Whoa, I really can't believe it's been a whole year since arriving at the Women's Therapy Center. This is such a hard topic for me to write about but I know so, so important. Not only to remind myself of where I have been and what God has done in my life but for those women out there who haven't reached their cure yet. I know, in my years of being in the thick of it I would have loved (and eventually did) to get my hands on a real life account of someone dealing with the very same issues I was. The same issues I thought were so strange and weird that no one EVER was like me and I was a strange, broken, and destined to always be "stuck" and never move forward.
Before we went to the Center, I really couldn't imagine life afterwards. All I could visualize was getting there. It seemed like life would drop off a cliff...I literally couldn't imagine a life where I wasn't thinking about this situation any longer, a life without this struggle. I was really looking forward to it, but couldn't really imagine it (even though I have an imagination that runs wild most of the time)! The scenes I could visualize over and over were these: the first being of a mountain climber who had been climbing, alone, for a very long time, finally reaching the summit. Reaching the summit and looking around and finally, not only reaching the goal but gaining lots of perspective. Standing tall on top of the mountain and knowing that battle had been won. That feeling of peace and joy knowing there was hard work but it was now this moment could be enjoyed, fully. The second scene I could visualize was that of a person who had been held captive, or been lost in the wilderness. I would see that person being pulled into a rescue copter and just the sheer relief of watching that difficult time get smaller and smaller in the distance. That giddy, almost arrogant feeling of victory. (In your face, hard times! You can't keep me down!) Lots of yelling and fist shaking) I could see myself be so glad to leave that chapter of life behind.
I guess I have a flair for the dramatic? :)
Where to begin? I guess I'll begin somewhere in the middle. If you have already been diagnosed with Vaginismus then you are probably obsessively searching the internet daily for tales of cures and fixes. You're probably hoping and praying it will just "work itself out" and your body will learn to cooperate, as you try over and over and over and over and over to defeat it. You're hoping that those dilators your doctor had you order from the internet will help. You're probably dreading your next doctors appointment to have another failure on your hands (no, I couldn't get anywhere with the dilators. no, physical therapy exercises for my pelvic floor didn't help). Maybe you haven't gone to the doctor yet, but know what's going on. Maybe you have no idea what's going on but you know something is wrong and things are not working and you're really, really, really, frustrated. Or in denial. Or both! And also depressed. You feel like your body is defective in a way that is so bizarre that it's not even included in the manual as things that could possibly go wrong. (i.e. my first doctor who said "geez, I've never seen anything like this. You MUST have been abused as a child" (No, I have never been abused, and A+++++ in bedside manner, Doctor McTheWorst).
For awhile, even after I found out about Vaginismus I felt like I just couldn't be cured. My current doctor (who has been very gentle and non judgmental) recommended I used a dilator kit, which is a way to cure yourself. I felt so much guilt and self hatred that these did not work for me! The last straw that made me single minded to get cured was the idea that if I didn't handle this once and for all I would never be able to be a mom. Even looking into adoptions, Vaginismus wasn't really something they would accept as an infertility issue, and depending on what you're doing adoption-wise some countries will not give you a child if you are in "danger" of having your own biological children. I didn't want to explain Vaginismus over and over and over to anyone never mind someone who is deciding whether or not you are worthy of raising a child. (I was terrified they would think I had a mental disorder, and not consider Vaginismus a plausible thing). Even to have a child that wasn't mine biologically it seemed as though we would need to conquer this once and for all.
I stumbled onto this blog and read about this couples experience at The Center. Then I found the center's website. I watched video after video of couples with the exact same struggles who had been CURED by Doctor Ross and Doctor Ditza (and now Doctor Lauren). The patients seemed so free and jubilant. I finally felt like there was hope! THEN I read "A Private Pain" which I recommend to any OB/GYN office in the world to have as a resource so no doctor will ever EVER say again "I've never seen anything like this before". I recommend it to any person who either IS struggling with Vaginismus or who knows someone who is or has. If we educate people, women will not SUFFER IN SILENCE anymore and will know, they are normal and this happens, and it can be CURED!
Stay tuned for more on my experience at the Women's Therapy Center this week in celebration of my year of being cured!