Wednesday, June 30, 2010

First Successful Pelvic Exam

Yesterday, I had my first successful pelvic exam. It has been four weeks since my surgery so, my husband and I drove the four hours for my check up and to meet with my therapist. I say the exam was successful, but that does not mean she was able to perform what is considered a "normal" pap smear. However, she was able to insert a q-tip and was able to see that I am now open.
However, my vaginismus prohibited me from allowing her to do the normal exam. Even with the q-tip I kept pulling away from her and freaking out. But, it didn't hurt. I just can't help pulling away. So, now I have to work on that. My therapist gave my husband and I some Sensate Focus exercises to start with. Also, we are supposed to try inserting something small. The doctor suggested either I could insert a q-tip or he could use his finger.
I think that I would have more success with my husband trying to insert his finger as opposed to me trying the q-tip. I feel that I would get too nervous and end up talking my self out of it.
That may sound weird that I would rather him try than me, but I think I trust him more than I trust myself. I have known since I was barely a teenager that no matter what he would always support me. I wouldn't be here without him. I wouldn't be a lot of places without him. He has the patience of Job.
Right now he is having to work ALL of the time because of his job. But, once his work slows down, we will start with the Sensate focus exercises and the small insertions.
It is kind of crazy how far we have come in three months. For six years, we were at a stalemate. In three months, I have met with a therapist several times, had two examinations by a gynecologist and a hymenectomy. That is a lot of progess for a short amount of time. I am feeling pretty good about where I am right now and where I am going.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Sluts vs. Virgins Epidemic

Why in this society do we continue to teach our teenage girls that they must either be sluts or virgins? Why are we not teaching our youth about responsible sexual behavior. Tonight I caught a rerun of one of my favorite documentaries, 16 and Pregnant on MTV. They also made a follow up serious called Teen Mom.
Watching this show takes me back to my high school years. Like myself, most of these girls grew up in rural lower middle class families. 9 times out of 10 the girls and their partners did not use birth control. And, most of them say they,"just didn't think they would get pregnant." This is our fault.
As a teen I was taught one thing, if you have sex before you get married you are whore. Sex is for marriage. I was even told in one youth group session that there was no reason to know too much about your anatomy down there because it would all work out once you were married. Our bodies were made to fit perfectly with our future spouses. Which, as you can imagine, was terrible shock when I realized that no, my body did not fit perfectly with my husband.
There was no sex education in my home, in my school or in my church. It was all scare tactics and gossip. The guys calling the girls whores, the girls calling each other sluts and the girl whose homecoming title was taken away from her for getting pregnant. How can we not teach our teens about sex and then act shocked and appalled when they end up pregnant at 16? I do realize that by growing up the "bible belt" what I was taught is very different than in larger cities. So, if you're reading this from New York you're probably thinking, "What is this 1953?" But, where I'm from and where the teenage pregnancy rate is rising, not much has changed since 1953.
I admit, there is a part of me that gets angry when I watch this show. It's not fair these young careless girls can go out and get pregnant at 15 and I can't even have sex with my husband. But, that's not the point. The point is for the first time in years teen pregnancy is on the rise. It's because we are not educating our youth.
I believe that my lack of real sexual education and education about my own body may be a contributing factor to my vaginismus. I was told over and over again that sex is bad. And, if you do it you are a whore. We were basically taught to fear sex. My parents, teachers, church leaders had good intentions. I'm not saying they didn't. I don't think 16-year-old's should be having sex either. But, they are. They will continue to do so. And, if I could have I would have, too.
If we aren't teaching them properly we are only causing more damage. I can't say for a fact that this lead directly to my vaginismus. There is not way of knowing why I suffer from vaginismus. But, these messages do contribute directly to the teen birth rate. So, why are we doing this to our young girls? Why are me making them feel ashamed of their bodies and their feelings?
Why can't we stress abstinence and also educate? The last time I checked knowledge was power. Why can't we empower these girls instead of tearing them down? I believe we should give our youths choices. Choices about birth control, choices about sex, choices about their lives. We teach them chemistry and hope they take that knowledge and go to college and make good choices and lead good lives. But, we can't teach them how to properly use a condom and hope they take knowledge and make good choices and lead good lives?
I don't understand it. I refuse to be a part of this. So, I write. I write everything I have never told anyone. With the hope that someone might learn from this.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Post Secret

These are a couple of posts on one of my favorite sites,

It makes me realize there a lot more people out there like me.

