WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A Wichita Falls woman said her life has changed for the better thanks to a procedure at United Regional.

Mary Galan doesn’t go anywhere without her ‘little black box’.

“That’s my life saver like I said,” Galan said. “I feel like the good Lord gave me a new life and I feel really blessed on it.”

For five to seven years, Galan dealt with uncontrolled urination.

“I couldn’t leave the house without having to carry two or three changes of clothes with me or a bag of depends and going to church was the same way, so I kind of gave up all that,” Galan said.

“Folks who have what we say is refractory urgency and frequency of urination which is in that family of overactive bladder symptoms,” United Regional Urologist Dr. Paul Morrison said. “Typically that’s accompanied by urinary incontinence where that urgency produces such strong systems where you can’t delay urination, you can’t get there fast enough and end up leaking before making it to the toilet.”

Galan found Dr. Morrison who eventually suggested the InterStim Implantable Device which involves a device that’s put in underneath the skin and sends sensations to the body, alerting the patient it’s time to visit the restroom.

“It’s essentially a bladder pacemaker, it’s a direct nerve stimulator of the third sacral nerve is where that’s implanted so that modulates the bladder’s symptoms and how the central nervous system interprets when the bladder is full, when it feels urgency and how often to go,” Dr. Morrison said. “They do feel that kind of continued low-level almost like a vibration or sensation in the lower pelvis, of it working.”

Galan had tried many things, including a bladder sling, but nothing worked for her.

“I said what else have I got to lose? I said I’ll try it.”

The procedure and implantation happen in two phases, the first one is for one to two weeks.

“Upwards of 90% of people are gonna experience a successful trial phase, they’re gonna experience a successful outcome from the device implant which means we’re almost in all cases coming back to put in the full device implant because it really has been successful,” Dr. Morrison said.

“The machine tells me ‘hey, it’s time to go’ and it gives me a warning and I mean it’s been a lifesaver,” Galan said.

The ‘black box’ as Galan calls it has become as essential as her car keys and her wallet. It’s an extra thing to carry, but she says it beats missing out on the most important things in life.

“I’m back to myself again, me and my husband have a good relationship, I’m doing more things with my grandkids, I’m being more active, I’m not as bloated as I used to, I can go out and work in my yard, I can do things and feel like myself again,” Galan said. “What Dr. Morrison did is a miracle, I call him the miracle doctor.”

There are a couple of different models of the InterStim device. One is not rechargeable but can last upwards of 15 years.

“If anybody is out there and has this problem, it’s really really 100% worth looking into,” Galan said.

The rechargeable model is much smaller and requires weekly charges but is also expected to last about 15 years.

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