Thursday, April 30, 2009

Vajayjays in the Sky

You know what else looks like a vajayjay?

Named for a boy, but we know better.

The pain has been really bad the past few weeks.  I have also been eating like relative shit.  And I don't feel healthy in general even though I haven't been eating like objective shit.  I miss my overwhelming number of veggies every day.  They make my whole body happy.

It is the semester's crunch time, and I know that I can only handle so much at once.  I can't feed myself awesomely when I've got lots of deadlines.  Something will fail.  So I'm just going with the flow despite the worsening pain.

I really don't understand how the medical world has failed to determine the cause of vulvodynia and IC so far.  For IC, diet change is a standard treatment.  Why not, like, FIGURE OUT WHY IT WORKS?!?!

I'm still looking forward to my appointment with the gastroenterologist, but I'm expecting that she will be too rushed/preoccupied/doctorish to devote much consideration to my case.  Like the gynecologist who made me feel like if I wasn't dying or having a baby I was wasting her time.

That's why vulvodynia and IC aren't very far along medically.  Aside from all the other reasons, they aren't life-threatening.  Attention and dollars go there first.

I'm just not convinced that either vulvodynia or IC is as mysterious as the medical community thinks them to be.  It's just that no one's been paying enough attention to connect the dots.

Most of the time these days, what I really need is a hug.  I don't even care about the pain anymore.  I just want a three- or four-week Jupiter-sized hug.  I want to be hugged until my body is saturated with hug and I drip it wherever I walk.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Late-Night Update

Apartment: all disorder reordered except in the bedroom, which is one giant laundry basket.

Abdomen pain: moved on to right side today after several days very dull on left.  Come out, come out, whatever you are!

Gut appointment: made, May 19, first week of summer break.  She's an internist too.  I'm thinking that's a good thing.  Slowly concocting succinct speech that will invoke her scientific curiosity and make her care about figuring this out.  Worst possible scenario: she tells me I've done everything I can do.  Better than not knowing.

Coochie pain: roaring on and off.  No -- screeching.  My coochie was screeching today, a car pealing out.  Had some potentially flaring things recently, like black tea.  Hoping we'll get back on course after a few days eating better.

Nose: I might be up this late because there is something that blooms or grows or otherwise spews histamine triggers into the air at night -- ONLY at night -- living under my floorboards.  What is this thing?  It has my coffee table half-covered with tissues.

Me: I have so much schoolwork to do, but I'm exceptionally calm.  Usually I would be very -- as I call it -- "chemical" right now, mired in bipolar symptoms.  I'm a little wavy, but in most moments I would call my mood "normal."

It reminds me of when I had to leave college mid-semester because I was too sick (bipolar) to function.  I felt very "normal" then too, but only because I was completely avoiding my work and doing whatever I wanted to do.  So maybe I'm not actually in a good place, because yeah, I'm kind of not making progress on my homework these days either.  But there are signs of life: I took a quiz yesterday that I was completely ready for, and I attempted to work at least three times today.


We'll see.  I've got three weeks left and a lot of code to write.  I'm failing to get worried about it, but I think that's a good thing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Survey: Diagnostic Process for Provoked Vestibulodynia

Diagnostic Process for Provoked Vestibulodynia
St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud MN 

Subject: This project will study the process of receiving a diagnosis of provoked vestibulodynia (aka vulvar vestibulitis syndrome). Participants will complete a questionnaire online regarding when and where they received a diagnosis, as well as the efficiency of the process. Participants will also be asked about personal characteristics. The online session is expected to take 15-20 minutes. 

Contact: Log in to our web site:

Read the Consent Form. If you want to participate, "sign" the form by submitting it through the submit button 
Or write to Dr. Jennifer Connor at

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Unmentionable Problem

Thursday I woke up with a really bad pain in my side that made it hard to move around.  Sounds freaky, but really, given my life of ongoing body things, I did a "WTF," decided that since it was hard to sit up I probably shouldn't go to school, and went back to sleep for six hours.

