‘She Shares WHAT?!’

I realise that I share a lot of personal information on this blog, and that it’s quite easy to track me down and find me in ‘real life’ (and not just the social media world). This is perhaps a massive boo-boo on my part. I should, after all, be more savvy about security and so on…but the purpose of this blog was not only to offload some ramblings in my head, but to make people aware of often unspoken medical conditions. It is still classed as a bit of a social taboo to discuss your sex life, issues surrounding your vagina or penis, and your sexual health in general; quite often people keep quiet and suffer for years and years without seeking help or talking to someone about it. I’ve been there, and it took me so long to get help that I’ve genuinely forgotten how many years: 7? 8? I don’t know. I grew up in a house where menstration was never discussed, sex was a no-no, physical affection was null and void, and my parents displayed a ‘holier than thou’ persona (completely hypocritically I should add). It was stifing and crippling, and it left me unable to verbalise my issues for many, many years. I credit my husband with teaching me how to open up. He had the patience and understanding to realise that I wasn’t a cold, stone-hearted cow – quite the opposite…but I was too afraid to show him my emotions/thoughts/feelings, because for years they had been viewed as weaknesses.
Stop crying, you fucking baby.
What the fuck is wrong with you?
Grow up.

When I first started sharing my posts about vaginismus, LS, and VVS, I did so with a medical disclaimer. I didn’t want to offend anyone or have them think I was ‘disgusting’. With hindsight, I don’t know why I did this; there’s nothing ‘disgusting’ with sharing information, procedures, symptoms and ways to get help. I didn’t ask for these conditions,  and so why should I be ashamed? My posts came in fits and starts. 2/3 a month and then nothing for months – I didn’t want to bombard people, or have them think I was playing the victim. I was so paranoid with being viewed as a drama queen that I kept my cancer secret – even from my husband – until I received the news that it was treatable. It was so paradoxical to my nature to be quiet that I was lost. Family and friends mean the world to me. I felt like a liar and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again.

Over the next few months I’ll be sharing a lot more information on these subjects (along with my IVF journey and usual ramblings). I do so because it helps. It helps me, and given the messages and emails I’ve received both publically and privately, I know that it has helped other people get the help and treatment they deserve. I’ve been asked today by someone: ‘but why do you want people to know?’ and that’s a good question. For all the reasons above. Infertility is painful and historically, it’s private and spoken about in hushed tones. There are support networks out there and the internet is a fabulous place for connecting with people who are going through the same trials as you. If I make one friend from these blog posts who feels they can talk to me about their problems – then that’s mission accomplished**.
If the treatment isn’t sucessful, then I’m not going to be blame my talking about it. I’m not superstitious and I’d rather have the support of friends and family if I’m grieving than to do so in private.

Sure I waffle, sure I add in what appears to be inconsequential crap and I make a joke of some of the procedures I’ve had done, who wouldn’t? Humour helps me heal and helps me deflect. I’ve been the butt of jokes, had nicknames and received a Secret Santa gift consisting of a needle and thread and called a ‘fanny repair kit’…and all you can do sometimes is go with the flow, because to sit back and take it all in can be overwhelming, cruel, and deeply upsetting.

I suffer with anxiety, and I even as I write this I’m strangely torn: to write this blog post highlights yet again me and my problems, and I know it would be so much simpler to just stay quiet and wade on with the stiff British upper lip. That isn’t me though. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I love to help and share.

** today I’ve been told in confidence of a friend going through IVF too, I have them in my thoughts and hope it all goes well.

Sharing and talking might not be your ‘cup of tea’, and you may disagree with it, but it works for me.

 

judgement

Lots To Report.

DISCLAIMER:

If you are squeamish or a prude, don’t read. I’m writing about anatomy, problems and feelings at the moment. I know this is fuel to some of the nosy ones out there – but don’t complain to me if you’re shocked or can’t look at me in the eyes when we next see each other! You have been warned.

***

Ok, it’s been a while since I posted about the medical side of things. I guess that’s because it’s been a busy few months. I’ve been to hospital five … six … possibly even seven times in the last 10 weeks – and that’s on top of normal appointments.

Well, it’s 9 days since I had my operation. Mr Kehoe at the JR/Churchill Hospital is amazing. I can’t thank him enough, you see, I FINALLY got referred to the dermatology clinic at the hospital and saw Dr Cooper. It was only a year after I was originally meant to go … anyway. Dr Cooper could clearly see something was wrong (other than the cancer) and referred me to Mr Kehoe.

I had a thirty minute appointment with him and the start of October(and a medical student) and I described all the problems I’ve had since I started having sex (over a decade ago!). He performed something called the Q-tip test and diagnosed me with vulval vestibulitis. OMG, was I relieved! You see, I had been suffering for years. All my symptoms are listed in other posts – but basically, I’ve never had pain free sex. There’s always been a caveat: great sex followed by intense pain, painful sex, dry, tears and tears .. basically, just plain horrible.

Mr Kehoe booked me in for surgery there and then. 20th October. A Saturday. He’s leaving the Oxford area and wanted to fit me in before he leaves.

Surgery day.

Arrived nice and early with an empty tummy and a dry mouth. Met with Mr Kehoe and the other  docs. He explained that vulval vestibulitis (VVS) is basically hypersensitive nerve endings, and to ‘cure’ the problem – they cut the nerve endings away.
Because I have LS – they had to modify the surgery and cut away more skin, but he explained everything slowly and with care. The perfect doctor in my opinion.

The usual followed. General anaesthetic, sleepy bye-byes, slow wake up, freezing cold and lots of blankets, low blood pressure, back to the ward and LOTS OF PAIN!
Jeez … the pain was bad. I had some nice morphine though – so all good.
Overall, I had 28 stitches, and 6 of those were “deep” ones (Mr Kehoe’s words).

Now, the nurses wanted me to sleep for a couple of hours – but I really couldn’t. How do you sleep when you’re in pain? It’s impossible! So instead I called John and got him to come and see me, and then went for a wee (argghhhh eurrrghhhh pain … nuff said) and changed into my jim-jams.
After several hours I was discharged with a bag of medicine.

Several more hours later – just gone midnight in fact – I was back at the Horton hospital. The discharge nurses had forgotten to give me a particularly strong painkiller that Mr Kehoe had prescribed and so I needed to see the out-of-hours doctor. For once, things went smoothly and I was given a nice big pack of tramadol. Hurrah. I could finally sleep!

Over the next few days I kept myself drugged up and comfortable. I overdid it though (typical me) and walked far too much causing a load of unnecessary pain.
I thought I was over the worst – but it’s got really bad again. Yes, I know, I’m being wimpy, but seriously – it’s like I’m peeing glass. It stings like a bitch and the stitches are SO SORE! Still having to use ice packs.
Earliest doctor’s appointment I could get? A week today. Booked though – just in case!

So … overall …

I’m really pleased that I had the surgery. I’m so anxious and excited to see what it does. I know the recovery time is several months and there’s a load more hoops to jump through before John can take my new vagina for a test drive (I’m really sorry for that mental image!), however … it’s soon to be a possibility!! If it all goes well then we can finally start to think about children … scary!

 

Also – after all these stitches and all this pain – I think I can safely say I can handle pain from childbirth.
I’ll post again soon …

and I’ll cover seeing friends, movies, writing, reading, Kristell Ink, pets, and a host of other (more interesting) things.

Ciao!