Bernice Whitmore lived with the effects of stress urinary incontinence for nearly six years before being referred to urogynecologist and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Leslie Rickey at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dr. Rickey, who performs a variety of minimally invasive procedures to treat this condition, suggested Whitmore undergo a procedure known as a suburethral sling. Whitmore's surgery was a complete success. Read her story below.
My name is Bernice Whitmore and I came to the University of Maryland Medical Center because my primary care doctor referred me to Dr. Leslie Rickey for surgery to treat my stress urinary incontinence.
I've been coping with stress urinary incontinence since 2004, but I didn't think much of it. However, for approximately the past year before my surgery in October 2010, I had been wearing a pad everyday and I suffered with numerous bladder infections. My doctor put my bladder in a sling because of this excess spillage. Leaks would occur when I coughed, sneezed, or performed any other type of activity, even walking. I was very limited as to what I could do during the day for fear of leakage.
I finally visited my physician assistant who referred me to special group of doctors in Annapolis. The doctor from that group told me that I would need a surgical repair performed between my vaginal wall and rectum, but, since she had not performed many of those procedures herself, she recommended that I see someone else.
She recommended Dr. Rickey at UMMC. Because I wanted to have the procedure done before my cruise at the end of the year, my doctor immediately called Dr. Rickey's office and was able to schedule me an appointment.
I was immediately impressed when I received a letter from Dr. Rickey. She sends an introductory letter to all of her new patients. I've never had a doctor write anything close to that. It really helped to put me at ease. I knew that if she took time to do that, she must be a really good person.
During my consultation, Dr. Rickey and I talked about several options for the surgery. Because I had a complicated hysterectomy and inside scarring, we decided it would be best to use a small strip of my own tissue to support my urethra. Dr. Rickey told me this type of procedure is called a suburethral sling or pubovaginal sling. There were more minimally invasive procedures using a mesh sling that Dr. Rickey could have performed, but we decided to stay with the more traditional approach because of my previous surgeries.
Looking forward to my cruise in six weeks kept good thoughts in my mind. When I awoke from the surgery, I was in the best frame of mind and was out of bed pretty quickly. It was the best experience I ever had with surgery; I had a very quick recovery and was very pleased. It's really been fantastic.
No More Worries
I have not worn a pad since surgery, and I can go out in my yard and walk around without any problems. I can even run around with my grandkids and not have to worry about leakage. It's also taken away the embarrassment I used to feel if I sneezed or coughed. All of my previous worries are totally gone; I don't have to worry about going somewhere nice. It's totally different. I'm not embarrassed with my husband. It's changed everything.
Dr. Rickey is the kindest and most understanding person. She has a great personality -- she's so upbeat and happy and she reaches out to you and makes you feel comfortable. I just cannot thank her enough.