(Name changed for privacy)
My problems with my bladder began in August of 2001. I was 25 years old, had a successful job in Chicago, lived in the city with friends, and was leading a very happy life. That all changed one day. I woke up one morning with urgency, frequency, and pain, all which came on very quickly. I had never had a bladder infection, but assumed that that was most likely what it was. I went to my doctor, who tested me, found bacteria in my urine, and prescribed seven days of antibiotics. After a week, I still had the same symptoms, and went back, expecting him to find lingering bacteria. That wasn't the case, however. The bacteria had been killed, yet I still had symptoms of an infection, so he sent me home with another ten days of a different kind of antibiotic, and referred me to a urologist, whom I was to see if I didn't feel better within a week.
I did see that urologist, since I still felt terrible weeks later. I primarily had urgency & frequency - I had to go to the bathroom at least once an hour, and had spells during which I had to go every 10 minutes for several hours at a time. It had become incredibly frustrating at work, since I had an office job, where I could normally sit for hours at a time without leaving my desk. The constant uncomfortable feeling in my bladder had become a major problem - even my 20 minute commute to work seemed like an eternity, and some days it was near impossible. Activities that I had done on a daily basis had become a major challenge for me - sitting through a movie, going to a one hour class, going to baseball games, even taking a cab ride. As time went on, I also began to have terrible pains shooting through the entire lower half of my body. This would happen out of the blue, and when it did I could barely stand up, the pain was so bad.
I then had a cystoscopy done under anesthesia at an excellent hospital in my area, and they found nothing indicative of IC - just a little redness and irritation, which they determined was not the cause of all of my problems. After seeing two more doctors in the area, I finally went to the Mayo Clinic where I had a number of invasive procedures done. They came up with the same answer - my bladder showed only slight redness, and they determined that I just had lingering bacteria which was causing my symptoms (even though their test results showed negligent bacteria). I was put on suppressive antibiotics indefinitely, and given Detrol to relax the bladder muscles. Several months and six doctors later, I had been given almost 20 prescriptions for everything from antibiotics and Ditropan to antidepressants. I rarely took any of them because I wasn't ready to throw my entire body into disarray just to mask the symptoms of an underlying problem. I had begun to think it was just something I had to live with, when I came across a patient of Matia's, and started chatting online. She directed me to the Bomamed website, and at a loss for any answers from Western medicine, I decided to give it a shot. I have to admit that at the beginning I was incredibly skeptical. I am about as straight as an arrow, mainstream thinker as you can find. I'm a business person. I take a very logical and conservative approach to life. Any illness I'd ever heard of had an answer in the form of traditional treatments. Chinese medicine had never even crossed my mind...until this point.
I set up my initial phone consultation with Matia, and immediately felt much more comfortable than I had with any of the other doctors I had gone to. She actually understood the symptoms that the other doctors did not. She asked tons of questions in order to really understand my story and figure out what the underlying problems were. Over the next several months, I talked to Matia on a weekly basis, and based on how I was feeling and my answers to her questions, she would alter the herbs I was taking. After a while, we spoke every other week.
For anyone considering the process, I think the most important thing to know is that you have to be patient. That did not come easy for me.....there were definite ups and downs throughout the entire process, and many days I was pretty close to throwing in the towel. I had days, and even weeks that I thought I was going backward instead of forward, but I finally started to see more and more good days creeping in. I tried to focus on those days, knowing that I was getting healthier slowly but surely. For me, the process took a good two years before I could really say that I felt like I had beaten this thing. It was well worth the wait!! I hung in through the numerous changes in herbs, the ups and downs, and maybe the hardest, the change in diet. At about the two year mark, I reached the point that I felt like I was back to leading a normal life, and can now say that I am about 99.9% healthy. I still take a maintenance dose of herbs and supplements, primarily to fight yeast (this is one of my major problems - I still get occasional yeast infections.) I am now back to, for the most part, eating a normal diet, although I am still careful to avoid a lot of sugar.
Looking back over the past several years, I still do not have an answer to what caused me to develop IC, but I am sure that several things contributed to it. I had taken antibiotics long term for several years when I was young, I never paid attention to my diet, which included a lot of sugar and junk food, and I worked in a fairly stressful work environment. In hindsight, I'm sure that each of these factors contributed to my health issues, but after working with Matia, I have a different mindset about taking care of my health, especially with regard to diet. I still sometimes cannot believe that after all of the doctors and different types of medicines I was given that Matia was the only one that helped me get better. I hope that anyone suffering with IC will look into Bomamed and get started on the road to recovery - I am incredibly thankful that I was lucky enough to find Matia, and hope that anyone else suffering with the same problem can be so lucky.