Post Secret

These are a couple of posts on one of my favorite sites,

It makes me realize there a lot more people out there like me.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Risk the Bloom

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Anais Nin

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Vaginismus Rears It's Ugly Head

Three weeks ago I had a Hymenectomy. Physically I am now, normal. I am healed. And, I should have no problems. Enter Vaginismus Stage Right.
Today I realized I had not posted lately. I have been on the post-college job search, which has taken up a lot of my time. Also, yesterday my husband was injured at work and we had to spend all day in the emergency room. He is pretty much fine now, just a really bad sprained ankle and foot. But, it's been crazy.
Anyway, today I decided I would perform an experiment for my blog. Since I am no longer any any pain whatsoever, I decided I would try to insert a small tampon. Epic Fail. I just put the tampon in place and hadn't even began to try to push it in yet, when I started to feel dizzy, light headed and my whole body tensed up. While trying to push it in, I could feel my legs and pelvic muscles tightening up and I literally couldn't even allow my self to put it in at all. So, I guess I will have to try again.
I go back to the doctor for a check up next Tuesday and I think that will help a lot. Hopefully she will be able to perform an exam on me. (I do think she is going to have to give me a stronger Valium this time, though to get through it). If she can perform the exam. And, I know something can be inserted, I am sure that will help with my emotional reactions.
You may have won this battle Vaginismus, but I shall win the war.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Is This What Normal Feels Like?

It has been 13 days since I had a Hymenectomy. It definitely feels different. I was able to quit taking aspirin at the end of last week. And, I don't have any pain anymore. I do think I can feel a difference. I haven't actually tried to physically feel where the hymen was removed, because I'm not sure I am completley healed, yet. The doctors said my stitches would dissolve in about two weeks, but I'm not supposed to come in for a follow-up until 4 weeks. (Reminder to self: Call Dr. and set up follow-up appointment) So, I don't really want to mess anything up.
But, I do think I can feel more of an opening, now. Maybe it is just in my head. I don't know. Maybe it doesn't really matter. Maybe if I feel that it is more open, even if it is just in my head, that will make me more susceptible to the physical and emotional therapy I will be going through. Maybe this is what normal feels like.
Although I do feel there is a physical difference, I also still clench my legs and gets nervous just thinking about the follow-up pelvic exam. I know the doctors were able to use the largest speculum available during the exam. However, it is still hard for me to wrap my head around that. Maybe they should have taken a photo to prove it to me. I know, that is probably unethical or something. But, I would have definitely given my permission in the name of science and my sanity. After five years of feeling like it is impossible, it is hard to just suddenly accept. That is where my therapy will come in, I suppose.
On another positive note, my skin is clearing up! I have struggled with acne for 3-4 years. When I say struggled, I mean struggled. I went the dermatologist. I had prescription antibiotics, creams, lotions, you name it. I also tried every over the counter product you could think of. But, nothing worked. When I went the the gynecologist about a month ago, she was able to prescribe me birth control. I was never able to be on it before because I was never able to have a pelvic exam. Well, I'm happy to report after a month, my face is clearing up! Well, maybe it was the combination of the birth control and the New Proactive I started using last month. Either way, I'm happy.
Is this what normal feels like? I've spent so many years not being normal and hiding it. It feels freeing to perform these simple tasks, like take a birth control pill every day. Every day I get closer and closer to being "normal". But, in a way I will never be normal. Having had Vaginismus and undergoing treatment, that will automatically make me different. But, I have a feeling not as different as I once believed. I think there are more of you out there like me. That's why I'm writing this.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Some Background Info on Hymenectomy and Vaginismus

Hello all,

I just thought I would make a post about why I chose to have a Hymenectomy. It is true that a Hymenectomy surgery is not a cure for Vaginismus.
I chose to have a Hymenctomy 6 days of ago. After having a pelvic exam, it was discovered that I still had an intact hymen. Because of my intact hymen every time anything was attempted to be inserted into my vagina, I felt pain. This caused me to become involuntarily protective. Thus my Vaginismus, an involuntary clamping of the pelvic muscles, was born.
Now that I have had the Hymenectomy, the hope is there will no longer be pain when something is inserted into the vagina. So, just as my body learned to involuntarily clamp to prevent pain, it will learn it doesn't have to when there is no pain. This will mean both physical and emotional therapy for me. So that both my mind and my muscles will learn a new pattern of behavior.
The reason I am writing this is to let those who may be suffering from Vaginismus know that a Hymenectomy is not the "cure all" for their problem. Believe me, I wish it were that easy.
Again, I urge anyone who thinks they may have Vaginismus or an intact hymen or any problem whatsoever to contact someone. Contact a sex therapist, a gynecologist, your general doctor. And, if you can't find anyone to help you, contact me. I will talk to the doctors and therapist I see and we will try to help you.
NO ONE should have to suffer through this alone. That is the reason I am writing this blog. (That and the fact that writing about my experience, which I have told no one about, helps me to heal.) So, contact me with any questions or comments you might have.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Scrub-A-Dub-Dub I'm Sick of the Tub


