Kellye is a valued member of our Facebook group, a steadfast supporter of others, a diligent student, and a driven athlete. She is always upbeat and positive, and it is a joy to see her continued progress – all achieved with an optimistic, can-do attitude.
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I’m married and the mom of two amazing adult kiddos, ages 33 and 29, and a Grammy to an amazing little 3 yr old boy! So, for those who mistakenly think that healing is only for those who are newly postpartum, I have good news for you! I’ve always had an active lifestyle ranging from showing horses, three triathlons, and climbing two Colorado 14 footers to hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim in one day, twice. I love adventures, and being inactive with prolapse is not an option for me! Also, the sheer terror of realizing my body was crashing and burning and that I might not be able to pick up my little man was paralyzing and really set me on the path to finding CES.
I’m also an RN, and have been a NICU nurse for 35 years. I love this specialty! Witnessing the grit these tiny humans have is a blessing and so inspiring! That being said, the stress of working twelve hour shifts, many of which I rarely sit, has taken a toll on my body over the years.
Both of my pregnancies and vaginal deliveries were uneventful. Both of my babies were small, 6 lb.1 oz and 7 lb. 4 oz. Labors were a breeze, and I had no birth trauma that I’m aware of. The only notable thing was that I carried both of them extremely low, so maybe this played some role in my developing prolapse later in life.
I guess I’ve given you a few hints that I’m not fitting the profile of a lot of the ladies in this group age-wise. I don’t like bringing up my age, because between my ears I’m not nearly as old as my chronological age! I do however, for the purpose of sharing my journey, think it’s important for those of you younger than me (or my age and older) to see the possibilities of what this program can help you accomplish. And maybe help you not to fear the future with prolapse and all the hormonal horror stories you hear after menopause in regards to healing. I choose NOT to allow those debilitating thoughts to be an obstacle or an excuse in my recovery. The power of a positive mindset and what you believe is powerful medicine!
What happened that led to your diagnosis?
First of all, before this program, pelvic floor PT had never been mentioned to me. Not after either delivery or prior to my eventual prolapse surgery in 2010. I don’t think it was even a “thing” back then. Fast forward to 2010 (19 years postpartum). My demise was a slow progression. Looking back, I had little hints that something was up with my body, but I ignored them and sadly didn’t perceive them as something more than age-related changes. As a nurse, I feel guilty that I didn’t know about prolapse – but I was in a preemie world, and women's health wasn’t my wheelhouse. I didn’t realize I had been doing everything wrong to protect my pelvic floor!
How did you decide to have the surgery, and what was your experience afterwards?
In January of 2010, I was diagnosed with a grade 2 cystocele and mild posterior laxity. In March 2010, I had a hysterectomy (for bleeding issues and uterine descent) an anterior repair for the cystocele, and a bladder sling. The option to try PT first was not presented as an alternative.
I suppose you could say my surgery was a success. Things were better with the bulge, but I did continue to have bouts of urinary frequency which I now know was tightness. The only post-op instructions I received was no excessive lifting or straining. I was diligent, but I had no clue that I needed to understand pressure management in everyday movement and how to breathe properly.
In the years following my surgery, it was a slow fade. Slowly, over the next 9 ½ years, I noticed my pelvic floor laxity and bouts of urinary frequency increasing. By January of 2019, I knew I was in trouble. Between February and May 2019, I began having tightness and symptoms of prolapse 24/7. I was completely miserable and an emotional wreck. I consulted with both my gyn and my surgeon who confirmed the prolapse was back, and both had me try overactive bladder meds for the symptoms. That was a disaster, as I almost couldn’t empty my bladder at all. I literally had to ask for a PT consult after doing my own research. This is the source of my disdain and distrust with the “specialists” who should know these things.
Before I made a PT appointment, I decided to call my daughter (who is also a PT) and ask her if she knew of any PFPT’s that were good. She said, “Mom, that's what Anna does.” My daughter Emily and our amazing Anna B played Ultimate Frisbee on an Atlanta ladies team and had been friends for years. That’s how I found CES!
