When I was 19, I started having very strange bladder problems. I noticed I always felt like I needed to urinate, and yet I never felt as though I could quite empty my bladder. I woke up several times a night to use the restroom. Sometimes I had to sit and wait on the toilet for what seemed like an eternity to relax my muscles enough to go. I felt embarrassed by the whole issue and didn’t really talk about it with anyone. I hated road trips, which were bound to be agonizing, and had trouble sitting through concerts and other events.
After college, my symptoms continued to increase. My husband was a Naval Officer, so I decided to visit a doctor and discuss this unusual issue for the first time. The doc prescribed a drug to help decrease the need to go, and I left his office filled with hope. I wasn’t a freak! There was a medical explanation for this strange and frustrating problem.
The medication did not help at all. Crushed, I returned to the doctor, who prescribed other medications that did not work. My husband and I relocated, and I visited a new doctor, who wanted to try the medications again. Discouraged, I tried another doctor. He suggested a course of antibiotics, because at this point I had begun having a burning sensation every time I urinated. It didn’t seem to help. Living the Navy life, we kept relocating, and I kept seeing doctors. I explained my symptoms, they suggested all sorts of treatments, and nothing worked. Trying to make sense of my symptoms, I started telling the doctors every little thing about my body. I hoped one piece of information would be the magic key to unlocking the mystery. This method backfired completely and placed me firmly in the “crazy female” category. In the Navy medical system, this is amended with “whose husband is probably out to sea.”
In sheer frustration, I began to do my own research and, sticking a toe in the pool I would later dive into headfirst, started listening to my intuition about my own body. I mentioned to the doctor I was butting heads with at the time that I had a lot of hip and knee pain, and I really felt there was a connection between that and my bladder symptoms. I had no idea what this connection could be, but it felt right. That idea earned me my first prescription to a therapist. Though I eventually got used to this good old doctor standby, it still made me angry every time a doctor mentioned it. I was actually in therapy already, but that was a moot point. It was the brush-off I resented.
Eventually, I diagnosed myself with interstitial cystitis, called urologists until I found one who had heard of it, and took my health into my own hands. Though this was before I discovered my Inner Healer (see previous posts), I had made the important connection between knowledge, research, and self-awareness. Never again would I consider any doctor smarter about my body than myself, because I had the one piece of the puzzle they didn’t - my intuition. Surprise, surprise, I was officially diagnosed with interstitial cystitis.
I became so in tune with my health intuition that I named it my Inner Healer and handed over the managerial reigns to this wise inner self. My Inner Healer was on the ball. I found that I could quickly decide whether or not a medication was right for me, sometimes without even trying it. It was quite logical in a lot of ways, actually, because if a medication made me feel worse and created a sinking feeling in my gut, I quit taking it (carefully, of course, in the recommended manner). If a doctor said something that didn’t resonate with me, I moved on to someone else.
I no longer feel angry with doctors because I know they are simply trying to do their job. They’re giving me the best of their knowledge. They can’t know what it’s like to live in my body, to feel my intuition. If they say or do something that isn’t right for me, that’s not their problem. It’s not my problem, either. We just aren’t a good fit. I eventually found a doctor who explained the connection between pelvic muscle problems, bladder symptoms, and hip/knee pain. I felt a sense of relief and sheer confidence - my Inner Healer knows her stuff.
If you are tired of feeling like the crazy, misunderstood female as you lay on the doctor’s table, your southern regions covered by a napkin-sized square of see-through fabric, you are ready to access your Inner Healer. Here is how she speaks: tension in your stomach, chest, or other areas, a slightly sick-to-your-stomach feeling, a sense of heaviness…but these are only examples. Your sensation will be your own. On the flip side, you might feel a light, relaxed feeling in your chest, or like you can suddenly breathe. These physical clues are the language of your Inner Healer. “Yes, this is the right doc for now,” she whispers. Or, “No, this medication just isn’t what my body wants.” Tune in, learn, and follow your guide. If you let her, she will take you all the way to health. Take it from me - thanks to my Inner Healer, I am healed. I used to have interstitial cystitis, an “incurable” disease. My Inner Healer knows better.