Initially I was so shocked and tired and worn out from the intense pain that I drove literally in circles from doctor to specialist to doctor to find some answers. It's funny looking back now that I felt such pure relief just being told an official name for my disease, as if by name alone the disease and I were a real pair. Once I finally received the diagnosis of IC, I thought there would be a magic pill that I could take and that my doctors would be full of empathy, support and a real understanding of IC. Instead, most doctors didn't even know what IC was, or if they knew what IC was they wanted to put me on anti-depressants and send me to psychologists so I could learn to live with the pain. I clung to Western medicine like a stowaway lost in the icy seas after the Titanic sank for many years. I had been taught (like millions of other Americans) that Western medicine will take care of everything if you just follow their tests, their procedures, their medications. But if you happen to fall outside those parameters and are unfortunate enough to get a chronic disease that little is known about (when fortunes are being put towards curing other well-known diseases), it can be a sad and lonely world floating in your raft trying to avoid the icy flotsam in the water.
I believe in doctors and I believe in the power of a good health care system. I feel that health care shouldn't solely be for the rich or for those already in good health. I know too many friends and relatives living with extremely painful diseases, and would never deny them their medication or their treatments to ease their pain and sleeplessness. But I do know what helped me rid my body of IC and what currently prevents me from getting colds and other ailments: being proactive about my health care each and every day. It's in the choices I make about eating leafy greens, removing pork and beef from my diet. I eat whole grains, drink kombucha, and take vitamins and supplements. I exercise and soak up the suns natural Vitamin D.
It is a lifestyle change that I chose from the bowels of despair from living with IC that continues to change my decisions every day. It is a choice of being proactive, not reactive when it comes to my health. We all share this choice when it comes to our health care. I hope that health care reform comes from within, not through government or other interactions.