Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My First Official Day of Potty Training

Well, my first official day of potty training has not gone well.

First, I had so many accidents, six to be exact. I did stick to my bathroom schedule, but I had the accidents in between. This is certainly not an indication that I am ready to wear underwear for any length of time.

Second, I am having trouble getting used to using the toilet again. I mean, you have to think. I have been using diapers completely for seven years. Now, I have to train my brain and my bladder to communicate with one another again, so I can get the signal and go to the bathroom and not in the diaper. This involves a lot of concentration, so I am not able to get heavily involved with any kind of task. This includes my work.

I can now truly understand from an adult's point of view why toddlers dread potty training. It is so frustrating, and it can be very discouraging when you have a lot of accidents. I mean, it can make you feel really bad and shameful. I know that it does that to me. If I did not have the motivation to be normal and be free of the severe inconvenience of diapers, I'd so not care to deal with this. I am not giving up, though. I do not expect this to be easy, and I was told it would be difficult. I am going to hang in there because I know that it is worth it. Unlike a child who finds candy and other toys to be good incentive to remaining accident free, a trip to the spa for a full day pampering will be mine.

I wonder what tomorrow will be like. I do not count on it being any better than today because it can take up to two weeks before I see any results.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hope for Normalcy

I promised that I would let you guys know how things went at the urologist today. To tell you the truth, things went well. It seems that there will be hope for me being able to control my bladder.

There is a new medication that is used for overactive bladder called Enablex. Unlike the other medications that are prescribed to treat overactive bladder, this one is specifically for this condition and this condition alone. I have been put on this medication at 7.5 milligrams and will be evaluated over a two week period to see how it works for me.

Along with the medication, I am expected to be on a voiding schedule to retrain myself to use the toilet again. I have to make myself use the bathroom every two hours. Even if I cannot go when I sit on the toilet, I have to sit there until I go. It is very similar to potty training a toddler. Also, when I am urinating, I have to try to stop my urine stream. The doctor said that I would see progress within a two week period. I certainly hope so, anyhow.

This process is going to be frustrating because it is going to be hard to do work having to stop often to retrain my bladder. It is worth it, though, if it means that I will eventually get to enjoy normalcy. During this time, it is going to be difficult to do work or go out anywhere because I have to be near a bathroom, until I get to a point where I can hold it and not have any accidents, and I am going to have to stop to go often.

After I get daytime down, then I have to work on not wetting the bed. I will have to wake up every two hours during the night. I will be doing this, until I can stay dry all night long.

I do not expect this to be a quick process. I also do not expect to get out of diapers quickly, either. It is going to take time to get to a point where complete control happens. Until I am confident that I can hold it for a long period of time, I will more than likely still use diapers when I go out and when I go to sleep. I have to have two consecutive months of complete dryness every single day and night before I am confident that I can completely wear underwear. I do not want any embarrassing accidents while out in public--I had my share of those--and I do not want to wet the bed. I am sure my husband will appreciate the precautions I am taking because I am one hundred percent sure he will not want to wake up in a wet bed. Quite frankly, I do not, either.

Now, even if I can attain complete control, I am still going to keep all the diapers I have left over. I am for the following reasons:

*Even if the medication works, there is a chance my body will get used to it, and it will stop working in the future. This is a risk with any medication.

*If and when I get pregnant, I will have to discontinue the use of the medication. This medication is still new, and it is not known if it will harm an unborn child or not. Personally, I will not take the meds, even if it is safe because I do not want to put any chemicals into my baby's body for any reason.

*I cannot take the medication if I decide to breastfeed because it is not known whether or not it can pass through breast milk. I only want to breastfeed because I do not want my babies drinking formula. Formula is artificial nutrition, and it is processed with chemicals, and I do not want anything artificial in the bodies of any of my children. Even if I cannot breastfeed, I will consult a milk bank or some other form of natural nutrition. But I will do every single thing in my power to breastfeed, like consuming twice the amount of fluids, eat a balanced diet, and do any other recommended thing to insure ample milk production. Most moms do not know this stuff, hence the reason so many women nowadays have so many problems with their milk production. Not to mention, feeding a baby on demand will also help with milk production. Sticking to a feeding schedule, something that is not good for babies' growth and development, will cause there to be problems with milk production. Many pediatricians continue to give moms the flawed advice to put their babies on feeding schedules inevitably causing milk to fail and babies to be put on the bottle and be fed that nasty formula. Thankfully, the benefits of feeding the baby on demand are becoming more widely known.

*the condition may worsen over time. If this happens, I will either have to increase the meds I am on or take something different. The surgeries are out of the question, and even my doctor agrees with that.

For now, I will work on getting myself to remain dry, and I will enjoy wearing sexy underwear while I can.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

One Last Try At Being Normal: Taking a Trip to the Urologist to See About My Overactive Bladder

This week, I am going to attempt to go back to the urologist to do something about my overactive bladder. As many of you who read my blog know, I have been completely urinary incontinent for seven years now. I have depended on diapers to manage my incontinence. The last few doctors I've seen, one included a urologist, told me that there was nothing I could do for my condition, thus I would have to wear diapers for the rest of my life. I previously accepted that. Last year, though, things changed.

