September is Interstitial Cystitis Awareness Month
Millions of Americans are affected by Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome. It's a condition for which there is no known cure, and it greatly impacts the quality of life for those who suffer from it.
As mentioned in the video above, IC/PBS is a painful and chronic condition. Here are a few quick facts about IC:
- The average age of onset for IC is 40 years, with 25% of patients under the age of 30.
- 50% of IC patients have pain while riding in car.
- 63% of IC patients are unable to work full time.
- IC patients have suicidal thoughts 3-4 times above the national average.
- The quality of life of IC patients is worse than patients experiencing chronic renal failure and undergoing dialysis.
- 52% of women with IC reported panic attacks and over 30% reported depression.
- IC patients pay twice as much out of pocket for direct medical care when compared with someone without the condition.
I was diagnosed with IC in 2008 and it is THE WORST. I wish I could accurately convey to you just how awful this can be, but I hope it suffices to say that having IC has permanently changed my life.
I have to be careful of which foods I eat and what I drink, as certain things can cause a "flare," which means way more pain than I can handle. My list of NO WAY items includes tomatoes, lemons, oranges, peppers, and any and all alcohol. I'm pretty much the designated driver for life. I'm okay with that. The last time I had a drink was in 2011, and the flare that followed was not worth the stumble down Bourbon Street in NOLA.
Having IC means I have to live with chronic pain. I may look like a relatively normal person on the outside, but often it's all I can do to hold back the tears. Imagine what it would feel like if someone cut you open and poured battery acid all over your insides. It's terrible. There really aren't enough words to describe the intense, debilitating pain. Living with chronic pain like that of IC is like having a ball and chain permanently affixed to your ankle--some days you can live with the burden, some days it's all you can do to function.
September is IC/PBS awareness month, and I'm sharing this information with you in hopes that you can understand the condition better. Most people I know have never even HEARD of IC. How can I expect people to understand what I am going through when they have no clue what the condition is and how it affects me?
Take a moment today to learn more about IC/PBS. Check out The Interstitial Cystitis Association; visit the IC Network, or read more about the condition from the US Department of Health and Human Services.