Finding Freedom from Incontinence: One Diaper at a Time

holding-hands-keep-world-from-spinning

The World Keeps Spinning

I.A. Shares his Journey to Acceptance

If you’ve come this far, to find this story on this website, chances are that you and I have something in common. Chances are that we’ve been dealing with the same sort of private situation. And even though I know I don’t have all the answers, I hope that telling my story might help you reflect on your own journey so far. And maybe, you can find some solace in knowing that we’re in this together.

I remember having issues with nighttime enuresis (urinary incontinence) since my early teens – likely as a reaction to a very stressful family situation. It was usually light, but it was random and unpredictable. And at 13 years old, I didn’t really know how to make sense of what was going on besides trying to hide it. I went online for help and searched for answers — this was the early 2000’s. But unfortunately, the content available at that time didn’t lead me to the answers I needed. Eventually, I decided to secretly buy my first adult diaper, and I felt mortified. But worse than that, my problem at that time was so unpredictable that diapers didn’t help all that much, and so I decided they weren’t for me. As time went on, the issue would come and go, and I would simply try to hide the evidence as best as I could. I tried to talk to a few people, which turned out horribly. And so, I kept quiet about it, secretly hiding my nocturnal enuresis for a long time.

Years later, in my early twenties, I was diagnosed with a rare condition that formed blood clots in my colon, despite maintaining otherwise good health. And after my second (and last surgery), I came home noticing something different — persistent incontinence. The first few days were the worst. I experienced both urinary and rear leakage with a constant light drip from both ends. At first, I thought it was part of the recovery, and thankfully after some work, it did improve – though not completely. For the first week, I used whatever store diapers I could find to conceal the leakage, and this time around, they were much more helpful. Though, as several weeks passed, I thought the problem would simply “heal” and go away, but it persisted. I tried discussing it with my surgeon, but he didn’t provide any additional information or advice other than starting Kegel exercises and reevaluating my diet.

I tried to distract myself from the situation, but as time went on, it began to feel all-consuming. I stopped using diapers, and instead, I resorted to using the restroom almost continuously to try to conceal my issues. But still, people noticed, and I started to hear comments about it. At my age, it felt surreal to have these types of urinary issues. I had difficulty starting a flow, a very weak stream, and persistent dribbling. And at night, I used the restroom several times to avoid nighttime enuresis like in my early teens. Traveling with friends required extra thought and endless stress. I had a few minor accidents, and I remember being brutally made fun of by the group. And even though I know young men in their twenties are not known for their maturity, the experience shredded me.

About a year later, after another medical exam, I was informed that my issue had been caused by minor sphincter and nerve damage during my last surgery, and I realized that the symptoms might never fully resolve.

Around this time, I developed a few UTIs that led to an internal infection called acute prostatitis, and I suffered more flare ups after that, making it even more difficult to efficiently start and stop a urine stream. And I started dealing with more persistent light incontinence in general, especially at night. So, once again, I began the search for protective supplies online. And this time, I discovered Northshore Care Supply. At first, it seemed like a great option. I was beyond embarrassed to buy anything in-person, and the product worked. However, the visual style didn’t appeal to me, so I started using a different product instead – Depends Real-Fit. With Depends, I thought I could better “hide” my issues because of how they looked. I only used them in certain situations, and I wore regular underwear the rest of the time, changing back and forth as needed. However, the absorbent material of the Depends Real-Fit is limited to the front, which didn’t solve for my light rear leakage. And at night, they were useless. Nevertheless, they looked cool. And for a guy in his mid-twenties, that felt more crucial.

It was around this time that I started dating my wife, and she became my most trusted confidant. I was struggling immensely with both the physical and psychological effects of my incontinence, and it all felt like an unsolvable problem. But eventually, it was my wife who helped me accept the situation for what it was. She taught me that it wasn’t as big of a deal as I made it out to be in my head, and she motivated me to look for ways to be more comfortable, accepting my imperfections for what they are.

Now in my thirties, after many conversations and years of working at it, I’ve begun to feel like I can handle things with a more open mind. I’ve learned that the embarrassment only makes my troubles worse and to focus on finding ways to live comfortably. I discovered that it bothered me much more to show or feel leakage than the idea of wearing protection. So, I focused on that to feel more in control of the situation.

Identifying the things that I cared about most in life helped me gain perspective. My biggest priorities were maintaining my active lifestyle and sleeping better. And I knew wearing diapers would be the best way to achieve both of those things. So, I decided to explore leakage protection products again, but this time, with a more open mind. And once again, my search led me to Northshore Care Supply.

By this point, they had changed and improved some products, and I nervously reached out for some free samples, even though I felt that the products were a bit too much for my “light” needs. I still remember how I felt when I received the samples in the mail, including the popular Megamax. “Am I really doing this?” I thought. “Is this even right for me?” It all looked like overkill – too much for my needs. But I quickly discovered that the Megamax was surprisingly comfortable. And after a few nights trying it, I realized that I could sleep very well. It had been a very long time since I didn’t have to wake up several times in the night to use the restroom. And even though I didn’t have an accident every night, the feeling of knowing I was safe from any leakage was such a relief. I was at peace. I was comfortable. I could sleep.

After ordering other versions, I discovered that the GoSupreme style was the best solution for my lighter leakage needs during the day, and so I began to wear them more regularly. They were much more comfortable than the Depends Real-Fit, and once the black color option was available, the overall look and my acceptance of the situation both dramatically improved. I valued knowing that I didn’t have to worry about any potential leakage that may arise. They have great coverage on the front and back while still looking fairly discreet. Additionally, they’re breathable, great for activities like hiking and biking, and it’s still easy to use the restroom anytime as needed. At night, I started using Megamax more regularly to help me sleep better and, overtime, it got much easier to accept the fact that I was wearing that level of protection on a regular basis.

Ultimately, I learned that feeling comfortable isn’t only about finding products that help; I needed to find the right support from people and a company I can trust. Through the years, I’ve learned to accept things about myself and be more empathetic of others. And while my nighttime incontinence is still a bit sporadic, my daytime issue is quite constant. Luckily, having a sense of humor helps to make the situation feel less serious. I still enjoy working, traveling, visiting with friends, working out, hiking, and many more things — and I know I can still do everything I want with an adjusted mindset. Only very few people outside my wife know about my issue. Some may have figured it out, but I’ve learned the benefit in not concerning myself with other people’s opinions. I now know that finding ways to break the stigma is a very personal journey. Acceptance and finding solutions that bring peace of mind is a long process. But eventually, we all learn that the world keeps spinning all the same, regardless of our “embarrassing” issues. Maybe one day, I’ll stop dealing with mine. But until then, I’ll work with what I’ve got – one diaper at a time.

 



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We try to remove the confusion and isolation surrounding incontinence to guide our audience into our understanding that "Incontinence is very common, often treatable, and regardless, very manageable."

NorthShore is grateful for the opportunity to share our customer stories and to provide products that allow users to live life to the fullest.

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