I got tired of just accepting that nothing could be done for my overactive bladder, so I talked the matter over with my primary care doctor. He told me that he could try me on Ditropan to see how it would work. Now, I took Ditropan when I was eleven years old for a brief period, but I had some negative effects from the medication. I started sleep walking, had hallucinations, and had terrible nightmares. I was taken off of it after a week of being on it. I told my primary care doctor about this, and he told me that I had nothing to worry about because it had been so long since I took the medication, and things would be different, since I was an adult. He also told me that these reactions were common in children. I agreed to try the medication again.

Ditropan did seem to work somewhat. I noticed that the amount of times I had to urinate were less frequent. I even found it possible to make it to the bathroom somewhat, but I still had a lot of accidents. I also found that accidents would happen when I was focused on things, like my work. Perhaps, this happened because I was so used to going in the diaper, and I had not used the toilet for so long. I was also wetting the bed every single night still.

I took the meds for a couple of months. During this time, I set a timer to remind me to take frequent bathroom breaks, and I had to stop work frequently to avoid getting so focused that I'd wet on myself. I wanted so bad to retrain my muscles to use the toilet. Because the meds lessened my urges, I was able to have slight progress. It was not good enough, though. I still had to depend very heavily on the diapers.

Though I was not nearly where I wanted to be, there were some things happening that gave me some hope. I was on the lowest dose of medication during that time. I wonder if things will work to the point of me being able to get out of diapers and wear underwear if I am given some sort of therapy to help me build my bladder muscles back up (I am sure they have somewhat atrophied because I completely relied on diapers for seven years now.) and the dosage of the medication is increased. That is why I am going to see a urologist.

I am really nervous about this. I am also scared of being let down. I know that taking the medication is only a temporary fix and that I will eventually end up where I am right now, back in diapers and very disappointed, but I just want to enjoy underwear and being normal for a little while. It has been so long since I wore underwear that I forgot what it feels like. I also somewhat forgot what it is like to use the bathroom on a regular basis, so I will have to relearn. It is going to be like I am potty training again. I have to get used to using the toilet instead of using the diaper. It is going to be very difficult at first because I am going to have to take scheduled bathroom breaks to work on daytime toilet training. When that is mastered, I can then work on nighttime toileting, if it can be achieved. Like a toddler, I am going to have to get out of diapers slowly, but I will not get rid of the ones I have left. I am going to keep them for when the meds stop working down the line. Diapers are expensive, so I will not trash them. I do hope, however, that I will not need them for several years.

There are surgeries that can temporarily correct overactive bladder. I say temporarily because they often have to be repeated, especially in the case of the Sacral nerve Stimulator. Or, the surgeries fail after a period of time, like in the case of the surgery that is used to increase bladder capacity. Also, the side effects of these surgeries are extremely serious, and from what I had read, the risks outweigh the benefits. Not to mention, special maintenance is required lifelong. There is a bladder removal surgery, but I am so not willing to have my bladder taken out and replaced by a bag that is similar to a colostomy. Forget that! I do not want to get out of diapers that bad that I severely change my life for the worst. I love to swim. I love making love, and I love so much else that will be ruined, if I were to consent to bladder removal. So, no way!

I thank God that my husband is very supportive and understanding of me during all of this. It really helps because this is a very difficult thing to live with, especially because society makes it so taboo. He lovingly takes time to listen to my concerns, and that really means a lot to me. His love and support makes coping a lot easier. God has blessed me with a fabulous mate who understands me and loves me for who I am. He is encouraging me to get help and do all that I can, and he told me that if things did not work out, he would not be upset. I am glad of that. My husband told me that so long as I tried my best that was what mattered. I will certainly try my best.

He has always been supportive and understanding, even before we were married. My husband and I have been best friends going on ten years. He has never judged me or thought negatively of me because of my incontinence. When we first became friends, I tried to keep it a secret from him. I never intended for him to find out, but he did on accident. When he did find out, he handled it quite well. He was so noble and kind about it. Sometime in the future, I will share the story about how he found out about my problem.

I will keep all of you updated about what happens at the urologist, as well as let you know about my progress.

Common Potty Training Statements Offend (A True Story)

"You are going to be such a big girl when you finally learn to use the potty," said my friend as she was bringing her three year old daughter to the pot to sit on it. I was standing over at the fridge to get out a TV dinner that I would be eating for lunch. It was meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and corm. It has always been a favorite of mine. I stopped preparing the dinner and just stood there with it in my hands. I was taken aback by this statement she made to her daughter.

"Wait a minute. Why did you just say that?" I asked kind of hurt.

"I am just trying to encourage her to use the potty," said my friend.

"By lying to her?" I asked.

"I am not lying to her!" she shot back.

