Friday, October 22, 2010

Goldstein Visit #3

Well, I don't even know where to start.  There is a lot of information to share.  It helps me to break it into categories so that's what I'll do:

The Vestibule:
It appears that my vestibule is pretty well healed.  I didn't really have much pain with the Q-tip test, so that's good news.  Dr. G said he may take me off of the Estradiol, but he wants to learn the results of my hormone test beforehand.  I would be shocked if my estrogen is where is should be, but according to my vagina - Dr. G thinks I have some good estrogen down there.

I'll get the results back next week, but like I said, I just don't think there's any way my hormones are where they should be.  Dr. G did prescribe Testosterone gel that I am supposed to apply daily to my legs.  He also said that I should rotate the spot of application because it can make me hairy!  (yikes!)  He said it also might cause more acne.  But he also said that it could help with my libido and give me more energy, so that is a trade I'm willing to make.  Depending on the results of my thyroid test, we might just stick with the testosterone gel for now before trying other methods to increase my energy.  He said he doesn't want me trying too many new things at once - and I agree.   

The new (or is it?) problem:
Lately during PT, I've been feeling pain at the 12 o'clock spot, but not in the pelvic muscles - it's actually where my urethra is.  I told Dr. G about this and he went in there, and it was, in fact, quite painful.  He's not sure what to do about this, but he mentioned seeing a urologist (great, another doctor).  However, like I said earlier, he doesn't want me doing too many new things at once, so the urologist idea is tabled for the moment.  This problem actually made Dr. G question himself - he said "is this new or did I miss it the last time?".  I don't know the answer to that question either.  Maybe it was there, but the other problems were more prominent.  I don't know.  But it's definitely there now.

The burning is back:
My vagina has been burning on and off for about the last two weeks.  Dr. G actually has no answer!  He says from a visual standpoint, everything looks burn-free.  He actually admitted that he wasn't sure what to do about that.  In a way, I'm disappointed that he didn't have a solution for me, but it also makes me trust him more.  It's hard to trust someone who thinks he knows everything, and now Dr. G has proven that he doesn't think that - that there are things he doesn't know.  And to me, that makes him a better doctor.  With that said, I hope he/we can figure out what all the burning is about.

The discharge:
I told Dr. G how I've been having rivers of discharge for the last three weeks and he said, "yes!  Your ovaries are working!".  Apparently, normal women have a lot of discharge and it's nothing to worry about (however it is quite bothersome).  But it made him very hopeful that my estrogen levels have risen because now my ovaries are doing their job.  In his words, "most women are dry as the Sahara because they are taking birth control.  This is not normal".  So okay, my leaky vagina is normal.  Yes! One point for me!  I used the word normal in the same sentence as vagina!

Estradiol info:
I found out exactly what the base was in my new Estradiol gel - it's Acid Mantlebase - Dr. G says that it can be less irritating for some people because it has lipids to hold in moisture and act as a barrier and that it has an emollient affect.  My original Estradiol base was Methyl Cellulose, which is basically water, which is why he usually prescribes it because it tends to be less irritating, but I needed something more.

Anxiety Meds:
I plan to talk to my psych about changing from Clonazepam to something else because I'm just too tired.  Dr. G said that meds like Prozac and the like do have a libido side effects, but that it would be okay to try them for now if I need to get my anxiety down.  He also wants to consider a Diazapam suppository, which is basically Valium to help relax my pelvic floor.  But we're waiting on that as well.  Not too much at once.  He said anal suppository and I was like, "what what?!  You want me to put it in my butt?"  I do not want to put things in my butt.  But he said that he usually says to put it in the vagina, but since mine is so sensitive he worries that there will be a negative reaction.  So, I might have to put a suppository up my butt.  I'll do it, but I won't like it.  However, if it helps, I'll like the result.

