Diana Brady's own struggles with interstitial cystitis led her to become a medical expert on the subject. (Photo Contributed)
It was Flag Pond resident Diana Brady’s own struggles with interstitial cystitis that led her to seek information on the disease and eventually help others suffering from it. Those efforts now are being recognized by local and state officials.
Brady, a New Jersey native, spent about 16 years in the “corporate world,” but left that environment when she became sick.
Diagnosing the ailment that left her in constant pain was a difficult task.
When she began to suffer symptoms that resembled a chronic bladder infection without actually having an infection, Brady went to 15 different doctors in three different states over the course of seven years to try to get the proper diagnosis. What she discovered, however, was that most doctors were unsure of how to care for her and completely unfamiliar with the disease later determined to be interstitial cystitis, or IC for short.
“They simply did not know about this disease, and they simply did not know how prevalent it was,” Brady said.
Also known as painful bladder syndrome, IC is a disease that is difficult to diagnose because of its variety of symptoms of severity. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is a chronic condition in which sufferers experience bladder pressure, bladder pain and sometimes pelvic pain from mild discomfort to severe pain.
If someone is not aware of what is causing the pain brought on by IC, he or she may be taking pain medications that exacerbate the pain, said Brady, who went back to school to “learn how to take care of myself” after finding limited help from doctors.
Today, Brady is a certified nutrition consultant with the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. She holds, among other degrees, a bachelor’s in nutritional science from Rutgers University and a master’s in nutrition counseling from Vermont’s Norwich University.
Brady is regarded as a pioneer in the study of IC and has worked with the disease for about 30 years, the same amount of time she has suffered from the disease. Brady and her husband operated an integrated medicine clinic in North Carolina. They relocated to the Flag Pond area approximately 15 years ago.
Although she assisted several IC sufferers through her clinical work, Brady said she wanted to help even more people struggling with the disease. So, in 2009, she authored a book on the disease titled, “IC Naturally.”
“In that process, I learned a lot and I was treating other people,” Brady said. “I kept hearing over and over again, ‘You’re the only one who understands this. You’ve got to help. You’ve got to pass this knowledge on.’ So I kind of felt that I was being led into writing a book so that, instead of helping 100-200, whomever I could speak with, that the information would be out there for anybody and everybody who wanted it.”
While there is no cure for IC, Brady’s book offers remedies to treat IC and accompanying disorders. Brady said she has aided sufferers in at least ridding themselves of some symptoms. Since there is no one answer to addressing IC, Brady said she has always taken an individual approach to assisting sufferers.
“What I have always told people is I will not ever just look at your bladder,” Brady said “I want to look at you as a person.”
Brady was recognized as a 2013-14 Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women for her work with IC. In December, state Sen. Rusty Crowe and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey presented her with a proclamation for her work.
She said she was very appreciative of this acknowledgement of her “life’s work,” but the accolades didn’t stop there for Brady.
Late last month, the Unicoi County Commission recognized Brady with a resolution of its own.
“It was actually not only very nice, but I have to use the word ‘overwhelming,’ ” Brady said. “It was quite an honor that the commissioners chose me and chose this particular proclamation that the state issued to acknowledge. So, for me, I was just very, very pleased and very overwhelmed by all our commissioners. I thought that was a very wonderful thing that they did.”comments powered by Disqus