I had my procedure on 12/16/13
January 12, 2014 at 2:45 pm #9090KarenKParticipant
I had my procedure with Dr. Pacik on 12/16 and wanted to get on here and post an update, especially since it looks as if there are several here getting ready to have their procedures in January. First and foremost, I want to give huge kudos to the entire staff of Dr. Pacik, including Dr. Pacik himself. As many others have stated, you will not find nicer people anywhere, and Dr. Pacik is so extremely knowledgeable of vaginismus (much more than any clinician that I’ve ever come in contact with), so this helped me relax and feel confident immediately. Secondly, I’d like to give huge props to the ladies in this forum, including all of us who have had the procedure, those of us that have scheduled the procedure, and those that are considering it or are dealing with V in alternative ways. I cannot stress how incredibly brave and courageous you are. To be able to endure the feelings of isolation that this condition brings, along with the emotional toll that it inevitably brings on yourself and your relationships, yet you are still able to take the “bull by the horns” and do the research to find out what’s wrong and what can be done for a condition that is so unknown and almost taboo in the medical world, I commend you. It makes me so sad to think about how many women are still out there that haven’t done the research or haven’t found doctors who know of the condition, along with so many women getting mis-diagnosed. It just breaks my heart.
My personal story is as follows. I grew up Cathlolic – my parents were fairly strict and sex was never discussed openly. I was never able to use tampons – I tried, but figured they weren’t for me and didn’t really think anything about it since some friends of mine told me they had trouble with them too. Fast forward to my older sister getting pregnant out of wedlock in college. It completely devastated my parents, and I was told various times “please do NOT do this to us again”. So the signals of vaginismus were likely beginning to click. I was able to have a gynecological exam, but only with the “toddler” speculum, and it was all very painful and not a good experience. In fact, the first gynecologist I saw actually made me feel like a freak for not being able to handle the exam, told me very meanly that I “better learn to use tampons or there’s no way I would be able to handle a penis in there”. Etc. Etc. Just Awful. I remember giving my mom and sister a high level synopsis of that appointment, but they both looked at me with confused expressions and told me that gyn exams “are uncomfortable for sure – but certainly don’t “hurt”. I was totally confused by this, and started to shut down further communication with anyone about it, since this was clearly all “in my head”. I met my wonderful husband right after college and we attempted to have sex on our honeymoon but could not. I had no idea what was going on with me. Why is something that should be so natural so impossible for me? At the time, I was seeing a very nice nurse practitioner in a different gynecologist office. I told her what was going on, and although she was very nice and caring, she also had no idea what was wrong with me. She told me to “relax, drink a glass of wine, try different positions” etc. I stopped going to her because, although nice, she wasn’t really any help to me. I was feeling completely lost at this point. Even with my limited research on the internet at that time, I wasn’t finding much after plugging in “I can’t have sex” and “pain during sex”. Years went by, and I finally stumbled across a site that discussed vaginismus and instantly concluded that this was me. I remember feeling an initial sense of relief that there were actually OTHER people that might be going through this too (I swore I was the only one – like so many of us). I ordered the set of plastic dilators immediately along with some books, but the dilators scared me so much when I received them that they sat in a drawer for years. It was starting to take a toll on my marriage, and my husband and I separated for a time. I decided it was time once and for all to figure out what the heck was wrong with me. I googled for a doctor in my area who specialized in vaginismus and one doctor popped up. ONE. (And I live in the 12th largest city in the US – it’s just sad). I scheduled an appointment with her immediately. When I saw her, she diagnosed me with vaginismus right away (although I told her that I self-diagnosed myself long ago), and we began discussing treatment. She referred me to a physical therapist who specialized in pelvic pain, and I have been seeing this PT ever since. I began using the plastic dilators in the drawer and seeing the PT once a week. My sessions with Andrea, my PT, have been invaluable, because she was very careful in explaining everything and making me feel normal for the first time in my life. She has made me completely comfortable, and I was able to have open conversations with her about something that has been plaguing me my whole life that nobody could even come close to understanding. Even though PT was going very well, dilators were becoming easier to use, and all seemed to be progressing fine, I still felt that I needed something else to help get me over the hump. In my previous research I had heard of a place in New York that you could go to for a 2 week treatment. I got back online and began doing even more research, and this is when I came across Dr. Pacik’s website. I had no idea that botox was even an option for treatment – this was completely new to me – but I was excited to read that this was another possible option for me. I spoke to my husband and we both decided it was worth getting more information about it. After speaking to my PT about it too, I contacted the office, filled out the forms, and both my husband and I spoke to Dr. Pacik on the phone. I booked my appointment immediately. I had absolute confidence after reading this forum and talking to Dr. Pacik – and this is coming from a person who is deathly afraid of needles. I could not even wrap my brain around that part of it but it didn’t matter – this was a treatment option I knew I needed to try.
