There are so many things we take for granted when we are in good health, such as the ability to use the toilet properly.
34-year-old mum of three Candice Wills caught an infection while pregnant back in 2009, which caused her to lose the use of both her bladder and bowels. This also left her without feeling in her legs after the infection damaged her spinal cord.
Candice was almost paralysed as a result, and tragically miscarried at 23 weeks. The unborn baby was a little girl, Leilou.
In the eight years following the infection, Plymouth based Candice has experienced a number of medical challenges. She has required walking aids and a catheter bag, receiving help from her caring husband, Drew.
Despite Candice’s medical difficulties, the couple have three young children; three-year-old Alfiejim, two-year-old Milotom and one-year-old Mollyrose.
According to Candice, her health conditions negatively affected her own perceptions of herself as a woman:
I lost the baby and during a quite harrowing labour, it paralysed my bladder and bowel.
It left me feeling like I wasn’t as much as a woman and I wouldn’t open up to my husband Drew.
Not only had I lost the baby, I lost my femininity.
However, a sacral neuromodulation therapy implant has changed her life, allowing her to feel feminine once again.
This miracle implant has helped her experience feeling in her legs and has allowed her to regain control over her bowels and bladder.
The clever device is similar to a pacemaker and is fitted to her spine. Linked to a handheld device through the power of Bluetooth, Candice simply triggers the implant whenever she needs to visit the bathroom.
An electrical signal is then sent between her brain to either her bladder or bowels, and she is able to perform the necessary bodily function in a controlled manner.
In what is a huge leap forward, Candice is now using the toilet for the very first time since her spinal injury, joking she is now returning to ‘potty training’ alongside her young son. What a mum!
Watch brave Candice tell her story below:
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Speaking about the incredible implant, Candice has made the following statement:
It was switched on at 5pm and at 9pm I had a pee all by myself.
And I could feel the cold floor on the bottom of my feet for the first time in many years.
When it first happened it was surreal, bizarre and everyone was crying. It was amazing.
I feel like I have been given my femininity back.
Going forward, Candice is currently preparing for surgery which will make the implant permanent. This will finally take away her need to use a catheter.
She also wants to help others in similar situations learn more about this life-enhancing piece of technology:
I think more people need to know about this surgery. GPs just don’t know about it, it can help a lot of people.
Lots of people have asked questions and asked if it could help them or their nans, mothers and friends.
— CenterFor Urology (@center4urology) October 9, 2017
Here’s wishing Candice and her family all the best for the future. This story just shows what a difference a technological advancement can have for a person’s wellbeing.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.