I grew up in a VERY strict family, where sex education was never discussed, and, whenever a sex-related topic came up, it was met with terse, disdainful comments by my parents. I remember wondering in my pre-teen years how my sister and I came to be, and, in later years, when I found out, I wondered how we could possibly be wanted by my parents since they thought sex was such an evil topic. Needless to say, I was left to my own discovery to figure out how to deal with the onset of puberty, menstrual periods, and relationships with boys.
I struggled through getting accustomed to tampons, unpleasant and somewhat painful GYN exams, and through the years completely isolated myself in school and work to avoid even having to address the possibility of a relationship that might involve sexual intercourse. At the age of 48 (pre-menopausal), I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Chemotherapy put me into menopause very quickly, and my periods never returned. (The good news is that the hot flashes only lasted two weeks, although I wouldn’t recommend chemo as a way to manage hot flashes!) Since completion of treatment nine years ago, GYN exams have become more difficult and, sometimes, impossible. I have tried progressive dilation on my own with some success, but not enough to give me confidence in being able to comfortably withstand a pelvic exam or pursue a personal relationship. All of this has led me to Dr. Pacik. He and I had a great conversation a few evenings ago, and I am scheduled for the procedure in early March.