I arrived for my appointment a bit anxious, but mostly calm. Again, Dr. Pacik’s staff makes you feel like family. A visiting gynecologist observed my procedure (with my consent) and my husband was there the entire time as well. Everything went by so fast – obviously you remember none of the procedure since you are knocked out. I woke up with the largest dilator in place and ZERO pain. I used the #4 and #5 glass dilators throughout that day and the next day with absolutely no problems inserting at all. You will feel a little soreness but it goes away fast. My PC muscles – the stubborn entry muscles – were virtually shut down from the botox, so I have no issues at all getting past them now. I am almost one month post procedure and feeling more and more confident every day. Now when I dilate, I just feel my muscles stretching but no pain. My appointments with my PT are completely pain free, and my PT has commented how much easier the botox has made everything for me. She’s not even using lidocaine at all with me anymore – just lube. I’m still using a bit of lidocaine with the surgi-lube while I dilate but I’m thinking about eliminating the lidocaine altogether very soon. I don’t think I need it anymore, and this will be just one more box to check! And while we’re discussing dilating, I have to say that I have all three sets of dilators – the plastic white ones, the pure Romance ones, and the Pacik line of glass dilators – and the glass dilators are by far the BEST! They are designed to fit us much better, and they are so smooth and easy to use, I recommend them to anyone.
So that’s my story. With the holidays and everything, I haven’t had a chance to post until now, but I encourage anyone and everyone to reach out to me with any specific questions, etc. I am here for you and happy to help with any information that is helpful that I can. I did travel by plane and rented a car, so if you have any questions about that I can help there too.
To the ladies that joined me on 12/16 for your procedures, I hope you are doing well with everything and continuing to move forward in your journey as well. I think about you often.
All the best,
KarenJanuary 12, 2014 at 8:08 pm #12368Heather34Moderator
Hi Karen. Huge, huge CONGRATS on having your 12/16 procedure and your tremendous successes. You wrote: “My PC muscles – the stubborn entry muscles – were virtually shut down from the botox, so I have no issues at all getting past them now. I am almost one month post procedure and feeling more and more confident every day. Now when I dilate, I just feel my muscles stretching but no pain. My appointments with my PT are completely pain free, and my PT has commented how much easier the botox has made everything for me. She’s not even using lidocaine at all with me anymore – just lube.” This is beyond wonderful. I, too, always felt like I was hitting a wall whenever we tried to insert anything in the past. Post-procedure and with the Botox, this resistance/blocked feeling went away entirely for me and I was able to insert all of the dilators as well as my hubby. Without having to fight the PC muscles, insertion was so much easier and dilating became more and more comfortable with every day that passed. I also agree with you 100% that “you will not find nicer people anywhere, and Dr. Pacik is so extremely knowledgeable of vaginismus (much more than any clinician that I’ve ever come in contact with).” They are truly so special and one of a kind!!!! I absolutely LOVED reading your post and, again, am so very happy for you.January 16, 2014 at 11:18 am #12389NakitalabParticipant
Hi Karen, I am so happy that you had the procedure! You are doing fantastic and I agree with you that the glass dilators are the best. Thank you for sharing your story and I look forward to reading more of your posts. Again a big congratulations. You are several steps closer to being free from Vaginismus!!!January 17, 2014 at 11:01 pm #12394
Can you still control your muscles though since they’re “shutdown”?January 18, 2014 at 11:48 pm #12398Heather34Moderator
Hi vg. Welcome to the Forum and thank you for your post. I could still thoroughly control all of my muscles post-procedure. I felt like the resistance or “hitting a wall” feeling that I had always had went away as the Botox took affect and this made insertion of all of the sized dilators as well as my husband possible for the first time. But, at all times, I still could control my muscles. Hope this helps. :):):)January 22, 2014 at 5:59 am #12418
ThanksJanuary 22, 2014 at 6:06 am #12419
Still frustrated as you can tell( re: my other response which I Figured out) was deleted.February 2, 2014 at 1:00 pm #12469KarenKParticipant
Thank you Heather and Nakitalab for your kind words! I greatly appreciate – and both of you for the unrelenting encouragement you give to everyone in this forum. The world needs more people like you 🙂
vgfears – I still have complete control over my PC muscles – the difference is they are not “blocking” entry anymore. The “gatekeeper” muscle (that’s what my PT and I call it) has been shut down and has basically waved the white flag and given up. It is such, such a relief for me – as this muscle was my biggest obstacle. Once through that stubborn PC muscle, everything was fine – no pain whatsoever. You too will get there – I promise. If I can do this, anyone can do this. I felt helpless for over a decade because I just couldn’t find a gyn who knew what the heck was going on and quite honestly, it took me too long to find Dr. Pacik! I SO wish I would have found him earlier. But I thank God that I did finally find him. I am 48 days post-procedure now. Virtually zero pain while dilating and this week I dilated up to the #6 which was a huge step. I feel like I’m getting so close to overcoming. I am determined now more than ever!
One last thing I wanted to mention – since I forgot to mention it in my longer message above – is Dr. Pacik’s book. I cannot tell you how much it helped both my husband and I to read his book. I had ordered books online before about vaginismus, painful sex, strict upbringings, etc. etc. but never before had I read a book that hit so close to home. It’s like he wrote that book specifically for me (I know he didn’t 🙂 but it truly felt that way). I was completely blown away, and this is really what gave me the extra boost of confidence I needed to book my procedure with him. No matter how scary it sounded. Looking back now, it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Good luck and please let me know if I can provide any other information to you!
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