December 13, 2010

An Unfortunate Anniversary: 15 Years with an Eating Disorder

I literally just stormed upstairs to my room with tears in my eyes.  I've been under a tremendous amount of stress with the end of the semester and my husband just hit a nerve and it wasn't my pudendal nerve.

I've been living with an eating disorder for 15 years! ! !  I just realized that December is the month it all began when I was 13 years old.  Happy anniversary to me...

I was text book anorexic during middle school and on and off in high school.  I was a very restrictive eater.  There were so many things I didn't allow myself to eat.  I did always make exceptions for the weekends, but otherwise, I ate very little.  If I ate dinner with my parents and felt guilty about it, I simply vomited.  Of course that created an entirely different feeling of guilt.

In college I became very, very sick.  I got to the point where I didn't even like to allow myself water because it made me feel so fat.  After being hospitalized for gastritis and severe dehydration, coincidentally also in December, my therapist wanted to hospitalize me so I could get in-patient treatment for my eating disorder.

I begged her not to because I was in my final semester of college and I couldn't afford to miss school and not graduate on time.  We made an agreement that I would go to the student health center once a week to be weighed and if my weight went below 100 pounds I would have to go to the hospital.

I was very sick and a big part of an eating disorder is deceit.  I started stuffing my clothes with paperweights, bars of soap, drinking bottles to hide my true weight.  I can't stand to be deceitful.  It gnaws at me until I break down.  It was especially difficult in this situation because I was lying to two women who I respected and admired.  Two women who genuinely cared about me when I despised myself.

I eventually came clean with my doctor and my nurse, putting them in an extremely difficult position.  They didn't know what to do with me.  I should have been in a hospital, but I was so close to graduation that they agreed that keeping me from graduating would be more detrimental to my fragile health.

I continued the weekly weigh-ins, without cheating.  I kept my weight around 100 pounds and I saw my therapist tree times a week.

That's how I survived college.  Moving back home and having a slightly more stable and less self-destructive life helped, but I never got treatment for my eating disorder.  I continued to be a ridiculously restrictive eater.  I hardly had any food in my apartment.  I would eat a tomato or a piece of cheese for dinner.

I didn't start eating like a "normal" person until I started to get serious with my husband.  I started buying cereal, eggs, milk and cheese for him to have for breakfast.  When he moved in, we're started cooking together and eating balanced dinners.  I discovered that I loved to cook and I loved good food.

I started eating breakfast maybe three years ago.  I've even started eating lunch.  I prefer to keep it very small: a yogurt or a piece of fruit.  I was a "normal" weight. 

When I gained 30 pounds from the Lyrica, it was very difficult for me to handle.  I had never been heavy, but there I was having to buy all new clothes and try to make peace with my new body.  I was in a healthy, stable relationship.  I had a good job and a good life.  I couldn't completely self-destruct like I used to.  I started going to the gym and making healthier dinners to lose weight.

It took two years to get the weight off the healthy way.  I won't say it's easier to lose weight through starvation, but you do get results a lot faster.

The purpose of this rambling post is to say that my eating disorder has never left me.  I've experienced times of health.  I've even gone years without inducing vomiting.  But in times of stress or sadness, it's the first place I go.  I start fixating on my weight.  It feels like the only thing in my life I can control.

Naturally, in nursing school, I am under a lot of stress; and honestly, I don't think it's possible to get through the first semester at my school without experiencing some periods of depression.  We work so hard constantly.  There's no time for pleasure to balance out the stress.  We isolate ourselves from our friends and family in order to stay on top of all the material.

Tonight I awkwardly asked my mother to not bring cookies into the house or at least to hide them from me.  It's very uncomfortable for me to ask something like that.  I'm ashamed that I can't control myself, but it's the only way I know how to manage my eating disorder is to keep foods like that out of the house.

My mother said, "oh."

"Welcome to my Hell," my husband said.

"Fuck you."

"Stop that!  Don't talk like that at my table!" my mother cried.

