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Everything Happens for a Reason

I am currently a 20-year-old male geology major at Radford University, nestled in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. Although I am a geology major, I do not plan on being a geologist or anything pertaining to geology. Rather, I plan on becoming a urologist, and I feel as if I have as good of a reason as anyone else would because I was diagnosed with a hypersensitive bladder a month after my 19th birthday.

Just after classes began in August of 2014 I began having a lot of discomfort when I went to void and started making trips to the men’s room very often. My symptoms included dysuria, frequent urination, feeling as if I couldn’t empty my bladder completely, as well as horrendous pelvic pain. I saw a urologist in my hometown in early September and he diagnosed me with prostatitis, or inflammation of the prostate, and put me on an anti-biotic, as prostatitis is often the result of a bacterial infection. After about a month on the medication with no variances in my symptoms, I still had to go to the bathroom very frequently throughout the day and never felt like I could empty my bladder completely. During this time, my pelvic pain got much, much worse. There were times when I would begin having a dull pain in my lower pelvic area that I thought would never end. In all my life I have never, never, experienced anything so terrible. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

My urologist was puzzled due to the fact that my symptoms were only getting worse and were not improving, so I was very happy when he referred me to the urology department at the University of Virginia Medical Center. After another long month of waiting and struggling to keep my life together while at school, I traveled to Charlottesville for my first appointment where I saw a nurse practitioner that collected information about my symptoms and conducted various tests. She told me that she didn’t want to speculate on what my problem could be and that she would leave that up to the over-seeing panel of doctors in the Urology Department.

In December, a month after my first appointment at the UVA Medical Center, I ventured back to Charlottesville for my second appointment. I was very nervous as I thought about what my doctor might have in store for me, and don’t recall ever being so nervous or scared – I didn’t think I could go on any longer not knowing what was wrong with me. My life had become enveloped in symptoms – it was all I could think about. Once called back from the waiting room to see my doctor, he revealed to me that I have a hypersensitive bladder (what most people are diagnosed with when interstitial cystitis is suspected). This diagnosis left me unsure what to think, but I felt a small sense of relief. It was difficult for me to trust him due to the fact that I had been diagnosed with prostatitis a few months prior, which was inaccurate, and only prolonged my symptoms. However, I told myself that he was in his position for a reason and that I needed to trust him, so I did. To treat my hypersensitive bladder, he prescribed Detrol LA, an antispasmodic that suppresses muscle spasms of the bladder.

I began taking my medication the day after I arrived back at school and to my relief, my symptoms started to fade away. My pelvic pain remained for close to a week after my other symptoms dissipated but it also eventually stopped. The dysuria only occurs rarely – usually only when I eat or drink things I’m not supposed to such as chocolate, alcohol or spicy foods – but I still have to use the restroom more often than most people. Other than that, I can’t complain.

Before I became ill, I didn’t have the slightest idea of what life was about nor did I have any direction. I didn’t appreciate much of anything and I was not happy. Now, three months after beginning my medication, my symptoms are almost nonexistent and I am happier than I have ever been in my life. I now see and understand things I didn’t before. Though I have been through pure and complete misery, I now feel as if I can do anything. Life is such a beautiful thing and for us to appreciate all of the good things in it we have to experience the worst. It never seemed possible that I would utter these words, but I am glad this happened to me. Life is precious and I have learned to cherish it because it can always get worse.

I have also been inspired to pursue a career in the field of urology (being a science major, I have most of the classes required for medical school admission). After my undergrad, I will still have four years of medical school and then at least a five year residency. However, I am not concerned with how long it will take me. Knowing how terrible it can be, I want to help other people who have suffered through similar issues. Most of all, I want to let everyone know that it will get better. Please don’t give up, just be positive and know that it won’t be like this forever. Life is so much sweeter afterwards. I have found that the saying “everything happens for a reason” is true. Life may be incredibly difficult at times, but in my opinion that just helps us to appreciate how beautiful our lives and the world we live in can be.