Patricia Sibbald, Incontinence Patient

Patricia Sibbald - Midland, MI

"I want to tell anyone who has this problem, ‘Don’t wait!’ It’s such a relief not to be uncomfortable and to be able to move around and do anything I want to do. I feel wonderful!"

Procedure Gave Her Newfound Freedom and Her Life Back

When outpatient surgery ended her stress incontinence, Patricia Sibbald of Midland said goodbye to constant discomfort and the need to stay close to a bathroom. Now she can walk her two Sheltie dogs down long country roads, exercise at the gym, or relax and have coffee with friends without worry or distraction.

Patricia developed an overactive bladder after a hysterectomy in 2002 and was diagnosed with stress incontinence in 2011. Despite physical therapy and medications prescribed over the years, the condition was always there.

“I started with a mild problem that got worse and worse,” said the active retiree. By 2014, the problem had overtaken her life. “It was horrid! I couldn’t sneeze or cough or laugh without a wardrobe change,” she said. “When I went out with friends for coffee, I’d be mapping the location of every available bathroom. That’s not the way you want to live!”

If Patricia needed surgery, she wanted to have it near home, so she consulted Urologist Karla Witzke, D.O. “I volunteer at MyMichigan Medical Center Midland and had heard good things about her,” she said. After examining Patricia, Dr. Witzke recommended surgery to insert a suburethral sling.

During this procedure, a strip of material is placed inside the pelvic area to support the bladder neck and the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder. The sling helps prevent urine from leaking during a cough or sneeze, lifting or exercise.

“Dr. Witzke is an excellent doctor – capable, personable and very thorough,” Patricia said. “She took her time and counseled me on how the sling would be placed. She also explained that I would need to give it a chance to heal for several weeks before getting back to exercise.”

Patricia had her outpatient surgery at MyMichigan Medical Center Midland. Her husband, Don, was able to wait with her until time for the procedure, follow her progress in the comfortable waiting area, and speak with Dr. Witzke immediately afterwards. “Everyone – the nurses, the anesthetist, everyone – treated us so well,” she said. “It was wonderful to get there in the morning and be able to come home by mid-afternoon.

“Amazingly, I had zero pain with the surgery. That may not be typical, but it was my experience,” she said. “Afterwards, I was very careful, restricting my activities and lifting exactly as my doctor said to do. I didn’t want to take apart all her work.” Patricia healed without any problems, and in six weeks Dr. Witzke cleared her for normal activities.

“I want to tell anyone who has this problem, ‘Don’t wait! You keep thinking it’s going to get better. It doesn’t!’ Dr. Witzke gave me my life back. I’d recommend her to anybody,” she said. “It’s such a relief not to be uncomfortable and to be able to move around and do anything I want to do. I feel wonderful!”


Those who are experiencing urinary incontinence are encouraged to talk with their primary care provider. Additional information about Dr. Witzke may be found at www.mymichigan.org/witzke.