I launched into a tear-stained tirade on how hard I struggle every day with my eating disorder.  I was especially hurt because I had told him the day before that I was having a lot of trouble lately.  I excused myself and put my plate in the kitchen.

As I went up the stairs I said, "why don't you try my 13 years of Hell?"  I was off by a few years, but I think I made my point. 

That brings you up to the present.  I've spent the last hour writing this on the night before my last final when I should be studying.  I'm nothing if not consistent.  My eating disorder is always the first place I go under duress and writing is my second stop.  I had to write this down.  I don't know if anyone had the patience to read this post, especially since it has nothing to do with vulvodynia or pudendal neuralgia, but I had to write it down.  

November 23, 2010

Finally Getting Better

It took the full six day treatment and a few days of rest, but I think my pink taco is free of sour cream!  (Like that visual?  Sometimes I even gross myself out!)  My pudendal neuralgia is keeping the area inflamed, but there are no other symptoms.  The pain is dissipating slowly. 

November 16, 2010

Out of Commission for Two Weeks

I can usually ascertain the cause of a bacterial imbalance in my lady bits, but not this time.  I have no idea what caused it.  I started having burning and discharge (gross) about two weeks ago.  My first impulse to self-medicate.  In the past that has been a problem because by the time I get to my specialist, there's no evidence of an infection and all that I have left is residual burning from my flared pudendal nerve.  On those occasions, I got a very stern scolding from my doctor. 

This time I decided to be a good girl and schedule an appointment and do nothing to teat my symptoms.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get an appointment until Thursday, a full week after the symptoms began.  Ugh!

It was a miserable week, but I thought it would be worthwhile when my doctor said, "yes, this time you really do have a yeast infection."  Not this time! 

After looking at my cells under the microscope my doctor's PA found that I did not have any signs of yeast!  So frustrating!  The good news is, even if I had self-medicated it wouldn't have helped.  The bad news is, I don't know what caused it and the treatment is messy. 

I hate using overnight vaginal creams because the whole next day that cream gets all over my squish!  Yuck!  Obviously, I have to wear underwear on those days, which causes more pain to my poor sloppy moose knuckle! 

Hopefully, this clears up soon.  It's making me feel gross. 

October 16, 2010

I Haven't Forgotten

Midterms have begun.  I have three weeks of Hell in front of me.  Nursing school is unbelievably demanding!  I still haven't figured out the best way to stay on top of all the material.  I'm putting all my energy into my most difficult class, but unfortunately they are all difficult.  The class I've neglected the most just snuck up behind me and bit me in the ass.  That midterm was ridiculous!

I've been managing my vulvodynia and pudendal neuralgia pretty well.  On some days, I even bring my cushion to class.  On the sex front, I've discovered that I really do have less pain with non-latex condoms!  Who would have thought?!?!  Perhaps they reduce the amount of friction.  I do have to use more lube; and if we change positions, I have to reapply.  It's easy.  Instead of wiping my hand off before we get down to business, I just keep it coated, so the KY is there if I need it without having to interrupt the flow.

It's funny, I always thought condoms were the antithesis of intimacy, but they've brought an exciting new element to our activities...  Let's just say we're both enjoying ourselves...  And every time I go to the bathroom after sex, like a good little girl, I'm shocked by the lack of post-coital burning.

All that fun stuff aside, I know that my posts have grown more infrequent and for that I apologize.  Nursing school has swallowed me whole.  I'm going to try to be more active on this blog.  I just wanted to let you know that I'm still living every day with vulvodynia and pudendal neuralgia.  I'm working hard and I'm living a normal (if you call living in a two bedroom condo with your parents, your husband, two dogs and a cat, while your own house sits empty on the market normal) life.  I have an active sexual relationship with my partner and my daily pain level is manageable.

It is possible to enjoy life with vulvodynia and pudendal neuralgia.

Don't lose hope.       

August 10, 2010

Sorry It's Been A While

I just realized it's been nearly a month since my last post!  I'm sorry I haven't been more active.  My life continues to be crazy.  I'm two days into my final week at my job.  Scary.  Goodbye paychecks, hello debt! 

