I'm sure many of you reading this experienced painful and intrusive medical tests such as IVPs, cystoscopies, and countless vaginal examinations prior to getting a diagnosis of IC. One of the saddest aspects of having a bladder disease is the constant stream (no pun intended) of attention to incredibly intimate parts of our bodies. I will never forget how one male doctor in particular told me that I probably just had bacterial vaginosis and that it was very important that I wiped correctly after a bowel movement in order to not spread bacteria into the vaginal area. Really? I am so glad that he was able to enlighten me about this as I'm sure that most 27 year olds do not know how to wipe themselves correctly.
To be fair though, I did encounter many compassionate male doctors who will willing to work with me to find out what was causing such intense pain within my bladder and vagina. I will always be grateful to them for their tenacity in ordering more and more tests and for treating me like a person and not just another uninformed person of "the weaker sex." In our society we are often to quick to point out the mistakes that other people make, but we don't always tell people how much we appreciate the good things that they do. So along this vein I have started hand-written "thank you" notes to doctors, etc. to demonstrate my thankfulness for their efforts to help me heal.