The pain got better the next day, but when I try to bend or sit certain ways it's still uncomfortable.

It's my lower left side, by my hip, not near any kidneys or spleens or pancreases or livers or gallbladders, and unless my inner organs are reversed, it's not near my appendix either.  So it's my intestines unless I sleepwalked Wednesday night and really took a hit to my hip.

Having IBS, I'm used to intestinal weirdness, but the pain on Thursday was much worse than the usual disturbances.  I've also pooped multiple times since then and was pretty regular leading up to that day, so it's probably not simply that I'm backed up.

The day before the pain, though, I tried some gluten-free chocolate bars that I will never eat again.  They're basically brownies, and that kind of chocolate doesn't usually set off my IBS.  But oh, it did.  It was non-explosive but epic, the way everything in my gut started churning around instantly and the amount of poop that came out of me that day.

So now I have to go to the doctor, obviously.  Pretty obviously.  Somewhere in my head I still want to wait it out because that's what I've been doing forever.  And somewhere in my head I'm freaking insane over having constant pain and angry at the universe for not fixing it already.

But I will go.

In the past I've had a lot of health anxiety over stuff like this, but vulvodynia really massaged that away.  My resistance now is due to frustration, not worry.  I am concerned that it might be something serious -- particularly that it might be dislocated ovary/uterus/babymaking pain -- but these days it's easier for me to take these things as they come.

Which is another point in favor of vulvodynia.

Short-term vulvodynia.  Okay, medium-term.  After a while, the returns diminish.

Funny, a few weeks ago I was thinking, I wish I could get a colonoscopy or at least go back to the gut doc.  There's too much activity down there; what if something is seriously wrong?  But how will I get them to take me seriously?  Thank you, Jeannie.

This post is named after the King of the Hill episode "Hank's Unmentionable Problem."  Hank doesn't poop for four days due to a beef-filled colon.  He gets scoped and scheduled for surgery to remove the blockage, but he has a breakthrough expressing himself emotionally and drops one just in time.

I often wonder if that's what my vulvodynia is waiting for.  Some kind of personal breakthrough.  But I've had like a billion of them and the damn coochie claw is still there.  If anyone can tell me what I'm missing, personally, in my development that might appease my downstairs demon, I'd really appreciate it.

If only my life were a cartoon.  Yep.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Personal Development When Your Person Sucks

I follow MC Hammer on Twitter.  He's one of the most upbeat, energetic people I follow, many many exclamation points and always tweeting about doing good and getting better.  Today he tweeted that he wanted to hear inspiring stories from other people so he could retweet them for all his followers to read.  Here are a few of those retweets (RT):
  • RT @OwensFinSvc in spite of bein a single mother 2 sets of twins ive bn able 2 attend skool ,srt my own business still be thr 4 my kids
  • RT @autumn_meadows spent 3 months homeless with my 3 girls,stayed in school 4 classes from getting my Bachelors in Business Administration
  • RT Aksuna @MCHammer Separated mother of 5 daughters, working full time, going to school full time, carrying a 4.0 GPA!!!
You might sense a theme here...other retweets mentioned the earthquake in Italy, war in Africa, breast cancer, but these three are the ones that bothered me.


Maybe they're all cat women so far gone that they say some variant of "children" without even thinking about it...yessss, that's it...

First off, I'm in awe.  Anyone who can do that is amazing, and that's why their stories are inspiring and worth repeating.

But don't I feel like a total failure tweeting next to them.

I have this book, Manic Depression and Creativity, that I ended up having to pay the library for via bipolar-losing-thingsness.  It's not a bad book to have had to pay for.  It covers Newton, Beethoven, Dickens, and Van Gogh claiming all may have been bipolar, and its Dewey Decimal number is 153.35 H572.

The staggering genius it describes doesn't make me feel half as loserly as that 5.0/4.0 woman does.

