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What I Have Learned…

When I was first diagnosed with IC after more than 18 months looking for answers, I remember looking at photos of my ulcerated bladder and thinking, “I do not want a chronic disease! Why would this happen to me?” My family life had barely started.  I had one child at home but had always dreamed of having at least one more.  The diagnosis sent me into a deep depression. I struggled knowing there was no cure or way to repair the damage inside my bladder wall. I was devastated and I wanted my life back!

That was 18 years ago.  It has not been an easy road. But, I am happy to say that I’ve discovered many things along the way that have helped me in this journey, and I managed to pull myself out of that dark place. I want to share some of these things that helped me.

Desert Harvest Freeze Dried Aloe Vera Capsules have been a godsend. Acupuncture, acupressure, probiotics, herbal teas also helped me a great deal. That being said, taking control of your life, diet and stress, are all factors that can affect the level of pain you may experience.

Sex is another big issue.  I’ve been prone to UTI’s for years because of IC. I’ve found that voiding your bladder before and after sex helps, and making sure both you and your partner practice good hygiene can help keep the UTI’s at bay.

Try not to panic if your IC comes out of remission and your pain continues for a longer length of time than you are used to. (I know that is easier said than done). Look at your surrounding circumstances and see if your life is balanced. I’ve discovered that learning to control my thoughts and emotions helps to keep pain levels under control.  Recently I had a 7-month flare, but prior to that I had been in remission for almost 2 years.  Nothing lasts forever, both good and bad.

Try to come to grips with the fact that healthy people simply do not understand what it’s like to never feel 100% healthy.  Even your friends and loved ones may not understand that your pain is real.  So learning to express yourself and accept yourself is very important. Needing to be heard and understood is probably the biggest struggle you will have during your IC journey.

Most importantly, don’t lose hope!! You can find ways to live life even with IC. When you do have those good days,soak them in and enjoy every moment you can!

Thank you to ICA for being a place where people can find solace in knowing they’re not alone.  The work they have done in educating and creating awareness for the IC community can’t be measured.

Also, learn to be grateful to those that are strong enough to get you through the tough times. My husband and boys have always been very understanding. I worried that my health issues would adversely affect my two sons. The greatest gift to behold is seeing them grow into compassionate and empathetic human beings, especially towards others with health or pain issues.  This is an important life lesson they may never have learned if they hadn’t witnessed my struggles. They’re my greatest blessing and I’m grateful every day that I get to have them in my life.

Finding your new “normal” is possible with the right attitude and faith in God.

Misty Wiese