Kimberly is a bright and energetic woman who suffered her whole life. From the first time that she can remember, Kimberly has leaked urine. While many women suffer from this problem at an older age, it is rare to encounter in children after toilet training age. Yet, this is all Kimberly has ever known. Watch Kimberly’s video story below!
When we met Kimberly, she described life growing up with this problem. It was hard to hear her tell us about the struggles that she experienced trying to hide this problem from other children. Trying to hide the embarasing smell of constant leakage and still be able to enjoy the many experiences of childhood that we take for granted. Playing with other children. Enjoying sports. Going to social gatherings.
Doctors told Kimberly that they were not sure what was causing her leakage. And so, Kimberly learned to live with her problem.
Urinary incontinence in childhood is rare after toilet training. When this leakage is constant, it suggests one of several birth anomalies that are easily fixed once diagnosed. In the United States, these problems are identified early in childhood or adolescence and corrected. In countries such as Belize, this is not possible.
Fortunately, our team had brought with us cameras that would allow us to evaluate Kimberly. We found that Kimberly has a kidney that developed improperly and drains to the vagina rather than the bladder. When we came across the tiny opening hidden within her vagina that connected to her kidney, I felt a sense of happiness knowing that we had found the problem and that it could be fixed with surgery.
Further tests were arranged to allow us to plan the type of surgery necessary to fix Kimberly’s problem. Thus, although we could not fix her problem during this trip, both Kimberly and the team smiled as we left that day — knowing that someday soon Kimberly would know a life that she has never known. I could not wait to return.
One year later, we returned to fix Kimberly. We removed the small portion of her kidney that drained improperly and, for the first time in her life, Kimberly was dry. The hug that her mother gave me when she heard the news is one that I will always remember.
Six months later, Kimberly visited us to say hello. She was dry and beaming with a new sense of confidence. As she finished telling us about her new life she said, quite simply, “This is me now”, with a huge smile on her face.