My story starts like everyone else's, a story of pain, confusion and unobtainable answers. Maybe some of you can relate.
I'm not exactly sure when the pain started, as it seems like I've always had it. I never had many urinary infections, when I was young, so I didn't really correlate the two. My horse fell on me at the age of 17, causing much internal damage, I'm sure. I started on birth control pills at an early age to regulate my periods and was on antibiotics as a small child for sore throats. I had an extremely difficult pregnancy and delivery. Mostly, I have never eaten healthy and my diet has always consisted of sugar, lots and lots of sugar. I'm sure, the combination of all of the above, contributed to IC.
The first negative experience I had with a doctor, was an OBGYN when I was pregnant. I constantly complained of pain, the entire time I was pregnant. Every exam, the answer was, "Oh, It is normal". I left that practice after my son was born, I still had the pain and this doctor told me, it was all in my head. I went to another OBGYN for pain a few years later. After years of trying to diagnose my problem, she finally told me I had PID, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, a sexually transmitted disease. I had been married for 10 years at this time and told her so. She told me to go home and question my husband, that obviously, he had had sex elsewhere and had transmitted the disease to me. I left that doctor also, still not finding any answers and still in pain.
When I was about 26, I woke up one night, in the middle of the night with all of these strange symptoms. I had an excruciating headache, tingling up my spine and into my head, my heart was pounding and had palpitations, my hands were numb, my legs were numb, I could see stars and I would, at times, not be able to move. I was scared to death. My husband took me to the emergency room. After a thorough exam, I was told I had "panic attacks", to take "this" (Valium) and go home and just relax. I took a few and it didn't help, intuitively, knowing it wasn't from panic. I even went in for an MRI, to rule out MS. This went on for approximately 8 months. Some days were worse than others. Some minutes were worse than others, but I got through it, never really seeing a common denominator to any of it. Eventually, all of those awful symptoms, my "central nervous system disorder" as I called it, sort of subsided. I still, however, had the horrendous pain.
A few years later, I was still taking birth control pills. One night, after being off for the normal week of my period, I took my "start up" tablet. Within 30 minutes I had all of the "CNS symptoms" back, after not having them for years. While I didn't panic, as it felt "familiar" and I hadn't died from it yet and I doubted I would, it was very distressing to have them back again. I went to bed, with my husband checking in on me every 1/2 hour. I awoke with all of the symptoms gone. That night, I took another birth control pill...30 minutes later, symptoms returned. I stopped taking the pill. These symptoms returned on several more occasions. Two more were when I took Ampicillin and Keflex, both antibiotics. The last few episodes, happened right after eating Pillsbury Sugar Cookies. It took several times of eating these and having the symptoms return, before I figured the association.
I finally found a urologist who specialized in IC, through my current OBGYN. I had had a partial hysterectomy, due to the abdominal pain two years prior and he was going in after the ovary that was still intact. After years of going through many urologists, who didn't know what was wrong with me, this doctor not only believed me, she diagnosed me. However, over the next 12 years I was on constant medication. I have been on antibiotics (including injections of Gentocin for a week straight at varied times), antidepressants, antihistamines, muscle relaxers, antispasmodics, Elmiron and many, many years of pain medication. I also had DSMO treatments and bladder distentions with many overnight stays in the hospital. I have to give this doctor credit for one thing...she gave me pain medication when I needed it, which was almost daily, and she really cared about me. I don't know if I would have survived the pain, without her.
I poured myself into my work and my business. I worked such long hours, I didn't have time to cook and so I continued to eat sugar, dyes and foods full of antibiotics and preservatives. I did anything to keep my mind off of the constant pain and allow myself to collapse into bed at night to try and forget the pain, not realizing that all of the time, I was still contributing to the IC with the way I ate and the constant antibiotics. At this time in my life, I had a continuous bladder infection. I finally had to give up the long hours, my body; physically, emotionally and psychologically just couldn't take it any longer.
A few months later, while being on 7 medications at one time and still in so much pain, I sat down one night and did a search for IC. I came across this website and starting reading the entire site. It fit right into my new pattern of life. I had slowly started changing my traditional values and philosophy of life. My dogs were now on a healthy raw diet. I know about herbs, Bach Flower Essences, crystal healing, Reiki, and Animal Communication. This was a doctor who practiced Chinese medicine, totally natural AND specialized in IC. There are no coincidences in life. I was led to this site and instinctively knew this was where I was supposed to be.
The night of my first consultation I was so excited. The second I heard Matia's voice, I knew this wonderful lady could and would help me out of this black hole. I also knew it was not going to be easy. She told me we would work this out together and that she would always be there for me. She told me she would help me get off of all of my medications and not have the pain any longer. I've never looked back and I've never questioned any of this for one second. After talking to Matia, and listening to her explain how all of the things contribute to IC, all of the symptoms I had, all of those years ago, were understandable. Birth control pills, antibiotics and sugar, all contributed to my body breaking down. I was not some hysterical female who was having panic attacks.
