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.