You may be wondering what the title of this post is about Well, my surgeon recommended that I take four baths a day to help my stitches heal. It's 6pm and I just got out of my 3rd bath of the day. I've got to tell you, I'm getting sick of baths! And, I'm usually a 2 bath a day kind of girl. But, the surgeon said it will help me heal and I will do whatever it takes to help me heal.
I'm actually doing a lot better today. I have only taken one Tylenol 3 and 4 aspirin. That is considerably less than what I was taking before. And, I've had a lot less bleeding in the past few days.
I was thinking earlier that I haven't really given you a lot of background information on why it took me so long to get the surgery. Well, here goes:
I was 13 years old when I started my period. I tried to insert a tampon and it hurt so much that I was not able to get it in. After that, I tried repeatedly to insert tampons, but was never able to. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone about this. I thought I was just being a baby.
When I was 17 I was in love with my then boyfriend, now husband and we tried to have sex. We were not successful. It hurt too much. We tried again and again. Once again, I was too embarrassed to figure out the problem.
I thought it may have something to do with my religious background. I thought maybe once we got engaged I would be able to. When I was 18, we got engaged. We were still unsuccessful. So, I told myself I would be able to when we got married. When I was 19, we got married. However, we were still not successful.
Not long after we got married I started doing my research and discovered vaginismus. I knew this is what I had. So, I ordered the books and dilators that promised to cure my vaginimus. I spent months doing the exercises and trying the dilators. I was never able to insert the dilators. I was heartbroken. I just knew I was a freak of nature and would never be cured. So, I put it off.
Finally after two years of being married and trying unsuccessfully to have sex and trying unsuccessfully to insert the dilators. I found a sex therapist four hours away who would treat me.
She asked if I had ever had a pap smear. I told her I tried once and left the office in tears because the doctor told me, "It will all work itself out after you get married." Well obviously, it didn't. Within minutes of seeing the nurse practitioner the sex therapist recommended, she had discovered my hymen was still intact. She introduced me to the surgeon who would perform the surgery that day. A few days later, I had scheduled the surgery. Two weeks later I was having the surgery preformed.
Today, it has been four days since the surgery. I am healing nicely. I am very optimistic about the future.
I'm not writing this blog for the average reader. Believe me, if I weren't going through these problems then I wouldn't want to read about them. And, I have a degree in journalism. For hours I searched online for first hand accounts from women like me. Women who felt so desperately alone. Women who could give me hope. Women who had been where I was and had made it through. There weren't many. And,honestly the ones that were out there tended to gloss over the gory details. I won't do that. I will tell you everything. From the bleeding, to the healing, the sadness to the joy. I promise to write the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

72 Hours Later

Hello Blog World,

It has officially been 72 hours since my hymenectomy surgery. How am I? Sore.Optimistic.Bleeding.Better.
After three days, I am still a little sore. It mostly only hurts when I make sudden movements or when my medicine wears off. I think a lot of the reason why I am sore today is because I tried to do a lot yesterday. I attended a bridal shower of a friend yesterday. I am still bleeding a little,but it's not too bad. Also, I am still sleeping with an ice pack and taking my Tylenol 3 every three hours.
I am pretty optimistic that all of this will get better as time goes on. On a positive note, being sore actually makes me more aware of my body. Before, I wasn't that aware of my body. Whenever I tried to insert something,such as a tampon, it felt as if I was hitting a wall. However, the soreness now help me feel actually where the opening of the vagina is.
Before having the exam I was actually very worried that there was something wrong the the anatomy of my vagina. I thought I may not have an opening or if I did there was something wrong with it. Now, I can tell where the opening is in comparison to the rest of my vagina from where the soreness is.
It is kind of empowering now to know that there is nothing wrong with me. When I heal, I should be perfect. And, there is no reason why I will not be able to be successful with sex, tampon insertion, etc. after I heal.
I only have good things to look forward to. Now, my only question is, Why didn't do this sooner?!?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Too Important to Give Up

