After a more than four year battle with UTI's, having 17 last year alone, things had finally turned around and I was rapidly approaching the 6 month mark where I could look at 6 months with no UTI's as a significant landmark for me. Then the call came. I had actually been doing so well for such a long time, that my mind set was that my symptoms just HAD to be a flare and UTI never even entered my mind. Last Tuesday when I was in for my weekly instillation, they took the usual urine sample and checked it before I left. Even then, when the nurse said it was positive for trace blood and leukocytes, I still didn't think anything of it. After all, I always have trace blood and I've even had leukocytes but didn't have an infection. So I was not alarmed, but the nurse told me they would send it out for a culture to be sure. I still did not expect to hear anything assuming it would be negative. That's how much I had finally convinced myself I had broken the string and all would be well.
When I got the call and my nurse said she had some bad news, I couldn't imagine what it was. Then she said those dreaded words: "you have a UTI". I was literally dumbfounded with my mouth hanging open. I could not believe it. I was so surprised that it just goes to show how strong our minds are. I just had convinced myself it wasn't going to happen that when it did, I was really surprised.
But, here's the thing. I have made a lot of progress in learning to cope with bad news or set-backs that I did not fall to pieces when I found out. Yes, there is disappointment. There is a level of concern that going forward, will I be able to get back on track. But I am not the basket case I would have been in the past. My work in therapy has helped with this a lot, but so has time. Just learning over time to try to maintain and even keel emotionally has been something I learned to work on not long after being diagnosed. It is something I continue to work on and consider a "work in progress". But I am making strides in this area and I think it's important to share this with everyone.
I know when I was first diagnosed, my emotional state went up and down with every piece of good or bad news. I was a mess. IC can often be a roller coaster when it comes to how well or not we are doing. Having to try different treatments, some working, some not. If we allow ourselves to get too high when we have a "good" day, when the inevitable "bad" day happens, we drop off the cliff with a bam! I learned early on I did not like getting too excited about good things and I certainly didn't like falling apart into a ball of tears with struggles and challenges or bad news. So I have worked these 12 years to just take it one day at a time.
Yes, I had myself totally convinced the UTI problem was under control to the point I never even suspected I had one. But I was not in an overly happy state about it. I was pleased and felt confident that things were going really well. I knew I wasn't going to NEVER get another UTI; it was just a matter of time. So even though I was surprised and taken aback when I got the news, I have been proud of my response to this set-back. I told the nurse yesterday that of course I was disappointed but I knew it was going to happen at some time. I am taking my antibiotics and we'll see how it goes after that.
One day at a time. There will always be set-backs, but I am making progress. It may be a work in progress, but I am definitely making progress. So I have decided to be proud of myself, and move forward.
There may be bumps in the road ahead. I don't know how I will react if that happens. But I will continue to talk about this in therapy. Work on it daily and make it my goal every day to just be OK with whatever that day brings and do whatever is necessary on each day to deal with what comes my way.