July Update

I have not updated in awhile, so here is just a quick word on how thing are going.

I have not used my dilator in about 3 weeks… and I haven’t needed to. Intercourse has been successful without any stretching or prepping or anything <happy dance>

The husband unit is graduating in 2 weeks, so we have been a bit preoccupied and have not been able to give therapy the amount of time it deserves, but fortunately, that seems to be a moot point ❤

WOOT WOOT!

There comes a point where I get mad at my condition… when this happens, a whole new mindset takes shape and I become more determined to make intercourse possible…. it becomes more of a challenge than anything else.

I have not posted bc for the last 2 weeks my husband has been late every night with school, so progress came to a screeching halt.

We did our regular stretches yesterday morning, and decided to stretch again last night. So after we did that, I used the dilator and from there worked my way up to the biggest blue one.  At this point I actually forced it a little bit (which is not safe and I do not suggest doing this.  I know my body and I know what I can handle and what I can’t)  I left the blue on in for a good 10 minutes and allowed myself to get use to the size of it, after I removed it, my husband and I successfully had intercourse for the 1st time in over 2 months.

This doesn’t mean we are in the clear… i am pretty sore today and we might not be able to do it again tonight, or even this week… it’s just a matter of listening to my body… I don’t want to push it further than it’s ready to go and do more harm than good… so we will see how I feel tonight and go from there… but it is a big step 🙂

 

Weekends ruin progress

I need to make it clear that my husband DOES NOT have to stretch me in order for me to use my dilators, it just makes it easier.  With that being said, why the crap can’t I find time in the day to use them? I know I need to. I know that it will speed things along if I do… I just don’t do it.  Unless my husband stretches me, I have no desire to try and use one… it’s just so painful if i have to try and force it without any “warm up”.

Went to sleep this weekend, 2 nights in a row without any stretching. Sigh.  The first night, I was actually feeling very irritated, so I took some Azo Yeast and called it a night. the 2nd night I went to bed just because I couldn’t keep my eyes even if I wanted to.

Last night we did some finger sweeps and stretching and I was able to use the 2nd to largest dilator without much trouble at all.  i left it in for about 10 minutes and let myself get used to the feel of it, and to relax around it.  i decided that even though we skipped two days, I was going to try to use the biggest dilator since I adjusted so well to the other one.  This was a mistake.  I couldn’t get it in at all. Not even an inch (I might have got 1/2 an inch) the best way i can describe it is like I am literally being ripped apart, it burned so bad that I didn’t even try to get it in further.

 

The PT prescribed me Valium to take before I use them, but I don’t take it because I do pretty well without it, and I don’t like the feeling of “needing” drugs to do something… but tonight I am gong to take it and see if it lowers my anxiety, bc after the pain of last night, I am anxious about trying again tonight.

 

I am about to go take a pill and give it time to work before my husband gets home.  I will write tomorrow and report on any success/failure associated with the medicine.

 

 

Easter Progress

Easter weekend was incredibly busy for me.  I had a charity event to go to on Friday night, and on Saturday night I went to see a friends band play… both night I didn’t get home until after 3am, so needless to say, my husband did not stretch me either night.  so I was a little it apprehensive about him doing it last night.

I laid in bed, did my breathing exercises, did my kegals, got out the special order lube (I will post a link to it, bc it is the only thing I have found that works without burning)  I was mentally prepared for the battle last night, but to my surprise, it went well.  So well in fact that I was able to use the 2nd to largest dilator with no pain (not a little pain, not pain that went away… I mean NO pain)  I was so shocked because he didn’t stretch me in just about 72 hours, and I was sure it was going to set us back.

I probably could have moved up to the largest dilator last night, but I didn’t want to do too much to soon.  If everything goes as well tonight, I am going to try and use the largest… I hope that by the end of the week things will be back on track!

Here is the lube that I use.  It is glycerin free, and therefore it does not burn (I have NEVER found a product that didn’t at least bur a little bit, until my therapist told me about this stuff!  They make this in several sizes and even in a gel form, but this is what I use

http://slipperystufflubes.com/catalogs/catalog.asp?prodid=5103237&showprevnext=1

Struggles

I eventually stopped going to PT. My husband and I were doing everything at home that Dr. W was doing in the office.  Of course life gets in the way.  Anytime any progress is made, something happens.  With vaginismus, I am super prone to UTIs and infections… so it seems like any time we have intercourse, or things start looking up… something will happen that will put things on hold.

