January 28, 2009

Another Year Goes By

Last year on this date I posted a tribute to one of the true pioneers of physical therapy, Florence Peterson Kendall. This year, in honor of her passing and her miraculous life, I want to once again pay tribute to Florence P. Kendall and remember her not only as a physical therapist, but also as my grandmother.

She continues to be my inspiration for trudging forward towards a nursing degree and eventually a Master's in Women's Health. I know she would be proud of me. Even though it's been three years since she left, she's still in my thoughts every day.

The greatest compliment I ever received came from my mother when she told me, "you have Amma's spirit." Sometimes I wish she could see how far I've come. My life was a mess when she died, but I believe in my heart that she knows.

For those of you who still have grandparents or even older parents, treasure them, love them, give them your time. Sometimes it can feel like an inconvenience to go out of your way to pay grandpa a visit, but the time we have is precious and fleeting. You'll be grateful for the moments you shared when they have gone.

January 22, 2009

I've Been Cheating...

I think the only way to manage vulvodynia and pudendal neuralgia is to avoid the activities that cause pain. The most obvious for me is sitting, but guess what I've been doing? Sitting. Well not exactly sitting. I hunch down on my kneeling chair with most of the weight on the end of my spine and shins instead of my knees. Basicially, I'm sitting... To make matters worse, I've been knitting a scarf for my fiance and you have to sit to knit.

You'll never guess what came of all this sitting... Another flare. I could smack myself. I know better, but I thought by perching on the kneeling chair and lounging on the couch I was cheating the system and I wasn't really sitting.

Apparently, I was wrong. My pudendal nerve has made it abundantly clear that I was in fact sitting.

I've gong back to lying on the couch and standing in the office. I'm coming out of the flare, thank goodness. And I know for next time that I can't trick my body into thinking that I'm not sitting. If there's pressure, there's pain and if there's pain, a flare is just around the corner.

January 14, 2009

Invitation to Participate in a Vulvodynia Research Study

Invitation to Participate in "Exploring the use of online support groups among women with vulvodynia" Research

This is an invitation to participate in undergraduate research conducted by Ms Kate Flynn, under the supervision of Dr. Rebecca Knibb at the University of Derby.

Participation involves an interview of up to thirty minutes. This can be conducted via live chat facilities. The interview covers such areas as your experience of vulvodynia, your reasons for seeking out online resources relating to vulvodynia, and the benefits and disadvantages you have experienced while using them.

Participation in the study is completely voluntary and is open to all women aged 18 or over. Your answers will be quoted as part of an undergraduate research project, however the researcher will not use your real name, thereby assuring the information you provide will remain anonymous. You can withdraw from the study at any time.

If you would like to ask any questions regarding the study or express an interest in participating, please contact the researcher using the details below.

Thank you for your time.

Kate Flynn


January 13, 2009

If Only I Were an Oyster

Yesterday I had an important meeting after business hours and I wanted to look professional. No baggy pants without panties. I wore a sharp pair of gray, fitted dress pants and a button down shirt. Naturally, with pants that fit, I need to wear panties.

The ensemble didn't bother me for most of the day, but by 7:00 pm when I headed home I became acutely aware that something was wrong.

I smiled my way through a lovely dinner that my fiance prepared. As soon as I finished washing the dishes, I had to excuse myself to take a look at my lady flaps.

To call a vag a clam or an oyster seems rather accurate, at least in my case. In nature, a pearl is created when a grain of sand or some other foreign matter enters the oyster and causes irritation. In response to the discomfort, the oyster coats the foreign invader with layers of mother of pearl to make it less abrasive. In the end, a beautiful pearl is formed.

When foreign matter becomes lodged in the folds of my oyster, the skin becomes inflamed and eventually the skin tries to heal over the invader to eliminate the discomfort. What I find are essentially pearls of sloughed skin deep in tiny craters that have formed around previous irritation. This is totally gross, but picture acne scars on your silk flower.

If a cranky oyster could just expel the foreign material, there would be no pain, and of course, not pearls.

Good news for me, bad news for anyone who loves pearls.

January 9, 2009

Scheduled for Surgery

I had another really unpleasant clitoral pain flare over the weekend. I discovered material lodged in a fold of skin that I could not remove. I tried warm water in a syringe, I tried my bare hands, I even tried a toothpick. You want to talk about painful! ! ! Oh my God, if I ever questioned whether or not I had pudendal neuralgia, I can't now. The difference in sensation between my inner thigh and my mound of Venus is unbelievable.

Finally, the next day, after repeated soakings and washings, I was able to dislodge the material. I feel better now, but this second incident has proved to me that I need surgical intervention to open up that fold of skin.

In the meantime, I'll continue to use the steroid ointment to open the fold myself, but I'm not optimistic. I'm scheduled for a Lysis of Labial Adhesion on Monday February 9.

January 7, 2009

A Very Intersting Article

I read the NVA News a few days ago and I'm still thinking about the second article titled, The Need for Research on Coexisting Conditions by Hannele Rubin, MSJ and Christin Veasley, BS. It outlines a number of different studies that have analyzed the relationship between coexisting conditions, like vulvodynia and IC. One doctor presented a theory that these chronic pain conditions could be cause by a birth defect as the urogenital tube forms in the developing embryo.

I can't stop thinking about that concept, and the more I think about it, the more I feel like it could hold water for me. My whole genital area, from tip to tail is in some way defective: I have the labial fusion on my clitorus, the vulvodynia on the vaginal skin, the pudendal neuralgia, and lastly, the precancerous mole just beside my hiny-hole. Good lord, that's a lot of problems in one concentrated area! The rest of me is fine. I have some anxiety and depression, but doesn't everyone to some extent?

What could possibly explain all these problem?

I don't know, but I hope someone figures it out.

Who knows, maybe someday I'll be testing that theory in my own research study. A girl can dream, can't she?