ So we scheduled the procedure.”
Installing the InterStim system took approximately 30 minutes. Brumbeloe was put under sedation as Dr. Shapiro placed a new, permanent wire in the proper location of the nerve, and then made a small skin incision where the battery was inserted. She returned home the same day, and her quality of life took an instant turn for the better.
Two years after the procedure, she continues to experience a full recovery from her bladder symptoms. Brumbeloe says bladder pain has only returned twice during this time. When it occurred, she used a remote control to strengthen the electrical signal of her device, stopping the pain in its tracks.
“I’m no longer fighting bladder discomfort, and I’m sleeping through the night and getting the rest I need,” she says. “I’d recommend it to anyone dealing with similar issues. InterStim has been a life-changer.”