A couple weeks ago I was diagnosed with a chronic condition called, Interstitial Cystitis, more commonly referred to as, IC. IC, in the most simple terms, is a condition causing bladder pressure, bladder pain and sometimes pelvic pain. There is no cure, it’s very difficult to diagnose, but treatments are available and range from mild with self-control, like a healthy diet & pelvic exercises to more severe, like surgeries that stretch the bladder. Fortunately I do not yet have these extreme symptoms where major operations and medication are needed, but my life is definitely effected by it.
I had my first pelvic exam and PAP Smear when I was 22 years old, and I didn’t have my next one until a couple of weeks ago. That’s about a 5 year gap, and too long of a wait for a PAP, and most definitely too long for a pelvic exam. My first test was done incorrectly. I found out in my most recent exam that my uterus is elevated and difficult to get to with the more commonly used tools. The doctor performing my exam was patient, kind, and used the proper tools. The reason it took me so long to go get another test, was because of the distant memory of how painful my first test went. This time I asked my doctor so many questions, I asked for constant clarification and explanation of every little thing, because more information is always better. It’s so important to address any questions or concerns with your doctor, as not only does it help them better care for you, it also allows you to feel more comfortable with what is going on. It’s your body, your health, and your life, and the only thing matters is that you are defending and taking care of it.
I’m so glad that I went. I had been living with symptoms for years. I would self-diagnose and treat all out of fear, and perhaps some arrogance and absurdity. Although it’s scary to be told that you have a chronic condition, it feels good to know what it is, so I can take the correct steps to making my life easier.
For me, my bladder just doesn’t work correctly. The pain I feel ranges from mild to severe, and it causes me discomfort on both a physical and emotional level. My sleep is effected by the condition, which in turn, effects my mood. I’ve been on this journey of a lifestyle change for years, and this condition just adds to it. It’s about listening to your body and your mind, and paying closer attention to what you put in it and on it.
I’ve been treating everything in my life as research, as I love research. I am keeping track of everything…my mood, my sleeping patterns, triggers for pain, what I eat, what I use on my body, how much water I am drinking, and the list goes on and on. Along with IC, I suffer from chronic migraines, another thing that seriously effects my life. Everyday I have to dedicate time and energy to these conditions. I have to keep track of everything to learn triggers, so I can better care for myself and hopefully avoid pain. I’ve been keeping these things to myself and my family, but they are so a part of my life now, that I want to share how I am feeling, along with the things that I’m learning. I always feel so much better to learn that others face the same or similar challenges as myself. It allows me to not feel so alone and afraid, and sparks inspiration to stay strong and healthy. So I will be sharing more of my journey in hopes to help not just others, but myself.
I’ll be sharing my methods on tracking for triggers and a healthier lifestyle soon. So stay tuned 🙂
As always, if you are suffering from ANYTHING and want to chat, or have any tips yourself, I’m an email away.