Well, I think that's all.  We really did a lot yesterday and my brain was so fried I couldn't write this entry last night.  So I'm writing it now at work instead of doing work :).  Please ask any questions.  It's a lot of information.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Well, the ball is rolling, but probably not fast

I went to the doctor yesterday to get tested for hypothyroidism, among other fatigue-causing illnesses.  She doesn't seem to think that I have it, and I probably don't, but we did blood work, which I will get back next week.  If it's not that, then we'll just start a guessing game I suppose.  I just want to be normal, and you all may not know this because this blog is about my vagina, but I've been tired my whole life - more tired than other people.  I go to bed by 9pm at the latest every night and I'm still exhausted.  I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when I was a teenager, but knowing that really doesn't help me be less tired.  All they say is "get more sleep".  Okay, well if I go to bed any earlier, I won't be able to fall asleep, plus I won't get anything done!  It's frustrating.  Hopefully we'll figure out something eventually.  More sleep is not going to help - I already get as much sleep as I can and I'm still tired.

I'm going to see Goldstein tomorrow so I'll post an update soon about that.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'm Still Leaking!

It's been two weeks now and I still have copious amounts of discharge!  It doesn't smell funny; it's not a weird color or texture - it's just flowing!  What is up with this?  It's just down right annoying!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Post-Period Discharge, Anyone?

Okay so usually I am not as observant as I really should be about when I have discharge and when I don't.  We've all had it since we were 12 or so, right?  But I have particularly noticed this time around that I have a lot of discharge, and it started right after my period ended on Friday - since then: discharge city.  Does anyone else experience this post-period discharge?  Should I be concerned or just go with it - I know it's normal to have discharge.  I don't know - I guess I just want to hear from you about your discharge patterns.  Wow, what a weird thing to say!  But it's true, I want to know your discharge habits!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Which Estradiol Gel?

Well who knew there were so many choices?

Dr. Goldstein prescribed Estradiol gel to me in April.  As I've said before, the gel at first was very irritating. Over time I got used to it more, but it still irritated me sometimes.  At this point my gel was 0.03% estradiol and 0.1% testosterone in a cellulose base.  I started reading on other blogs and on my vaginismus yahoo group that some people have Estradiol gel with an Emu oil base.  I called Dr. G. to find out more about this. His office called their pharmacy and the pharmacist explained that many people find the emu oil to be more soothing, but not necessarily for the right reasons.  It turns out that the emu oil absorbs more of the estrogen and testosterone, making less of it actually absorb into your skin, making it less irritating because it's the hormones that are irritating in the first place.  So I didn't want to go with emu oil because I want as many hormones as possible getting into my body.  They did have one other suggestion - to use the same ratio of estrogen and testosterone in a different base - I wish I could tell you exactly what the base is, but on the bottle all it says is "ACID MA# 100".  I have no idea what that means exactly, but the word "acid" sure is scary.  However, I do like this version better.  It is less irritating and thicker.  I still get irritated sometimes, but it's less than with the cellulose-based Estradiol.

So there's the rundown on Estradiol options.   Please let me know if you have any questions.  When I go see Dr. G. on October 21, I'll find out exactly what that "acid" base is.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It's been over a month - so I guess there's lot to say

I think I'll break it down into categories; I'm organized and anal like that:

Well the biggest reason that I haven't written anything in a while is because I started back at work on August 30.  And I've been completely exhausted and had way too much to do since then.  When I come home, I just sit in a post-crazy-kids coma I suppose - nothing else left to give blog wise.  I actually have pretty good students this year,  but some of my classes are so BIG!  It's hard not to have drama when all the students are smashed up next to each other, plus we're talking middle school here so there's ALWAYS drama. I only have one class that really makes me stressed - they are 6th graders and the entire 90 minutes they just want to get into yelling matches and say things about each others' mamas and stuff like that.  My psychiatrist told me to take one of those "in the moment" pills before that class.   I did it once and it did seem to help a bit.  I've been trying new stuff this year at work with my students - as a teacher I try to add new things to make myself a better teacher every year.  But this new stuff is eating up my time.  I literally have no time to eat lunch.  During my planning period I scarf down an energy bar while doing other work.  But I like my new changes so I guess I'll keep on scarfing those energy bars - any suggestions for one-handed eating would be great :).

