Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I'm Liberated!

Finaly, there is awesome news!

For the past week, I have been completely accident free. I can control my bladder like a normal individual--I do not get those strong urges that make me feel the need to run to the bathroom all the time, and I do not wet the bed. Improvements came faster than I expected. It feels so cool to wear underwear again and possess the ability to hold my bladder for several hours.

Now, I do currently have a bladder infection, a common side effect of the medication I am on, but that is nothing to me. I have had thousands of those in my lifetime, and I'd rather have a thousand more, if it means I will be able to control my bladder. UTIs and bladder infections are easy enough to treat and are not a severe side effect. Uncomfortable? Yes. Serious? No.

I am just going to have to take some precautions to make sure the infections stay to a minimum. I will have to consume more water, and I will have to add cranberry juice to my diet. That is fine with me. I just thank God there is a solution to my problem. I feel liberated!

My Mission As Incontinence Advocate Makes a Difference

Two things happened in the last few weeks that reminded me of the purpose of my incontinence advocacy work. It is these two things that have definitely reaffirmed what I am doing is an awesome thing and that I need to keep on with it, despite any persecution I may receive as a result.

The first thing that happened was that a student from UNCC Carolina studying urology contacted me. He found my blog and was interested in interviewing me because he wanted a personal perspective. He conducted his interview through email. He asked me what a day was like living with incontinence and using adult diapers to manage Overactive Bladder. I told him what he wanted to know. I not only explained what a typical day with incontinence was like, I also told him what it was like to take vacations and how using adult diapers impacted those occasions.

I also talked about what life was like when using incontinence medications. I told him about my past experiences, as well as my current one.

He will more than likely be contacting me in the future, as he told me he would throughout his studies. I totally do not mind because I love educating people about this condition, especially if I can provide a new kind of insight.

The second thing that happened to me was that a woman in my incontinence support group that I run contacted me by phone and told me that the courage that I have taken to so openly discuss my condition and my willingness to help educate society and help others suffering from incontinence has helped to liberate her. She told me that rather than live in shame and lying to people about what her problems were, she was ready to stand up and face the facts. She told me that she felt she no longer had to allow Overactive Bladder to rule her life. Rather, she was going to rule it. She told me she was going to take the bull by the horns and face things head on.

I felt so touched by this woman that I almost cried when listening to her talk. I know that people before have told me countless times that they appreciated my work and what I do, but it was something about this woman that really touched me. I could tell she was so pained. I mean, she was so ashamed that she got rid of her boyfriend because she feared having accidents during intimacy, and she said it would be the death of her if her boyfriend found out. She told me her incontinence made her feel dirty. She told me that she went through several pairs of underwear a day and that she did not want to see the doctor because she was too embarrassed. She said that she was considering wearing diapers and just being done with it. I told her she really should get the courage to see the doctor, and I also told her what to say if her doctor ended up being the judgmental type, as some are when it comes to incontinence. I do not know, but I think some of these doctors get their degrees on their backs because the way they treat patients, when they know that incontinence effects people of all ages and has many causes, is absolutely crazy. I told her to ask about Enablex, the medication I take and see what the doctor said. I told her the meds were working for me and that if they worked for her, she could be free of the prospect of wearing diapers, at least until there was no way the meds would help anymore. I wished her well, and we will definitely be talking regularly, since she is also a part of the blind community. She really is one awesome lady.

Do you see, people, why it is so important that the view of society towards the condition of incontinence is changed? People fear being judged so bad that this condition actually imprisons them, forces them to isolate and give up doing the things they loved. It should not have to be this way. That is why I do what I do. It is my hope that through sharing my experiences, supporting those with incontinence, and doing my best to educate as many as I can that the walls of stigma are eventually torn down and that all people with incontinence can be liberated and freed from their prison of shame. I will not stop doing what I do until I either die or the stigma is gone, as God is my witness.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Things Are Getting Better

Well, I do have some good news.

Yesterday and today went well. I had four accidents yesterday and three today. I also decreased the amount of time in between bathroom breaks. Instead of going every two hours, I have been going every hour and a half. I will bring it back up to two hours again on Monday again to see what that will do. I also took out the caffeine.

Something else that is pretty neat is that I may be doing some speaking engagements with the Simon Foundation, an organization that advocates for people who suffer from incontinence. Last night, I emailed them and told them I was interested in doing this. I will wait to hear what they say.

I am so glad things are starting to get better. I was beginning to get discouraged. Heck, I even felt like giving up, but I did not. I pushed myself because I kept in mind the reward at the end--normalcy.

Good night, people. I shall have more to say tomorrow.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

No Good News to Report Today

Today was worse than yesterday. I wonder if it was because I drank two cups of coffee.

Anyhow, I had eight accidents today. How disappointing is that? And come to think of it, I had caffeine yesterday also. I had Doctor Pepper from McDonalds, and fountain sodas really make me go. So, I know I am going to have to give all of those up without a doubt. I just hate that because I feel like I have already had to give up so much in the way of diet that I feel upset about giving up just one more thing. But if I want to keep the accidents down, I am going to have to cut them out of my diet. And that will mean no more drinking for me, either. I have to give up the alcohol because that will also make my bladder work, and Lord knows I do not need that.

I wonder how a child feels when he or she is potty training for the first time and has to get used to something completely different. I wonder how much worse that child feels when he or she has accidents. What this is reinforcing for me is that when it comes time for me to potty train my own children, I will never punish, yell, or scold for accidents. Doing such things is pointless and stupid! I was never treated that way when I was growing up, and thank God I was not, or else I would have been severely traumatized. My family has always been very understanding of my problems, so I will treat my children in the same way and extend to them the same courtesy. I will also teach my children to be accepting of others who have problems like these. I do not want my children being ignorant like the rest of society and going around and judging people for things they cannot help. I want to contribute to bringing forth a more understanding generation, a generation that will accept people with various problems and treat them like humans instead of specimens.

I hope I have better news tomorrow. I am going to cut out the coffee and all caffeine products and see how I do. I know it is too early to expect results yet from the meds, but I am willing to try anything. I will certainly see how much difference it makes when I do not have my daily cups of coffee. And boy is that going to be very difficult because I have chronic fatigue. I am also going to have to cut it all out when I do my bladder diary this coming Tuesday. Tuesday, I will chart how I am affected without the caffeine. Wednesday, I will drink the caffeine like I normally do and chart the differences.

End of rant.