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Friday, Jan. 15, Month 3- Officially it's been 2 full months since I started using a catheter. However; I don't feel the intermittent catheters I used for the first two weeks were very successful, so I'm not counting the first two weeks. Still, I'm approaching 2 full months of 24/7 catheter use. I still haven't tried going too long without having a catheter in so I can't say if I'm truly incontinent yet. As a side note, I've once again noticed that every now and again I've actually peed past my catheter. That is to say even with the catheter in and working I've still peed normally, not through the cath. I'm taking this as a sign that my true incontinence is starting to take hold. Things seem to be looking up. I still plan on 3 full months of catheter use before I try to find out though. The Abena X-pluses have been holding up well but I've only just now been able to order more, luckily I still have plenty of supplies. I still have find a Urologist that is willing to help, but I'm not very hopeful any more,
Wednesday, Feb. 3- This past week has been quite un-eventful for my cath use. I changed out my cath with the usual irritation that soon went away. I do have to say that I've started a major demolition job on my old pool though. I've been overworking my self, especially last Thursday when I got started on it. With being so active many parts of my body have been over worked, but my catheter hasn't given me the slightest trouble.
Thursday, Feb. 8- I had intended to change out my cath again yesterday but just ended up too busy. By the time I was ready to do I was so tired I just went to bed. My list of things to do was so long that I didn't really have the time to do it in the morning either. Too bad for me I was determined to get it done any way. I had hurried thought the cath changing so much that the irritation was so bad it actually hurt once again. I ignored it for the time being and hoped the pain & irritation would go away during my drive into work. Unfortunately that didn't happen and when I got the first chance I checked my self. Good thing too because there was a bit of blood mixed in with my newly wet diaper. I pulled the cath out and gave myself the afternoon to heal some. By the end of the day I was still feeling the affects of the too fast change and wasn't motivated to put a new one in just yet. On the plus side my usual, if not painful, urges have been greatly reduced to a more normal feeling of needing to pee bad.
Friday, Feb. 9- I had woken up twice in the middle of the night to go pee. In the past when I woke up to the urge of needing to pee it was always to flood my diaper, which would inevitably leak- a lot. As such I had practically trained myself to have to get up to pee, or at least sit up so my diaper could handle it. That would interrupt my sleep and was so disturbing that it was this problem, among so many others, that helped me to decide I would start using caths. Both times I woke up I was able to easily wet my diaper without having to get up, and my diaper didn't leak (thanks Abena X-plus)! Better yet, I was able to get back to sleep both times. I had planned on using another cath this morning but last night was very close to my original goal of getting rid of my urge for good. Being this close to fully incontinent has made me very happy, I just wish I could get a urologist to realize this too but I'm now wondering if I even need their help any more. I do have a few caths left but I going to try and go a few days without them just to see how my body has changed and if it is good enough.
Saturday, Feb. 10- The last few days have been really easy for me to wet when ever I need to. I still have to consciously allow myself to go as I can still feel the need to pee coming just before I let myself wet. At this point I don't really consider it urge incontinence any more simply because it no longer hurts any. I woke up three times last night to pee and each time I was able to allow myself to wet then easily go back to sleep. Based on the 12 month program of reverse potty training I'm only in the first month of the program, and it only took me just under 3 months of improvement to get here- what a joke on me huh. At any rate, I feel my cath use has been successful enough for me that I don't really need to continue using them.
Monday, Feb. 15, End of Month 3- It has been 3 full months now since I started to successfully use Foley catheters, though not quite 3 full months of actual use. Based on my own experiences I'd have to say that cath use for incontinence training really does work. Although my situation is a bit different from what most people have because of my urge incontinence, I can still tell that my bladder has definitely shrunk and my external sphincter has weakened considerably. This isn't something that should just be tried because it sounds like a good idea though. It was definitely a hard start, and has been even harder keeping at it for more than the past 3 months. I can say there are a lot of scare tactics out there to prevent people from trying this. I can also say that I never got an infection, and that my urethra wasn't worn though by my caths. However, now that my bladder has be effectively reset, I think I just might try the reverse potty training and see how that goes.
For anyone reading this and thinking they want to try using caths, I have a few tips. First, make sure you've been wearing a diaper 24/7 for at least a few months. You'll need them that much if you have a cath in place, so make sure you're comfortable wearing a diaper to work and in front of your family & friends first.
Second, make sure you can afford a good quality, premium diaper. The store bought "briefs" and just about any low quality "underwear" will not be able to handle the constant wetting. Depending on individual fit I'd recommend Bambino, Molicare, Secure x-plus, or Abena x-plus only. This isn't a joke, these diapers are expensive and can cost up to $2.00 for each individual diaper. With 4 or 5 changes a day they can be more expensive than chain smoking. Also, when changing your diaper try opening it up and laying the used diaper on the floor while you put the new one on. This way you won't drip pee on the floor.
Third, make sure you drink at least the recommended 8x 8oz cups of water each day and include at least a cup or two of cranberry juice every day. This is extremely important to keep your kidneys, and your cath, flushed and free of infection. Besides, if you cut down on your water intake your pee will be a dark yellow and smell so bad you'll have to change before your diaper is even a quarter full. Either way you'll be changing a lot so I say enjoy the wetness and your health too.
Fourth, keep your diaper area, and the cath tip, clean. Use a good anti-bacterial soap and don't use a lot of powder. The powder will coat the cath and act as sand paper when ever you get an arousal, and accompanied personal size change. If you get a lot of arousals I found that coating the exposed cath tubing with a small amount of petroleum jelly (don't bother with lube it's water based and will dry out) helps the cath to slide in and out most of the day.
Fifth, get ready for some discomfort. You will definitely experience irritation after putting a new cath in no matter how much lube you use. If you can get a prescription for a numbing lube then all the better. At first you can also expect to get some blood from irritating your prostrate. My urologist said that's to be expected, and that the prostrate will heal from it. Eventually it should get tough enough not to bleed with a cath change. It's best to change out the cath when you can devote some time to lying down for 30 minutes afterwards, it will help your rebound.
Sixth, arousals will happen even with a cath irritating you. At first, taking care of an arousal can be painful, especially for someone not used to it. The good news is that it gets less and less painful with practice.
Seventh, take care of your skin. Constant diaper use can easily lead to rashes. Try sitting on the toilet for a little while, just make sure the cath tip isn't dipping into the toilet water or rubbing against the toilet bowl. You can also try lying in bed with the cath tip wrapped in a towel. Ten minutes under your bedroom fan like this is just as good as 30 minutes of standing over an open diaper. After you're dry try using a little diaper rash ointment as a preventative measure, especially if you get rashes easily.
Eighth, don't give up. Using a cath for a week or two then giving your self some "time off" won't do you any good in the long run, even if you go right back to using caths again. More likely it will only set you back since that brief time without the cath meant you were also using your external sphincter again. It took me almost 3 full months of cath use to see an actual improvement towards obtaining a resemblance of incontinence, of which I'm still far from. This is definitely a long term program with associated risks. I don't recommend using caths unless you've tried other options first and are still definitely serious about obtaining incontinence.
Well, hope you got something from my journals and little bits of advice. I know I'm no urologist because if I was then this entry wouldn't even exist. That said I know some people will disagree with at least something I've said. I'm only basing this on my own personal experiences, and of course, "individual results may vary". Happy days and wet dreams everyone.
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