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Claudette's Story

Urology
“Claudette’s trouble began in 2004 due to stress incontinence, the unintentional loss of urine that occurs with age, childbirth and pelvic surgery. To solve the problem, a surgeon placed a synthetic mesh sling to support the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder.”

The sweet sound of success

With eclectic taste in music, Claudette Ansberry, 55, of Milaca, is drawn to emotional lyrics and inventive melodies, like those of singer-songwriter Howie Day. She and her daughter, Allison, attended his concert last August. The songs moved her to tears and generated goose bumps, but the evening also brought on unexpected emotions.

Soon after Day took the stage, Claudette coughed and Allison looked at her mother with concern. “Mom, is everything OK?”

“Yes, I’m OK, nothing happened,” Claudette said. After some time, Allison persisted, “Mom, do you need to use the bathroom?” “No,” Claudette repeated, “I’m fine.” In fact, Claudette, buoyed by the music, setting and company thought, “This is what it’s like to feel normal again!”

Claudette’s trouble began in 2004 due to stress incontinence, the unintentional loss of urine that occurs with age, childbirth and pelvic surgery. To solve the problem, a surgeon placed a synthetic mesh sling to support the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder.

The fix worked for years, but then the incontinence returned, along with bleeding and spotting. “It was embarrassing,” Claudette said. “I no longer wanted to attend get-togethers.” Desperate for answers, Claudette was referred to Andrew Windsperger, MD, CentraCare Clinic – Adult & Pediatric Urology, one of a few doctors in Minnesota who specializes in transvaginal mesh complications and other urology-related procedures involving complex reconstruction.

After a thorough examination, Dr. Windsperger recommended removal of the old sling and the creation of a new sling using Claudette’s own abdominal tissue, reducing the chance of complications or the body rejecting the tissue. “For the first time in a long time I felt hopeful,” Claudette said. “I didn’t have to live like this for the rest of my life.”

After surgery last summer, Claudette made a full recovery. She encourages other women to put aside their embarrassment and look into their options. “Dr. Windsperger put me completely at ease,” she said.

For Dr. Windsperger, it was quality-of-life procedures that drew him to urology. “Helping to improve or treat embarrassing conditions is one of the greatest rewards of our specialty.”