Don’t be an Incontinence Sufferer, be an ‘Incontinence Survivor’ Mum & My Story… It all started in the year dot spit! Mum came into this world not realizing that when she left she would make an impact on millions of women’s lives the world over.
How it all began.
Mum gave birth to 3 children. 1 born by caesarean section. The youngest contacted meningitis whilst in hospital which left him disabled. The stress of coping with all this and very little support from her family made the road to survival seem a treacherous journey. Through the years of an abusive marriage she always remained positive and always had a good word for everyone, even for those who did her wrong. She was an incredible woman who I am proud to call my mother. Mum’s motto in life was “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Boy, was there a lot of lip biting when I was younger.
The cliché I have since passed onto my own child. The years went by and us children all grown up had found our own way in life. Mum settled in her own home alone. It was the first time I saw her content within herself; she loved her own company and loved attention when with friends. She was the life and soul of any party. Mum was larger than life and not just in personality! She found herself a great guy who was 15 years her junior. At the age of 50 years young she related to men her own age as ‘the wrinklies’ and too stayed.Her man absolutely adored her. Anyone who could treat my mother like a queen got my seal of approval. For the first time in her life she was free to enjoy life.
A problem shared is a problem solved!
All of a sudden mum had given up on a very active relationship and had cut down going out. She found excuses not to join in any activities that she had been accustomed to. There was something very wrong that mum wasn’t saying. One day whilst out shopping she had a panic attack. She looked like a frightened rabbit taking the full beam of the headlamps. “What’s wrong?” I asked.“Just take me home. I have to leave now.” That was the start of the slippery slope, spiraling downwards faster than she could control.A beautiful, brilliant lively woman reduced to a house mouse, with confidence fading into oblivion.“No secrets mum, that’s what we said.” “I’m fine sweetheart.”Not the answer I was expecting, but I wasn’t going to give up. A year later after a course of anti depressants, she finally opened up.She told me she needed an operation. Oh my god! Cancer? Heart? After all she was a heavy smoker and with both her parents who died before the age of 55 of heart conditions. My mind was racing, I felt as if my own heart had dropped to the pit of my stomach churning the acid. When mum told me it was Stress Incontinence. My immediate reaction was to laugh. Not mockingly, it was more of a release of relief that it was nothing more sinister. I knew nothing of incontinence at the time. Why should I, I did not have it and it is something not spoken about. My idea about incontinence was something that only happened to old people. Or was it??? Mum had an operation called the TVT or Trans Vaginal Tape procedure, things were getting back to “normal”, she was back to her confident self again, but her sex life still remained a memory. She had lost the confidence to enter a sexual relationship.The anti depressants and psychological effects had had a large part in this. She started opening up about the whole experience.She thought she was the only woman this had happened to. She in her own mind had become a freak. She thought that losing urine involuntarily she would smell, so it was easier to remain at home. What if she lost urine during intercourse? How humiliating. So she got rid of the man. Everything was a compromise to hide the underlying problem. Just like millions of women the world over go through. Simply because they don’t understand their own body and are too afraid to ask for help and advice.After a year her incontinence had returned.
You are not alone.
The Dr said due to mum being overweight the problem had re-occurred. “Give up smoking and lose weight.” The echoing repetition of the doctor bounced around mum’s head. If only it were that easy. Her condition was once again overlooked and under diagnosed. Mum came away from the doctor in tears, and was so upset by the nonchalant attitude of the Doctor. The very person that should have been there to support her had sent my mother into another spiral of depression. “Gaynor it’s back… I can’t go through this again.” Her voice was ‘timid’. I felt absolutely helpless. In the one year of her being ‘urine’ free I had done a small amount of research. Knowing what I had found, I knew there was a solution, just finding the right one to suit mum. There is help out there beyond invasive treatment. We will pursue this together! So the search began to find a product other than pads and surgery that could help because at this point, for mum, nothing seemed to work.
‘Taboo’ Factor called…Incontinence Amazingly, in our search, we found there were over 4 million women in the UK and 13 million women in the USA who were suffering from this condition called ‘Stress Incontinence’ or ‘SUI’. That’s a lot of ‘leaky ladies’ who need immediate attention.
The other interesting facts that came out were ‘Stress Incontinence’ is part of the ‘Taboo’ factor. It is one of those problems swept under the carpet. Just like mental health and cancer (about 10 years ago). Unfortunately, the ‘Taboo’ attitude still remains around ‘Stress Incontinence’ and ‘Incontinence’ as a whole… Perhaps, if we don’t speak about it, it may go away? Well I’m sorry to say, life isn’t that simple and the workings of the human body are even more unforgiving.
