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Dear Forum Friends….
Just wanted to share our recent success story with you…
Evidently, there must be something to all of those 4th of July fireworks!! Actually, the real magic –as we all know – is Dr. Pacik. He is really so much more than a plastic surgeon. He is also a skilled therapist and a trusted counselor. My husband and I will forever be in his debt!
Our journey * pre-Dr. Pacik * is detailed in Catherine’s Story (found under Stories in the VaginismusMD website). In short, I was a virgin when I married at 37. For the two years since our summer 2010 wedding, intercourse has (or, as of this writing, HAD) been absolutely impossible. My husband and I started learning about vaginismus some months into our marriage. Based on our initial research, I tried working with dilators and even started using anti-anxiety medication. Nothing worked – until now.
After learning about Dr. Pacik’s work, we scheduled his Botox/Dilation/Counseling procedure for June 12, 2012. As his other patients will attest, Dr. Pacik and the entire team treat his patients with such dignity, respect, and sensitivity. The procedure itself was painless, and the follow-up care – including dilation instruction and related counseling – complete in every way.
Upon our return home (for us – about an eight hour car ride), I resolved to be as diligent as possible with the dilation exercises. This included two hours of daily dilation, as well as overnight “passive” dilation. Dr. Pacik asks each of his patients to send him an updated log each day, so that he can track progress and make appropriate recommendations. Clearly, this kind of monitoring and adjusting makes the follow-up care ideal. I know now that it set us up for success.
Since I was making strides in dilation (eg: anxiety under control, able to dilate up to the “Big Blue,” experimenting with the Candy Stick and XL glass dilators to better align with my husband’s circumference), my husband and I began to think seriously about transitioning to intercourse. However, when we had a second unsuccessful attempt on Day 18 post procedure, our collective anxiety rose considerably. Naturally, we started to worry: What if we were the one couple for whom this just doesn’t work? Was my husband really just too big for me? Is there something in me that unwittingly resists his advances?
Because of the daily communication with Dr. Pacik, our anxieties were quickly addressed. I e-mailed on a Sunday morning , and had specific guidance just a few short hours later. Besides an extensive follow-up e-mail, Dr. Pacik also offered to talk with us prior to our next attempt at intercourse. I don’t think I have ever met a doctor so committed to helping his patients. My husband and I talked long distance with Dr. Pacik for over an hour, the night before a national holiday. At that time, the doctor provided specific sexual counseling – even suggesting a position that might work for us. (Who knew?!?) He also gently facilitated a conversation around arousal and the significance of learning about and satisfying our partner’s respective needs. Such delicate items to discuss – yet, I’m learning, so vital. Truth be told: if I thought I was “exposed” in Dr. Pacik’s operating room a few short weeks ago, nothing prepared me for this form of vulnerability. Without a doubt, sexual intercourse is a mind-body-heart expression involving two total persons. Every aspect of both persons needs to be healthy (or at least as “healthy” as possible) in order for sex to be fulfilling and joyful.
Physically speaking, that night I followed a relatively aggressive dilation. Slept with the pink dilator (about 5 or 6 hours) and then dilated to the blue for about 90 minutes. We had also ordered a larger glass dilator – per an earlier suggestion from Dr. Pacik, and I dilated with that for about 30 minutes.
In full disclosure, my husband has also been struggling with erectile disfunction (ED), perhaps a consequence of his own health issues, but perhaps a result of the vaginismus. I share this because – obviously – this concern also need(ed) to be addressed along the way. While he is under another doctor’s care, his use of ED-medication (Viagra) was also key to our shared success. So… while I finished the dilation rotation, my husband took his medication, as well.
Emotionally or romantically speaking, my husband and I became more intimate, and then prepared for intercourse. While we had discussed keeping our goal for our “morning date” relatively modest (ie.: entry only), my husband was able – after just a few tries – to enter me, thrust, and achieve orgasm. There was minimal pain, just the sense of being “stretched” on the inside. Needless to say: this was no small victory. Even as I write this, it all seems quite surreal.
Moving forward… my husband and I recognize that there are many, many more steps on this journey. We have heard from other patients that sometimes the next attempt may not be as successful (at least in these beginning days). But we are committed to working on this together, to building the best possible intimate relationship, and the best possible marriage. Our sexuality is a great gift… one we give each other … and one the other gives us. (And – for far too long — it was a gift that had gone unwrapped!)
One final note… I shared this recent success story with a dear friend of mine earlier today. She asked me if the “end game” was conception, a baby. While my husband and I do love children and hope to build a family together, it seemed so clinical – and, on a variety of levels, so wrong – to call conception our “end game.” The communication and intimacy found inside our marriage has grown so much in the last few months, weeks, days – all in this effort to build a shared sexual life. I dare say THAT quiet, secret, closeness & vulnerability – being known and loved and accepted and adored & then knowing and loving someone in that same way – THAT is our “end game.” There are no fireworks that compare to that.
Please know that we are more than happy to correspond and/or talk with anyone struggling with these issues. Thanks to so many of Dr. Pacik’s patients who paved the way for us. You inspired us, and gave us the courage to pursue this journey. We are so very, very grateful.