I will get sick, I will get an infection, my husband will have a big project coming up…. just life2 and the same thing happens that happened with the dilators.  If I do not use them every single day, if we don’t do stretching and exercises, then we go right back to square one.

 

Right now (4/5/12) we have not had intercourse since 2/14/12.  2 months seems like a long time, but when I think back and remember that it took 2 years… I try not to get down about it.  I am still working with my dilators, although I am not back up to Billy yet, and my husband has to stretch me every night or at least every other night.  Progress is being made again, and I feel like we will probably be able to have pain free sex again by the end of the month if we stay on course with the therapy.

This entry was posted on April 5, 2012. 2 Comments

Trick or Treat?

I got married on Halloween. One of my favorite movies, The Crow (2nd only to Labyrinth) has a line where the officer asks “Who the – – – – gets married on Halloween anyhow?” to which the answer is “Nobody.”   Whenever he asked that question, I would always tell my husband “I do. That’s when I want to get married.”

Our 2 year wedding anniversary was coming up. We decided to go down to Savannah and spend the weekend. Neither of us mentioned the possibility of intercourse, I think we didn’t want to jinx it.

We got to the hotel, went to dinner, and had drinks.  I drank a little bit more than usual, because I knew that we were going to TRY and I wanted to be relaxed.  We went back to our room and continued to work on PT, after all, I still needed that! At first we didn’t think it was going to happen, I was just so nervous… so we tried not to put so much emphasis on the actual act itself, instead we just enjoyed being with each other.

Eventually, things took their natural course. After exactly 2 years of being married, my husband and I were finally able to successfully have intercourse.  A huge weight has just been lifted off our entire relationship.

 

A New Routine

Tuesday and Fridays became my therapy days.  Like clock work I would get up at 6:30 and go shower (can I get an amen ladies?) Even if it was just the doctor I was seeing, because I mean, come on…

We started doing ESTIM, which for those of you who do not know, ESTIM therapy when treating vaginismus is a small probe that goes in the vagina.  It has metal on the sides and is hooked to a machine, it then produced an electric current that is meant to desensitize the nerves that were firing all over the place. I was able to control the intensity of the current with a button that I had.

After ESTIM we did some finger sweeps and stretching.  My husband came with me and was learning how to do this at home, so we could do it every day.   Some days were easier than others, especially when I relaxed and did my kegels!

Therapy became part of my life, at this point I had made my condition public via social media because I was tired of feeling ashamed or like something was wrong with me… I figured that there were other women out there and if I would educate them or encourage them in anyway, then that’s what I wanted to do!

I had been going to PT for over a month when I lost my job.  My husband and i were already paying for it out of pocket, so we started freaking out.  Dr. W explained that we could cut back our visits to once a week, and that I could even rent the ESTIM machine and use it every day, twice a day at home!  so that’s what we did.  for the next month, I used it religiously. My husband did stretching, I did everything I was suppose to do.

I had finally worked up to Billy. (Billy is what my gf named my blue dilator, bc all of the dilators were te color of a power ranger.  Dont ask.)  I had to use Kimberly first, I could never just use Billy initially… but I didn’t care! I was so stoked about finally getting up to the largest dilator, I didn’t care what I had to do to make it happen. (penis pops anyone?  YES!  Condoms filled with water and then frozen… to help numb me…)

I had made all the progress I could make with the dilators.  There was only one thing left to do.

Meeting the therapist

I met my physical therapist in August of 2011, after over 2 years of enduring either no sex life, or a very painful one.

“I know her. Oh my goodness! I know her! Maybe she won’t recognize me…”

Yes.  The woman who was going to treat me, sat 3 rows over from me in church every Sunday morning.  I wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out.  Dr. W smiled, seeming to understand my discomfort, and went to work at putting me at ease with her.

