When IC overcame my body there were many times I thought that I did not have the strength to make it through one more day. It is because of a few close friends and my dear fiancee that I found a strength that I never thought I possessed, hidden deep inside. I encounter this same strength every day whenever I 'meet' a new IC patient across the many miles. Hearing their stories my heart squeezes at the amount of pain that they endure, the self-catherizations, the nights spent asleep on the bathroom floor, their tales of family and friends deserting them when they need them the most. Yet, they wake up every day and find the strength to not only care for themselves, moving about the world in a body now riddled with pain, but many of them are still fulfilling roles of wife, mother, sister, coworker, or caregiver to an aging family member.
Many IC patients are quiet about their disease and of their horrific pain. Some of my closest IC friends are artists, writers, wives and passionate and caring friends to me. Their strength becomes my strength and I revel in their fortitude and their resolve to live a fully developed life in spite of their pain. Strength has many names and many faces, just like those of us living with IC. You see we are all willow trees.