My name is Annmarie. I am 29 years old and have been with Matia for a little over three months. My story began at a very young age. I was born with an anatomically malformed urinary system; my ureters weren’t implanted correctly in my bladder and the valves that prevent backflow of urine in to the kidneys weren’t working (actually a fairly common disorder in females). I was in and out of the hospital with severe bladder and kidney infections all the time for the first four years of my life. Needless to say, I was pumped full of antibiotics during this time and was put on prophylactic courses of antibiotics for three plus months at a time. I had surgery to correct the problem when I was four and it completely took care of the kidney infections and the bladder infections gradually improved until I stopped having them in about sixth or seventh grade.
My freshman year of college, my gyno put me on the pill to help with my irregular and excruciatingly painful menstrual cycle. It did what it was supposed to in that regard. After about six months of being on the pill, my bladder started acting up on me. I would have horrible bouts of pain, bladder/urethra spasms, urgency and frequency. At this time in my life, I had also begun drinking alcohol, having sex and eating horribly. I was a fairly typical college freshman. I think it was a combination of all of the above that started me on the path to IC.
My “UTIs” (as the docs labeled them) were increasing in frequency fairly rapidly. Once I got one…it didn’t want to go away. I would go to the doctor, he’d put me on antibiotics, I would be better for a bit, and then the symptoms would come back. This went on for quite a while. Finally, my doctor put me on a prophylactic dose of Macrodantin. I actually stayed on Macrodantin for a full year before I got the guts to tell my doctor he was nuts! It did help reduce the frequency with which I would get the infections, but it certainly didn’t take care of the problem. At this point, I was getting infections (or what I thought to be infections) at least once a month. I would hurt so badly I would sometimes just sit and cry. I would be in the bathroom every five to ten minutes and there were times, especially at night, when I would just set up camp in the bathroom. This would last a couple of days and then lessen to the point where I could actually function. I was sick to death of going to doctors. Sometimes I would just take AZO or Uristat and wait it out and sometimes I would go to the doctor and get an antibiotic. Either way, the pattern was the same. The antibiotics weren’t really helping at this point, but I still felt better emotionally and mentally if I was doing what the doctor told me to do.
I then decided to go to graduate school for physical therapy. It was a high stress time for me. The first two years of grad school, the pattern remained the same. I would have an intense flare-up every month or so, but then I began to notice that I would have mild pain at random times as well. Then things just gradually and steadily worsened over the past few years. The flare-ups were even more intense and becoming more frequent and I began to have that underlying level of pain at more regular intervals. I went through all the regular channels. My family doctor sent me to an urologist who did a cysto, urodynamics test (pure misery) and hydrodistension. He then proceeded to tell me that though there were signs of chronic inflammation and that the neck of my bladder was red and raw, that I didn’t have IC. He said I had spastic bladder and put me o Ditropan, which did absolutely no good. I went back, he changed me to Detrol, which still did no good. He then added Elavil. The Elavil actually helped with the pain somewhat, but I was only on 15 mg and I was having to take naps at work to make it through the day. I took myself off all these drugs and went to see an urogynecologist. He did a potassium test in office and confirmed my suspicions of IC. He then said “good news, you have IC but we can fix it.” He proceeded to hand me a prescription for Elmiron and told me that it has a 90% success rate and no side effects (ummm…who has he been talking to?) and also upped m Elavil. I took the stuff for three days and said screw it. I decided I was not willing to start taking more meds to try and mask the problem.
During all of these trips to and from doctors, I had been planning my wedding (married July 2002!). I was scared to death that I was going to be in pain at my wedding and on my honeymoon. I was in so much pain at this time that I would just curl up in the fetal position and cry and pray for relief. I was taking AZO like crazy, it was the only way I could function at work. The bladder spasms were awful. I was scared to go to the bathroom because I knew how much it would hurt. I was taking prescription pain meds so I could sleep at night. I had researched IC and treatment options and I was pretty hopeless. I then stumbled across this website one day. It was the first time something actually made sense to me. I talked to my husband (fiancé at the time) and we decided that when we got back from our honeymoon, we would investigate Matia’s program further.
I got through the wedding and honeymoon by taking AZO around the clock. When we got back from the honeymoon, I emailed Jane to ask her some questions. She was very supportive and encouraging. After some thought, I decided that it was what I wanted to do, what I needed to do to be healthy and my husband agreed.
I started following the diet as soon as I got home from my honeymoon and I had my first appointment with Matia in late August. The progress I have made has been incredible. I haven’t had a bad flare since mid September and for one month now, I have had very mild pain only. I can go three hours (more at times) without having to go to the bathroom and I can sleep through the night without waking. It’s nothing short of absolutely amazing. If I never got any better than this, I would be thrilled. But, Matia and I are forging ahead to get me 100% completely healthy! I have complete faith in Matia and her ability to help me heal. If it weren’t for her, I am quite sure that I would be on the road to disability. Matia is not only guiding me on the road to recovering from IC, she is leading me down a path toward optimal physical, emotional, and spiritual health.