Because that woman is real.  She's not in a history book, and her major concerns aren't the kind of fit she will throw if her eighth symphony bombs or what Gauguin is doing at the moment.  She has a job, kids, and classes.  Job, kids, classes.  Life's basics.  The things we should all be able to do, at least in subsets.

Not being able to handle a subset of life's basics makes me feel like potato poop.  It's mortifying.  It's definitely worse than cutting off my ear, and on some days I'd happily exchange it for being deaf.  Mortifying, it's the only word.

One of my lessons is accepting that I'm sick.  I'm nine years officially bipolar and almost two officially vulvodynia -- it's about time I let those things be what they are.  I am necessarily a different person than I would be without them.  I have to take different routes and make different choices.  I have to stop trying to climb the stairs in my wheelchair.

But another of my lessons is accepting that I'm changing all the time.  My mood is up and down every week.  Any decision I make has to accommodate 100 different selves and that's why I feel like I never get anywhere: because three days later, I've ground to a halt.

All of this stuff is more of what I was writing yesterday.  I have to accept how things are -- not only that I'm sick, but that these selves of mine are ephemeral.  I've only got each one for as long as she's here, and she's going to move on her schedule.  And I'm always going to be this way.  Whatever I do, I do riding these waves.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Personal Development When Your Person is Lying on the Couch

Pretty bad flare today.  Any kind of movement is really bad.  Just rolling forward to get off the couch hurts a ton.  Or leaning, or twisting, etc.

I tried eating peanut butter again over the weekend.  I guess I forgot that it really hurts me.  Did it really hurt this bad last time?  I don't even know if that's what it is right now -- I think the pb did jack my pain up a bit, but now I'm in some even more elevated zone and I don't know why.

I'm thinking nuts (by name) are out in general.  I ate a Cashew Cookie Larabar the other day and felt immediate netherly burning.  It was really obvious.  So no nuts.  But maybe tomatoes, which isn't a bad exchange.

This is the most boring blog post ever, but if I don't get it out of my head I won't be able to move on with my day.  There's something to SAYING this stuff.  You poop it all out of your brain and then you have room for other things.  That's why it's so hard not to tell someone you just shut your thumb in a drawer or you have a sore throat.

Here, here is a more interesting thought so you're not completely wasting your time.

I read a lot of personal-development stuff, on the internet but I've gone through some good books too.

The thing about personal development is that it's written for the normal mind.  The normal mind is not mentally ill, and it's not lying on the couch by bodily mandate.

Personal-development advice still applies when you're, let's say, inhibited in some way, but sometimes it can be hard to implement.

(Not that it isn't hard to begin with.  If it weren't, none of us would have to develop, and lo and behold, all of us do.)

Steve Pavlina is my favorite personal-development blogger.  He is probably a major reason I'm able to eat like I do.  But even he says some stuff that's unreasonable when you're starting from a place of bipolar disorder and crotch pain.  Here are some examples from Twitter:
  • The only traps are those you set for yourself.
  • If you're depressed and whiny, maybe you should try not being depressed and whiny for a minute or two. See if you like it better.
  • Do you pour your heart and soul into each day's work? Or do you prefer heartless, soulless work? Either way you chose it.
  • If you aren't having fun, stop resisting your reality. It's not so bad once you learn to accept it.
I completely agree that we are in charge of how we see the world.  However, transcending pain is basically what Buddhist monks spend their entire lives learning to do.  So if you're asking me to get into a better frame of mind, I'm totally with you, but I've got this canker in my crotch that's going to keep flipping my switch whether I'm with you or not, and it's going to take some practice before I'm completely in charge of the controls.  Probably a lifetime of practice.

Same with any mental illness.  I can be 100% for personal development, but that doesn't change the fact that my psychic self seems to have gotten up to no hot water, found her refrigerator dead, found her car bashed in, missed the bus, forgotten crucial papers at home, gotten fired, gotten sprayed by a mud puddle, almost choked on a chicken bone, gotten dumped by her boyfriend, and had the cat puke in her favorite shoes all before I woke up this morning.