Mum and I had nursing experience and we were determined to find a solution. We then started studying urology in depth, to help us understand the why’s and how’s of the system, to help ‘fix’ her silent, self alienating, ‘Taboo’ problem called ‘Incontinence’.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
We came up with a few crazy ideas, we laughed about it until tears streamed down our faces. It was the first time mum seemed to really face the problem and accept that something had to be done, not only for her, but also for others in her situation. Seeing her laugh was a relief, when she admitted she needed to change her underwear and could still hold her dignity I knew she was on the road to recovery (mentally anyway). We had the basic thoughts, if you have a leak under your sink you don’t just leave an absorbent cloth to catch the drips you actually fix the problem. Be it a crack in the pipe or a broken seal. Our attitude to the human body was the same and just that simple.
EUREKA!! IncoStress was born!
“No, it’s not possible!” I said. Guess what!… Mum proved me wrong! Finally after trying many different ideas herself, we finally put both of our heads together and at the dinning room table in mum’s kitchen, designed and created something so simple that actually worked! After about 12 months mum completely cured herself. One of our neighbours a 36 year old woman heard about mum and admitted she suffered with the same problem. She asked mum to help her as well, and did. We then started looking into this more seriously, researching various different materials that would be acceptable. We continued on, trying all sorts of materials, etc. with many more laughs and many more disappointments. Then, we found our material… and EUREKA!! ‘IncoStress’ was born! Designed by Women, for Women… Because it is a Woman’s thing!
Protecting our idea.
With nothing like it on the market, it was an innovative idea and it worked! We also knew to be serious about helping others like mum, as well as being advised to, we needed to protect our new, improved, IncoStress™ idea. Not having money to pay a patent lawyer, I drew up our own patent and it was granted. With heartfelt thanks to help from Wales Innovation Network-UK (WIN), we were then able to take our product into clinical trials. Knocking on doors trying to get someone to listen seemed the hardest thing in the world. Here I was with a great, innovative product and no idea how to tell the women who needed it most of it’s existence. Today, we are very excited to say we are now ready to make our IncoStress™ product available to you at www.incostress.com . Because, IncoStress™ was designed by women, for women, because it’s a woman’s thing! J We’re now all here for you!
A tribute and promise to mum…a ‘Stress Incontinence Survivor’
Sadly my greatest friend, hero and mum passed away in 2004 of a heart condition. Unfortunately, she will never know of all the women who, through her persistence and dedication to find a solution to her own Incontinence problem will now be able to become ‘Stress Incontinence Survivors’ just like her. More importantly, they will be able to come out of their silent suffering and self alienation by the simple ‘invention’ created out of genuine heart and soul determination that mum created called IncoStress™. My Tribute and Promise to Mum and now to You is…
- I will continue endeavoring to help other ‘Incontinence Sufferers’ and will do all I can to make people aware of the seriousness of the condition beyond being a ‘leaky lady’.
- I will do all I can to help you too become a ‘Stress Incontinence Survivor’ and ‘Incontinence Survivor’ just like Mum.
- I will do all I can to help you feel welcome, loved, cared about, understood, and part of a community of others overcoming the same silent suffering and a self alienation world like you have been living in.
- A Foundation created in Mum’s name, Carole Kendall, to be sure to keep her dream alive going forward… “To help other ‘Incontinence Sufferers’ just like you become ‘Incontinence Survivors’ just like her, so you can overcome and live life to the fullest once again.
There is a solution! And you are not alone in this! Thanks to Mum… J Stay Positive! If you are not already an ‘Incontinence Survivor’ you soon will be. Stay positive! You are a beautiful woman who deserves the right to a great quality of life. Always know, in times you are struggling to stay positive… We’re always here for you. To help you get started, from Mum’s Incontinence days, she created a Daily Bladder Diary. I’ve now updated it in a much simpler, easy to use, downloadable format for you at www.incostress.com as well as other websites listed below. Simply download it, print it off and start keeping a record for yourself as well as to show and discuss with your personal professional doctor. There are different levels and types of incontinence. Demand to be tested for the type of incontinence you think you may suffer. Remember, ‘Stress Incontinence’ is a condition that is certainly overlooked and under diagnosed with huge, silent, psychological impact still in this open, talk about everything world we live in today. Let’s Talk About It
If you think you have this condition PLEASE talk to someone. Genuinely and from the heart, I do understand what you are going through… I am not a licensed expert in the field and cannot give personal advice. Though will be there to listen, encourage, care, share and genuinely understand. Also if you have a similar story to tell I would love to hear from you. Every woman deserves a good quality of life!Take control of yours today!You only have ONE life. It’s YOURS to live it to the fullest! You too can be a ‘Stress Incontinence Survivor’…just like Mum! With my warmest and heartfelt regards,
For further advice on Patents please go to http://www.patent.gov.uk/ If you are based in Wales-UK, with a new and innovative product or idea, Wales Innovation Network (WIN) http://www.win4wales.com are there to help you.Warmest regards