I probably have Interstitial Cystitis, according to a uro-gynecologist I saw a couple of years ago after I'd decided it was time to figure out why I have to pee about thirty times a day (really). She prescribed a relatively new medication, an extremely restrictive diet, and told me to think about coming back for a cystoscopy.
I never did. I never even tried the medication. Why? Because a week or two after that, I was on my way to an urgent care cardiac clinic after a call from my university health centre doctor had convinced them to see me right away. That was just the beginning of the mire of appointments, procedures, ambulatory monitors and new medications I waded through over the next year, and which still hasn't entirely let up.
I made a conscious decision that I would prefer to live with my relatively minor IC symptoms (and there are people who suffer a great deal more with it than I do) than to embark on yet another treatment plan or add yet another specialist to my swelling retinue. I didn't want to try another medication. I'm too passionate about food and cooking to stick to the diet. Some might call that irresponsible, but I know it's the best decision for me at this point.
Our plates are full, and we frequently face difficult decisions. Should I try that new medication? Is that surgery really necessary? And, most importantly, how can I live the best life possible with chronic illness? For me, the answer to that question has sometimes been that I must weigh two negatives in the balance, and go with the one that least disrupts the many good things in my life.
This was me on Sunday. My sister and I enjoyed a lovely picnic at a little, old, unused church that sits up on a hill overlooking the lake near our house. My plate is filled with things I wouldn't have been eating if I was on the IC diet: tea (yum), tomatoes (yum), sausage (yum!).
So instead of rigidly restricting myself, I eat a healthy, diverse diet. I exercise. I treat my RA aggressively and I'm working with my doctors to get my heart sorted out. And yes, I pee all the time, and sometimes feel a little uncomfortable. But I get to keep that extra little bit of my life outside of the cycle of illness and treatment. And that, to me, is worth more.