Ok let’s get real people. There are so many things that go out of wack with MS. Balance, vision, coordination, cognitive skills, muscle control. Let’s talk bladder control. It ain’t pretty and it’s not fun but it’s here and it’s made itself known and it’s here to stay ladies and gents!
May I introduce to you your newest daily combative confidant; your “get away of my way it’s an emergency”; your new bladder!
Ms hits all of us differently. There are thousands of us out there that have been living with MS for years and never knew it. They either had no idea and chalked it up to well “that’s just what bodies do” or brought their symptoms to doctors where they were poo pooed and ignored and it was swept under the rug. In my case I was very fortunate to have been diagnosed quite quickly. Which also gave me a straight month of “emotional whiplash” as I like to call it. In a matter of 1 week I went from seeing my primary to crying in the parking lot of my new neurologist’s office after being given my diagnosis. It all happened in a blink of an eye. And like that I was tossed into this new world of questions, pain, confusion and fear.
So lets get back to the nitty gritty of this blog. Pee people. We all do it. We all have to do it. And it always happens when we have been waiting in line at the post office for over 15 minutes and there’s of course no restroom and if we give up our spot now we have to start this wonderful adventure all over again. And you just needed to mail this box of home-made scarfs to your cousin in Alberta. So what do you do you wait. You’re an adult. You can hold it. Just pray to God you don’t sneeze. One sneeze and it’s over. You swift your weight back and forth all while inconspicuously rocking to shift the sack in your abdominals that is about to pop like an over filled water balloon. Anyone every have a bulky hoodie with one of those kangaroo pouches? If you slide your hands in the pouch you can discreetly press your hands on your bladder to hold it from bursting. Little disguise trick I learned. There’s only 2 people in front of you now. When you came in here you didn’t even have to pee. It came on all at once like pimple on prom night. Every move your make right now counts. Move inch slowly and carefully towards the front of the line. The woman behind you is struggling to keep her two 5 years old under control as they use her arms as hanging devices to swing from. Then it happens. One of the children bumps into the back of you throwing off your focus to not literally pee all over the post office floor. All control is gone and on comes the flow of fury. You step out of line, put your purse on the floor and pretend to be looking for something while you jam the heel of your foot into that “area” to hopefully stop the flow of oncoming disaster. So now you lost your place in line, wet your self in the post office and now are hunched over like a gargoyle looking for God knows what on the ground to end this tragedy all while trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. You = 0 / MS = 100
We’ve all been there. Stuck in traffic, waiting in line, on a plane while the seatbelt fastened sign is lit. So what do we do? What can we do? We certainly don’t make it our mission to talk about it often. Who wants to talk about the fact that they are 30 years old and still wet themselves? Ok I’ll start the trend. Sometimes I do! Ok you next! It’s like playing that game where everyone closes their eyes and question is asked and you raise your hand if that question is applicable to you. Then we all open our eyes and see that every single hand is raised. We are not alone, and we all go through it. Nothing to be ashamed of. So we take action. Right? We can talk to our doctors, try medications and such. There are all fine solutions, but it leaves someone else in control of the solution where as WE can be in control of the solution. We can begin to do pelvic floor exercises to strengthen those muscles. We can practice kegel exercises to promote a stronger bladder. These are so incredibly easy to do.
To do a Kegel, squeeze the muscles you normally use to stop the flow of urine. Hold the contraction for five seconds, and then relax for five seconds. These WILL strengthen your bladder.
We can pack in the panty liners and pack the extra set of underpants and change of clothes in our cars “just in case”. We can be that person that stops at literally restroom we see on a day out and about because we don’t know when the next one will come. Ladies STAY AWAY FROM ROMPERS. They are cute yes but NOT WORTH IT. I can not tell you how many times I’ve gotten stuck in my romper from almost not making it to the ladies room. It’s like realizing your parachute is just a knapsack. You’re in trouble people!
We can make sure we :
*Eat a healthy diet
*Drink lots of water
*Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine
*Do pelvic floor exercises and kegel workouts
*Take enough time to fully empty our bladder when we go
I know this is nobody’s favorite subject but it’s the reality. And it’s our reality! Everyday baby!
As Adam Sandler once said “You’re not cool unless you pee your pants!”
I stand by this with him. Sometimes it happens. And that’s ok. We have our tricks of how we handle it or make our selves less noticeable in the moment. Talk about it with fellow MS warriors. Ask in your support groups. I have joined so many support groups on social media and I am so thankful for doing so because it’s a safe place where I can ask fellow warriors “hey what about this? Anyone go through that?” and get honest real experience answers back. So shame no game people. We all pee. It’s like the kid’s book “Everybody Poops”. We can not be shamed for a normal bodily function. Is it annoying? Of course, it is! Is it frustrating? You bet your bottom dollar it is. But its OURS and we have to own it. We don’t have any of choice. Why live in shame? Why live in a place where self judgement rules our very existence? That’s self harm. Even the darkest parts of ourselves we must learn to care for with self-love.
Our scars are beautiful and make each of us unique. We need to learn how to laugh. Laugh when things that would normally tear us down happen. Laugh because that laughter is our salvation to not completely and entirely losing our minds. Who the heck wants to live everyday feeling sorry for themselves? Feeling like a failure. So I challenge you. Even if you peed yourself an hour ago. Get up or if you can’t get up, find a mirror, or a reflective surface, use your spoon from your cereal bowl and look at yourself. Really look at yourself. Look at your face, your eyes, your lips, your cheeks, your smile. You are unique and one of a kind. You are beautiful and you matter. You are human. You are not perfect, and you will make mistakes and that is perfectly healthy and perfectly acceptable. Everything that you makes you special and unique. Be proud of who you are rock it loud and proud daily.
Self-acceptance is one of the hardest forms of love out there. We can easily love others but when it comes to looking hard at ourselves, we freeze. We nit pick and become over critical to the point we self-sabotage. Learning to love yourself is a hard thing to face. But we have to start somewhere. So start with a mirror, a reflection, a spoon even. Really look into your own eyes and say “I love you” because the moment you start loving yourself, truly loving yourself the whole world becomes a different place.
One day you will be able to say I’m Britt, I have MS, sometimes I pee myself, I’m fearful of my next sneeze and I’m a hot mess (ms) and that’s ok. If I make one person laugh or a thousand, I’m doing something right. Baby steps…we got this.