I was right, the first few months were most difficult. It was February and Valentine's Day was approaching. All of the TV commercials were about chocolate! My son came home with Dairy Queen, I almost bit his head off. My husband came home with homemade chocolate chip cookies from his mother. He also got the brunt of my anger. My body was going through withdrawals and the yeast was screaming to be fed. But, I never gave in. Matia told me that someday, sugar would be like a toxin to my body. I am to the point that if I smell anything with sugar in it, I get nauseated. Again, Matia was right.
I have been with Matia for 10 months. I am off ALL synthetic medications. While I understand the limited diet is difficult, I have found I love eating again. I have found calmness in my life and the pain is mostly gone. I still have my ups and downs with fatigue, and I am still on the very strict diet. However, each time there is a problem, Matia is quick to come to my aide, knowing what I need and working it out. The good days are now outweighing the bad by far. I used to only dream of this, now I am living it.
While Matia and her herbs have turned my life around, I have also recognized that this is not just about diet and herbs. This is about balance. My entire life was out of balance. I was addicted to sugar, I overworked myself, actually, I overdid a lot of things. I am working on this daily and I am becoming increasingly aware of coming back into balance. I find I am heading towards a healthier, happier lifestyle with the loving help of Matia and her staff. I cannot thank each and every one of them enough, for giving my life back to me...actually, for giving myself back to me.
January 24th, 2008 was another birthday for me, a mile marker of life. I am celebrating my 5 year Anniversary of my new life. What I am celebrating? I am not only commemorating 5 years with Matia, I am celebrating moving into my sixth year towards a continued balanced and healthy body!
Ok, let me break it down. Was this an easy path? Definitely, not always. Did I feel good all of the time? Absolutely, not. Do I continue to have cravings? Occasionally. Do I still have challenges? Yes, but I know I can get through them. Do I still have some of the anxiety and pain? Yes, but now it is not every day as it once was, for years and years. Now, it is mostly limited to when I travel. Do I still rely on tools and herbs to help me, yes, but I look at them as a part of nourishing and supporting my body, not as something I need to get me through the times of crisis, as I once did.
So, what did I do in times of crisis? I turned to the person that knows my body, like no one else. Matia not only helps through physical crisis, but through all of the emotional and mental ups and downs too. She is so nonjudgmental in her quest to help her patients heal. You can tell her anything and she will be supportive, giving and beyond that, come up with a plan to help you through. Our bodies are one: spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. Each aspect is not separate but all tied into one being. The herbs and supplements, which differ from patient to patient, help nourish the physical. Matia’s reassurance and guidance help your spirit. Each gets the sustenance it needs so the other parts can come back to life
We all have a different history, so of course, each of us have a different “relationship” with IC. Mine has been a story of difficulty, challenges, anxiety and pain. I now know my body enough, through the help and support of Matia, to know when I can push myself with something new, or when I need to back up and try it again later. There is always that hope, that the next time will be successful, as I have had many successes with food. I am now eating many foods on list three and have even added in some fruits. Can I eat them all of the time, No. Is that a problem, No. In life, we get unexpected treats. This is how I feel about fruits. Occasionally, I get an unexpected treat! Matia once told me, that one day, sugar would be like a toxin to me. Trust this piece of information. I never thought that it would happen and she was so right. I cannot stand the smell of sugar, especially chocolate. It literally, makes my stomach queasy.
So, the question you all want to know: Do I think I am totally cured? That question doesn’t matter any longer, because I have the tools that I need to get through whatever comes my way. I have Matia. I have my family and my animals that give me such assistance and comfort. But most importantly, I have myself. I trust that if I can get through this, I can get through anything. I feel as though I have been chosen. That I am being handpicked, as after all, how many people truly have this relationship with their body, where they can listen to it and hear what it is saying. Think of that gift. You can listen to your body. This program is not just about your relationship with Matia. It is about your relationship with yourself. It is a gift beyond getting rid of the physical issues. It is truly rediscovering YOU.
For those of you that are in a place where you feel that your family does not support this program, please know this is not just about physically healing. This is about finding who you are again. Standing on your own two feet and getting rid of the fears. As you heal physically, you will also find the confidence to move on emotionally. With the experiences of peeling off the layers of sickness, your family will support you. And if they don’t, this path isn’t about them. This path is about you and YOUR health, not theirs. You will become stronger and in that newfound strength, your family can’t help but be encouraged and revel in seeing the healthy you.
I am not the person I was, before starting on this program. My husband knows a “new Wife”, my son knows a “new Mom”, my brothers know a “new Sister” and my parents know a “new Daughter”. This disease no longer holds my body every second of the day. Yes, there are still times when I have issues, but I don’t expect to never have any. We are humans, living in a non-healthy environment, with toxins in our food, water and air. But, I am no longer in fear, Matia and this program has taken that away. She has given me the support and confidence to take responsibility for my self and my body, so that I can stay positive and has taught me how to live as healthy as I can. I have been given the support of herbs and knowledge from Matia to reach that goal. It is a gift that not many people are given and one that I am forever thankful for.