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This post is an extension of the

Recto-Vaginal Fistulas - Part 4 thread.

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Hi guys (though I don't believe any of us are),
Just wanted to wish those of us that are Happy Mother's Day. I know when I had my first surgery and then the fistula, even 30 years after giving birth, it was hard to think about this hard time being tied to such a wonderful thing as having a baby. I feel now they were 2 very separate things and having the struggle of a fistula, etc. can't put a damper on the joys of motherhood. I'm sure we'll all get to a better place with our problems and they'll be history someday. We'll be mothers forever!
For those that aren't mothers, have good days today and do something special for yourself. Don't we all take on that role to be supportive of those we care about?
Penny
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I had trouble logging in before, but I posted an update as a guest. Anyway, though the barium enema and ob said no fistula, I saw the CRS yesterday. It took him all of 30 seconds to find it with the proctoscope (wish my ob would've saved me the $800, time and unpleasantness of the barium enema and referred me directly--I referred myself). I have a "pinhole" size fistula. He suggests monitoring it for now as I only have gas symptoms. I asked about the lack of gas control and bowel urgency, and he said he does not recommend repair of ANYTHING if any woman intends to have another vaginal birth. He says the pressure put on the rectal structures and repaired tissue (regardless of episiotomy/laceration degree in future births) will never hold up and will have to be repaired again. It seems like a lot of you could have used some honest advice like this before some decisions were made. I am so glad I found this site and found out to go straight to the CRS. My ob (who didn't think there was a fistula) also offered to tighten up my sphincter muscles now, rather than later. I'm so glad that this column warned me to be wary of my ob's advice.

Another thing I learned from the CRS, he said the hard facts of vaginal births in the US are this: 20% of all women will have fecal incontinence as a result and end up in his office. He says obs don't tell people that, but that is the national statistic/data at this time. He said to come back if I can't live with my symptoms or if stool begins to come thru the fistula, but any repair he performs will leave me with no choice but c section for future births. I remember someone in part 4 wondering about vaginal birth with fistula/repair--his is advice is to never have repair and then vaginal birth.

Anyway, just wanted to update everyone. I guess I am happy that the fistula is tiny, but I am still upset by the fact that it is there at all. At least I can live with my symptoms for now. I also got another opinion from an ob about vaginal birth in the future. The odds are 50/50 for a repeat 4th degree laceration. Neither ob advised another vaginal birth. Hope some of this info will help someone else on the post.
Drewsmom
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Drewsmom,

It sounds like you and I have a similar fistula. I have been dealing with mine since May 2003 when my son was born. I did have another child in 2006 through a vaginal delivery and my OB tried to repair the fistula then. It didn't work, but it didn't get worse. I still have only gas symptoms. I am just tired though of dealing with the gas. It is embarassing when you can't hold it in. I saw a colon rectal surgeon recently and he says it is totally up to me if I want to fix it now. We are more than likely done having children, although at times I really do want another one. I have a colonoscopy scheduled for tomorrow so that the colon rectal surgeon can get a good look at everything I guess. Then I will decide if I want to go ahead with surgery. I just want to be normal. I agree though with what your doctor said about having C-sections for any future children if you have your fistula repaired. Honestly other than having episiotomies, I have really good labor and deliveries. So, I am torn thinking that if we ever did have another one that I would need a C-section if I have the repair now. Then I worry about the fistula getting bigger if I have surgery.

What are you going to do? Will you have a c-section with your next babies? Did you CRS feel that your fistula would be easy to fix? What kind of repair did he recommend? Thanks for sharing your information.

CJ
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hey all-Penny, well put...about mother's day...just checking in to say hello...

Bea-how are you? thinking of you...

CJ and Drewsmom-good luck with making a decision....

B
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hey all-it seems quiet lately...ugh, I got my period and still see a tiny bit of blood that is coming out of my bum--which I know means that the tint fistula must still be there....oh.... anyway, I am probably a bit down just because I have my period. ha. anyway, that and the waiting... oh well.

better and brighter news. My daughter now says "I love you..."

be good. b
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hi B,
Seems to be one of those patches where nothing much happens. I'm waiting for my operation date but otherwise everything is much as before. I'm hoping that I'll hear soon. Also waiting to hear about my job .... so many uncertainties at the moment!

I'm OK but weather here has gone a bit colder and damper so spirits not quite so good as a week or so back. Wonderful news about your daughter though!

I'm glad CJ and drewsmom seem to be in similar positions and so can share some of their decision-making. Girls - there isn't much I can add
as I never had just the gas coming through. I just hope that things are becoming clearer,

Best wishes all,
Bea
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Hi B and all,

That is great about your daughter. How old is she now?

