Friday, March 19, 2010

Lack of Substance

I realize that ever since I got on good brain meds and started feeling better mentally, my posts have basically consisted of sex stories and pictures of stuff that you might find funny if you're Beavis or Butthead or me. So depression is good for something -- deep blog posts.

But I feel like I've left my readers in the lurch. It's not that I have nothing to say; it's that vulvodynia is no longer the center of my life so I'm not running to my blog to report my thoughts all the time. That doesn't mean I'm not thinking about it, though. Today I went for a hike in my favorite forest preserve and came across this site:

Last time I was there, everything in that photo was laden with ivy leaves. In total there's about a quarter acre in those woods where the ivy has run wild, climbing all the way up the trees and weaving itself across branches and over the path. I remember standing there late last summer under it all wishing I could stay there forever. It was after one bad doctor's appointment or another and I was so frustrated and devastated that I thought with just a little more internal steam I might slither right out of my skin and start over. The ivy was lying over a short tree in a way that made it look like a witch, and her ankles were thin and she had red eyes, and all I could think was how feeble magic looked to me anymore. But I still felt like begging her for a cure.

I can't believe how much has changed for me internally in just eight or nine months. I feel very lucky, and I also feel like everything I've gone through can really help other people. So it's my aim now to write from my new perspective with hope that it will help some of you out there as you try to cope with vulvodynia and move forward with your lives. Ours is a pretty lonely disease, so once we find each other we've got to stick together.

Minute Man or Hora Hombre?

Monday, March 15, 2010

What Catfish Arms Look Like

Everyone keeps asking me what forearms like catfish look like. Well, let me tell you a little story, as I remember it.

When I was a tween or so, my dad, my brother and I often went fishing with my grandpa when we were in town. One of those trips took us to the bank of a river. I remember grandpa fishing from the ground, leaning back against a rock with his failing legs stretched out in front of him. He hooked something in the river and reeled it up -- a catfish no longer than a foot. It looked like a dinky thing to me given how big catfish can get, but he pulled it off the hook and held it in his fist for a second. "Nice fish," he said, and then lobbed it back into the water like a football.

I don't think anyone else there remembers that catch, but I do because I wondered how the catfish must've felt in grandpa's hand -- all those muscles in their exact design with their exact duties, all that tissue existing only for a present-moment purpose, the cylinder fish alien against all my bluegill hauls... Apparently I've been thinking about that fish for almost twenty years because when I wrap my fist around Catfish's forearm, I think of grandpa's catch.

Granted, perspective is in his arm's favor here. Popeye! But he IS in the process of working up to doing a pull-up with me hanging on him. He says by April 1, but we'll see.

I've worked up to 2 chin-ups -- palms facing in. 1.5 pull-ups, palms away. My goal is to do more chin-ups than Linda Hamilton does in Terminator 2.

While I'm photo sharing -- here's a coffee mug we got in at work the other day:

Apparently my mind's always in the wrong place, but when I gave my co-workers a second to think about it they saw it too. Dante (aka The Danté!) asked to pose with the cup:

If anyone wants this cup I will snag it for you. I wanted to gift it to someone who would appreciate it because I find it so special but I figure it deserves a few trips around the restaurant before moving forward to a private collection.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Can't Get Over It

I keep ordering mussels. Any idea why?

This pic sucks because I'm trying to be surreptitious. I'm alone in a bar. My co-worker and I already had our post-work two and she left. But I was feeling the clamshell call. (Need to be alliterative surpasses need for accuracy.)

Another Type of Man

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sleeping with Catfish

The guy I've been seeing has forearms that are like catfish, so I've been calling him "Catfish" to people who don't know him. I think I'll start calling him that here.

Catfish and I have been trying to have sex. Actually, we've succeeded several times at having sex -- I say "trying" because each time feels like a flip of the coin, "will sex be possible again." It hasn't been something I haven't been able to do, but I've come close to abandoning the mission before it's complete.

When we start, the pain around the opening of my vajayjay is excruciating to varying degrees, sometimes breathlessly, sometimes more of a wince. It's always subsided after a few minutes, so I hang in there. He caught on quick and we go slow until the pain lets up and we can get moving.