I spent last week at the beach with my husband's family.  It was a nice vacation.  The best part was the fact that I got to rest my pudendal nerve.  My flare is finally over.  I'm still being very careful.  I spent the six hour car ride to and from the beach lying across the backseat, just like the doctor ordered.  I felt stupid and high maintenance, but it was a necessary precaution.  Fortunately for me, my husband prefers to drive, so he wasn't put out by the arrangement.

I have so many loose ends to tie up at work, which is forcing me to sit at my desk instead of stand.  It only takes a few hours for the pain to build up, even sitting on the cushion.  I wanted to go to the gym tonight, but my pudendal neuralgia had other plans. 

I'm so busy right now, I don't even have time to freak out about going to school.  Wait and see how I'm doing this weekend...

July 18, 2010

The Block Wore Off

I am still so impressed by the success of my pudendal nerve block.  It really helped and seemed to reduce the pain.  But all good things must come to an end.  I had the block last Friday and by Monday it started to come back. 

I worked from home as much as I could.  As the week went on the pain got worse.  It wasn't as bad as it was before the block, but it was bad.  I was getting the shot of pain with every step I took.  I called my doctor to see what I could do.  The answer was disheartening.  Nothing.

I can't get another block for three to four weeks.  All I can do is go up on my Neurontin, take pain meds as needed and rest.  I shed a few tears after I hung up the phone.  I felt helpless.  There's nothing proactive that I can do.   

July 15, 2010

Successful Pudendal Nerve Block

I thought the heat and the bathing suites were going to do me in, but in the end it was the actual trip that caused me pain.  It took us more than four hours to get to and from the beach.  Even though I was sitting on my cushion, my pudendal nerve flared. 

I started to feel pain in the second hour in the car.  I tried to shift around and find a comfortable position without much luck.  I had intermittent pudendal nerve pain during the holiday weekend, but I wasn't too worried.

After I returned to work, I realized I was in a flare.  Every day it got worse.  The pain was constant.  There was no position I could get into the brought me relief.  By Thursday, every step I took caused a shock of pain.  I've never had that before.  The pain was concentrated around the opening of my urethra.  The area was burning. 

After a trip the gym on Thursday, I knew I was in trouble.  The pain got so much worse after I did a series of sit ups. 

The next day I saw my doctor who suggested a nerve block.  He said it could really help with an acute flare.  He performed an extremely painful vaginal nerve block.  I couldn't help but cry as he located the nerve canal and performed the injections. 

Within a few hours, the tears were worth it, because the area was completely numb.  I wasn't in pain.  I continued to walk gingerly for the next few days, but the nerve block really seemed to knock out the flare. 

July 2, 2010

Warm Weather Blues

I'm enjoying the 4th of July weekend at the beach, but summer weather presents a lot of problems for someone living with vulvodynia and pudendal neuralgia.  There are even more accommodations to make to stay comfortable. 

I typically can't wear panties.  The pressure of even flimsy cotton panties again my clit causes a great deal of irritation.  If I have to wear panties, I can only wear them for a limited period of time.  In the summer, the desire to wear panties increases a great deal because of sweating.  I know, totally gross, but I want to be honest here.  Naturally if it's hot and humid, areas of your body that overlap are going to perspire.  This makes panties really appealing. 

On a really hot day I'll wear panties and powder my thighs.  I usually can't go a few hours without having to take them off.  Other days if my love button is especially cranky, I'll just powder my thighs and hope for the best.  I keep a pair of panties in a sunglasses case in my purse just in case I can't stand it. 

The other day my bean was raw and angry.  I went to the freezer for some ice and discovered a small blue ice pack that was just the right size.  It felt good to have the extreme cold on my angry folds.
  Take all these issues and put them on the beach and what do you get?  A problem.  If you want to wear a bathing suite, you're just asking for trouble.  I just spent the afternoon on the beach and my kitty is not happy with me.  I try to create a little space between the bathing suite fabric and my lady bits.  It helps a little bit.  