"Yes you are because diapers are not just for babies and being able to use the potty does not make you all grown up. I wear diapers, and I am an adult who is a professional business owner and powerful blindness advocate. And there are stupid immature adults who can use the potty who act like children and do nothing with their lives but sit on their butts and collect off other people's tax dollars. At least I am industrious and give a darn about earning my own and doing my part to contribute to society. Some baby, huh? I really am a stupid baby because I have to wear diapers? I hate the way society programs kids to think. Nobody is all grown up just because they can take a piss and a crap on the pot. Wow! Some qualifications to making one an adult! I am afraid it takes much more than that."

I did not give her a chance to answer. I dropped my TV dinner on the counter, not caring about eating anything at that point. I put on my slippers, and I stormed from the hotel room. I ran as fast as I could with tears streaming down my face. I was forgetting everything that I was taught about crying in public. I grew up knowing it was a very shameful thing to do and that one should keep the emotions in check in front of others. But this hurt too much. Fortunately, nobody was in the hall, except my friend who was completely blind (I honestly did not know she was there, until she called out to me. That was a real surprise.). She would not have known I was crying because I made no sound. The tears were the only indication of my crying.

"What's wrong," my friend asked. She was standing over at the elevators. "I know it is you, Reina, because I can hear your footsteps. Why are you running? Who or what are you running from?"

I got my voice in check and then said, "I am hurt right now. I hate the way people lie to their children to get them to use the potty. I hate it! I hate it! Saying statements, like "Diapers are for babies and using the potty is for big boys and girls." is so freaking stupid! It is stupid I tell you! It should be just as bad to say these statements, as it is to say racist comments. That crap should be considered hate speech." I was rambling on, but I just did not care. I was glad she was blind because she could not see the tears coming down my face, so I technically would not have violated what I had been taught. I did good to disguise my voice, so it would come out in an angry tone and not give any indication that I was crying. I am good to putting up that kind of front, you know?

"Do you want to talk?" she asked.

"Yes," I said, and my voice was barely audible.

We went down to her room. She was another floor below mine.

"So, what happened?" my friend asked. "Why are you all upset?"

I relayed the entire experience to her. She sat and patiently listened to me. She was a really good sport.

"I can understand how that will upset you."

"You do?" I asked.

"Absolutely," she said. "I understand that it made you feel inferior because you have a medical problem that requires you to wear diapers, and you are far from a baby. I can see how those types of statements about diapers being for babies and the potty being for big people would offend you."

Whew, I was so glad she understood. I was glad she did not judge me or write me off, thinking I was crazy because those things upset me.

"Do you want to go to the bar to eat and have a few drinks?"

"Yeah," I said. "But, I have to go back to my room to get my wallet and things. And boy, is my friend going to be happy to see me."

"I'll go with you."

"That may be a good idea," I said. "I do owe her an apology. I really did freak out on her. It was not her fault. She was only doing what society does to teach and motivate children to use the potty. She did not know any better, and she especially did not know it would offend me. Oh, I feel so bad."

We walked down the hall together to the elevators, and then we went to my room. I put the key in the door, and we both went into the room.

"Vonnie," I called to my friend. "I owe you an apology. I am so sorry I freaked out on you about the potty training thing earlier."

"Don't worry about it," she said.

"Are you sure?" I asked. "I really blew up at you. I mean, you did not know it would hurt me. After all, you were only doing what society programs parents to do to help children learn to use the potty and feel motivated about doing it. You were only following the propaganda."

"Yes, after I thought about it, I understood why you felt so bad. You know what you should do?"

"What?" I asked.

"You should go online to that support group you go on, and you should talk to them about how to deal with things like that. I think it would help you to talk to others who have to deal with the same thing and see how they handled it."

"I like that idea," I said. "Thank you so much."

"No problem. I am trying to help."

"Thanks, Vonnie," I said.

I went over to the desk where my computer sat, picked up my wallet and my bag, and I walked to the door.

"Vonnie," I said. "I am just letting you know I am going down to the bar to get some drinks. After that, I am going to hang out with some friends, eat some food, and probably go out shopping or something. If you need anything at all, call me."


We left the room. Boy was I so relieved that my friend understood. It was not like I was trying to be mean or anything. I understood she was only trying to help her daughter and was doing what she knew, but those statements send up rage inside of me. I wish they could never be used again. I find them to be dishonest and hurtful. The only way that such statements can stop being used is by not only educating the public about the condition of incontinence and how such statements make us feel, but we can also give people alternatives that will help encourage the children all the same that will not be so offensive.

Alternative Praises for Children Learning to Use the Potty

Wow! You did it! I am so proud of you!

Way to go! You are doing great! Keep up the good work!

Wow! You used the potty! Good work!

that is how you use the potty! See how good you've done! Awesome job! Let's see you keep on doing it.

If you keep using the potty and can stay dry, we will go and pick out your favorite underwear. You can pick out your favorite cartoon character or favorite color.

Do you know what all five of these alternative praises have in common? The phrases, "You will be a big boy or big girl." "Diapers are for babies and underwear is for grownups." or "You will soon be all grown up." are omitted. These alternative praises allow the child to feel encouraged and good about what he or she is doing, and it is all being done honestly without using phrases that continue to nurture the stigma of incontinence.