HuffPo-Live-Urinary-IncontinenceA few weeks ago,  I was contacted by Dr. Phil’s people. According to the person who contacted me, they were shopping me to see if I’d be a good candidate for an upcoming show about female urinary incontinence.

Not that I’m biased or anything, but I know I would be a great guest on this topic. I’m an RN who has worked in women’s healthcare for over 20 years; I’ve personally struggled with the problem; I’ve done a shit ton of research about it; and I’ve subjected myself to several of the various available treatment options (medication, physical therapy, hormone replacement therapy, and ultimately surgery) in my efforts to alleviate my own urinary incontinence problems.

Call me. Maybe?

But despite allowing myself to go through an extensive interview process that included an invasive questionnaire about my personal life, including my mental health history–up to and including the name of my physician and my prescribed dosage of Wellbutrin–and what the fuck my Wellbutrin dosage has to do with female bladder issues I have no idea–I didn’t hear anything back. Then I got a call from The Doctors about appearing on their show for the same topic. Again, nothing came of it, but I was flattered to be noticed.

Bloggers are always flattered to be noticed which is why we’re so damned easy to exploit. We’re all but lying here with our metaphorical legs spread apart begging for it. It’s so hard not to because if you don’t let them use you then they’ll use someone else, and YOU’LL MISS OUT.

Use Me. I’m Yours.

Then HuffPo Live contacted me to come on and talk about bladder leakage. Well, getting on HuffPo Live after being passed over by Dr. Phil is like being asked to the prom by the guy from band who wears headgear instead of the football captain, but at least somebody is asking you to dance. Right?

In my invitation, I was told I’d be a guest with Sheryl Underwood. Now, truth be told, I don’t watch The View or The Talk, so the name Sheryl Underwood didn’t register. In fact, here’s how stupid I am, I thought she was a doctor because the last time I was on HuffPo Live talking about a health problem (Seasonal Affective Disorder) I was on with Dr. Norman Rosenthal, the doctor who first described S.A.D. and pioneered the use of light therapy to treat it. I figured it was something like that again. I admit I didn’t look too closely (or at all).

Hey, I’m busy these days having a real life offline.

Anyway, I know I should have looked her up, but I didn’t. That part’s on me. I didn’t know she’s a talk show celebrity, and not an expert on urinary incontinence.

But what I also didn’t know is that Sheryl Underwood is the new spokesperson for Depends®, and that Kimberly-Clark, the makers of Depends®, just launched a social media campaign called “Drop Your Pants for Underwareness.” Nothing about this was mentioned in any of the emails. I thought I was being invited to participate in a legitimate discussion about treatment options for urinary incontinence.

So imagine my shock and dismay when 20 seconds into the show I realized that I was trapped in a fucking Depends® commercial.

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Was I being paid to be in this commercial? No. Was Sheryl Underwood? Uh, hell yes.

I’d bet money, if I’d made any, that Depends® and HuffPo Live considered that they were paying me in the only currency a  blogger apparently needs: Exposure. As though being an unpaid shill for adult diapers builds my brand!

To be sure, I got no problem with Depends®, or pee pads in general. They serve a purpose. And I guess it is to her credit that a self-described strong, independent, self-confident woman like Underwood has no problem telling the world, and her dates before they feel up her ass, that she’s wearing the new, super-sexy Depends®. More power to her!

What I do have a problem with is being unwittingly duped into being an unpaid extra in an infomercial for Depends®.

I Resent Being Exploited as a Blogger Without My Informed Consent

I swear to God, I seriously considered hanging up when I realized what was really happening. But I didn’t. I was too scared. What would happen to my blogging career (stop laughing) if I hung up on HuffPo Live while I was on-air? I’d never work in this town again! So I stuck with it.

But then it got worse when insult was added to injury as I sat there while bad medical information was being given out to the 15 people watching.