Despite the discomfort, I'd rather have a weekend on the beach with an angry kitty. 

May 14, 2010

I'm Not Good With Change

The closer I get to nursing school, the more fear and doubt I have.  I'm scared that I won't make it through school.  I'm scared that I'll have anxiety attacks at the sight of blood.  I'm scared of completely changing careers.  Once I start this program, there's no turning back. 

Over the past week, I've received a few emails from readers here that reminded me why I've come this far.  There are so many women who need help and I want to be able to help in a professional capacity.  The only way that's going to happen is if I get through nursing school and get two more degrees under my belt. 

April 30, 2010

All Quiet on the Vagina Front

My vulvodynia and pudendal neuralgia have been under control the last couple weeks.  I've been able to get through an entire day at work without pain!  I think it's because I'm splitting my time between sitting on my cushion and standing. 

I still have pain when I do strenuous work or go to the gym.  Last weekend, my husband used his favorite wedding gift, a chain saw, on some branches that have been cluttering our yard for a year.  I carried the smaller logs and put them in a pile in the corner of the yard.  I also scavenged the yard for sticks, creating a separate pile for them.  The repetitive motion of bending and lifting caused my pudendal nerve to flare.  I had to stop that activity and I haven't gone back.   

When my body starts talking, I drop what I'm doing and listen.  It's just not worth it to push myself to do that extra five minutes on the elliptical or pick up that last log in the yard.  The price is just too high.  I've found a good routine that allows me to live a pretty normal life and avoid causing myself pain as much as possible.  There's always some pain with sex, but it's manageable.  With the compound back in my system, there is less burning pain after sex. 

I'm content with my holding pattern.  We'll see how long it lasts. 

April 20, 2010


Well the idea of living with my parents while we try to sell our house and while I'm in school seemed like a good idea when they were on vacation, but they've been back for a week now and I have one major problem: SEX!

We can't have sex!  Our bedrooms share a wall and I have a feeling my husband isn't cool enough to creep down to the living room late at night for a little fun.  He's a prude.  To make matters worse, they're retired, so at least one of them is home all the time. 

Honestly, it's only a minor complaint.  We can always have rendezvouses at our house.  We'll see. 

April 16, 2010

Group Therapy Update: Seeing Some Improvement

I haven't mentioned Group in a while and that's simply because I have no complaints.  I'm really enjoying it (if that's the right word) and finding it surprisingly helpful.  There's one woman who is very similar to me, almost to the point of being eerie.  Seeing some of my behaviors in another person makes me want to vigorously work on myself.  I'm finally seeing the qualities in myself that others have described for so many years.

Since I was six years old, I've been described as very serious, very rigid, intense.  I just didn't see it.  I don't think of myself as serious or intense, but watching her, I can easily see how others could perceive me that way.  I'm trying to be more fun and confident in myself.  I'm pushing myself out of my limited comfort zone. 

Last weekend, I reconnected with some old friends.  I hadn't seen them in years, and in one case, the friendship had ended poorly.  I didn't want to go.  I almost backed out of several occasions.  Why?  I don't really have a good answer.  I felt terribly shy and self-conscious.  I was afraid it would be awkward between me and my estranged friend.

I wanted to bring my husband as a crutch.  We was invited.  If he went, I wouldn't be afraid to go. 

I realized that this was something I needed to do on my own.  They were my friends from a time long before my husband and I wanted to challenge myself, overcome a very silly fear.

I went alone and I had the BEST time!  I really let my hair down.  I cleared the air between my estranged friend and I and I'm really hoping to see a lot more of him in the future.  I had a few drinks and stayed out until 3:30 am!  It was great!  I got to be myself and really laugh. 

I work so hard at my job, at school, on my house that I completely forget to have fun every now and then.  I carried my hangover with pride the next day as I repainted my basement floor.  Life is good.   

April 14, 2010

Visiting a Nursing School

I found out last Thursday I've been accepted to both schools to which I applied!  I now have a difficult choice to make.  I'm so excited to have a choice. 