We sat and talked, she asked me questions and I answered them.  She then wanted to perform an examination. She had me lay on the table and practice some deep breathing and relaxation exercises.  She then proceeded with the examination, all the while trying to keep me from freaking out (which I was on the verge of)  she then had me do something that I have always known how to do, but never did it while trying to insert anything.  She had me kegel.  I clenched my muscles and found that when I released, she was able to insert her finger with minimal pain.  She then did a series of finger sweeps and judged just how sever my condition was.

When she was finished, we talked about a course of action.  She wanted me to see her twice a week for these exercises, as well as changing some of my habits at home:

No more baths, showers only.

lots and lots and lots of water

100% cotton panties (I think my husband took issue with this bc I wasn’t allowed to wear those sexy little numbers that he loved so much)

I had to do AT LEAST 100 kegels a day. This doesn’t sound that hard, but it actually was.  I made up a little game to remember to do them. Every time I saw the color green, I would do a kegal (there are a lot of green things out there!)  The goal of this was to tire the muscles in my vagina so they wouldn’t spasm as hard and lock up when I tried to insert anything.

I had to (I can’t make this stuff up) hold myself apart whenever i was at home. If I was watching tv, or anything else, I had to be sitting on my feet, spreading myself… *sigh* (go ahead and laugh, I did) – I think my husband forgave her for making me wear cotton panties, this made up for it.

When I was driving or riding in the car, I had to sit on a tennis ball. This was constantly keeping me “open”

 

She knew what she was doing. She was well educated and seemed to understand exactly what to do and what steps to take. She explained to me that she had successfully treated several women with this condition, and she had high hopes for me.  It was the first time in years I felt any hope.

 

Home life

At this point, after failing at every corner, I felt like a failure. [just reliving this experience has me in tears right now, but I swore I was going to be honest about this]  I felt like I had let my husband down. After all he was a healthy 24 year old male with a normal sex drive.  I felt guilty because there were times where the thought of getting better scared me to death because I knew the journey there would be a painful one, and it might have been selfish of me…. but I didn’t want to take it.  My husband tried to be supportive, I know he did, but he would lose his temper with me and accuse me of not wanting to get better, and I was to big of a coward to tell him that he was right.  I DIDN’T want to go through endless hours of using dilators, numbing creams, anxiety pills… I didn’t want to constantly feel like I was broken and didn’t work the way I was suppose to.

I didn’t want to keep disappointing him. So my first appointment with the physical therapist, I walked into the office trying to keep my emotions in check.  I tried to be positive, but all the while thinking that so many things we had tried didn’t work… I didn’t really have high hopes for this either… but i was tired of being a failure, so I held my head high and walked in the door.

Fighting the urge to run.

Begining treatment

When my doctor diagnosed me, he recommend several tools to use to help in overcoming this condition.  One of the tools he suggested was a set of dilators.   I had already been doing research on my own before my appointment with him and had actually ordered a set of these because I thought they would help, but they had not arrived yet.

When I got home from the visit with my doctor, I found the package on my doorstep and I remember thinking that the timing was amazing.  Had I waited to order them, it would have been another week before i could begin treatment.

I opened the box, and while most women would look in and see tools of pleasure, all I saw was terror.  The thought of using these scared me to death.  I spasm-ed so hard just trying to insert the 1st one that my vagina was pretty much a panic room. Nothing was getting in there.

I gradually became more comfortable using them, but if I missed a day… If I so much as went 24 hours without using one, we were right back to square one.  So I had to force myself to endure this.  The burning, the tightness, the fighting to get them in, the fighting to relax was a daily struggle.  I had to gradually work up the sizes, and I remember being terrified because my husband is bigger than the largest dilator.. what was I going to do when I got to that point?  This fear made me relapse in all the progress I was making.

A year after i started using the dilators, I went back to my doctor to discuss the progress that was being made.  i felt like a deflated balloon when I had to tell him that there really was no progress.  I was still on one of the small dilators, it still hurt like a thousand needles stabbing me all at one, and the fear still crippled me and hindered any positive experience.

He then suggested another course of action.  He told me about a physical therapist who specialized in the pelvic floor and treated women with my condition.