I can't believe it's been a month since I last posted. This lapse doesn't hold any significance, really. It's not that I've been in a lot of pain this month and have sunk into a depression. Or that I've been feeling so good that I haven't thought about blogging. I write blog posts in my head all of the time. I just haven't had the energy to write.
I was out to dinner with a friend of mine who also suffers from vulvodynia and she said, simply, "everything takes so much effort." And she's right. Every day I do something to try to feel better, to try to conquer this, to try to stay positive. Every week I try to think of ways to stay connected to my boyfriend, to regain some of the intimacy we lost to vulvodynia. It all takes effort and energy that I sometimes don't have.
But recently I picked up a book that described, so uncannily, my experience with this condition that it has really motivated me to keep working. It's called The Camera My Mother Gave Me and it's by Susanna Kaysen, the woman who wrote Girl, Interrupted. I read it in one night. And then the next night, my boyfriend picked it up and he read it in one night.
It begins: "It's a yeast infection," said my gynecologist in June. ... here try this."
And continues as she goes from doctor to specialist to alternative nurse to acupuncturist (and more). We hear about her experience with boric acid and sitz baths and antidepressants - all things my friends, collectively, have tried. We read about her caustic relationship with her boyfriend who basically forces her to have sex regularly and constantly berates her, saying, "You're not doing anything about this!" (This was the part of her story that wasn't like mine and left me thankful for being with someone who understands how much I'm trying.)
This book won't leave you feeling optimistic or hopeful - it ends before we find out if she ever feels better - but there is something about seeing yourself in someone else's story. My friends with vulvodynia do that for me already, but there was something about reading a published memoir that reassured me that I'm not crazy. That this isn't all in my head.