In June 2001 I had my first UTI. I went to the doctor, checked positive for bacteria, and I was given an antibiotic. I believe I got the bacteria from a hot tub the previous week. Within a day the symptoms were gone and all seemed back to normal. The following September I noticed the same symptoms: frequency and my bladder felt "funny". I went to the doctor and she took a urine sample, which showed some bacteria. She gave me the antibiotic Macrobid, which did nothing. The symptoms remained. The doctor gave me another course of antibiotics, a sulfur drug. My symptoms increased over the next week. They included: bladder pain, major frequency, sore inner thighs, and lower back pain. Basically my whole pelvic region felt like it was on fire. We tried one more round of Amoxicillin and Pyridium, still nothing changed. My doctor mentioned Interstitial Cystitis and referred me to a urologist.
In the few weeks before my appointment I learned everything I could about IC. I was also interested in finding a natural way to treat whatever it was that I had. That is when I found Jane Peters, the co-author of this site. She told me about Matia Brizman of BOMA-Med and her experience with traditional Chinese Medicine. After seeing the urologist I was told that I either have a mild case of IC or a severely damaged bladder lining. He mentioned Elmiron. The possible side effects of hair loss, ear ringing, and that it might not even work ruled that drug out for sure. I researched and compared Chinese medicine with traditional alternatives. For me, it seemed so much cleaner and healthier. I knew that I could not live with the constant pain and discomfort that I was feeling. I would much rather treat my body in a natural way, with food and herbs. After talking with Matia I was given hope and encouragement that I could improve with her treatment. I believed that she could help me with whatever bladder disorder I had, instead of masking the pain while my situation became worse.
I began Matia's IC treatment in mid-October of 2001. I follow a strict diet designed for IC patients and I take herbal supplements prescribed by Matia according to my symptoms. I am a long distance patient, so I do phone consults every 2 weeks and she sends me my herbs as needed. Since my symptoms are mild compared to most, I have been able to feel results right away. Over the last 4 1/2 months I have had many ups and downs, but I definitely feel like positive change is happening to my body. My frequency has backed off a little, I still go to the bathroom more then I used to, but not every half hour like I did when this all began. I have bad days where my bladder burns and the pressure makes me very uncomfortable, but I can function through my day almost like normal. When I have good days I can go on 3-mile hikes, the movies, and shopping with out the stress of pain or finding a bathroom immediately. I feel like I have more control over my life than my bladder does. When this began I was losing myself to the constant bladder pain and the depression of feeling my life had been destroyed. Being able to have days when my discomfort is mild gives me so much to look forward to and the hope I need to continue to improve. Even though I have not met Matia in person, I do not feel like my treatment is not as thorough. She takes the time to listen to me as I describe everything that I am feeling. She answers all of my questions and addresses all of my concerns. She is available when you need her and is understanding and supportive of your pain and discomfort. I am thankful that I have found her.
Update, June 2002:
I am approaching my 8th month and I have noticed a significant change in my body. I have gone 3-4 days with barely any bladder discomfort. I still am aware of my bladder and sometimes when it is full I feel some irritation, but for the most part my discomfort is very mild. When I do feel bad the irritation only lasts a few days and I am usually able to keep that under control with a few herb changes that Matia advises. I notice when I am very tired and dehydrated my symptoms feel worse. My frequency is almost normal, I drink lots of water so I tend to urinate more. My energy level is great and my immune system is strong. I have had no colds or flu bugs all winter and spring. I am confident that my bladder is healing and that I will continue to feel better.
I have been in Matia's care for 22 months and I am doing great. My discomfort is mild most of the time. 3-4 times a month my irritation and pressure will only last for 1 or 2 days. I no longer will have intense discomfort that lasts for a week at a time. My daily routine is much like it was prior to IC. I do not have to schedule my activities around my pain and frequent trips to the bathroom. I sleep through the night. I am comfortable traveling and I do not fear being far from a bathroom. My diet is still limited, but I do enjoy eating tomatoes and I drink coffee. At this point in my treatment I feel like I my symptoms are completely manageable.