I must be up front and warn you that this blog might make you feel a little uncomfortable. It might make you look at me in a different way. And because of this I would like to allow you to log off now and choose to not know this deep, dark secret about me...
For those of you that are still with me, I will now return to sharing about the gift I was given by my friends. Before Eoin was born, Sean and I were avid tennis players. It was the first thing Sean and I did together to get ourselves back in shape. To improve our tennis skills, we would often take private lessons with small groups of our tennis friends. At one of these private lessons, my two friends were going for a ball and ended up running right into each other and bouncing into the fence. The two of them began to laugh hysterically holding their stomachs and rolling on the ground. They were laughing so hard that they could hardly speak, but I did hear one of them squeak out, "Oh my God...I am going to pee my pants." And then the other one added in, "As if all that jumping and bouncing around didn't already make it hard enough to keep it all in." I paused in shock. These girls were ten years younger than me, and here they were freely blurting out what I had been hiding for years--when I cough, when I sneeze, when I laugh, I have difficulty not letting the "tears" run down my legs. In fact, one time I was presenting in front of an entire group of teachers, male and female, and they made me laugh so hard that I had to sneak home at lunch to put on a new outfit.
And the ironic thing is that while we are not supposed to talk about it, the medical profession seems to be unaware of this social taboo. Once I finally decided to seek medical advice I not only had to share my difficulty with my primary doctor, but before I could even see the urologist, they made me go to a class with a bunch of strangers while we all sat around uncomfortably listening to our options. And did I mention that I was one of two people under sixty in that room? And as if that wasn't humiliating enough, they assigned me to the best looking doctor in the entire hospital. I could hardly look at him as I was answering his probing medical questions, but once I got over the embarrassment, this doctor actually helped me.
Besides wanting to make this subject less taboo, the other reason I felt compelled to share this week is that I have a friend, who used to be a runner, act surprised to learn that I could still run with this condition. She had given up running due to the problem. The truth is, that when I first started running, before I went to the doctor, it was a little uncomfortable, but I worked around it. I hydrated the night before races, but I was always careful the morning of races to not drink too much. I hit the porta-potties several times before the race gun went off, and, just in case none of that worked, I would wear a pad.
I know--TMI! But I am hoping this may help other readers realize that they do not have to give up exercising just because they suffer from this condition or other ailments. I am hoping that just one person can see that while I suffer from mild incontinence, I still exercise 5-6 days a week, I still run half marathons on a consistent basis, and I still finished a full Ironman length race without being affected at all by this problem. Sometimes you just need to find solutions, but giving up should never be your first option!
Below find my favorite Monty Python video--again, sometimes it just helps to laugh!