I'm visiting one school today to take a tour of their facilities and get more details about their program.  This particular school offers a Master's of Science in Nursing for second degree applicants who satisfy the prerequisites.  The focus is a little different than a basic BS in Nursing and I want to know how it compares. 

I need to make an informed decision.  In the BS program at the other school, I would be a big fish in a small pond.  I think I could do very well.  In the MS program I would be plankton floating in a vast ocean. 

More importantly, the BS programs offers a great deal of prep for the NCLEX exam.  You can't be a nurse without successfully passing this exam.  I want to know how much the other school focuses on this exam.

Although these factors are influential, unfortunately, the most important factor is money.  I am still waiting to receive my financial aid packages from both schools.  Regardless of which school is best, I have to choose the school that offers me the best deal.  I still have another degree to go before I can become a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner.  I can't rack up all my debt with this one degree and I don't want to be forced to take out private loans.  

My life is is still very much in limbo.  It will be a few more weeks before I receive my financial aid; until then I won't know where I'm going.   

April 12, 2010

Home From Hawaii

I'm back at home and back to work.  I had an incredible time, although I missed my husband quite a bit. 

I brought my cushion on the plane with me and survived 14 hours of travel each way without pain.  That thing is a lifesaver!  I only had one day of pain, following a five mile hike to a waterfall.  Had I know the hike was so long, I doubt I would have done it. 

But three years ago when I was in Hawaii, I attempted the same hike and failed.  I was on Lyrica and Ambien at the time.  I had trouble functioning and I was putting on weight.  I got overheated and had to stop. 

This year I made it without even getting tired.  It was a great accomplishment and worth the pain that followed. 

March 29, 2010

More Traveling with Vulvodynia & PN

I haven't written lately because I've been doing pretty well.  I'm dividing my work day between standing and sitting on my cushion.  I've gone longer in the day without pain.

I just travelled for 13+ hours to visit family in Hawaii.  I brought my cushion along and it help make the eight hour flight tolerable.  Best of all, I didn't leave the cushion in a cab once I got here (happened on my honeymoon.)  Also, unlike my honeymoon, I'm traveling without my husband.  My parents are here, my aunt, uncle and a host of cousins, are here as well, but I am just heartsick. 

The time will go by quickly and I would have been a fool to pass on this opportunity.

March 10, 2010

Running From Stress

I'm under a great deal of stress right now.  I'm trying to get my house ready to put on the market, I'm waiting to hear from the colleges I applied to and I'm trying to figure out how I can afford to live.  I'm also terrified of making such a drastic career change.  Plus there are some family issues that I cannot discuss. 

It's not just the stress, I've also been depressed (hence the lack of posts lately).  I'm still somewhat overwhelmed by the idea of marriage.  Then two weeks ago a very dear friend of ours and half of our favorite couple came to us and said his marriage is dissolving.  They've only been married for eight months! ! !  But they've been together for eight years!  How could this happen?

This news shook me to the core.  They were my gold standard, my ideal.  I thought, if they can't do it, what hope do we have?  Of course, I shouldn't compare our marriages, but I saw some parallels that wrecked me. 

Amidst all the chaos, I've wanted to disappear.  I wanted to run from all the problems that are smothering me.  Of course, I have no money thanks to the wedding and I'm desperately trying to save for school.  Traveling didn't seem like an option, until I looked at my credit card points.  I have enough points to fly to Hawaii for free!  My parents are there visiting family there and I've been invited to join them. 

Initially I was so excited about this trip.  It was something I was going to do on my own.  I could rediscover my independence and get away from all my worries.  But the guilt set in quickly.  By the time I got home the night I booked the tickets I was a blubbering mess.  I felt awful about going on a vacation without my husband.  I begged him to come with me, but he said it didn't make sense.  Who would watch the animals?  Who would take care of both houses? 

He was right, but I thought we could work it out.  He insisted that I go alone and enjoy the time with my parents.  I've wavered on whether or not to go, but I would be a fool to miss this opportunity.  We won't be able to afford a vacation for at least the next two years and this is probably the last time I'll be able to travel with just my parents. 

