I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease called Interstitial Cystitis in 2009. IC is a chronic, painful bladder condition that cannot be cured and is often mistaken for a urinary tract infection, but there is no infection. It predominantly affects women and I had suffered from it for years before knowing what it was. The diagnosis was devastating to me, because in the research I had done, allopathic (mainstream, traditional) medicine really had little insight into the cause and remedies for this painful condition. Anyone who suffers from this can understand the agony of feeling like you have to urinate constantly, so much that it keeps you up at night. It’s embarrassing to talk about with most people and you feel like you must suffer in silence.
While I started following the “IC diet” after my diagnosis, it offered some relief but not total elimination of the problem. I was convinced that there must be some way for me to be free of this condition. I started reading books and educating myself about it. A couple of the books were, “The Intersitial Cystitis Survival Guide” by Robert Moldwin and “To Wake to Tears” by Catherine Simone. The book by Catherine Simone was very eye opening as it exposed me to alternative treatments for this incurable condition. She beat it and lived pain free. I wanted to be like her!
Around this time, I was seeking any kind of help for my son, who was born prematurely, extremely colicky and ill all the time. Through a recommendation, I started bringing him to the Southwest Naturopathic Medical Center for homeopathy on Dr. Stephen Messer’s student shift. Naturopathic medicine can be very expensive because it is not covered by health insurance and it’s all self-pay. To mitigate the cost, I would bring him to be seen on the student shift for homeopathy. This means I would be seen by students who had not yet graduated, but they were overseen by the experienced naturopathic medical doctor.
Homeopathy is based on the idea that “like cures like.” That is, if a substance causes a symptom in a healthy person, giving the person a very small amount of the same substance may cure the illness. In the case taking, a detailed, comprehensive interview of the patient is undertaken to reveal the physical, psychological, emotional characteristics and complaints of that individual. The homeopathic practitioner then finds the homeopathic remedy whose materia medica (drug picture) is the most similar to that of the patient’s characteristic totality.
I was a bit bewildered by the process of being established as a patient, but was willing to try anything to help my son. The forms would ask such obscure questions such as if my son was bothered by a hot room, whether he preferred to be outside, preferred the mountains or the ocean and things like that. You can imagine if a doctor needs to understand the psychological and emotional characteristics of a baby, it’s a bit difficult.
While the doctors were able to prescribe a remedy that helped my son, what also happened was my eyes were opened to a whole world of alternative therapy that could possibly help my condition. Very soon afterwards I established as a patient in hopes to eradicate my interstitial cystitis.
It took three sessions for the doctors to take the comprehensive picture of my case and 24 hours after they prescribed the homeopathic remedy, my IC was gone. I was completely amazed, overjoyed and an absolute believer! While I did need to continue seeing the practice to adjust my remedy periodically, I was able to enjoy the foods I previously restricted and get my quality of life back again. Homeopathy also helped me realize my ultimate trigger of IC was stress, not foods. The foods might make the IC worse, but the ultimate cause was my own reaction to stress. I was able to look back at every episode I had of the disease and link it to a traumatic or stressful event in my life.
Since then, I have used homeopathy to prevent preeclampsia in my second pregnancy, cure chronic sinus infections, the flu, mitigate anxiety and more. Opening myself up to alternative therapies for chronic conditions has led me to other forms such as acupuncture (I go weekly), holistic medicine (for my thyroid) and healing diets. I rarely think about Interstitial Cystitis anymore, but I do have flare-ups from time to time. With the tools and practitioners I have available to me, flare ups last days, not weeks or months.
If you have a chronic health condition and can’t get relief from traditional medicine, I urge you to explore alternative practitioners and diets to free yourself from illness. There is always hope! Have an open mind and take charge of your health! Here are some of the practitioners I have seen in the Phoenix Metro area:
Dr. Stephen Messer
Southwest Naturopathic Medical Center
2140 E. Broadway Rd
Go here to learn more about homeopathy and find a practitioner in your area.
Healthy Synergy Acupuncture
4700 S. McClintock Dr. #105
Tempe, AZ 85282
Many health insurance plans do cover acupuncture–check with your provider
Dr. Linda Khoshaba
9200 E. Raintree Dr. Ste 100
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Here is one resource to try and locate an Integrative Medical Practitioner in your area.