Hi all,

I just got home from the shower. All in all it was a success. Lots of great food, great presents and great friends. I hope the bride-to-be had a most enjoyable time.
However, on a sad note, I received some terrible news while I was there. A good friend of mine from high school's mother committed suicide. She left behind my friend and a young sibling. This is terrible. This, unfortunately, is not my first experience with suicide.
A couple of years ago a great childhood friend of mine, a girl who had everything, committed suicide. As with most cases, there were "superficial" circumstances surrounding both deaths. Such as, a boyfriend leaving. As much as I hurt for my friend that lost their mother and as much as I am hurt by the loss of my friend a few years ago, it makes me realize something.
I have struggled with what I now know to be vaginismus and an intact hymen for five years. For so long, I thought I was a "freak of nature" and I would never be able to overcome this problem.
It wasn't until recently that I started actively seeking help. The loss of these women just reinforces the idea that I must take charge, I must get help.
I don't know what made these women give up. I don't know why at 20 and 40 they thought they had nothing left to live for. Maybe if they had actively searched for help for their problems, they would have made different decisions.
But, I know this. I will never give up. Either the way they did or by just stopping trying.
This is too important. My life is too important. My happiness is too important. My marriage is too important. I AM TOO IMPORTANT.


Hello Blog World,
I am feeling better today. I slept with an ice pack and have been taking the Tylenol 3 every 3 hours. I'm still a little sore. But, every day is getting better.
Actually, I am feeling well enough to attend a bridal shower. A good friend of mine is getting married and I am a bridesmaid. We are having her shower this afternoon and I will hobble there if I have to! I wouldn't miss it for the world.
The hardest part about things like this is the fact that no one knows what I'm going through. So, I smile and pretend like everything is okay. And, no one knows both the physical and emotional pain the vaginismus and the Hymenectomy are causing me.
For those of you who may be new to the blog, I had my Hymenectomy surgery on Thursday. I know what your thinking, Hymen-What? Yeah, me too. The Hymenectomy was a procedure I had done to cut away a rigid hymen. I hoping this surgery along with both physical and emotional therapy will help me overcome my vaginismus.
I will be blogging about my healing experiences for the next 4 weeks. Then, I return to the doctor to make sure I have healed normally. After that, the hard stuff starts. I will begin the physical and emotional therapy. And hopefully, I will be on my way to recovery!

Friday, June 4, 2010


I am a 22-year-old recent college graduate, I have been married to my high school sweetheart for two and a half years and I am still technically a virgin. Weird, right? I know.
After years of living in shame, pain and secret, I finally decided to get help.
A few months ago, I contacted a sex therapist who lives in a city about four hours away. My husband and I took a weekend and went to visit her. She confirmed what I had thought. I more than likely had Vaginismus. Vaginismus is an involuntary contracting of your pelvic muscles, which doesn't let you insert anything into the vagina, making sex, pelvic exams and even tampon insertion impossible.
The therapist I saw, set me up with a nurse practitioner to perform a pelvic exam who had experience working with women who had vaginismus. I have had a bad experience with a pelvic exam in the past.
The nurse practitioner was able to shed even more light onto my problem. She confirmed I still had an intact hymen. This is what was causing the pain when I tried to insert something, which was making the tightening of the muscles an involuntary reaction learned from the previous painful experiences.
The nurse practitioner was able to set me up with a surgeon she practiced with to preform the hymenctomy. A hymenctomy is an outpatient surgery to remove the hymen.
So yesterday, I was taken into the hospital, given mild sedation and twenty minutes later I was officially hymen-less. I was released from the hospital that afternoon and sent home with Tylenol 3. Although the pain wasn't TERRIBLE, it was kind of intense. So, note to doctors: PLEASE PRESCRIBE PATIENTS SOMETHING STRONGER THAN TYLENOL 3. IT HURTS. IT WOULDN'T HAVE TO HURT IF WE HAD SOMETHING A LITTLE BIT STRONGER.
After spending the last two days with an ice pack and two tylenol 3's every three hours, I am doing pretty good.
I was very nervous about the surgery because I had never had an operation before, but everything from admissions, to the sedation, to the recovery went extremely well. I had great nurses and a great surgeon.
Now, I just have to wait and see how I heal. I plan on continuing therapy with the sex therapist and I plan on starting physical therapy.
I started this blog to help others who may have vaginismus or a hymen problem because I was not able to find much personal information on the subjects. So, feel free to message me if you have any questions about what I'm going through or if I can help you.

P.S. My name is not really Franny Glass. It's from my favorite book,Franny and Zooey.