Well I took a three month hiatus from PT and dilators (doctor's orders) to focus on healing the atrophied tissues in my vestibule. The atrophy is healing quite nicely due to the Estradiol gel. It's not healed all the way, but healed enough that Dr. G. gave the go ahead to start back with PT.
What the EMG readout looks like (flexing versus resting)
During my first 'back at PT' appointment, we did sort of an overview. I was hooked up to the EMG machine to find out my resting PC muscle number and PC strength number. The last time I did this EMG thing, my resting number was 7 (I don't know the units, sorry). The goal is to get it around a 3 so I was pretty far off. Now I'm at a 5. Making progress!
My PT also did a general internal exam with her finger to check out the situation. She could definitely tell that there was much improvement. It's funny because I didn't do any muscle work in the last 3 months, but just healing those tissues made my muscles relax significantly. I'm so glad I went to the specialist. We could have been going on and on with PT forever and never really solving the problem because the healing had to start with the atrophy, not the muscles.
So here is my homework from PT:
1) I must stretch every day, including legs, back and any stretches that really get into those PT muscles.
2) I'm supposed to stretch with my husband! We are supposed to sit back to back with our legs out (and believe me, just that is a true stretch for both of us since we are the two most inflexible people on earth) and then bend forward towards our toes. Then we're supposed to sit up, put our arms out to the side parallel with the floor and pivot left to right. I admit we have not tried this yet, but we better since my next appointment is tomorrow!
3) About 2 times per week I need to dilate - using small dilator internally to make circles, figure-eights and putting pressure around the pelvic clock at each hour. With a slightly larger dilator, I'm supposed to do a prolonged stretch (leaving it in there for 10ish minutes). Oh, and by the way, the day I don't have to dilate anymore will be a glorious day. I am so tired of that lubey gloppy mess!
4) Kegels. Quick Flicks (clench 3 seconds, release 3 seconds about 10 times per day) and Long Holds (clench 10 seconds and release 10 seconds about 10 times per day).
Lots of homework!
I dilated for the first time yesterday. It was actually a little tough, but I'm hoping that I just need to get back into the swing of things. It was painful to go around the pelvic clock and I think I went too big on the prolonged stretch. I'm going to try a size down next time. My PT told me that there should be no pain and if there is, it's too big. So I'll just work my way up.
I will not be discouraged! I know that this time around will be different. I have a lot of hope and confidence that PT will work this time and that it won't even take that long. I can just feel it. The key was getting those tissues healed.
Positive thoughts - I'm getting better at those these days.