Immediately, when I listened to Sarah’s program overview, I KNEW she understood this diagnosis like no medical doctor. I was so impressed that you couldn’t sign me up quick enough!
What did you expect when you started, and did anything surprise you?
When I started Pelvic Floor Perfect, all I knew was that my pelvic floor was a train wreck and I was convinced I would need a second repair. I was desperate and looking for a miracle that would keep me out of the operating room any time soon. To my surprise and elation, within about three days of starting PFP, my symptoms were improving. I was able to relax my pelvic floor somewhat, which confirmed my gut feeling that my pelvic floor had been hanging on for dear life. As a nurse, I was most impressed with the scope of information and expertise in the videos. From the white board explanations to the detailed videos – as an info junkie, I was in heaven!
What were your goals when you started, and what has helped you the most?
My initial goal was to stay out of the operating room, though I didn’t know if that was possible. What I learned later was that big goals happen when you slay the little ones.
I loved how Sarah talked about exploring your WHY. In my opinion, this is what motivated me to stay the course during times when I was frustrated and discouraged. I learned that everyone needs a why and a mantra! The one that has really stuck with me is “Just Show Up”. This is one from our book study Atomic Habits. As a perfectionist and impatient type A, this has helped me avoid burnout. In the beginning and for probably the first year, I did my workouts almost 6 days a week. I was afraid not to – but in retrospect, I could have benefited from more recovery days. I learned that “just showing up” means showing up mentally even if the workout isn’t completed to perfection.
What programs have you been working on and what has helped you the most along the way?
It goes without saying that our private Facebook group has been a top component of my success along with the program content. Without the ability to have 24/7 access to our amazing experts, moderators, and members, I would not be where I’m at today. I am grateful beyond words for every encouraging word, video reviews and all of the advice, cues, tips and tricks offered to help me connect with my body.
My journey started with Pelvic Floor Perfect, followed by Happy Hips, Posture Perfect and Shoulder Solutions. Not to mention little detours when I have needed to take a break and focus on one specific thing for a few weeks. I’m currently working on MomFit 6. Starting MomFit in January of 2020 was a huge highlight for me and has added an amazing amount of progress to my healing.
What does healing mean to me? It means I do not think about my pelvic floor with every move! I’ve worked hard to rewire a lot of bad habits, and it is paying off. I feel stronger even rolling over in bed. I can bound down the stairs and my pelvic floor feels solid. I can pick up a 35 pound kiddo and my pelvic floor doesn’t budge. My relapses are becoming less frequent as my strength increases. I understand my triggers and how to work around them.
Do I still have a prolapse? I feel like my grade has definitely improved. Knowing your grade however, in my opinion, is a pointless and sometimes sabotaging piece of information that gets in your head. Mine is dynamic. Meaning, it changes depending on how well I am using my body.
You’ve had such amazing success already! What are your future plans and goals?
Going forward, the rewiring continues and my strength is a work in progress. And that is ok. I have more progress to make, and that excites me! I most importantly have complete confidence that I will not be having another repair. I look forward to keeping my body in shape to attain this goal. I know that I’m in control, and that feels empowering!
For ladies who are considering surgery, I would just like to say that this program is your insurance for success. The pressure management skills and the strength you gain in this program will protect your repair. If I’d had the knowledge I do now I could have protected mine, so don’t be fooled to think surgery is the end all. A surgical repair is vulnerable and it needs you to be strong!
What would you like to share with those who are starting out on their healing journey?
If I had to offer one single piece of advice, it’s TRUST THE PROCESS. I remember in one video Sarah stated that as you gain strength, the relapses get fewer and farther between. This has motivated me to keep working on the layers of weakness. It has been a slow process of learning what works with my body, but the gains are like compounding interest in your 401K. As you get stronger the gains keep adding up, and one day you are blown away by where you are at.
My prolapse has been a curse and a blessing. Without it, I would never be where I am physically today. I’m thankful for it in that way. I love feeling strong and I want to stay that way! So yes…I will keep showing up, slaying little goals, and one day may even do a few pull ups!