Unknown to me, it would seem, in retrospect, my bladder was the first sign of things not being quite right with my body. Sport was the biggest problem especially as my passion lay with gymnastics and trampolining. At 16, 17 and 18 years old, due to the pressure and force on the bladder I would unfortunately leak excessively causing me to have to stop my training early or wear pull-ups, as a pad could not contain the leakage.
I went to the doctor and the urologist at the hospital diagnosed me with an overactive bladder and ‘over activity with sensory urgency during the filling phase’. Medication started with Tolterodine once a day. This then changed as I only got marginal improvements, to Mirabegron which gave me side effects so I later went on Solifenacin.
We then discussed other options like a new trial with anticholinergics, Botox injections (I was not keen on) and percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) which I choose to have once a week. This consisted of having an acupuncture needle on the inside of my upper ankle, which transmitted electrical shocks up the leg. This treatment method was to help strengthen and train the muscles and nerves around the bladder. From once a week it then extended to twice a month then once a month, for a year.
In April 2021, I had already been about 6 months into my first full time job as receptionist for Outpatients at East Surrey hospital which, wait for it, covered Urology, Ophthalmology and Neurology. So, I would not only meet my mother for her MS appointments, I would sometimes sit in with her as, more importantly, I looked after her neurologist’s patients during the day while at work.
Suddenly spending a lot of time in-front a screen and wearing glasses would cause anybody’s eyes to hurt and because of Covid, it had been a while since I had any eye test. One day, I came home and I said to my parents “my eye hurts and I have slightly blurred vision”. My dad said “what do you mean, in what way?” I explained that it felt like I was straining to see, so my mum said she would book me an appointment for an eye test – my lenses probably needed to be stronger. And with one more sentence, one more description of the problem with my eye – my mum knew – in seconds, she left the room to compose herself – “I feel like when I clean my glasses or wipe my eyes, there is still something in-front of them”.
………….to be continued