I'm not looking forward to 15 hours of travel alone.  Flying causes me a great deal of anxiety.  No one will be there to hold my hand when I get nervous.  I know the nights will make me sad; and I hate the idea of being SO far away.  But I know somewhere in my right mind that this will be good for both of us.  It will be nice to miss each other.  Seeing him at the airport when I get home will be amazing! 

February 22, 2010

When Is the Right Time to Tell Him It Hurt

I've been back on my estrogen/testosterone compound for a while now and when I get horny, look out!  A few weeks ago, in a fit of passion I encouraged my partner to do something that on any other day I keep off limits: I slid his finger inside me.  What he did from there was mind-blowing.  I've only let one or two other people do that to me and I've NEVER enjoyed it at all. 

In three and a half years together, this is the first time he's done that.  It felt incredible.  It didn't bring me to climax, but it just felt so damn good.  With my extreme desire and his new found confidence in the sack, we've been having some steamy evenings.

Last Thursday night, we had what I would consider the greatest sexual encounter of our relationship.  Nothing comes close.  It was amazing.  There are no other words.

Tonight was great, except for one thing...  I didn't tell him no or gentle or ouch or be careful of that.  First of all, I wasn't in the mood for foreplay.  I just wanted sex.  My partner wanted to touch me.  I thought about saying something, but I didn't.  He was running his finger back and forth from the top of my clit to the end of my snatch.  He kept rubbing the opening of my urethra.  I thought, "I'm going to feel that tomorrow," but I didn't say anything.  My partner rubbed my clit vigorously and it hurt a bit, but I just didn't want to say anything. 

Now, three hours later my clit is still swollen and irritated and my urethral meatus feels uncomfortable.  All of this could have been avoided if I had just told him something to deter him.  But he's been so confident and I know how fragile that confidence is.  I didn't want to risk him pulling back and shutting down.  I'm now wondering if I should let him know to be careful with certain areas or just let it go.

The question is: when is the right time to tell him it hurts, if the pain isn't that bad?  In the moment?  Right after?  Days later?  Never?

I don't know if there's a correct answer.  I'm eager to hear what you think.  What the best way to tell him or her?

February 11, 2010

Shovelling Upset My Kitty

Today I had to dig out my car and my driveway once again.  This is really getting old! 

Apparently snow shoveling puts pressure on the pudendal nerve.  I noticed as I lifted a shovel load of heavy snow there was a twinge of pain in the opening of my urethra.  I tried to shovel a few more times, but pain persisted.  I decided to quit and rest my nerve to avoid a flare. 

I hate feeling disabled but I'm happy to put the shovel down.  There are a few "benefits," if you will to vulvodynia and pudendal neuralgia.  For instance, my cousin in-law was in labor for the last 30 hours.  That's something I won't have to endure.  

February 10, 2010

How Many Inches...

We just got walloped with another 20 inches of snow! ! !  I'm going to miss an entire week of work at this rate.  The good news is we haven't lost power.  We're just stuck.  I hate being trapped in any capacity literally and figuratively.  I can't get much more trapped! 

Yesterday we walked through the neighborhood to the nearest convenience store because I needed a machine cappuccino.  I was reading for school and it was putting me to sleep.  While we were there I bought my first ever Playgirl.  What else am I going to do while I'm stuck here?

I have a fascination with penis.  If I had it my way, I would see a lot more penis than I do.  Wow!  Playgirl is just full of penis!  I had no idea.  I didn't know they showed everything.  I just figured like every other double standard in Hollywood, we would just see a suggestive glimpse of penis here and there.  But no, I opened the first page and there was penis everywhere. 

I haven't spent a lot of time looking at Playgirl, but you know the typical girl that winds up in there satisfies the American standard of "beauty" and most of them have nice round fake boobs.  The same standards are not applied to Playgirl.  Perhaps nice penis is hard to come by (oh lord, pun intended).

A lot of the cocks in this issue are of average length and many are just plain ugly! ! !  Don't even get me started on the balls!  Some guys looked downright deformed.  Oh well, at least I got a heaping serving of cock.  That should satisfy me for a while.   

