This story is a part of the National Association For Continence’s “Voices Of Incontinence” campaign, which shows, in patient’s own words, what it’s like to live with incontinence. Learn more about this campaign, watch the videos, read other stories, and find resources to manage bladder leaks here.
I’m 67 years old. I’ve had bladder leaks for the past 10 years and I haven’t let it affect my life for one minute.
I believe that if you live your life as true to yourself as possible, it doesn’t really matter what’s thrown at you – you can get through it.
I find that the best thing to do is to just keep living your life as you normally would. It seems silly to me to let something like bladder leaks get in the way of my daily activities. It’s really all about perspective.
One thing that has helped me is that I don’t keep my bladder leaks a secret. It’s not like it’s the first thing I tell people when I meet them, but my friends and family all know that it’s something that I live with, and they accept that it’s a part of who I am. I think they also realize that if it doesn’t bother me, it shouldn’t bother them? So I have to wear protection. Who cares? I can still do pretty much anything I want to do.
I have a full life. I’m very social. I love gardening. Long walks around town with my husband. I’m always babysitting and playing with my grandchildren. I love to cook and try new recipes. I get together with my long-time girlfriends once a week (and since I let them know about my problem, many of them have confessed to dealing with it, too!). There are so many things that I enjoy doing. It’s silly to give all that up just because of a few harmless bladder issues.
I’ve also found that I feel more in charge when I’m doing something about it. I’ve taken medicine, found absorbent products that work for me and that I feel comfortable wearing them. (That actually took a lot of trial and error, but it was worth it.)
I even have an appointment set up to try something new (or at least new to me) called percutaneous nerve stimulation. I think that by being proactive in my treatment instead of just letting it happen to me, I feel more like I’m the one running the ship. Not my leaky bladder.
All this doesn’t mean that I don’t notice the bladder leaks. Are they annoying? Yep. Do I wish I didn’t have them? Yep. But are they going to dictate what I can and can’t do? Not one bit.
It’s as simple as this: At the end of the day, you have to think to yourself: Who is in charge? Me, or my bladder? I choose me every time.
San Jose, CA