I think that's why I'm so motivated to develop personally -- because I have a rocky inner life that can't be cured.  Being bipolar doesn't have to equal chronic unhappiness, but the only way to get around it is to improve as a person.

So the most recent personal-development thing I've been reading is A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.  Oprah loves this book (is the reason for its success), and I think everyone on the planet should read it.

The interesting thing about the book is that Tolle isn't saying anything you didn't already suspect.  The premise is that the ego (self) is the reason why humanity sucks.  The ego identifies with things and thoughts -- nations, cities, sports teams, music groups, political groups, illnesses, perceived attributes (witty, smart, bitchy) -- in order to separate itself from other people and harden its existence.  But the ego doesn't actually exist; in Tolle's language, people are Beings, and we are all the same as one another.  It's because the ego is an illusion that it's so hungry to identify with things and draw another line marking itself apart from other people.

One major way the ego draws that line is by declaring itself "right" and others "wrong."  That simple need is why we war, why we fight, why Democrats and Republicans can't get along, why we love it when celebrities dress badly.

It feels so good to read this book because, as I said, it's something you (I, and I'm assuming I'm not alone) have sensed all along.  Go forth and be as you want to be!  You didn't want to fight before, and now you know you don't have to.  Now you know why you feel fine admiring Britney, Bjork, and Bach all in the same breath: because none of them is WHO YOU ARE.

The book confuses me a lot, though.  IS aesthetic sense possible to separate from the ego?  WHY would I choose any particular coat and not just the first one that wasn't too small?  WHY would I date any particular person and not the first person who came along?  HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO MOVE FORWARD WITH MY LIFE, ECKHART TOLLE?

Thankfully, I'm not done with the book yet, so maybe he'll answer my questions.  I just got to the part where he's talking about peace, and this is my thought for this blog post: peace isn't something we achieve; we choose it.  Any moment, any of us has the ability to choose a peaceful state of mind -- to NOT think that our circumstances are horrible, to not worry about the past or the future, to not be bothered that we are splitting infinitives.  Which is what Steve is basically saying too, and what I've tried loudly and sometimes hoarsely to tell myself, now hammered home from a different angle.

So I'm choosing peace.  My pain will still be pain.  My moods will still be moods.  Everything is what it is.  There is only the amount of time that there is.  The things you can do are the only things you can do.  For my pain, I can only do what I can do, and if it lays me down on the couch, that's what it does.

Back to the monks -- monks pain themselves to repent, hair shirts and self-flagellation.  They also pain themselves as a test, fasting, hours meditating, self-deprivation.  Sometimes it's part of a protest, like when they set themselves on fire.  My pain makes me feel like a firewalker.  I imagine I'm standing on coals, letting them sear my skin and start in on my muscle and bone.  It may seem a gruesome image, but somehow it makes it easier :)

There.  I pooped out my mind.  NOW I can go have a day.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Setting Goals

In my apartment upending, I uprooted a box of condoms.

Trash?  Must be by now.

Expiration date: 12-2010.


Car Blog

I'm turning this into a car blog.

My car window got smashed in today because my broken, piece-of-shit stereo looked oh so tempting.

My prescription Ray-Bans did not, thank goodness.  I'm pretty sure they're worth more.

In isolation, it's a moderate inconvenience.  After three new bumpers and in the midst of cooch, it's a lot.

So I called my insurance company, went to the police department, and then came home and tried to figure out how to cover the window.

Then I upended everything in my apartment.  Junk drawers?  Floor.  Junk boxes?  Floor.  Dresser drawers?  Floor.  Bookshelves?  Floor.

While reheating last night's pizza in the oven.

Is this gripping journalism yet?

There are lots of ways to upend things.  This was pretty calm.  Nothing really happened except that everything I own is now on my floor.

