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May 18, 2023

Rock Valley and pelvic-floor therapy truly bettering the life of Barb Chase

On a sun-drenched early spring afternoon, a vibrant, caring and outgoing Barb Chase paused from her yard-related activity. The moment – realizing what she had accomplished and how long she had been afforded the luxury of staying on task – was not lost on the 67-year-old Waterloo, Iowa, woman.

After three hours of yard work, Chase boasted the return of her 5,000-watt smile. 

“I leaf-blew, raked, swept the sidewalk and moved items,’’ said Chase. “Not one time did I leak. Before I met Kalais (Slaubaugh) I had no control over my bladder. Now I do.’’

Before Slaubaugh, PT, DPT,  Clinic Manager at Rock Valley Physical Therapy’s Waterloo Clinic stepped in, life – through no fault of her own – had been a pelvic-health nightmare for Chase, suffering for years with urinary incontinence (no control over bladder leakage).

The pelvic floor is the group of muscles that form a sling or hammock across the floor of the pelvis. Together with surrounding tissues, these muscles hold the pelvic organs in place so they can function correctly. The pelvic organs include the bladder, urethra, intestines, and rectum.

Pelvic-floor disorders can lead to a number of issues, including urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse. 

For Chase, life was a physical and emotional elevator, wondering what each day would bring. Leaking issues and the need to constantly empty her bladder, made going anywhere and being involved in activities away from home beyond difficult.

Certified in pelvic health, Slaubaugh, an outgoing, forever-compassionate and dedicated dynamo of a physical therapist, understood Chase’s trials and tribulations and the uncertain future before her.

“Barb had limited daily outings from her home,’’ said Slaubaugh, the soon-to-be mother of three. “Normal activities over the last year – after a surgical intervention – not only failed to improve her worsening pelvic-floor function, but degraded her remaining strength that even tasks in her home were proving to be a cause of embarrassment and incredible frustration.’’

In January of 2023, a relative of Slaubaugh suggested to Chase that she seek assistance from  Kalais – and Rock Valley Physical Therapy – knowing help was there.

Chase did. 

And her life – in an uplifting and positive way – has not been the same since.

“I was introduced to Kalais at Rock Valley Physical Therapy, after being told she was having amazing results with exercising the pelvic floor,’’ Chase said. “She taught me how to exercise the area correctly and as the exercises progressed I could tell I was having less leakage. I was able to hold my bladder for 2-to-3 hours.

“I was able to drink more liquids and was stronger overall,’’ added Chase. “Before I met Kalais, I had no control over my bladder. Now I am in control. I love Kalais’ personality. She is informative and loves a success story. She is a good motivator and I would recommend her to anyone. People should definitely be coming to physical therapy and trying to make this work before they do a surgery.’’

Chase, Slaubaugh says, was a willing and dedicated patient, focused on bettering her life on all fronts.

“Her turnaround has been truly remarkable, a testament to her work ethic and desire for independence,’’ Slaubaugh said of Chase. “She had been dealing with some pelvic-health dysfunctions which were really starting to impede her ability to be out of her home doing things with family and friends. We worked from several different angles to improve strength and coordination of muscle groups which overall increased her confidence in her body and returned her to a much more involved lifestyle.’’

For Slaubaugh, it has been important to see to it that pelvic health is a huge part of her niche practice.

“I became interested in treating pelvic-health dysfunction when I saw just how intricate that group of muscles is to overall function and daily comfort,’’ said Slaubaugh, who earned her undergraduate degree from Coe College in 2013 and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy and Rehabilitative Sciences from the University of Iowa in in 2015. She began her career with Rock Valley Physical Therapy in February of 2016.

“So many low back, hip and core issues hinge on good pelvic-floor function; we are just less exposed/used to talking about the pelvic floor,’’ she added. “I wanted to help the folks who weren’t finding improvement in those arenas. I will talk-the-talk about pelvic-floor therapy every day and to all the people who might not hear even a word on the topic. Happy necks and shoulders and hips? They make me happy, too, but folks who find function and confidence in their bodies through pelvic floor PT? Those peeps keep me driving to the clinic each day.’’

And to continue “Making Better Lives.’’

By: Johnny Marx, Storyteller