Breakin news to Mom & Pops?

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  • #9323
    ceegee
    Participant

    * Clean my cat’s litter box 45 times a day.
    * Eat a bowl of wasabi
    * Jury duty for the most boring court case in history.

    – Things I’d rather do than tell my parents I have Vaginismus.

    I’m 30, single, I have primary Vee, and I have plans to do the Botox in the very near future. Since I’m a writer and stand up comedian I don’t have the financial means to afford the procedure and trip on my own. I think i can raise the funds, but help from my parents is likely necessary, even if it’s the smallest amount. Right now I am not entirely sure what they are able to give and how much of a dent it will make in my budget, so that will determine how/if I proceed with fundraising, which in turn will determine what type of advertising route I take to campaign – ie. more discreet ‘close friends, please donate in secret/vague medical issue’ vs ‘HERE I AM, WORLD, HELP ME GET LAID’. The latter, I think, will get more attention and funding faster but it will also require me to be far more public about the issue than I ever intended to be. There are pros and cons to that, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The pressing issue at hand is how to approach the subject with my mother.

    Initially the plan was to tell my parents over the holidays. That didn’t happen for a myriad of reasons, in addition to my family being enormous and chaotically busy and in another city. So I am aiming for the next few days. I won’t be sitting down with both my parents because there is just 100% no way. I grew up in a rigidly conservative Evangelical Christian household where sexual health was never discussed, ever, and it was forever assumed that everyone would remain ‘pure’ until marriage. I am worlds away from that life now but that too is never openly discussed or acknowledged. My parents are loving and supportive and compassionate but this will take a lot of thorough explanation and I’d prefer to just tell my mom and have her fill my dad in later.

    I have spoken with Dr. Pacik and read posts on here and have decided that taking the strictly medical approach is ideal. Talking about it in terms of how it affects my health, gyn exams, tampons etc.

    However, I don’t see how the issue of sex wouldn’t come up, given how that has primarily been the source of frustration and anxiety all of these years. I don’t know how to convey just how challenging this battle has been without revealing that the obstacle has been sex. The reality is that I have never even attempted a gyn exam because I already know I can’t do one. I get severe anxiety just thinking about it and then worrying about the potential consequences of never having had one. This of course is a huge struggle as well, and one worth mentioning, but I feel like the topic of sex is inevitable. Am I wrong? Maybe that’s just the part of me that wants to speak out in defence of single girls who are enraged over being scrutinized for wanting to have sex. I’m not sure if asked point blank, I would want to lie about sex and pretend I’m okay with being seen as virginal/pure – that’s the kind of thing that has largely contributed to this ordeal in the first place, after all.

    Has anyone managed to have this conversation without the sex aspect? I wouldn’t even be able to give them the ‘When Sex Seems Impossible’ book without them freaking out so it’s hard for me to see past that right now. I hate to admit it but if it weren’t for the financial aspect I would absolutely do this process without them knowing and then they would find out in my memoir tell-all book someday or I would announce it on camera on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Ha. That’s how strongly I feel about them not being involved, so this is difficult. I have an excellent support system otherwise. I’m going to be bringing a close friend with me to the procedure.

    Suggestions?

    (Note: This subject tends to make me describe my family in demonizing ways but they are genuine good eggs and very kind, funny people – we just have a very distant relationship when it comes to personal matters, and sadly religious beliefs tend to cloud their vision at times.)

    #13605
    Marianna162
    Participant

    Hi there,
    I didn’t want to talk to my parents about my condition, either. I needed them to watch my dog, though, while I was in New Hampshire. I ended up talking to my mom (who is an old fashioned, traditional Greek woman), who then talked to my dad. I stayed strictly with the medical aspect of the condition, though- no pelvic exams, pap smears, and inability to use tampons. I think it was shocking enough that my mother didn’t even think to ask about the sexual aspect of it, and she knew it was a bit upsetting for me to discuss anyway. My father later pulled me aside and said whatever he could help with financially he would.
    My dad tends to research any medical matters, and I did give them Dr. Pacik’s name, so they may have drawn their own conclusions regarding my sex life, however never mentioned it, and I’m a month out from the procedure and we haven’t discussed it.

    (Edited to mention that when I decided to go for broke and tell my mom, I was on my way to a night class I was taking, so I did have an excuse to end the conversation before I got too emotional about it. Hate to say it, but having an escape plan might be useful!)

