King's Lynn fundraising calendar to highlight need for better bladder care
A Lynn woman was inspired to create a fundraising calendar to help raise awareness after years of chronic pain and an eventual diagnosis led to her having a catheter fitted.
Tayla Collison, 27, finally received the diagnosis of interstitial cystitis earlier this year, after suffering for four years and struggling to get answers from doctors.
She said: "I have suffered with chronic pain since the age of 14. I struggled to get any answers from doctors, specialists and consultants and I was pushed back and forth between specialist departments and back and forth to my GP.
"It got to the point where I was made to see a psychiatrist to evaluate my mental health as I was told the pain was all in my head and I was making all this up for attention."
In January, she finally received a diagnosis of the autoimmune disease, which is an incurable bladder condition. While symptom suppressing treatment is available, Tayla's bladder had been left untreated for so long that most treatments would no longer work.
She said: "IC is very hard to diagnose because it isn’t a well known illness, and many GP’s, specialists and consultants do not even know about it. I was pushed between doctors because no one had a clue what was going on with me, they didn't know enough about my condition.
"Being pushed from different consultants and having to see a psychiatrist was one of my darkest times. I felt completely embarrassed and a fool to know that no one believed me."
She added: "My bladder symptoms became so bad that in March, I had to be catheterised permanently with an urinary indwelling catheter as I kept going into retention. Having this particular catheter effected my mental health massively to the point I was suicidal."
Eventually on November 5, Tayla was fitted with a supra pubic catheter which will enable her to regain some of her independence but won't remove her symptoms. Since her diagnosis, Tayla has also been diagnosed with Restless Leg Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Fowler’s Syndrome.
Refusing to let her condition slow her down, Tayla joined forces with a fellow sufferer, Lisa ??, to make a charity calendar to raise funds for Bladder Health UK.
Tayla said: "This charity is amazing and have honestly saved my life. Bladder Health UK have saved me in my darkest hours. They are there whenever you need specialist information, advice or just a general chat. I owe my entire live to those that give their lives to helping people like me.
"I hope that the calendar will raise awareness to others so that they do not have to wait around 12 years for a diagnosis like I did. I would hate to see anyone go through what I have been through. Sharing my story to give them some hope, shed some light and maybe give some guidance means the world to me."
The calendar is being printed free of charge by DSD Printers in Austin Fields, after director Shaun Simpson heard about what the two women were planning to do. His daughter is currently undergoing chemotherapy for bladder cancer but is on the road to recovery. He said: "It was a real team effort, we're a passionate team and when we heard what they were trying to do, we wanted to help. It's for a bloody good cause."
If you would like to purchase a calendar, email Tayla on email@example.com
Tayla is also an aspiring Youtuber who shares her experiences of life with illnesses and disabilities to raise awareness: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDYLmDYzFWgYAQbTcM9n57Q