The severe and debilitating pain of IC and vulvodynia drove me half-mad and I think I walked around the aisles of Christmas decorations as if I were in a carnival of horrors. Looming out of the aisles the cans, packages and boxes of all that glittered but could not be eaten without horrific pain. Gleeful shoppers seemed stunned by my lack of jolliness and my cart filled with broccoli, brown rice and organic chicken while their carts were overflowing with all of the food that an IC patient could only dream about (cue "Food, Glorious Food" from Oliver Twist). Yes us IC patients all shared a commonality with a little orphan boy but instead of being kept from the food due to our income our bladders are our jailers.
Speaking of locked up, you might as well lock up every bottle of alcohol and flush the key down the toilet. I often look back in sadness at how my palette was beginning to develop for choosing the perfect varietal of red wine to pair with my dinner. I decided that I would tour the varietals and regions around the world. Chile is where I was when IC overtook my body. Oh for a glass of Chilean cabernet to celebrate the Christmas season! For even in remission I cannot drink a sip of red wine (or any other alcohol) without immediately starting to have bladder pain. I raise a silent glass to myself before I got IC and I raise the glass to all of my IC brothers and sisters who will celebrate the coming holidays in pain. I hope that you are able to celebrate in a way that is as low stress and as meaningful as you can make it. I also wish that you are surrounded by friends and family members who support you that greatly outweighs the candles on your menorah or the gifts under your Christmas tree.