    #13670
    Leena
    Participant

    Ceegee and Marianna, your posts have been very helpful to me. Have you had or been scheduled for the procedure? I am having it on May 4th. Ceegee, it was remarkable how similar the circumstances and issues you described in your post are to mine, and I found that comforting after a week of mixed reactions from my family and closest friends regarding the treatment.

    I’m 45, and for many years I only disclosed to very few people because I thought I was just abnormal and that this was just a phobia I couldn’t conquer. It took years for me to find out that this is a medical condition with a name. That was and is such a huge relief. That helped me tell a couple more of my closest friends. Now that I have scheduled the procedure and started fundraising for it, I shared the full story with some more of my closest friends and kept my fundraising site vague – that it is a deeply personal issue that is hard for me to disclose.

    When I told friends about the vaginismus, they were pretty compassionate, although they really didn’t know what to say in response. However, I have been having some unfortunate reactions to the treatment. A few reactions have been: “can you go for counseling first?” (I’ve been in therapy for years, and this is certainly an issue I have tried to address through that modality); “just use the dilators” (even after explaining that the issue is I cannot insert anything into my vagina); “I’m concerned about you and this treatment. Can you speak with some more doctors about this?” (although I have told her that I have talked to a number of doctors over the years and none of them knew about vaginismus and one summarily dismissed the possibility of my having it).

    My brother has been amazingly supportive, but my mother won’t let me even talk about the treatment with her. A friend of mine who is a retired physician expressed his concern about the treatment and encouraged me to talk to a colleague of his who is at the behavioral sex unit of Johns Hopkins. I did this, but this person said they usually send women with my complaint to a GYN or pelvic floor specialist to see if there are medical or physical therapies that might help. He said he has heard of the use of Botox but offered no opinion on it. He acknowledged that it looks like I have tried all avenues they would have recommended and ended by saying he’s not sure how else he can help me. It was just like being sucked back into a vacuum of complete misunderstanding of this condition.

    I have tried to educate these wary friends about how well-established this treatment is, but it just seems there is some kind of block when they hear the word Botox. As if it is too strange to use Botox for that purpose and it must not be a legitimate treatment. The wariness was also caused by the fact that my insurance won’t cover any of the costs (which is why I am fundraising). I know these friends care about me deeply and are just concerned about my welfare, but it still bothers me. If I were having a treatment not covered by my insurance for another medical condition, one which they could understand, and I told them that previously available treatments did not work or are not possible for me, I don’t think they would be reacting in this way.

    Dr. Pacik, was I wrong to describe the treatment as “experimental” – I used that word, in quotes, as an explanation for why my insurance won’t cover it. I have Medicare/Medicaid, and Diane Trembley advised me that since the treatment is not FDA approved, neither will pay for any part of it. I just wanted to express it in a concise way that made sense to them, and I’ve heard of many instances where insurance companies don’t cover treatments because they deem them “experimental”, even though the treatments have a track record of working when nothing else will.

    Well, I know I have to just work on accepting these reactions. Unfortunately, these closest friends are not in the city in which I currently live, and I told them via email. I spoke with one on the phone, but it didn’t improve the situation. If I could speak with them in person, I think it would be resolved better.

    In case you are interested, this is the text I used on my fundraising site and in my emails to my closest friends:

    “Dear Friends and Family,

    This is normally close to the time of year when I have an annual fundraiser to support a favorite charity. As funny as this feels, this year I am asking you to help me. There is a medical procedure that will make a big difference in my life. It’s very sensitive and deeply personal, so I won’t go into details (rest assured it is not plastic surgery!)

    It is for a condition that has not been studied until very recently, and there is just one doctor who performs this procedure, which he pioneered, and his offices are located in New Hampshire. He is well-reputed and recognized and has done thorough research and carried out studies on this treatment. He has treated hundreds of people over the past several years, with a 90% success rate. Unfortunately, my insurance will not cover this procedure because they still consider it experimental, and this doctor is retiring this summer. In addition, I have been unable to work and will be unable to do so in the foreseeable future due to a disability (which is why I’ve temporarily moved back home to recuperate physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially).

    I am hoping to have the procedure done in May in New Hampshire and would appreciate any help you can give as I try to finance the $6,000 procedure and associated travel and accommodation costs (I need to stay there several days).

    Note that giving through this website, which is via PayPal, shaves 3% off your donation, so contact me if you can send a check instead.

    Thanks for considering this request, and prayers and positive wishes are also needed and welcome.

    All the best,

    Michele”

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