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Cleveland Clinic Gives Urology Patient New Outlook on Life

"Nighttime was probably hardest for me. When it’s quiet and everyone’s asleep and all you can think about is how you’re feeling. The pain was very severe. Any sort of pain medicine that you could think of was just not good enough," says Michelle Pennell.

Michelle and her husband, Cade, live in Nashville, Tennessee, and doctors there tried many options to ease her pain, but were unsuccessful.

"We went to the emergency room and figured out my bladder had shrunk to a golf ball size and everything was backing up into my kidneys," says Michelle.

After three years of extensive treatment, including a nephrostomy tube and a folley catheter, Michelle was running out of time.

"My parents had researched everything and found out that the best urology department was at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. And so we said, we’re not taking no for an answer. We’re not taking pain for an answer. Let’s go and get some help," Michelle says.

"I will never forget everybody that I've met. They know who I am and they know what I've been through and they care. That's what matters most. Dr. Wood is one-of-a-kind. She not only cured my body, but she has cured my soul and I've left this hospital a completely different person. I just want to say thank you. I wouldn’t be sitting here today without Cleveland Clinic. The quality of life that I have now is just unbelievable."

After meeting with Dr. Hadley Wood, a urologist from the Center for Genitourinary Reconstruction, part of Cleveland Clinic's Glickman Urology & Kidney Institute, they decided to try to surgically save her bladder with an experimental procedure.

Unfortunately, due to complications the procedure failed and Michelle was told she would need to have it removed.

"Not only did she sit at my bedside and give us the news, but she brought in nursing friends that have had a urostomy bag and went through that," Michelle says.

"That team approach and our ability to sort of reach her where she was and help her get to a point where she realized the gravity of her situation, I think was really critical," Dr. Wood says.

Michelle went home to recover and made the decision to have her bladder removed.

"I was excited to start this new adventure and take this one last leap of taking my bladder out," says Michelle.

One year later after the successful removal of her bladder, Michelle is healthy and pain free. Now Michelle says life is completely different and she and Cade are planning for the future.

"I will never forget everybody that I've met. They know who I am and they know what I've been through and they care. That's what matters most. Dr. Wood is one-of-a-kind. She not only cured my body, but she has cured my soul and I've left this hospital a completely different person. I just want to say thank you. I wouldn’t be sitting here today without Cleveland Clinic. The quality of life that I have now is just unbelievable," says Michelle.

Related Institutes: Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute
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