Too bad about the blood. Is it less than it's been at other times? Maybe that is a good thing. I hope you're having fewer symptoms every day. The waiting was so hard for me. That and running to the bathroom between appointments. Do you have any problems with that or is that all part of your daily routine now?

I am trying to appreciate being fistula free. At the moment I feel more like whining over my not very functional sphincter. I went to my daughter's over the weekend and had to stop multiple times on a touring walk to look for bathrooms. I hadn't had problems for a while. I wonder if walking is the culprit. I thinks it's the diet mixed with the ostomy reversal and not knowing what's good to eat. I've tried imodium, a half a pill, that seems to be helpful but then I dont' want to over do it. Oh, well. I'm home and things should return to some kind of normalcy.
Penny
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Hi B and all,
This is a P.S. I've found that sometimes it takes 4 days or so to get a message posted. Sometimes I wonder whether my message will show up at all. Not sure where the problem lies. I've send a message to the admin people with no response. I guess I'm basically saying, it might not be as quiet as you think. It may mean responses are floating about. Has anyone else had this problem?
Penny
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Hi PEnny,
Yes i have - sometimes I have typed quite a while and then it doesn't show up. Sometimes I get the validation wrong as I don't always sign in first. So I agree - and I have had the post appear a day or later next time I log in.

Other wise I'm fine - I think I still have a job for the moment which is great news.
Bea
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hey Penny- Yeah...i think it may be getting betterish...it is hard to tell with the ostomy...I passed some "whatever" today the old way and it didn't seem to come out the fistula...so maybe, just maybe... we shall see. I am sorry that you are till having dificulties...it is such a trying issue. I don't have too many problems with the ostomy at work...I co-teach, so I can just go if needed usually...so that is refreshing. Be good!!! r u on the bike yet???? some of my plants are coming up.

Bea--hey lady, no word yet? yuck. i hope your job stays secure...what a big stress. sorry. when it rains.... We'll all get through this!!!!

Be good ladies. b
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CJ,
I am planning to just deal with it for now. I also plan to have C sections for future births. I just am not willing to chance anything complicating the fistula at this point. I know plenty of people that have sections and are walking around the same day, with a 1 inch scar. Yes, there is a risk for infection, but there is also a risk for infection and worsening of the fistula with a vag. birth.
My doctor did not go into specifics for repair options. He suggested watching it unless I can't live with it. Right now, I am not having much of an ordeal with gas. I take anti-gas medicine and I am able to deal with it. Of course, I am not going to the gym or playing tennis. I cannot control myself during that much activity, so I am avoiding them for now. My dr. said we would discuss surgical options when I was ready. Since I've only been dealing with this for 3 or 4 months, I am not ready. I fear doing anything will only make things worse.
Hope everyone is doing well, or as best as they can.
Drewsmom
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Hello everyone,
Happy Memorial Day,
I hope we all get to enjoy the weekend. It's sunny here in Western Mass. I was wondering Bea if you're health insurance depends on your work like in the USA or if you have nathional health insurance. Losing a job is bad but along with it insurance is unforgiveable. I hope that's not part of your worry. When my husband was laid off I took over the health insurance which I haven't done in most of our married life.
Hoping the healing is happening for you, b. I think feeling hopeful even under the worst circumstances improves our chances by leaps and bounds. Just hard to do. I just came across a bunch of medical supplies I took home from the hospital the first time around and what bad memories they brought. Ugh. I was so lucky to have my husband's help and my family's support. Those were trying times. Some how the MD tried to heal my fistula by ordering the RN's to clean it out manually from the open wound I had from the sphincteroplasty. I finally got them to use water pressure, a lot less painful but doomed to failure as well. Compared to that my life is great! What we go through...
Take care, Thinking of you all.
Penny
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Hi Penny,
I've had a good weekend - it's been warm and sunny. I had another BM and everytime more comes through the fistula - it is frustrating but let's hope this next surgery will fix things. I'm trying to stay positive. At least I am using our National Health Service so the job situation won't affect my treatment. At times like this I am glad. My consultant is a professor at London University so I do feel I am seeing a good person. It is the waiting which is worse with the NHS - but now I am the system it is OK.
Hope you haev had a good weekend - on the bike at all?
I have this week off so may not post for a bit. Good luck to everyone - B, CJ and drewsmom ...
Bea
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hey gals,

just checking in to say hello....go to the dr. soon, forget if it is next wednesday...i hate going sometimes because it reminds me that I still have a long way to go...and I am always fearful of bad news. Anyway, I will keep you guys informed.

Penny how are you feeling?

Bea how r u?
B
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