I have been in a funk for so long, but it's not a chemical, bipolar funk.  It's a fucking-a-I-need-time-to-myself-to-be-happy-and-renew-my-spirit funk.

So this is...additional.

So everything's on my floor.

I always dug symbolism.

P.S. The neighbors I cursed for having loud sex totally came through for me tonight and supplied all of the supplies and did all of the work wrapping up my window.  Heart = big.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Shouldn't Have to Lie

Last week I kinda stopped functioning for three days.  I didn't go to classes, didn't go to my assistantship, and had to tell something to the professorly people who would care.

I told all my professors that I have a "chronic condition that flared up recently."  It seemed like the best thing to say.  It implies "I won't be coughing for three weeks after I come back because this isn't the flu so don't think I'm playing hooky."  (I always worry about people thinking I'm playing hooky.)  It also implies "don't ask."

My advisor, I told him I have a "chronic pain condition that flared up recently."  That additional word might've been a mistake, but, come to think of it, it probably would've played out the same way with or without it.

Him: So you have a pain problem?
Me: Yeah.
Him: Can I ask where?

Here is the point where you say, as I read somewhere recently, "why do you want to know?"  But I'm not that sharp.

Me: My whole body.

It's not actually a complete lie.  I have full-body pain when I eat gluten, and that's why it's such a handy thing to say.

But it's still a lie.

And I shouldn't have to lie.

I swore, I swore in those split seconds leading up to that question that I was gonna say "in my vulva."  Four syllables, not even a complete sentence, all words I've said before.  But my advisor was born before there were vulvas, and anyway he's not a native English speaker, and I never have a Japanese-English dictionary handy, and without one I'd be forced to demonstrate.

And I was never going to say it anyway.

I think lying bothers me most because I feel like there's never been a time in my adult life when I didn't have something to lie about.  Before I was lying to avoid saying "depression" and "anxiety."  Now I'm lying to avoid saying "vulva."

I don't want to lie anymore.

But I don't want to invite people into my internal affairs either, brain or panties.

So I guess the answer is not to say anything.  If someone asks why or where or what and I don't want to tell the truth, I'll tell a different truth, like "I'd rather not say."

Crotch Update

I tried going low-fiber/low-residue as recommended for Crohn's and similar digestive problems, just to test the theory that if you have IBS, you can't recover while eating lots of fiber.

I had to make some exchanges to cut back on fiber.  For instance, I tried adding jelly and fruit juice back to my diet, and I paid for it immediately.  Both gave me acute bladder and urethra pain not long after I ate them.  I haven't eaten any whole fruit besides bananas in a long time, and I think I'll hold off on the others for a while.

I also tried milk, and that was an owie.  I don't know that it did anything to my cooch, but I get really sharp pains in my gut several hours after drinking milk, when it gets down to my large intestine.

However, switching away from a high-vegetable diet made my bowel movements much better.  (Why do I find poop more TMI than vulvas?  I always get weirded out when I start writing about it.)  When I was eating a ton of veggies (plus a lot of raw nuts), I'd wake up every morning to a crampy stomach and have weird things flying out my butt as soon as I got to the toilet.  That's how it was when I was vegan too, except it happened multiple times a day.  I expected it to settle down over time, but it never did.

Now that I've laid off the veggies and cut out the nuts, I don't have any crazy-uncomfortable bowel movements anymore, and no messy ones either.  (Sometimes I felt like a baby.  You know those adult baby wipes they sell?  Well, I never deigned to buy them, but yeah.)

So I'm a little confused as to what's really best for me to eat, but I've decided not to worry about it right now.  I need a vacation from the food sifting for a while.  Tonight I made a gluten-free, dairy-free pizza using Bob's Red Mill's pizza crust mix and Lisanatti's "mozzarella" "cheese" made from almonds (which really melts!).  It was so niiiiiice to eat like that.  I even put pepperoni on it, and then I died.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What to Wear, What to Wear...

How about this?

Source, via my lovely friend Julia.