Last month, we met an incredible family, the Haney’s. Nicholas (Nick) Haney, who is 8 years old, was diagnosed with Spina Bifida in utero. Nick is an absolute joy, has a unique upbeat personality that sees the positive in everyone. He loves traveling, especially to Disneyland!
He has bladder incontinence due to his diagnosis and currently struggles to effectively manage his urinary output at school and at home.
Together with his mom and Nick, we decided to test the DFree® and see how it can be incorporated into his life at home and hopefully, at school - giving him the independence and free will to have more control of his life.
Here’s a little story on how it helped him, from Tabatha, Nick’s mom.
Once your child reaches that magical stage of potty training around the age of 3, #pottytalk becomes a thing of the past.
Except for when it doesn’t.
Imagine your elementary age child having to wear pull ups/diapers, sticking to a toileting schedule, taking medication, catheterized and/or having frequent accidents that can cause embarrassment.
This is the reality for children who deal with bladder incontinence, and for our son Nicholas, who was diagnosed with Spina Bifida in utero, and has struggled to regulate his urine output for many years.
We have tried every product and strategy under the sun to try to help Nicholas manage his toileting and stay dry during the day - including, but not limited to - potty watches, timers, sticker charts, training pants, edible reinforcement, token charts.
Last year, his doctor finally confirmed what we suspected all along - that Nicholas had limited sensation in his bladder due to possible nerve damage and/or spinal cord damage because of Spina Bifida.
This was our explanation to Nick, in a way his 8 year old brain could understand -
Think of your body as a cell phone. Your bladder is trying to send your brain an iMessage telling it to go to the bathroom, but your internet connection is spotty and it won’t go through!
However, we had recently been introduced to a product at the Abilities Expo, that gave Nicholas hope that he hasn’t had in quite a while - the hope of independence.
The DFree is an ultrasound sensor that uses safe and noninvasive ultrasound technology to detect the changes in bladder size and alert the user when the bladder is getting full. The DFree will then send an alert to the user’s phone or tablet when it is time to use the restroom.
You guys - this is going to be life changing
Nicholas is planning a trip to Target tonight to pick out underwear for the FIRST. TIME. EVER.
An aisle we previously passed to head to the diapering aisle during shopping trip has become a primary destination.
(It’s ok to ugly cry in the underwear aisle at Target, right? Asking for a friend)
Watch Nick’s DFree’s Unboxing Story on DFree Instagram
Children in Spina Bifida need close monitoring and care. Primary care doctors are crucial as they follow their progress, determine immunization and general care needs.
Having routine bladder evaluation and management plans can help reduce the risk of organ damage and illness.
Evaluations include X-rays, kidney scans, ultrasounds, blood tests and bladder function studies.
These evaluations will be more frequent in the first few years of life, but less often as children grow. According to Mayo Clinic, bladder management can include medications, using catheters to empty the bladder, surgery, or a combination.
For children, a specialist in pediatric urology with experience in evaluating and performing surgery on children with spina bifida is the best choice.
Children with spina bifida also often need treatment and ongoing care from:
Parents and other caregivers are a key part of the team, learning how to help manage their child's condition and how to encourage and support their child emotionally and socially. Keep in mind that children with spina bifida can go on to college, hold jobs and have families. Special accommodations may be necessary along the way, but encourage your child to be as independent as possible.
FB post in reference: https://www.facebook.com/tabatha.haney/posts/24576785