It gets better
"Cathing can feel like a life-changing event at first. But find the right product and the right routine, and it'll be normal soon."
Steve Kearley has always loved teaching. Before his current role as Patient Advocate, in which he helps support patients who are new to self-catheterization, he was a high school teacher and Assistant Principal. He remembers his work fondly, not least because of the chance to shape students’ familiarity with people in wheelchairs.
“Seeing my interactions with the students change was really fulfilling,” he says. “At the beginning of the year they were like ‘Hey, what’s up with this teacher in a wheelchair?’. But by the end of the course, it was more ‘what a great teacher’.”
Steve feels fortunate for the experience. “It was a great honour for me. At their age, I’d never met a person in a wheelchair, so it meant a lot to be able to show them I live life as normally as they do, I just do it in a wheelchair.”
Steve explains that cathing can be a big challenge at first, but with time, finding the right product and the right routine, and learning how your body works, it becomes “kind of normal”. “The most important thing, I believe, is finding the right product to use. I encourage people to sample a bunch of products and find out what works best for them. The technology has really advanced recently.”
“GentleCath™ with FeelClean™ Technology is a fantastic catheter,” he says, “one of the newest hydrophilic catheters on the market with the newest technology to give the comfort you want as a user. The hydrophilic property is embedded into the catheter, so you don’t have a coating you can scratch off with your fingernail.”
Another advantage of finding the right product and routine, he says, is lessening the risk of UTIs. “UTIs are a big deal for people who cath – I can’t stress that enough,” he says. “I’ve got my catheters that I use, including a compact one when I’m out and toilets might not be so clean. I haven’t had a UTI in so long I can’t even recall when I had my last one.”
Whether it’s finding the right catheter or another aspect of adjusting to a new life circumstance, Steve often repeats some advice that helped him early in his journey. “It was a guy in rehab who told me, ‘No matter what just don’t quit.’ And it‘s resonated with me. I always make sure to say that to people."
"Whatever you’re going through, however bad it feels, reach out and get help and I can tell you from experience it gets better. Just don’t quit.”
Adjusting to cathing can be tough, with a range of practical, physical and emotional challenges. You don’t have to figure it out alone. Call and talk to a member of the me+ support team today. Call 1-800-422-8811 (M-F, 8:30 AM-7:00 PM ET).