Sunday, September 4, 2016

My Temperamental Bladder

       Just a little note before we begin; What was meant to be a short post turned into a long story about where I started with my Bladder Sphincter Dyssynergia and where I am today with it. If you don't particularly enjoy reading about catheters and urine, this post may not be for you! (And that's totally okay!)

         Almost exactly a year ago, my bladder issues began. Basically over a two-week period, I started to have trouble peeing. I definitely felt like I wasn’t emptying all the way and when I was able to urinate, it was very weak. It gradually became more of a struggle and eventually I went into complete urinary retention. This led to multiple emergency room catheterizations. I’d get a Foley put in and they’d leave it for 24 hours to give my muscles a rest. When it was removed, things improved, which was great. Unfortunately, that cycle repeated itself a few times.

The first time this happened, I had a pretty bad ER experience. I remember the doctor telling me that young females often think they haven’t gone but really have. I assured him that I hadn’t been able to empty my bladder at all. With a sigh, he said they’d empty me and that I should go home and in the morning I should drink 4 large glasses of water. He said, “If you still can’t go, which I doubt, come back.”. I strongly resent that doctor whose name I don’t remember because the following morning I drank those 4 large glasses of water and of course, that was a bad idea, because I could not go and was ready to explode. So we headed back. After a long wait, this time they put in a foley and kept me overnight… However, for some reason they decided not to call Urology. They called Neurology because of all the other neurological issues I’d been having, and Neurology came and told me they had no idea why my bladder was doing this, and with that, I was discharged.

Two weeks later I ended up in urinary retention again. This time, I had made an appointment with one of my Internal Medicine doctors who was at a different hospital closer to us. After going into his office and telling him what was up, he felt my bladder and brought me straight to the ER to get catheterized again. This time at the ER, they made an appointment for me at a nearby urologist the next day. Thank goodness.

 The next day I met my doctor, and he was great. He told me that I wouldn’t be left like this and we’d figure it out. Such a relief. I was scheduled first for a cystoscopy. It was one of my least favorite tests I’ve had, I have to say, and it was normal. Then came the Urodynamics test... also not fun. However, it gave us answers. My urologist told me I had Bladder Sphincter Dyssynergia, which is a form of neurogenic bladder. It’s basically a condition where the muscles in the urinary tract are uncoordinated due to nerve damage. When you try and urinate, the muscles contract instead of relax and the bladder pressure rises. I was taught to self-catheterize so that I wouldn’t have to run to the ER anymore.

Magically, over the next year things improved. I barely had any problems urinating, and it was great.. until couple of weeks ago I felt the same pattern that had happened the previous year starting.  Last week I had an emergency appointment with my urologist, and I’m glad to have him on my side. He has many patients, but not many young patients, so he always remembers me. I walked in and he welcomed me by saying “Mystery woman!”. Yep, that’s me. Unfortunately there’s not much we can do about my condition flaring up again, but he gave me some self-catheterization tips and ran some lab tests. It’s definitely a struggle to deal with the unpredictability of this and not knowing if or when I’ll start going into full retention again, but I surprisingly feel very positive about things because everything else is going so well. Life ain’t bad, my friends.

Xo Michelle

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