February 6, 2010

Blizzard Good For Vulvodynia But Bad For Pudendal Neuralgia

We have over two feet of snow on the ground here.  Digging out has been a nightmare.  My husband took care of the sidewalk while I tackled my car.  The furious winds created snowdrifts all over the neighborhood and a nice big one right against my car. 

After clearing away as much as I could from the top and right side, I decided to try to clear away the mountain of snow on the left side.  As I trudged around the car I quickly found myself up to my lady bits in snow.  Frankly it was kind of nice.  I thought maybe every lady out there with vulvodynia should take a few minutes to have a seat in the snow.  A couple steps further and suddenly the snow was over my boobs.  I was completely buried.  Because my car is only about a foot and a half away from my neighbor's fence clearing away that side was futile, but I still had fun.

In the backyard we started playing in the snow.  I dove backwards off the porch into the snow.  It was like landing in a memory foam bed.  If it weren't so damn cold I could have stayed there for hours.  Not the smartest thing to do with pudendal neuralgia, but I was fairly confident that I would have a soft landing.

I normally hate snow.  I had a sledding accident when I was 16 that may have actually caused my pudendal neuralgia.  My parents lived on a big hill so winter weather was always a blast.  One afternoon I took my standard poodle out with me to keep me company while I went sledding [technically an only child : ( ].  I climbed to the top of the hill for my first ride.  I took off at a good speed.  My dog ran playfully beside me.  Suddenly I hit something hard, was thrown up in the air and landed on my back with the sled on top of me.

The impact knocked the wind out of me.  I hit my tailbone so hard that I thought I was paralyzed.  As I regained my breath I remember telling myself, "ok try to move your toes."  I did so I knew I was ok.  I was in so much pain I couldn't get up for a few minutes.  My dog sat anxiously by my side.

When I finally got to my feet I realized what had happened.  I hit a tree stump hidden under the snow.  I dragged my sled back to the house and vowed to never sled again.  I still haven't.  From that point on, I've hated snow.

I didn't show symptoms of pudendal neuralgia for a few years, but that's the only injury I sustained to that area.  I'll probably never know definitively what caused my PN, but at least I've made peace with the snow.

January 25, 2010

NVA Support Contact

I have just been selected to be the National Vulvodynia Association's Support Contact for my state.  Just like on this blog, I will not offer medical advice, I will only share my experience.  I'm honored and excited to become a volunteer for the NVA.

January 20, 2010

It Should Have Been A Good Day

Yesterday was a roller coaster.  In the afternoon I received a call from the Nursing Adviser from one of my prospective schools.  She said, "I have your application here and it looks beautiful.  I just wanted to let you know to expect an acceptance letter very soon."  I was thrilled and so relieved.  I called my husband and my mom to tell them the good news. 

It so happened that I was attending an information session that evening at the school.  I had felt pretty nervous about going, but after that phone call I felt like I belonged there.  The school is in a beautiful area, surrounded by pastures and woods.  I love it there. 

The session began with the history of the school and some of it's major achievements.  When the Nursing Adviser took the floor my mood started to change.  As she described the curriculum, the reality of this decision shot straight into my heart.  I started to feel panicky.  I entered the "What the fuck am I doing?" stage. There was a person with a nasty phlegmy cough sitting across from me.  It grossed me out.  I don't like to be around people with colds because I don't want to catch what they have.  How could I possibly become a nurse if I'm repulsed by coughing and snorting?

In reality, that's only one small area of nursing.  There are so many other options where you're not dealing with the cold or flu.  The obvious example is right where I want to be: women's health.  But in that moment, I started to backpedal.  Am I really going to be able to do this?  What if I don't like it?  What will I do then?

All these worries were swirling long before the topic of scholarships was breached.  After the presentation concluded, we were able to ask questions.  I asked if the school offered merit scholarships for second degree students and her answer was no.  I began to feel sick to my stomach.  I was counting on a scholarship. 

