After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2005, I found myself in the midst of a bunch of small but continual attacks. It's funny with MS: sometimes attacks are very definite and impairments can be obvious and other times things are more subtle and patients question what's going on. The latter was true for me when I began treatment for my MS in 2005.
Although I was on medication, I continued to experience bladder and bowel urgencies. MS symptoms can crop up and then disappear, or they can be permanent. Seems I was accumulationg permanent damage and symptoms from prior attacks.
I was in a clinical trial at the time and my mother and I would venture to a medical center an hour away so that I could be monitored at least once a month. Those journeys proved to be exasperating as my mom would have to pull over at rest stops for me to use the bathroom. One time we just made it to the medical center as I ran out of the car--- weak and tingly from a current MS attack--- and just made it into the ladies' room as my bowel muscles gave up. I must confide that from that point on I was scared and hyper-vigilant about knowing where all the bathrooms were in new locations.
During that time I also found myself worrying about incontinence as my husband and I took walks around our neighborhood. Nothing was certain and what I used to think I had the ability to control was no longer controllable. I would panic when we were a bit far from our house and then I'd try to calmly head back, sometimes telling my husband that I'd meet him at home. A few times I seriously had to squat near my house to hold in my urges. No complete bowel or urinary incontinence yet, but I was getting awfully close and the thought of squatting down and trying to discretely get home before a neighbor(s) witnessed this was terrifying. No one in my neighborhood knew my secret besides my husband.
I had a serious MS attack about a year after my diagnosis (spring 2006), and this was the first time I experienced complete urinary incontinence. Prior to this I'd contended with some leaking. I was also struggling with not being able to go to the bathroom at times--- hesitancy--- and as the MS was further attacking my bladder fuctionings, I found myself wetting the bed on two occasions during that particular MS attack.
This was the beginning of my forray into episodes of complete urinary and bowel incontinence. Although I am currently healthy and I'm better able to cope and prepare my day ahead of time, I still deal with the fear of being incontinent in public.
Published On: May 26, 2010