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Ordinary people… ‘extraordinary’ lives

27 June 2012

Over the weekend we had our annual ‘kick-off’ meeting, a time when everyone comes together to share information and advice on the past year, and the year ahead. As part of the meeting we were fortunate to welcome three people who now have a Medtronic therapy, to come and share their story. This session is always the highlight, because it is a way that we see the very real differences Medtronic therapies are providing to ‘ordinary’ Australians – people just like us – who are put into ‘extraordinary’ circumstances.

One thing that struck me when listening to these stories is just how you never know what life might throw at you. There are thousands of situations every day that can change your life and you don’t always have a lot of control. But you do have control over how you approach these situations and sometimes what starts off as personal adversity can inspire many – just like Jason, Romy and Luke and Sarah, did over the weekend.

Jason has type 1 diabetes and uses an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). He is a dedicated endurance athlete and was finding that before using a pump, his preparation for marathons involved a lot of ‘guesstimating’ in the hope he would make it across the line in good health. He also used finger-pricks to test his insulin levels during the race – not so convenient given his transition to cycling…however it has been overcome by his CGM. During Jason’s last marathon (using the pump) he had no issues reaching the finish line with his hands held high, punching the sky with excitement! In his late 20s, Jason was like many of us, not wanting to be attached to a medical device 24/7…but the idea of that ‘attachment’ and the reality, have been quite different. He has gone from strength to strength in his sporting career and is now about to embark on his next great adventure – fatherhood!

Romy, was just like any expectant new mother – excited and anxious about the affects childbirth might have on her body…although she had no idea that following the birth of her two beautiful children she would become faecally incontinent and require sacral nerve stimulation (SNS). Controlled by her bowel movements and driven by the need to be close to a toilet at all times, Romy (a young mum in her 30s) searched for answers to help gain control of her condition and found SNS. For now, it has meant she has the confidence to rejoin her community…it has also meant life without a colostomy bag – the alternative she had previously been given.

…and then we met Luke and Sarah. When Luke and Sarah had one young child and Sarah was pregnant with their second baby, Luke had a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) – miraculously (given the majority of people do not) Luke survived the event and now has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). We still don’t know the reason for Luke’s SCA and certainly don’t know why someone so young would have an event – it’s rare. Rare – like the fact that both Luke and Sarah’s children also have a condition that mean they need a pacemaker. Their eldest child was initially misdiagnosed as ‘breath-holding’ until, after much investigating it was discovered she had a cardiac condition. Again, rare – and yet, this young family, who could have let things get on top of them, have embraced their new chance to enjoy life, to celebrate their hearts and most of all, cherish, this wonderful family.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Gayle Stone permalink
    2 March 2013 12:19 pm

    At last I have found someone else who has had SNS for faecal incontinence! I am a 58 year old Aussie mum who had a SNS fitted last June for exactly this reason. I too suffered what was to become faecal incontinence following the birth of my two children. I have searched many websites looking for support, but to no avial………..until I happened upon Romy’s story. I am very excited and would welcome any feedback from others in similar situations. I have felt so alone on my SNS journey it would mean a great deal to me to have company.

    • lm1mdtanz permalink
      28 March 2013 2:58 pm

      Hi Gayle, thank you so much for your comment. You are definitely not alone, and we would be more than happy to connect you with other people who have experienced similar circumstances. Perhaps you would be willing to share your insights and experiences with others as well? If you wouldn’t mind sending me your contact details, perhaps we could connect? My email is
      Look forward to hearing from you, Loren.

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