Then there's the problem of going too long. If we have an extended round, I start to feel a different kind of pain -- my abdomen, and also a soreness around my groin. I figure it could be muscular, since in theory those muscles are bound up all the time, but whatever it is it makes me fizzle prematurely and I just try to hang on till the ride's over.

The pain during the day is another story completely. Up until about a week ago, it was unbelievable. I was at a 9 constantly -- and whenever I get up above 8 or so, I realize that my pain scale is actually a hyperbola and the increments start stretching as the numbers go up. I consider 10 to be pain that I can't not cry about. The 9 I was feeling for a few weeks -- including that day I posted from the toilet -- is a 10 minus the inability to function. 8 is loud burning that distracts me every so often.

So I sat on that 9 all day for a couple weeks, including through the misery of my period, constantly convincing myself that I didn't have a bladder infection. (I didn't, somehow, but my pee was like a serrated knife.) And each night I'd get into bed and feel like I couldn't possibly have sex again. Well, one fabulous thing about this guy is that some nights we just cuddle. (Drool.) And a couple nights I diverted the sex to other activities as the pain was too scary. But there were a few times where I thought, no way, no way, and then I tried anyway and was able to fight through the pain and have a good time.

That taught me a huge lesson. I realized that no matter what, my pain is not a mandate on my actions. I can do whatever the hell I want! If I were paralyzed, I would NOT be able to move my legs -- it wouldn't be my CHOICE. But with pain, what I do IS my choice. I may not function exactly as I would without the pain, but I can still function.

I do have to be more careful than I have been in the past, obviously. I seem to get tender externally more easily, and I've noticed some bleeding when he involves his fingers. And as I mentioned above, my vaginal stamina (HAHAHA) isn't what it used to be. But I'm so thankful that Catfish is a guy I actually WANT to keep seeing! Trying my vajayjay at regular sex and seeing that it's fit enough for parasex (like Paralympics...) has stoked my feelings of control over the situation.

Since about a week ago, the not-during-sex pain hasn't been that bad, and I think I figured out why: IT'S MY DAMN INTESTINES. I swear, I swear, I swear... Look, I'm a constipated kid to begin with, alright? And the medications I'm on for my bipolar head make me all the more stopped up. So I've been waging what would probably be a wiggly war against my gut, dropping kefir and kombucha and senna and probiotics on it along with movement-inducing foods in an effort to poop at least more often than every Tuesday. And I was in the middle of so much level-9 pain and suddenly, like the sunrise, there came two gigantic bowel movements in one day -- and my pain sunk back down to its usual 6 or so without a quibble. WHA???

I thought the pain was about the sex and that I could never have regular sex without being in level-9 pain my whole life. But apparently, that's not how it works. Can I get a Hallelujah?

I have been eating like an idiot because my schedule's so messed up being around this guy all the time and going out so much. But I need to stop it. There is no reason for me to eat like I have been, risking glutenings and dropping Reese's cups like they're, well, Reese's cups. I hate Reese's almost as much as I hate that maker of the universe's cutest but cheapest but most ununbuyable shoes, Steve Madden. I hate you, Steve Madden.

My message to you other v-girls is: IBS. The incidence of IBS among women with vulvodynia surveyed on is 50%. Fifty percent. That means half of all women reporting that they have vulvodynia also report IBS. WHAT! I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I think that's ridiculous. It could be that some spasm disorder is affecting both our colon and our vulva, but something like that sounds extremely rare to me, and neither IBS and nor vulvodynia is a rare disease. I think it's more likely that for those of us with vulvodynia, the two are related with the hyper-reactive colon setting off nerve endings in the vulva.

Our diets are crap, you know. High incidence of IBS? BECAUSE OUR DIETS ARE CRAP. It's no genetic disorder, birth defect, nerve disease... It's because we weren't made to consume Mountain Dew and Shamrock Shakes while excluding everything else that's green.

So I am going to put my foot down. On my hand. And my wallet. And Catfish's fork. So I can't eat anything I shouldn't. Yeah. Twister in the refrigerator.