I have no money to pay for school.  I would have to get loans to cover everything, of course, the maximum loan amount approved by the school only covers half of what I need in living expenses.  I don't know what I'll do to cover the rest.  With this plan, I would have a mountain of debt by the time I finish with my BS.  Even then, I'm only half way there.  I need a Master's to be a nurse practitioner.  Another two years of school would double the size of my mountain of debt.  We're talking six figures.     

I went home feeling crushed and frightened.  I didn't know what to do.  My dreams were literally within my grasp and now they seem unattainable.  How could I come this far and give up now?  How could I handle all that debt?  I began to think I would never become an NP.

Naturally, I looked to my husband for support.  That was a mistake.  Initially he was sweet and loving, but as I began to explain my situation he completely shut down as he's been know to do.  He wouldn't talk to me, he wouldn't answer my questions, he wouldn't communicate at all.

I needed him last night and he completely let me down.  To make matters worse, he decided to sleep in the guest bedroom.  I asked him why and he said it's better that I'm not around him.  I felt like I was being punished.  I have no idea what's going on in his head.  I have no idea why he shut down.  And not for lack of trying. 

I curled up in our bed alone and cried.  It should have been a good day.   

January 15, 2010

It's Out Of My Hands

My applications are in for nursing school.  I can't fuss over them anymore, they are as good as they're going to be. 

Back in 2007 when I began my quest to save vaginas from vulvodynia and pudendal neuralgia, I never thought I would get to this point.  Three and a half years is a long time, especially when you're only taking one class per semester.  I felt like I was moving at a glacial pace, it was incredibly frustrating.

Now I'm standing on the edge of a ravine without knowing how I will proceed.  Will I fall off the edge to land broken at the bottom or will a bridge appear to safely deliver me to the other side?  It's frightening to think about and I try not to as much as possible.  Completing the applications helps push the worries out of my mind.  I'm keeping myself pretty numb to the whole thing.    

Now all I can do is wait.  I think both schools have rolling admission so hopefully I won't be waiting too long...

January 13, 2010

Success with the Compound and So Much More...

I decided that after nearly three years it was time for this blog to get a makeover.  I found a template that's even girlier and vaginaier(?)  I like it!

On to the compound...  I've been using it for two weeks and I decided that I like the sample-sized compound better.  The other one gets grainy as you rub it in, like rubbing sand into your squish.  Why would anyone want to do that?

I know it can take a few months to see results, but I think my vulvodynia is improving.  I'm having less pain during and after sex already.  The best part is the trace amount of testosterone is making me horny.  I love it!  I feel like my old self again.  I'm sure being on the right psych meds helps too. 

January 6, 2010

The Sampler

I saw my pelvic pain specialist last week about the resurgence of my vulvodynia and I told him that the base of the estrogen/testosterone was causing my skin a great deal of irritation. I asked if the compound could be water-based. He explained that because the hormones are lipid-(fat)based they are unable to bond to a water base. Think oil and vinegar.

He then went into his drawer and pulled out all sorts of bottles and tubes. With a tissue handy, he placed a drop of two different bases, one on each hand for comparison. I rubbed my thumb and index fingers together to get a feel for each base. I didn't want something thick and goopy like Vaseline.

I was torn between two bases: one was very smooth and light, while the other was a bit thicker. I was concerned that the lighter base wouldn't be as effective. My doctor arranged to have the compound I liked best as a full prescription and he also ordered a sample of the thicker compound. He said, "try both and decide what works best for you."

I just had no idea any of this was possible. I didn't think we could use so many different products. My doctor looked like the Avon lady.
He did scold me for stopping the compound without seeing him first. I could have avoided all of this pain. The compound builds up your skin over time because the hormones actually enter the skin cells. Those skin cells multiply and the skin in the affected area improves.

After stopping the compound, it takes a few months for the stronger cells to be shed. That explains why I was fine for three months without it.

The kicker is, while it takes a few months to wear off, it also takes a few month to start working. I'm starting from zero.

Lesson for the Day: Always consult your doctor before changing or stopping a medication.