After telling everyone how thrilled she was to be the spokesperson for Depends®, Underwood told her own story of urinary incontinence. And a common one it is.

Underwood had several fibroids. Finally, finding no fix for her fibroids, her “wonderful OB/GYN” performed a “partial hysterectomy.” (I’m guessing that what she means is she kept her ovaries, but I’m not really sure.) Anyway, after her hysterectomy, Underwood’s bladder “fell”.

And here’s where I got not just annoyed but really pissed off that I was sitting there a party to women being told, basically, “Oh well! This is inevitable. There’s nothing you can do about it. Now go get yourself some sexy pee pads and learn to be confident about it.”

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Hysterectomy is a Leading Cause of Bladder Prolapse and Urinary Incontinence!

Approximately 30%-40% of women develop some presentation of pelvic organ prolapse in their lifetime, usually following menopause, childbirth, or a hysterectomy (WebMD).

After childbirth, hysterectomy is thought to be a leading contributor to vaginal vault prolapse and bladder incontinence. See, the uterus acts like an anchor holding up the vagina and all the organs attached to it, like the bladder, for instance. Remove the uterus, and the bladder can fall, causing all sorts of problems, one of which is urinary incontinence.

So color me unsurprised when Underwood told us that after her “wonderful OB/GYN” took out her uterus her bladder fell down. In my opinion, her “wonderful OB/GYN” should have anticipated this would happen.  This isn’t new news, by the way. From this article in WebMD, dated October, 25 2007:

Researcher Daniel Altman, MD, tells WebMD that the latest findings provide strong evidence of a link.

“Any woman contemplating an elective hysterectomy should be told that there may be consequences in the future,” he says. “The jury has been out, but I think the evidence is clear.”

Urinary Incontinence isn’t Inevitable After Hysterectomy

I had a hysterectomy, but I don’t have bladder leakage.

(If you do watch the show, you’ll eventually see the part where I kiss a bunch of ass by sort of making it sound like I use Depends too, which I don’t. By then, I’d abandoned my principles. I just wanted them to like me. I wanted to do a good job, because I’m thinking that if I don’t then next time they won’t use me. And aren’t I here with nothing better to do than let multi-billiom dollar corporations use me for free work? If not me, then they’ll choose somebody else, and I’ll miss out.)

Unlike Underwood’s doctor, my surgeon anticipated that I’d have a post-surgical urinary incontinence problem before my surgery. But then I did that shit ton of research I talked about earlier. I had physical therapy for a year before I consented to surgery. And when I decided surgery was my best option, I went to a Urogynecologist, a specialist in female pelvic floor surgery, even though he was four hours away.

My Urogynecologist did a thorough exam, and I endured two days of bladder tests, and other extremely unfun exams, to determine the full extent of my pelvic floor problems before my surgery, so my surgeon would be able to determine the best course of action ahead of time, thereby reducing my chances for further surgery. In other words, he did the job right. The first time.

But most women don’t know that the doctor who delivered their baby is probably not the best doctor for their hysterectomy. Most women have never heard of pelvic floor physical therapy, or Urogynecologists. Most women don’t know that vaginal estrogen can help, or even cure, urinary incontinence in some women. I thought I was going on HuffPo Live to discuss these important treatment options. But that’s not why I was there. Despite being asked at one point about my experiences, I realize that I was there to provide some free, quasi-expert window-dressing for Underwood’s Depends® commercial.

Is Incontinence Inevitable?

Underwood was told by her surgeon after her hysterectomy that she’d need to go through another surgery to fix her bladder. She’s opted for being the spokesperson for Depends® instead. That’s cool. But where’s her outrage that her physician didn’t anticipate something that he should have? Where’s her outrage that there are so few studies being done on this topic that we really don’t know how many women suffer urinary incontinence after the second most common surgery for women in the United States?

