IC & Independence Day – Get Out & Celebrate

letfreedomringMany interstitial cystitis patients dread holidays, such as Independence Day. The joyful family picnic or nighttime firework display lose their appeal when you’re struggling with a sensitive bladder, need restroom access and would like to eat something that won’t trigger an IC flare. Yes, we have a bladder disorder. Yes, it gives us plenty of discomfort at times. But, yes, we also deserve to be a part of the celebration. Don’t let IC isolate you. You have the right to participate as fully as you would like. I encourage you to enjoy the day!

Embrace Your “independence”

There is no reason for you to shy away from important family and community events. There is no shame in having a pelvic pain disorder. I want you to walk in, with your head held high. You have done nothing wrong. You didn’t ask for IC. Your place in your community has not changed and, in fact, many would argue that you would more welcome and are deserving of their support and encouragement.

You have the right to use the restroom

If you need restroom access, ask for it and use that opportunity to educate someone else about interstitial cystitis. If you’re at a park and none are available, then bring some TravelJohn’s and duck behind a bush! Seriously, you can make some hysterical memories with your friends while trying to find the perfect place to have a discrete pee.

There are plenty of IC friendly foods available

If you need bladder friendly foods, bring your own or seek it out. If, for example, there’s a community barbecue happening, ask the cooks to grill you some meat without the spices and sauce. Better yet, bring it yourself. The great news is that most picnic foods are IC friendly, including: BBQ steak, chicken, corn on the cob, breads, salads and even Apple Pie.

Happy Hour Alternatives

For drinks, how about sparkling mineral water with some mint or berries in it. Think infused spa waters. Even some lemon rind will give it a light, refreshing flavor without irritating the bladder so much. If your bladder is calm enough that you’d like to try some alcohol, go for the pale ale beers, apple, pear or berry hard ciders. If wine is on the menu, stick with a lower acid Merlot, keep it to one glass over ice. Always follow any alcohol with a glass of water to dilute your urine. Of course, if your bladder is flaring, its best to avoid all alcohols.

Nurturing Others Who Also Struggle

There’s an old saying that some patients find grating: “It’s not what happens to you that’s important, but what you do with it.” Yes, we have interstitial cystitis and struggle, often daily, with discomfort but there are millions of others who have their own struggles, some far worse than ours.

So, as you set about Independence Day, don’t hesitate. Get yourself out of the house and enjoy the day. Give yourself permission to be among friends. If you don’t want to do a long party, then at least go for an hour or so.

If you’re in a crowd and not sure who to talk to, look for others who might sitting alone and struggling. Break their isolation for just a few minutes and you will have done a very important service for someone else that day! Please thank anyone who has served and protected our right to freedom and liberty!

At 2pm, I hope you’ll join me in ringing a bell to honor our country. This is a long standing tradition that began during John F. Kennedy’s presidency honoring the concept – “Let Freedom Ring.” But how about we also ring the bell to honor our brothers and sisters with IC. I’ll be thinking of you all when I do it!

Jill 🙂

By | 2017-01-31T12:42:30+00:00 July 3rd, 2014|Diet & Food, Interstitial Cystitis Network Blog, Jill's Journal, Self-Help Tips for IC, Bladder & Pelvic Pain|Comments Off on IC & Independence Day – Get Out & Celebrate

About the Author:

My Google Profile+ Jill Heidi Osborne is the president and founder of the Interstitial Cystitis Network, a health education company dedicated to interstitial cystitis, bladder pain syndrome and other pelvic pain disorders. As the editor and lead author of the ICN and the IC Optimist magazine, Jill is proud of the academic recognition that her website has achieved. The University of London rated the ICN as the top IC website for accuracy, credibility, readability and quality. (Int Urogynecol J - April 2013). Harvard Medical School rated both Medscape and the ICN as the top two websites dedicated to IC. (Urology - Sept 11). Jill currently serves on the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Panel (US Army) where she collaborates with researchers to evaluate new IC research studies for possible funding. Jill has conducted and/or collaborates on a variety of IC research studies on new therapeutics, pain care, sexuality, the use of medical marijuana, menopause and the cost of treatments, shining a light on issues that influence patient quality of life. An IC support group leader and national spokesperson for the past 20 years, she has represented the IC community on radio, TV shows, at medical conferences. She has written hundreds of articles on IC and its related conditions. With a Bachelors Degree in Pharmacology and a Masters in Psychology, Jill was named Presidential Management Intern (aka Fellowship) while in graduate school. (She was unable to earn her PhD due to the onset of her IC.) She spends the majority of her time providing WELLNESS COACHING for patients in need and developing new, internet based educational and support tools for IC patients, including the “Living with IC” video series currently on YouTube and the ICN Food List smartphone app! Jill was diagnosed with IC at the age of 32 but first showed symptoms at the age of 12.