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Jill Osborne is the president and founder of the Interstitial Cystitis Network, a social advocacy health education company dedicated to pelvic pain disorders. Of course, when she was young, she had no plans to spend her life talking about the bladder and prostate. Her dream was to be a tennis professional. Thankfully, her parents were determined to see their children graduate with science degrees from the University of California. The youngest, she chose pharmacology which she earned while, yes, playing and teaching tennis.
Her twenties were challenging. She began to experience symptoms that confused her and her physicians. A dozen ovarian cysts in college and unusual vulvar pain (aka vulvodynia). A year or so later, food sensitivities began to appear along with irritable bowel syndromes. A six month period of migraines, allergies and general illness haunted her graduate studies. Then, at the age of 32, she experienced bladder pain for the first time. It was agonizing, as if razor blades were slicing her bladder open over and over and over. Then came the diagnosis of interstitial cystitis and a brief period of disability.
It was a doctor who, about a year into her IC told her that She would forever be a burden on her family. Stunned and then furious, she moved from depression to action. With a month, she started her first IC support group and within a year (1994), built one of the very first urology websites, the Interstitial Cystitis Network. (http://www.ic-network.com)
Twenty plus years later, the ICN continues to provide cutting edge information dedicated to IC and chronic pelvic pain. Jill has worked with tens of thousands of patients in the past twenty years. The ICN works with approximately 200,000 patients per month throughout the world. Studies from both Harvard Medical School and the University of London rate the ICN the most reliable and accurate website dedicated to IC.
Jill remains dedicated to helping patients who feel abandoned by their medical care providers (and often family), providing coaching to patients almost every day. As knowledge of chronic pelvic pain continues to expand, she's launched new education centers dedicated to other pelvic pain conditions, such as Ketamine Cystitis and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction.
A techie, she's developed the first apps used by urologic pain patients - IC Food List apps for android and iOS - and is currently work on a new triage app to help patients manage periods of IC flares. The Living With IC video series has been viewed more than 500,000 times on YouTube. Jill also chairs the annual IC Awareness Month campaign and currently serves on the CDMRP IC research panel facilitated by the US Army.
As a writer, Jill has contributed hundreds of articles on IC and chronic pelvic pain through the IC Optimist patient magazine, the flagship publication of the IC Network along with the ICN Blog. With Julie Beyer RD and Bev Laumann, she helped to develop the three column diet list currently used by physicians and patients to select appropriate foods. She is the author of the ICN Guide to Managing IC Flares and editor of the IC Chef Cookbook (2015).