But if your real goal is to sell pee pads, and not help women find real treatment options for urinary incontinence, then I suppose nobody need look any further than the pee pad aisle at the drug store. Hell, we’ve got unlimited landfill for this shit, right? And who would want to simply stop having incontinence when there’s now some sexy pee pads out there for the buying?

LaTaya SimpsonOn the plus side? I did get to meet LaTaya Simpson, author of More than Pretty: 7 Beauty Secrets That Could Change Your Life. She was the other guest, and after the show we had a chance to chat. She is AWESOME!

 

 

 

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Geraldo Rivera created a tempest in a teapot when he said during a recent interview on Fox News that women should not agree to short term trial marriages (called beta marriages) because youth is a woman’s most important asset. Here’s what he said:

…I think [what] a woman brings to a marriage more than anything else, to a relationship, is her youth. Her youth is a fragile and diminishing resource. So if a woman were to invest two years in one of these marriages, and then to be rejected by the man, I think that she has given up a valuable asset that is unequal — in other words, the man gets everything and the woman gets nothing from this arrangement.

Of course, the headlines for the article made it sound like Geraldo has it in for ageing women. That’s what got me to click on it.

I read the headline and was all ready to go in with guns ablazin’ and tell Geraldo Rivera what he could do with his stupid opinion until I actually listened to what he was saying. And you know what? He’s right.

Biology has not played a fair hand where women are concerned. We can stamp our feet and toss our pretty little curls all we like, but the truth is that biology is a cruel bitch, and women have drawn the short end of the Darwinian straw.

Let’s ask Demi Moore

Right this minute, my 52-year old husband could go out and and get himself a woman half his age to marry him. He wouldn’t even have to try hard. It wouldn’t matter that he’s a little wrinkled, or that his hair is thinning a bit on top. He has a job, all of his teeth, and he knows how to commit and make a woman happy. Plenty of 25-year old women would be happy for just the good job and teeth, and would consider his ability to please a woman an add-on bonus.

Me? I couldn’t get me a 25-year old husband if I was an heiress with a terminal illness. It wouldn’t matter that I look younger than my age and can fuck like a minx. Sure, I could find me a younger lover. That I have no doubt. But a husband? Nope. Not a chance.

Why?

Biology.

FlowerMy 52-year old husband can still father children. A 25-year old woman wouldn’t be walking away from her mothering potential to be with him. But me? I’m done for. The shop’s closed. Hell, I’ve had a hysterectomy. The shop’s been torn down and turned into a pleasure palace.

And while pleasure might be nice, and I might be darned good conversationalist after the loving’s over, a 25-year old man can easily find his pleasure while not having to sacrifice potential fertility. Why should he give up one for the other?

The best I could do if I were looking for a husband would be to find a man my own age. And from what I hear from my friends on the dating circuit, I’d be damned lucky to get that. Nope. More than likely I’d be looking at a man 10-20 years older, or what I like to call the pre-Depends years.

Fertility Determines Marriageability

The hard truth for a woman is that fertility peaks at 27. Yes, you read that right. 27. Not 40. Not even 35. 27.

Sure, women over 27 get pregnant every day, but women over 40 don’t.  Men’s fertility declines with age as well, but not nearly as steeply. Within reasonable parameters—for instance, most women in their 20s and 30s wouldn’t seek out a 70-year old husband unless big money was involved—age is simply not considered a factor for women when considering a spouse.

But for women, age determines everything. All the Botox in the world cannot fool your ovaries. Just ask Demi Moore. Our ovaries have a date stamp that determines our marriageability, and that’s just the way it is.

Boys will be Boys

Young men are biologically programmed to seek out young, fertile women. They can’t help themselves. Just like women are biologically programmed to seek out men they think will be good providers. We can’t help ourselves. This is one reason younger women are more attracted to older men, and older, married men in particular.

This doesn’t mean that younger men won’t engage in a fling with an older woman. My friend, Erika Jagger, shows on her blog, A Sexy Woman of a Certain Age, that they most certainly will. But when it comes down to time to commit they’ll go younger every time.