My  psych. has  raised my Clonazepam dosage to 1 mg in the morning and 1.5 at night.  It's so hard to say whether it's working or not.  Going back to work increases my stress level significantly, so it's hard to gauge the effectiveness of the drug.  I guess we'll just keep experimenting.

I am tired.  All the time.  Sometimes I'm so tired that I just lay on the couch and don't even want to get up to pee.  A side-effect of Clonazepam is fatigue, but I didn't feel that way until I started back at work.  Honestly, it's probably a combination of the two, but I am just so tired - and that's affecting my progress with the vagina situation.  It's hard to have sexy time with my husband when I'm exhausted and have absolutely no desire to even put any effort toward kissing and "quiet hands".   My husband thinks that I may have hypothyroidism, and after reading the symptoms on Web MD, I might have to agree.  I have ALL of them minus the yellow skin.  So I've made an appointment with my regular doctor to get checked for that.  I can't tell you how excited I am for the possibility of adding  another thing to my list of problems my body has inflicted on me!  Not to mention all the added doctor's appointments and drugs  I'll have to take - that's awesome too!  I have a student who wants me to tutor him after school - well good luck finding one day where I don't have a doctor's appointment that I have to rush off to.

My therapist is always trying to get those 'feelings' words out of me.  How do you FEEL?  It's a really hard question sometimes.  I have a hard time expressing how I feel in words - mostly I express it through tears, but then no one else really knows what the problem is.  Well I feel a lot of things.  I  guess what I feel most of the time is  complete exhaustion, but maybe we can't really count that as a real feeling.  I do feel hopeful that we're going in the right direction. We've gotten to the point where my husband is actually touching my vagina between the lips (we call it the "quiet finger" - next up: the "whispering finger" - it's going to move around!).  These may seem insignificant, but each step is emotional for me.

Sometimes I feel hopeless,  but those are just my sad days, and I don't have them too often.  I had one yesterday though, so it's ripe in my mind.  I had sent out some photos of me and some of my friends at the State Fair.  One picture was of my friend's 9 month old baby.  One of my other friends (a college friend who is probably my best friend in the world - and I call her a college friend, but actually I've known her since birth - but she and I are part of a group of 5 college friends who are still really close even though we all live in different states) made a comment on that photo and said "I think you're next!".  I have told those 4 friends about my situation, and I thought I explained it well enough, but I guess they don't get it.  I'm not next.  I can't have babies if I can't have sex.  Comments like that just hurt me because they remind me of what I can't have.  It's hard enough getting questions like "when are you going to have kids" at work from people who have no idea that I have any problems 'down there', but from my best friends?  I was visiting my friends a few weekends ago, and two of the other ones were making similar  comments to me (one of the 5 has a baby - she got married first, then I got married - so I guess that means I'm next for babies).  I guess they just don't get it.  Do I have to explain it again?  It hurts too much.  I was telling my husband about this last night at dinner in a restaurant and I started crying.  I usually avoid topics that make me cry if I'm in a restaurant, but I guess I didn't realize how much it really hurt me.  The truth is, I do want a baby - I'm almost 28 and I'm starting to get those feelings that women get - those yearnings for a child.  But it's impossible right now.  And it makes me so sad.

My husband's brother just graduated from college.  He mentioned that he might apply to the Peace Corps.  If you've read my blog from the beginning, you know that I applied to the Peace Corps and had to withdraw my application because of my vagina.  If my brother-in-law goes through with it I will truly be happy for him and wish him a wonderful experience, but it also just makes my heart hurt.  It's another reminder of a dream that I cannot fulfill.

Sometimes I feel like life is passing me by - I can't fulfill my most coveted dreams because of my vagina.