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Reach Out for Help

I’ve had interstitial cystitis for over 40 years. As with many of us, my symptoms started out with high frequency pain in both the bladder and stomach. In my particular situation things weren’t gradual – they went from normal to the worst pain. Nothing was familiar, and feeling sick all of the time created much anxiety and stress to go along with my IC symptoms. Eventually my pain got so bad that I could barely eat anything. I was losing weight and getting sicker by the day. My responsibilities as a nurse became harder as my biggest fear was not meeting my patient’s needs. Each day I became more fearful and less confident. What is happening to me? Many of you have experienced the same feelings. Family and friends began to question why I was not the same woman. Sound familiar? I had constant pain in my bladder, and frequency and urgency in going to the bathroom all the time. In a futile attempt to escape the pain, I tried to empty my bladder, but even this gave me no relief from pain. For a long time I was completely housebound. When I was finally diagnosed, the urologist said, “Do what you can and when it gets bad enough we will go in and remove your bladder.” Basically, I knew I had a choice of giving in to the IC, let it take over my life, or take control of my life. I chose to take my control back. It is not easy. There is no quick fix. Whether you are going through all the symptoms that go along with IC, know that you are not alone as we all have been there and have all experienced the same severe pain.

Through consistency, I found that being on the IC diet, morning and evening soaks in the tub with baking soda, reflexology treatments from someone who specializes in IC and relaxation techniques, have given me significant improvement. The pain and frequency lessened, I discontinued feeling sick all of the time and my life started to slowly turn around. At this point, I am 40% symptom free. I continue to deal with the many faces of IC, but seeing how my life with IC has changed so much in turning to wellness in body and mind, I began to make this a daily part of my life. There has definitely been a silver lining to this ordeal as it has led me in the direction of helping others with IC and toward being generally healthier. There are many options that will get you on the correct path. Most importantly, be your own advocate! Tell your urologist how you feel and don’t leave the office until your doctor truly understands what you’ve discussed with him/her. It’s important that you go to a urologist. These are the doctors who deal with the issues of IC. If your doctor needs an IC education, teach them, because there is no excuse for a doctor not to administer the proper treatments and medications. As well all know, there is currently no cure for IC. However, we all need to find the proper doctor or healthcare professional who will direct us on the right path. Please do not give up hope. If you are feeling out of control, reach out for help immediately. Someone is always there.

Rosemary A. Clark

 

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