Sometimes You Have to Put Yourself First

I’ve been fairly inactive lately.  I recently got diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis, which is what has caused my mysterious lower abdomen pain that I’ve had since I was as young as 6.

When I got home from the doctor’s office with an answer finally, I realized every single food and drink item in my home was not good for the bladder.  Choosing food with this condition can be extremely difficult.  I had to give away my bananas, vegan Ben & Jerry’s, popcorn, pretzels, soy sauce, tangerines, lemonade, granola bars, green bell peppers, onions, marinara sauce… I could go on and on, but that would just make me sad.

Now I’m practically surviving on unsalted almonds, peanut butter, plain cereal, unsweetened almond milk, and potatoes.  Eventually, I should be able to add some foods back because each bladder is different.

For now, my doctor suggested adding in some dairy products, which I was very resistant to, of course.  Once I had a plain vanilla milkshake, it calmed down the flare up I was having.  Since then, I’ve had one almost every single day.

It has allowed me to eat with slightly more variation, which has made me have more energy than I had before the diagnosis or when eating the same things over and over.  Apparently variety is important when it comes to getting all the nutrients you need to be healthy, who knew.

I’m hoping to return to dairy-free life once I hopefully add more food to my diet.  But for now, I am proud to be a vegetarian who is taking care of herself.  It’s impossible for me to go anywhere and do anything, let alone spread the message of environmentalism when I’m in so much pain.

It reminds me of when the flight attendants always say, “Please put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.”  It’s very impractical, if not impossible to help others when you have not helped yourself first.

It might feel like the weight of saving the world is on your shoulders (or is that just me?), but double check you aren’t risking your physical or mental health in the process!


being upside down is one of my favorite things to do, but I haven’t been able to do it since my diagnosis, but I’m hopeful I’ll return to my natural state soon. 🙂


If y’all have any questions or helpful advice, please comment below!


  1. Learning how to look after yourself with a chronic illness is the most important thing you can do! It looks a bit different for everyone, and it’s definitely something you build up. I’ve found it takes a bit of trail and error. I hope you find a good variety of foods that work for you.

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  2. it’s always good to find out the cause of long-term suffering, but giving up so many food items has to be challenging.. yet, if you get relief, then it’s worth it. almonds are a great treat, but giving up bananas – ooh…. and lemons… onions..peppers….. things italian and mexican and maybe even cajun!

    i hope that you’re soon enjoying your upside-down ops – something that gives you joy!

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      1. i’ve found that peanuts were most likely the link to arthritis-type pain in my hands.. years ago it was potatoes – cut out potatoes, and the pain went away.. i can eat a few without probs, just not a main staple.. the peanuts, i thought were a good ‘snack’ and i bought them when in town… and first i blamed lingering chikungunya side effects.. and one day i looked at the rack of peanuts and thought, ‘could they….?’ — cut them out and yes, now my hands are basically pain and spasm free…

        go figure!

        i can eat them now and then, just not too often!

        good luck with your own trial and error experiments!

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  3. I suffer with interstitial cystitis as well and have had it for the past couple of years. My main advice is when you feel like it is getting to much rest. This can be really hard especially if you are a person who loves to do things but it is nearly impossible to feel better if you don’t give yourself time to recover. When it comes to exercise I have been told not to do running or anything like that but things like beginners yoga and beginners pilates can really help as they work on specific muscles and aren’t too much of a strain. I tried swimming and as long as it’s not a chlorine pool then it can be helpful as well. I really hope you feel better soon as it is such a horrible condition

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    1. Thank you for the advice! I am one of those people who never takes a break and I love running and playing sports. It’s been really hard to adjust, but I’m realizing I physically cannot keep going.


  4. I’ve had IC for over 10 years now (diagnosed when I was 14). Let me tell you – it gets better. I am an active person, I love dance and yoga. Some days its hard to get out of bed – other days I’m rocking arm balances and head stands. My advice is learn as much as you can about IC, but take all that you learn with a grain of salt because IC affects every person’s body differently. Your journey is your own, but please do not feel doomed by your diagnosis. A great book that has helped me cope is “Solving the Interstitial Cystitis Puzzle” by Amrit K. Willis – it’s a life saver.

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