I’ve wanted to get something off of my chest for a while. I hate being the sick girl. I hate people thinking I feel sorry for myself and whining. Or other people feeling sorry for me. But as someone recently told me, if I can educate even one person about how I and many, many others suffer then that’s a good thing, right? So it basically took a Brita filtered water bottle to give me the courage to fill you in on what’s been going down…
Today I’m going to share with you that little, embarrassing secret. For the past 13 years I have been living with a disease called Interstitial Cystits. There is no cure and they have no clue how or why the disease occurs.
If you’re wondering just exactly WHAT this nasty business is all about here is my explanation that most seem to understand the best… imagine the worst bladder infection you’ve ever had. During that time it probably hurt to pee and it felt like you had to all of the time. Like constantly. And you had trouble sleeping for constantly getting up and trying to pee several times. Driving somewhere very far was probably very, very off of the agenda because you just couldn’t wait between rest areas.
Now, add in a burning constant and occasional shooting pain in your abdomen that can make you double over. Eating or drinking seems impossible. Things everyone else can enjoy make you sick. Anything acidic like many fruits and some vegetables, coffee, tea, soda, lots of candies (especially fruit flavored) will make your symptoms so much worse that you can’t touch them. People with IC can urinate up to 60 times a day. Think about that. Most people go a handful of times all day long. Your life becomes consumed with the pain and the feeling that you constantly have to pee. Flat out it’s miserable.
Everyone who suffers interstitial cystitis (IC) has a different amount of pain, different feelings of urgency or frequency. And lots seem to think it’s something all in our heads in spite of images taken by scopes showing the sores and damage. Someone who suffers IC, as I do, is 3-4 times more likely to commit suicide than the average woman. Though women are the most common sufferers, some men are starting to suffer the disease as well.
Right now I’m on a upswing and it has been so fabulous. My doctor has found the perfect combination of medications and I’ve found how I can change the course of my disease so that I am now able to travel (which is so, so amazing, really!) and live a pretty normal life. I can even indulge in foods on occasion that are “bad bladder” triggers like coffee and oranges!
And while I cannot thank my doctor enough I have also found something that has made my life worth living again… ready for it? Water!
I know that it seems absolutely insane but a few years back I decided that I was tired of being dehydrated and if I was going to pee a million times a day anyway I was going to drink water so I actually could. (is that gross, sorry!)
And so I started to drink water. Albeit hesitantly at first I drank maybe 2 glasses of water a day, pacing it throughout the day. And the more water I drank, the more I felt like I needed to. My mouth would feel dry and I suddenly found myself pouring glass after glass. And my life changed for the better and I feel like I’m actually living it!
But here’s the thing… I have to drink GOOD water. After a terrible experience drinking tap water for a few days straight I started drinking only bottled water. And I hated doing it because there is so much waste! All of those tons and tons of plastic bottles I have used througnout the years. Gah! I found that filtered pitchers made such a difference in both my guilt level over my lack of being green and my pocket book. Seriously think about how much bottled water costs in relation to tap water (or in my case well water… even cheaper!)
You can take your filtered water on the go no problem-o but how many bottles do you want to carry? You filter it in the pitcher, add it to your water bottles and then head out packed to the gills. So it was pretty exciting to learn that Brita now makes water bottles that contains a filter within. No more filtering at home and lugging this heavy business around… I can now filter water as I need to, all I need to do is carry my one filtered bottle around. How easy is that?
And since these days I’m a mover and a shaker, a blowin’ and a goin’, this is perfect for me. Now you don’t have to have IC to benefit from these new, nifty bottles… Everyone needs to drink water and plenty of it to be healthy. And if you’re into saving money or the environment or even better both! Head on out to Walmart to grab your own Brita filtered water bottle in the HARDWARE section. There are several styles from sports (I like to squish my bottle even though I’m not terribly sporty :) to hard sided bottles and there are lots of designs. Everyone in the fam can have their very own water bottle so there are no fights!
It may sound simple and it may sound boring, but water has saved me… because of drinking plenty of water, I’m as close to normal as I’ll ever be (body not personality :)