Patient to patient — A conversation about vaginismus.

Something wonderful happened today. I saw a new vaginismus patient. Typical in many ways, she is in her 30’s, pretty and petrified of romantic relationships. She avoids relationships because she believes that there is something “wrong with her.” She feels ashamed and damaged. She really doesn’t believe she can be helped. The few relationships she has tried have left her feeling worse than when she started. She feels desperate now and is hoping maybe we can help, though she wonders (like most vaginismus patients) if she is beyond help.

So what’s the good news?

It just so happened that immediately following her appointment was a patient who was finishing treatment for vaginismus, a magnificent and beautiful woman (inside and out) in her 40’s who 3 months ago thought she would never be “normal.” I asked if she’d be comfortable talking to the new patient and she happily agreed.

Sitting there with the two of them almost made me cry. As I watched our “graduating” patient talk about all her fears and concerns when she came to us, and how empowered and normal she now feels, I felt so proud of her. And watching the new patient realize that her situation is not so unique and not so hopeless — watching her light up with a new found feeling of hopefulness — made me grateful for being in this profession.

Daily I feel privileged to have the opportunity to watch our patients struggle with their worst fears and conquer them — and privileged to be a part of the solution. But in the end, they are doing it themselves. I am blessed to be able to be a part of their lives.

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