The great joy of Bladder Botox
It’s been 5 months since I received my first round of Botox injections into my bladder. I haven’t written because I’ve been very busy not going to the bathroom! It’s amazing what one can accomplish while not going to the bathroom 15 times a day. Most notable is the novel I wrote about a woman who went to the big city and didn’t need to map out every bathroom like the subway grid.
Back in 1991 it was made official. A video-urodynamics test confirmed what I knew to be true. It’s the most dreaded double-edged sword symptom on the MS checklist : retention (I can’t pee) AND incontinence (I can’t hold it). Really? Both? That is truly unfair. Being that I couldn’t go when I did have access to a bathroom, I had to pee all the time and didn’t have the luxury of speculation.
The treatment options existed, but were very scary. They told me I would have to self-catheterize so I could empty completely and then wear pads to deal with the fall out. (Uhg!) I took Ditropan for incontinence and Macrobid to prevent the bladder infections which were more likely using catheters. Needless to say, every part of this was horrifying. But over time I got used to the how-to, and found that having any way to manage this was a huge relief (no pun intended).🙂
For over two decades it was just every day life for me and as we humans repeatedly prove, we adjust and evolve. I got used to the drill. Of course the side effects from the meds, the reliance on having a good stock of catheters and the additional burden in dealing with claims coverage and expenses were very stressful but they were all worth it when compared to the alternative. (ie. staying in the bathroom all day. And there weren’t even smart devices of distraction back then!)
But Wait, What?
I was very intrigued when my neurologist mentioned that there is a (relatively) new way of treating incontinence. That after over two decades of coping with this, there is new hope. The magic is Botox injections into that damn spastic bladder. And I somehow thought Botox only relaxed vanity, but apparently it works on the bladder too.🙂
The procedure wasn’t as bad as I imagined. (Dude…. 30 shots in my bladder? How’s that gonna work?) But it was just an in-office appointment that lasted 20 minutes. And a few days later it was obvious that things were-a-changing. No revolving door on the bathroom. No urgency. No pads, no meds, no stress, no worries and life is good (er).
After 25 years of this, I never even imagined a life without it. After all, I had been dealing with it since I was 23. I’ve never been an adult who didn’t have these problems so it has jut become a part of my every day. I coped with it the same way I do with everything MS: Accept what is, validate the injustice and carry on. But now with a calm bladder, I have hope that there will be many more advances that work for me and my version of MS.
Until then I will keep on coping and carrying on.🙂
Got Questions? I’m happy to email, chat and all other digital communiqué.
And check out the NMSS explanation of Botox & MS.