I initially went to see Tara for stress incontinence, which after doing the food intake / output diary she deduced was a symptom of chronic constipation. I was certain I’d have to then go see a different doctor to handle that, then back to her to work on the incontinence. I was pleased to know that since it’s all related Tara is working through it all with me.
My journey to Tara begins with my rectocele surgery. Once the structural issues were solved – my Urogynecology surgeon suggested I seek the help of a Urogynecology Physical Therapist for my incontinent issues. Best advice I have ever received although I had never heard of the specialty.
I went to see Tara in gym clothes expecting a half hour of exercises. Wrong. Her first question was “How much coffee do you drink”? No more coffee, soda, tea, chocolate (for now). “We are into bladder re-training”. I have not had coffee since and by the end of the first day drinking water and peeing every 90 minutes (that’s the voiding schedule she started me on)- my leaking issue had been reduced by 80%. Her education on diet, lifting, exercises (oh those Kegels, which I wasn’t doing properly, but no sit-ups allowed) has been the key to changing my life. Tara has given me the tools to correct my situation. My angel with an endless bucket of enlightening information. I have passed her name around Phoenix to my 65+ year old friends with similar issues. I am on an education mission.
I’m a 62 year old male who opted to have a radical robotic prostatectomy almost 16 months ago as a preferred course of treatment for prostate cancer. About eight days after the surgery I had a Foley catheter removed and from that point forward I suffered with incontinence. I performed Kegels on a daily basis as per my urologist’s advice and over the course of 14 months I experienced progress, setbacks, and plateaus on a routine basis. I scoured the Internet for specifics on how to perform Kegels and any tips for overcoming incontinence. I found a wealth of information, both from medical providers as well as incontinence sufferers. So much of it was conflicting that I found myself jumping from one method to another with minimal positive impact.
Approximately fourteen months following my surgery I began seeing a new primary care physician. I shared with her my incontinence issue and she told me there was a pelvic floor therapist who could probably help me. I jumped at that chance and that’s how I came in contact with Tara Sullivan.
Without getting into specifics I will say that in my first visit Tara revolutionized my thinking about incontinence and the way the human bladder and pelvic floor muscles function. I discovered I’d been doing Kegels the wrong way and learned the correct way to perform them and exactly what that feels like. Tara explained how my bathroom habits were 180 degrees out from what I needed to be doing to rehabilitate and strengthen my bladder. She also explained the importance of diet as it relates to incontinence and how modifying my diet (and eliminating one item I thought was harmless) would significantly increase my bladder control. And she put me on a program to ensure I had adequate water intake every day and stayed consistently hydrated. This last item helped develop strength in my bladder and longevity between trips to the bathroom. But there was another bonus as well. Every winter my hands and fingers would become dry and cracked. If you’ve never had cracked fingertips believe me they are extremely painful. I no longer suffer from that condition. The skin on my hands and fingers is now soft and silky smooth. I realize now that I’ve probably been dehydrated most of my life.
I only needed two visits with Dr. Sullivan: one to teach me the methods and techniques I needed to implement and a second visit to verify things were working. And working they are! I’m very close to being fully continent less than a month and a half after my first appointment. I can’t describe how fabulous that feels. For months I alternated between hopefulness, confusion, and despair. At times I thought I’d be wearing pads and leaking urine the rest of my life. Dr. Sullivan provided me with the road map to get to my desired destination. I wish it hadn’t taken so long for me to meet her; I feel like a lot of recovery time was wasted. But the silver lining in that cloud is that I know what it feels like to have hopefulness replaced by confidence. The clouds have parted and the sun is shining again.
I would strongly encourage anyone suffering with incontinence to contact Dr. Sullivan. Especially men undergoing a prostatectomy. See her before your surgery and begin your rehab after right way. It will make all the difference in your recovery.
I am a 44 year old busy working mum. I went to see Tara for pelvic floor dysfunction and bladder voiding. It has been a long journey of pain and confusion. My bladder controlled my life. I would go to my OB because I thought that I had a bladder infection. They would give me an antibiotic and send me on my way. The results would come back normal. No infection. How could that be? I would be going to the bathroom at least fifteen to twenty times a day. It was awful. I was fearful to go out anywhere without knowing that there would be a bathroom close by in case I needed to go pee. I finally took it upon myself to get a bladder function test. The results showed that I had pelvic floor dysfunction. I had no idea what this was. My urologist recommended Tara Sullivan. She has changed my life!…I am serious. After my first appointment I went for peeing fifteen times a day to seven. She gives you the tools you need to get your life back. You have to be willing to be patient and listen to your body. You have to want to take the time to do the pee schedule and exercises and I promise you will see results. Thank you Tara.