Words from someone on their way to recovery
Disclaimer: Jane does not proclaim to be a medical authority. Any treatment options or medications should be discussed and monitored by your physician.
I am not going to bore you with all the details of my early IC days. You all know what it is like. I will say that I have not been symptomatic very long, although it has probably been building for years.
My first experience of IC symptoms was millennium New Year's Eve. A doctor I went to prescribed the usual treatment, which did not help. I then found another doctor, one who actually looked in my bladder. The other doctor had not. That procedure seemed to ease everything and my symptoms went away for 6 months, until July 2000. After that time I went on everything to try to treat my symptoms.
IC was not suspected for a while because I had no, and have never had, pain. My symptoms were frequency, pressure and urgency. The urologist was a nice man and would answer all my emergency calls. He prescribed anything I wanted and tried everything, including starting me on Elmiron. It all made me worse. He did a cystoscopy and discovered IC. No ulcers, but an inflamed dome of the bladder. He never talked to me about IC and never even spoke to me after the surgery. He just said I would be OK.
I was desperate. I was going to my local pharmacist almost every day for something new, and I asked her if she knew of anyone else with this disease. She did. She said she knew someone who had told her that she had found a person who had helped her. The pharmacist got the number of the doctor for me and this is the person I will tell you about. I would also like to tell you that this doctor came to me through another 2 routes. I was referred to this doctor by a friend of mine who is studying acupuncture and knew that she dealt with this disease. I also found her on the IC Network as a practitioner.
My practitioner's name is Matia Brizman. Camille features her on this website and you will find stories from other people who have been "healed" by her. These are people I interviewed. Matia has been treating me since August, 2000. I feel my story needs to be told, because people need to know about Matia and what she is doing.
I had never believed in alternative medicine and I have pooh-poohed it in the past. I am a straight down the line traditionalist and have always been happy with Western medicine, especially since I had a couple of serious ailments and have been helped successfully by Western medicine. The minute I went to Matia I got off all medication and just followed her instructions.
Matia Brizman is the most amazing person you could every wish to meet, especially for us ICers who have been suffering so badly. She understands IC like no one else and she is committed to helping us. She is passionate about it and is dedicating her life to it. She treats people all over the world, but I feel extremely lucky that I am in the same city as her, which is Los Angeles. What a resource!
I think many, if not most of us who have this disease, have a very high amount of Candida and probably certain bacteria. The first thing she does is test you for that. I was extremely high in yeast and had some bad bacteria. I also had chronic fatigue syndrome several years ago, which is another ailment that is connected with yeast. It took me a year to get over that. At that time I did nothing and it went away on its own.
The main focus is to ease the patient's discomfort and kill the "uglies" - yeast and bacteria. This is done creating a mixture of herbs for the patient. Basically your body builds up an immunity to any one medication. If you introduce multiple entities it gets confused and can't fight them off. It takes a long time with some people to get the right mix and I have been a difficult patient. I am extremely sensitive to everything so we had a hard time settling on a mix that agrees with me better. Matia estimates it can take anywhere from 3 months to a year for excellent results. However, all along you are slowly healing.
Part of the healing process is to strengthen the kidneys, and again you do that with herbs. The main part is an extremely, extremely strict diet. I have not drank anything but water or eaten anything but meat, fish, chicken etc., eggs, butter, a yeast-free bread, and Provolone and Munster cheese for 7 months. Occasionally I will have potatoes or rice but I try and avoid it because of the conversion to sugar, which feeds the yeast. All this also allows the bladder to heal and does not allow the yeast to feed off anything. Basically, the main focus of the diet is eliminating sugar and carbohydrates to starve the yeast.
Acupuncture is the icing on the cake. I always feel good after that, but it is also very powerful and can open things up. Matia does different points on different people according to their tolerance level. It is a fine art.
If there were a quick fix I would be the first to try it. I would be running. There isn't. This is an extremely healthy and proven successful alternative. Everyone comments on how good I look, probably from the herbs since they are very nourishing. I am now noticing that my symptoms are not as frequent and when they arrive they are not that severe and don't last as long. I am not able to function almost normally. I don't have to worry about going to the movies or taking a long plane ride. I just went to Florida for a week and had a great time with relatively few problems..
I am now eating almost normally. The only thing I stay away from is any kind of sugar and try not to overdo the carbs, which created sugar and, therefore, yeast. I drink coffee now also.
I have asked Matia if you have to believe in this and she says you don't, it will just happen. She has promised me that she will cure me. What more can anyone ask. Before I started with her I was setting up my bedroom in the bathroom and thinking that life was definitely not worth living.
This disease was a long time building up so I have been prepared to give it a long time to work its way out of my system. Anyone considering this route, and I truly believe you should be open to it, must have patience. It can take some time. I have sent quite a few people to Matia who have had the disease a lot longer than I, and they all seem to be very happy with her.
You may certainly contact me if you would like more information. I, like Camille, am trying to get the word out that you do not have to suffer the rest of your lives with this disease. As far as I am concerned Matia has an answer for patients with IC. She may not be able to help everyone, but she will certainly help a great deal of people.
Anyone in or near the Los Angeles area should certainly take advantage of the tremendous resource that she is.
For more information about Matia Brizman at Bomamed please see Interviews on this site.