Interstitial cystitis and student years

I had IC from age 13 (I’am 33 now) and it really affected my studies and career.The pain meds made me extremely sleepy and drowsy and coupled with the pain I found it difficult to get a good nights rest.Now it’s possible to bear this if it goes on for a week but to have it for years and years and years really drains a person out.

I remember struggling to take in material for my lectures and struggling to remember things since the meds made me feel sleepy and spaced out.

Looking back what advice can I give to students?

First of all I’d advise students to study smart and focus on areas most likely to crop up in an exam.There’s always extra recommended reading but if you’re struggling to take in any material at all it’s best to know fewer important things and know them well.

I’d also recommend that students ask their fellow students and friends for notes.Some colleges even have note takers if you’re too drowsy and in pain to take notes.I for one didn’t know about this so missed out on the opportunity to have a note taker.However I managed to get by because my friends gave me their notes

I’d also advice following a super strict bladder friendly diet as this will help cut down the pain and help you focus on your studies and career.Don’t have coffee during exams to keep you up as this will increase the pain.

Some colleges give you grades after considering extenuating circumstances and IC qualifies as an extenuating circumstance. Tutors will take your IC into consideration and mark your papers more leniently.I took advantage of this in the last year of my degree but didn’t know about this in my first 2 university years.

Lastly develop a thick skin- while some friends and family are awesome and may support a lot you others may have a condescending attitude and say things like’ why can’t you be positive and go abroad for a cure and the latest treatment’ or ‘It’s just a minor acidity and bladder problem’They may not choose or bother to find out that there is no cure but feel entitled to dish out free condescending advice without knowing much about the disease.Other friends may be awesome and support you extremely well. I had some awesome friends who went out of their way to help me while others had a judging ,condescending attitude ( luckily the mean friends were in the minority).It’s a mixed bag.Don’t let the bad apples affect you. Remember that most of them get all grumpy with having just a day’s fever and so they shouldn’t really comment on someone who has been suffering for years:)

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