So if a woman spends two years in a trial marriage then that’s really two years she can’t get back if it doesn’t work out. She’s aged herself two years (or more!) in the mating pool, while the man hasn’t aged at all.

For example, if two 25-year olds go in for a trial marriage, and after two years decide to call it quits, the now 27-year old man still has access to partners 5 or more years younger than himself. But the 27-year old woman is not so fortunate. She has wasted her two years on a relationship that went nowhere, and now she’s limited to men at least 27, and more likely older.

And the hard truth is that by their late 20s and 30s, most of the marriageable men are already taken. They won’t be available again until their 40s or 50s when they’ll be back on the market looking for, you guessed it, younger women.

Youth is a Woman’s Most Valuable Asset

sun-sets-on-a-womans-youthIt sucks. But it’s true. We can be mad at the messenger, but the message is clear, shacking up, hooking up, and trial marriages benefit men to the detriment of the women who agree to these relationships out of denial that age matters. Age does matter. It matters a helluva lot when you’re a woman. And anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something. Or, if it’s a man, trying to get you in bed. 

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I agree with Geraldo Rivera. Unless a woman is really only–and I mean REALLY, not just pretending so she can appear all liberated and evolved, if even only in her own mind–looking to get laid and avoid commitment that could lead to children then she’d be wise to avoid these temporary relationships and seek out men who are truly able to commit. Time’s a-wasting.

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BlogHer 14 Recap. Is this the End of BlogHer?

I just got home from the grandmommy of all blogging conferences, BlogHer14. I could say a million things, but I’ll limit myself to just these few words. I’m $till Standing Unlike years past–Blogher11, BlogHer12, BlogHer13–where I sort of wondered what the hell I was doing going to BlogHer, I absolutely had an agenda this year. […]

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Pulling the Trigger on Inner Kill

In my 20s, I believed that by the time I was in my 50s I’d have my life all figured out. So color me surprised to find myself 52, and not only haven’t I arrived at a destination, I still don’t exactly know where I’m going! Who Hid the Road Signs? I’m not alone in […]

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Bellman, there’s a naked man in the hallway.

 “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” -Tennessee Williams, Author Thanks to some accumulated United Airlines frequent flier miles, Jeff and I flew off to New Orleans this past February to celebrate Mardi Gras in style. Mardi Gras literally means ‘Fat Tuesday’ in French, but the party starts […]

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Why I Kicked God Out of My Sex Life

I’m sending this one out to all my Christian sisters. I can hear you already. “That Chloe!” “She’s leading all the nice Christian women astray! Again.” No, I’m not. I’m here to help a sister (and my brothers in Christ) out. I could just as easily have titled this post, “Why I politely asked God […]

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My Writing Process: How the Magic is Made

There’s this thing going around Bloggertown where bloggers are writing about their writing processes, and Carol Cassara from carolcassara.com invited me to participate. Carol is a rock solid blogger who has been a writer all of her life. She brings a discipline to her blog that I envy. Carol posts nearly every day. Her posts […]

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5 Things You Can Do About Your Husband’s Midlife Crisis

Not every man has a male midlife crisis, but enough of them do–wreaking havoc on their lives and the lives of those who love them–that it’s become a cultural cliché. Since Boomers are the ones who invented the notion that nobody over 30 should be trusted, can we honestly be surprised that people become a […]

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Burning for You

There you are. I knew I’d find you here. Waiting for me. Like you know I could never stay away. I don’t want to come here, you know. I never do. I don’t want to need you this badly. But I do. No more excuses. I am here. And so are you. The war that […]

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Never Let Her Smell Your Fear

My current employer must have read my last post because I’ve enjoyed ALL of my meal breaks this past week. Hal-la-freaking-luja! Now I might survive these 13 weeks as a traveling nurse, seeing as I’m a living, breathing human being who needs food and water at some point during my twelve and a half hour […]

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