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TMI Tuesday: Surgery!

on 8 April 2014 at 19:39:22 MDT

I'm going to blunt and TMI with all this. I'm writing about my sexual health and an upcoming surgery for my chronic pelvic pain that I've had for most, if not all, my life. If this makes you uncomfortable, I understand. Just stop reading here and enjoy some art! Otherwise, let it be known that I'm writing this in the hopes that women with similar conditions can benefit from my experience.

I have Primary Vulvar Vestibulitis. It's intense pain at the opening of the vagina, from the 3 o clock to the 9 o clock of the vestibule. For whatever reason, the nerves in that area are hypersensitive and the slightest touch feels like a stab, a cotton swab feels like a ragged fingernail clawing, tearing the skin. It is theorized that it is a form of shingles.

I first noticed this pain when i was 11 or 12 during my first use of a tampon. It left me crying and shaking on the floor from the pain. Many years later it became apparent that sex hurt. Every time was painful. Every time I grit my teeth and wondered why it hurt. I developed a low libido from the constant pain and many relationships suffered because I reluctant to have sex with the person I was with, no matter how much I cared for him. I couldn't explain why. I thought that my low libido meant low interest meant I should try harder to enjoy sex and that meant resentment, excuses, and things falling apart.

When Xyks and I got together, I told him on the very first day that I had no interest in sex, but I was willing to work on figuring out why. Our relationship was off to a great start because he's a wait til marriage kind of guy. I was instantly relieved there would never be anything expected of me during the budding of our relationship. We started seeing a sex therapist and I think she knew pretty quickly what was wrong with me. I was told early on that it's probably This Condition and that I may end up having to have surgery. But first we had many things to try!

She referred us to a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic pain. After several sessions of very personal and painful massage, she could no longer help me. I was referred to a gynecologist and after an exam she confirmed Vestibulitis. I was prescribed a couple different medications in an attempt to treat the pain. One turned me into a zombie and after months of trying to adjust to the pills and no change in pain, we tossed them out. The other medication just didn't work at all.

Finally, after 20 months of therapies and doctors, we went to see the surgeon who specializes in removing the tissue and glands that houses these jerks of nerves in a procedure called a vestibulectomy.

This Friday morning, I go in for an outpatient procedure that will excise the glands, tissue, and nerves that have plagued me for so long. It takes about an hour and a half and will take me about a week to really get back on my feet. It seems a small thing, after everything that has happened, and the thought of some of the post-op exercises I'll have to do has me wincing, but in theory, by then, there won't be such pain. It's hard to believe.

This has been a roller coaster of emotions. It's been uplifting, depressing, pain has ranged from tearful agony to sensations of life long clenched muscles releasing and blood flow relief. For obvious reasons, I have kept this mostly to myself, but maybe, maybe? this will help someone else out there.

Xyks has been the pinnacle of support. I can't put it into words how caring, encouraging, patient, and selfless he has been. He has held my hand even when I sink my nails in. He's listened to me, advised me, made me laugh when I needed it, and was just there for me when I needed that. I am grateful for his kindness and gangly presence. Plus he is handsome.

BONUS: I got sterilized 3 weeks ago using Essure, so I was also recovering from that! This will also take away the physiological fear of unwanted pregnancy to help in healing my sexual health. The road ahead is long. I have a lot of physical and mental rewiring to do and it is questionable whether I will ever develop an interest in sex. I am, however, hopeful.

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