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Never Lose Hope

My name is Jackie Powe. I am a 25-year-old IC patient. When I was about 18, I began to notice a minor increase in my frequency of urination. About a year later it got a bit worse. I went to a doctor and told him that I felt I was urinating more than normal, and therefore could not consume a similar number of drinks as others. At that point in my life, I was still interested in going out and having drinks with friends. I quickly realized that this was no longer an option, unless I stayed in the bathroom all night. Still being so young, when the doctor advised me not to worry, I went about my life, continuing to deal with the frequency. By then, I had begun to feel it was acceptable to not drink water or enjoy a drink with my friends.

When I was 24, things took a turn for the worse and I realized that my condition was no longer tolerable and something had to change. Shortly after beginning an accelerated bachelor’s degree program in September, my symptoms flew off the deep end. My concerned professors and classmates repeatedly asked me what was wrong. The frequency of my urination varied anywhere between 15 to 40 times a day, and at least four times each night, making a good night’s sleep impossible. By that time, I was also suffering from bladder pain. I was very confused and thought I was having digestive issues – and I was – but what I was feeling was the unmistakable sensation of bladder pain. My life was completely focused on what was happening to me and I could no longer remain positive.

I sought an explanation, but finding the help I needed was not easy. I consulted many doctors before I found a doctor who could correctly diagnose and treatment me. The first three doctors I conferred with ran numerous tests, but with inconclusive results, they gave up quickly. The next doctor actually diagnosed me with IC, but refused to treat me. To make matters worse, he told me I had the worst IC he had ever seen, and sent me to yet another urologist. My heart was broken.

Now, over a year later, I am in a completely different place. Despite still having IC, along with fibromyalgia, vestibulitis, pelvic floor dysfunction, and IBS – everything that goes along with IC – I now have a positive attitude. This is a life-changer. In addition, I also have been able to find some relief in treatment, which includes watching my diet, seeing a physical therapist and taking medication. I was convinced that IC was going to take over my life forever, but I was wrong. I now know that IC will never take over my life and I have full control.

I understand how easy it is to completely give up hope. For five years I struggled through IC with no answers. I was an 18-year-old girl who was completely lost. Thoughts crossed my mind daily about my future. When I think about my future now, I think of positive ways to combat my pain and to live.

Never lose hope. Even if you are struggling with pain, or struggling to find answers as to what is going on, keep your head up. Yes, there are days or weeks where my treatment does not help, but I continue to thrive on my positive attitude and my constant hope. Without hope, I am just living with a life-changing disease. With hope, I am living with a life-changing disease, but I do not let it rule my life.

Jackie Powe