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Living Overseas with IC

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  • Living Overseas with IC

    I just found out I have IC. I am 28 and have been teaching in North Africa. I came back to the States where I found out the "bladder infections" I've had four of in the past seven months are really IC. Is it wise to return back to North Africa for twelve weeks to finish teaching, or stay and begin treatment options and check-ups? Would you return for a whole school year to teach there if you could not have treatment and no doctors speak English or really know what IC is?


  • #2
    So glad you found us.

    That has to be so individual.... I would not return b/c I could not live comfortably without my medication. I would probably stay here and get treatments started and see if I could get my symptoms under control before returning. But that's just me.

    Hope you've found the ICN's free online handbook:

    It has so much wonderful information about symptoms, treatment, self-help tips, coping, and especially about the IC Diet which is crucial for so many ICers. Check it out!

    Diagnosed August 2001

    Current IC meds: Elmiron (since 2001), Levaquin (one pill after intercourse to prevent UTIs), Effexor (for depression & anxiety)

    Past IC meds: Amitriptyline (Elavil), Hydroxyzine (Vistaril), Detrol LA, Lexapro (for depression & anxiety, but also helped my IC) (They all helped, but I was able to discontinue them.)

    I've been virtually symptom free and able to eat & drink whatever I'd like for about 8 years now.


    “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.” ~ Viktor Frankl

    “You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.” ~ Brian Tracy


    • #3
      Oh wow Faith, that's a hard choice to make. I guess it would depend on how bad you feel and what you feel is most important to you. If you want to go back and finish out the school year in North Africa and feel that you can handle it and that it is safe for your health then I don't see why not. I can't imagine not getting any treatment at all but I'm in pain most days. Have you asked the dr who diagnoised your IC what they would suggest? Maybe that would help you make a decision. Maybe you could take some meds back with you to Africa to last you until the end of the school year is over and you can come back. I'm sure you'll get lots of responses and to the IC network, you'll find tons of info here.

      I have been diagnoised for 6 1/2 years now. I have taken a long break from the ICN but really miss helping out my fellow IC patients and want to get back into posting.
      1st hydro 4/07 showed no visible signs of IC but tons of mast cells in all my biopsy samples which did prove IC.
      2nd hydro 4/13/09 showed dark purple glomerulations and I had a capacity of 450 cc's. This hydro proved that my IC had progressed.
      I have tried every oral medication as well as rescue instills and DMSO.

      I have been lucky enough to see Dr Hanno, the top IC specialist in PA who has told me due to the fact that I have not responded to any "standard" treatments that I have a severe, end stage case of IC with a horrible quality of life (didn't have to tell me that last part!)

      Proud wifey of Shane, mommy to Griffin, and step-mom to Logan and Gage
      Also proud mom to the best Bullmastiff on earth, Claus


      • #4
        I know it is a hard decision, but imho you really need to get treatment.


        • #5
          Wow...I'm sorry that you are faced with such a difficult decision. I think that it really depends on how you are feeling. If you're in remission much of the time, it might not be so bad.

          But, honestly, for me....I would stay in the United States. I can't imagine being far away from doctors who could provide relief if I was in a flare. Besides, are you with the Peace Corps? If so, they might not let you go back if you have a chronic medical condition that requires medical attention. They are sticklers about that.


          • #6
            oversea dilemma!

            Hello there! My mom is from Finland, and so half of my family, a very large family at, reside in and/or around Helsinki, Finland. I am actually entitled to dual citizenship and have not yet proceeded with it, because of my health issues. Even though it would be possible for me to receive treatment there, I have not been able to manage the condition enough to travel to my family for an extended period of time.
            Considering the location, you are discussing, I highly recommend not returning until you are quite sure you are feeling much better. It could be near impossible to receive the help you need. PLUS I.C. does not get better with time when left untreated!! So, do note, if you exert your energy in certain areas, you are likely to get progressively worse, and quick. I highly recommend you do all the research you can, find the best doctor's, and join us here for all the support and encouragement you could ever hope for! Whatever the choice, I wish you all the best!
            Love is a fruit in season at all times, within reach of every hand. ~ The Blessed Mother Teresa

            Status: Diagnosed October 2006 via cystoscopy with hydrodistention. Max anesthetized bladder capacity only 250 cc's. Mast cells and pinpoint bleeding found.

            Remission for me means less pain for more days than not. Frequency is inevitable with a bladder this tiny! That is ok though. The difference between when I was diagnosed and now, is that I have embraced that fact. Me and the loo, we are one.


            • #7
              I wish I could help, but this is a decision you will need to make for yourself. If you find the diet helps a lot in controlling your symptoms and you are able to get the medications you need, you could probably make it through the twelve weeks, but I would be certain there's the option of coming back before then if you need to. And if you do decide to return for the full year, would you have the option of talking by phone with a doctor here?

              I hope you feel better very quickly.

              Stay safe

              Elmiron Eye Disease Information Center -
              Elmiron Eye Disease Fact Sheet (Downloadable) -

              Have you checked the ICN Shop?
              Click on ICN Shop at the top of this page. You'll find Bladder Builder and Bladder Rest, both of which we are finding have excellent results.

              Patient Help:


              Diet list:

              AUA Guidelines:

              I am not a medical authority nor do I offer medical advice. In all cases, I strongly encourage you to discuss your medical treatment with your personal medical care provider. Only they can, and should, give medical recommendations to you.

              Anyone who says something is foolproof hasn't met a determined fool


              • #8
                My thought is that it depends on how much pain or discomfort you are in. If you have a level of IC where you feel okay most of the time with periodic flares & you can reduce those flares by diet & 1 or 2 oral medications, then it makes sense to finish your 12 weeks. If you are in pain all the time (as I was when I first developed IC), then you probably need to stay here to take a more aggressive approach to treatment.

                Remember also that the people on these boards tend to be in the sicker half of IC patients, because the ones who are diagnosed quickly & respond well to treatment often have no need of an internet support group & are out living their lives. There are thousands of IC patients out there living active & full lives with well-managed IC.

                Wishing you better days soon & clarity for your decision making---

                I am not a medical authority nor do I offer medical advice. In all cases, I strongly encourage you to discuss your medical treatment with your personal medical care provider. Only they can, and should, give medical recommendations to you.

                New favorite quote: "God gives us only what we can handle. Apparently God thinks I'm a bad-ass" ~Author Unknown
                Source - Pinterest

                Current treatments:
                -IC diet
                -Elavil 50mg at night
                -Continuous use birth control pills (4-5 periods/year)
                -Heparin/Marcaine/Sodium Bicarb home instills at night 3-4x per week, more often if needed
                -Pyridium if needed,
                -Pain medicine at bedtime daily, as needed during the day several times per week
                -Antibiotic when doing an instillation to prevent UTI
                -Colace & SmartFiber to treat chronic constipation from meds, Fleet enema as needed
                -Dye Free Benadryl 50 mg at bedtime
                -"Your Pace Yoga: Relieving Pelvic Pain" dvd, walking, treadmill at gym
                -Managing stress= VERY important!
                -Fur therapy: Hugging the cat!


                • #9
                  How long do you have before you have to make a decision on this?
                  I guess it all depends on just how lousy this all is making you feel. If you're still functional for the most part, then I would say do your best to follow the diet and go out and do what you really want to do. If you find that this is so severely impacting your day-to-day life, then I'd try to hold off on returning until you can figure out what it is that works for you...the problem there is, that for some people, that can be a very, very long time.