There was a time when all I could think about and focus on was my vulvodynia/vaginismus. It defined me. Even when I wasn't actively thinking or worrying about it, it was the running backdrop to everything I did or thought.
And then when my dad died this summer, I found that my thoughts shifted. Suddenly, the energy I was putting into my treatment - all of the acupuncture, the herbs, the meditating and stretching, the physical therapy, etc., etc., etc. - was needed elsewhere. I found that I could not physically focus on both my vulvodynia and coping with my dad's suicide. I was exhausted. I needed a break from everything. I stopped the herbs and acupuncture. I slacked off on my ointments. I no longer did the stretching and biofeedback homework that I used to be fairly diligent about.
When I went back to see my specialist a couple of months after all this happened, I discovered that taking this "break" did me no good, not surprisingly. My skin was inflamed again, almost as bad as it was before. Stress can exacerbate my condition and I don't know if I've ever been more stressed out than I am now, what with dad's sudden death, my upcoming wedding, and an imminent move to a new city. I went back on the ointments, started stretching again, and am trying to keep motivated. I saw a lecture last week by a doctor who specializes in vulvar pain and was frightened by what she shared about lichen planus. I am trying to be a good patient. I do want to get better. It's just exhausting.