An Active Life With an Overactive Bladder

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It comes on instantly when it happens.

I don't know if something puts it in your head but if you think about it, it has some sort of an effect on it. You just don't know how to tell people what you have. In fact, I didn't know what I had for so long. Finding out that there was something called overactive bladder was a revelation.

It hits like that and you must do something about it at that point. I can be right here in my own yard and if the urge strikes me, 100 feet is too far to walk. It's OK if you're alone because you can dance around and try to hold on to it while you're standing up, but if you're not alone, then that's a very awkward thing to be doing.

There are many kinds of incontinence, there's urge continence, there's stress incontinence, enuresis, which is bedwetting.

I go to the bathroom many more times a day than anyone else does. You might have to go every 15 minutes and you know perfectly well there is only a teaspoon of liquid left in your bladder, but it doesn't matter because it wants out now.

[MUSIC PLAYING] When you have OAB, you have to think about what you're wearing, you think about where you're going, you think about where the bathrooms are.

You think about what level absorbent you might need for that day that you're going to have. Are you going to be able to get by with the smaller one or do you need the max. You just can't tell. I can even feel it start to do it right now when we're talking about it.

You can feel that bladder's going, oh, maybe I need to go now. Honestly, I need to go right now.

All right, please go.

It hits like that. Curling was a revelation to me when I started. I've competed in hundreds of bonspeils all over the country. There was an Olympic trial in Utica, New York, there were nationals in Duluth, Minnesota and Utah, the year before the Olympics there. We played on the Olympic ice.

Curling requires a lot of strategy and the skip has to know that strategy. And when you're skipping your own life with overactive bladder, you definitely have to plan carefully. It's never convenient to leave the ice to go to the bathroom.

You go from everything's fine to a little bit of panic when urge strikes you and it's in a very inconvenient spot. And it's just like when we have a broom lose a hair and it gets underneath the stone, and the stone instead of coming straight at you, all of a sudden goes sideways. That's what your life does when you have overactive bladder.

[MUSIC PLAYING] I mean, I think everybody can figure out ways to manage their life and the sports they enjoy, and the things they like to do. It's a little less embarrassing now that I'm more open about it. If I have to go on a trip with people, I go ahead and tell them. They need to understand why we have to stop at every rest area on the way.

It's really better if your family knows, if your friends know, if people that you work with know because it makes your life a lot easier when you don't have to hide it. Now that I can talk about it and not cringe, it's something that I can do to help other people learn to manage and learn to cope with having what amounts to an embarrassing medical issue.

Do you mind? I really have to go right now.


Can we cut for a minute?