Living with a chronic illness like multiple sclerosis (MS) can be challenging, but it doesn’t mean life is over. That’s the message Christian, a member of the 180 Medical Community, wants to share with others who may be facing a new diagnosis of MS. Despite some of the challenges he faces, he is determined to continue pursuing his passions like spending time with his family and golfing with MS.
A Devastating MS Diagnosis
It all began with a severe motorcycle accident when Christian was 18 and living in Hamburg, Germany. He nearly lost his leg in that accident, and after that, his leg was paralyzed from the knee down. He had to buy a special brace so he could continue to walk, and although it was a serious injury, he did his best to keep moving forward.
But a few years later, in 1994, he started to experience strange spreading numbness that started at his knees and soon went to his upper legs and belly.
After a visit with a neurologist, he was sent to a hospital where he underwent all kinds of tests to figure out what was going on. Finally, after a harrowing six weeks, Christian received the news. He had multiple sclerosis.
“Back then, I didn’t know anything about MS,” says Christian. “We didn’t have all the information online that we do now, so back then, that news was just devastating.”
He couldn’t find any helpful books at the time, and he didn’t find much help in local support groups. So he decided he would work through his symptoms and live life on his own terms.
Golfing with MS and Experiencing Bladder Problems
In 2006, Christian immigrated to the United States with his wife and child. Eventually, he had a great group of friends who regularly played golf together. However, as his condition progressed, he found himself experiencing some relapses and new symptoms, including partial vision loss and bladder issues.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, up to 80% of people with multiple sclerosis will experience bladder problems at some point.
These symptoms can include:
- Increased frequency and urgency to urinate
- Bladder leakage and accidents (urinary incontinence)
- Urinary retention (unable to fully empty the bladder normally)
“My urinary problems got to a point where it was interfering with my golf game,” he says. “When you play golf, you stand up and sit down a lot. Every time I stood, my bladder sent a signal that I needed to urinate.”
That’s when he knew it was time to talk to his doctor.
Finding the Right Catheter Supplies
His neurologist referred him to a urologist who specialized in treating patients with multiple sclerosis. After some testing, his urologist determined that using intermittent catheters to help empty his bladder would be the best course of action.
At first, when people are told they need to start using catheters, they may not know where to start. They may worry about losing their independence or they might be concerned about catheter pain.
Christian decided to face it head-on. His urologist’s nurse showed him how to use a catheter before he left the office, and 180 Medical was there to help with the rest.
He says our specialists helped him find a catheter that fit his active lifestyle by providing free samples from some of the many catheter brands we offer. Christian settled on the SpeediCath Compact Set, which is a ready-to-use compact catheter that comes with an attached collection bag.
“It’s just perfect for me because when I’m golfing, I can just go to the bathroom and empty it out easily,” says Christian. “It gives me a lot of independence because I don’t have to find the bathroom right away to catheterize. And it’s very easy to use, user-friendly, comfortable, and easy to pack. I don’t have to hide them. I just pack them in my bag.”
Christian’s Drive to Keep Golfing with MS
These days, Christian is still facing some difficulties with his multiple sclerosis symptoms.
“I’m almost 62 now, and I do trip every now and then because I can’t feel when my foot comes down. I can’t see my golf balls as easily when I hit them, because I’ve lost some depth perception. But I play with really nice people who help me find my ball.”
Despite experiencing numbness in his legs, which has led to some balance issues, Christian has found ways to continue his active lifestyle. He loves to golf and found that using a catheter before playing helps him to manage his bladder issues more easily.
His positive attitude toward his diagnosis and willingness to adapt is inspiring. He emphasizes that having multiple sclerosis doesn’t mean the end of the world. He advises others who are newly diagnosed or new to using catheters not to worry too much about it. “Just take it one day at a time. It’s really not a big thing.”
180 Medical is proud to play a part in helping Christian keep up with his active lifestyle by helping him find the right catheter for his needs.
If you’re new to using catheters, we also provide personalized support, educational materials for learning how to use your supplies, easy reordering options, and more. Reach out to us today to get started.