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Sunday, February 17, 2013

I Am Blessed

After two weeks of feeling miserable, I decided that I might have a UTI.  I bought one of those AZO UTI  tests you can buy at the drugstore.  It was inconclusive, but said that I might have one and I should consult my doctor.  I made an appointment to go to the doctor (AGAIN).  He went ahead and prescribed  Macrobid for me.  Based on my symptoms he was treating me for an UTI.  He said I would feel better in a couple of days of taking the antibiotic, if it was an UTI.

Two days later, I felt better.  Finally!!! I am so thankful!  I'm not thankful that I have an UTI, but that I know what it is and can treat it!  My symptoms were just like a flare.  I had a low grade fever,achy and lower back pain.  That is how all of my flares have felt.  Then my doctor thought I had a virus.  Since my symptoms didn't go away after the period he suggested for a virus and my bladder instillation (medicine inserted directly into the bladder via catheter) didn't make me feel better, I thought it could be a bladder infection.  But Interstitial Cystitis (IC) symptoms are so similar to an UTI, at least for me, that it was difficult to tell the difference. In fact, I couldn't.  I am so thankful to be feeling better now!

The first day I started feeling better I was scheduled to go to physical therapy.  I had missed my last appointment because I was sick, so it had been over 2 weeks since I had been. I could not wait to get there.  Ironically I made a wrong turn and got lost on my way, so it took me longer to get there.

I am going to physical therapy (pt) for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (pfd).  I originally was having a problem with chronic pain in my female area (vulvodyndia).  My primary doctor tried to treat it for several months without any relief.  Then he referred me to an Urologist about an hour and a half away.  I suspected I had pfd, after researching the symptoms.  PFD is usually related to the presence of too much tension in the pelvic floor muscles. Unexplained pain in the low back and pelvic region are some of the symptoms of pfd. My main symptoms were pain during intercourse and chronic pain in that area,pain in my lower back and pelvic area.  I asked him to send me to physical therapist that specializes in vulvodyndia and pfd.

It is a very specialized field, so I was delighted when my doctor found a physical therapist only and hour and a half away from my home town.

I called my therapist to ask a few questions before I went for the first time.  I had read some horror stories and I was a little scared.  I hate to admit it, but I veered away from my trusted sites like http://www.ichelp.org and http://www.webmd.com/ and I read some horrible things.  My therapist explained that the first session she would be asking me some questions followed by a physical exam, if I was up to it.  I was not up to the exam, but she gathered enough information to know what needed to be done.

Not Me and Not My Therapist
My pt told me, if I had any questions to email her before my next appointment.  That way she could address as many as possible, therefore, saving more time to do the things that I would come to know as such sweet relief.  She always asks me about my week and about what kind of symptoms are bothering me that day.  We have set some goals and try to reach them only for my IC to flare and we have treat the symptom that is screaming the loudest that day.

As I have mentioned before, she does skin rolling as treatment for me.  It hurts like crazy when she is doing it, but it gives me relief from the pain in my legs.  I want her to keep doing the skin rolling to relieve the pain in my legs and eventually my bottom and back.  Then she will start working on my pfd.  I have so many problems that we have not even started on the main problem I originally started going to pt in the first place.  We decided this week that I will continue to go to physical therapy for the rest of my life and she and I can be best friends forever.  LOL  Of course, the ultimate goal is for me to get better and to not need pt, but we can still be friends!


I have learned so much from my physical therapist!  Sometimes she speaks a language that is way over my head, but I am slowly learning.  I have learned that most of my pain is muscle pain .  My body has been in so much pain that my muscles have tensed up in response to that pain.  I can see now that many of my daily aches and pains are muscle related.  You don't have to have IC to experience muscle pain.  I have learned that I can do things that make a difference in my treatment process.  I have learned that I can do controlled breathing and gentle stretches every day that make a difference. 

I have learned that what you eat ,how you breathe and how you void (I'm not going to go there) make a difference in how your body feels.  She makes me keep a "Food and Bowel Dairy" for Pete's sake.  It forces me to look at my eating, etc. habits.  It is right there in black and white and hard to ignore.  I am also accountable to her every week.  I think that makes a huge difference.  It is one thing to read about something and say to yourself  "yeah I need to do that."  But it is another thing to have someone tell you that you need to do something and hold you accountable for it the next week.

I remember when I first meet my physical therapist.  I thought to myself that I am blessed.  My therapist understands more about IC than anyone I have met that doesn't have IC.  She understands the pain IC causes and the mental toll it takes on your body.  She lets me do most of the talking and really listens to what I say no matter if it is about IC, therapy, my daughter or whatever, she listens!  She always says "In a perfect world, you could come twice a week for therapy."  But it is not a a perfect world, so I only see her once a week which really slows down the healing process.

I am blessed with a spirited, therapist who is passionate about her job. She makes me want to do good things for my body.  But she is also a Christian who is not ashamed of it and has compassion for others.

Mark 8:38  For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
I feel more in control of my treatment now more than ever.  Many of you reading this can benefit from physical therapy too.  If you have urinary frequency, urgency or a lot of low back, pelvic region and genital area pain that is ruining your life, physical therapy may be the life line that you need.  If you have tried pt in the past and it did not work for you, it may be time to give it another try.  I know that I am blessed with the best therapist in the world, but I believe anyone can reap the benefits of physical therapy.

I would love to know what your experience with physical therapy have been. Or if you have suggestions for stretches etc. Please leave your comments below.

To learn more about Interstitial Cystitis:
http://www.ichelp.org

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@bb65ichope

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bbbennett65@gmail.com