Thief of joy

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    In the last 40 days since my procedure I’ve had to repeat the quote from Teddy Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Prior to my procedure, I would read the threads on the forum from all the wonderful women who bravely went through Dr. Pacik’s program and (thankfully) found tremendous success. I am so encouraged by these ladies and thankful for their stories. Going into the office for my procedure, I was not scared. I believed this was the path to healing and I couldn’t wait to wake up and be able to dilate and function normally.

    From most of the testimonials I had read, many of my fellow patients were able to easily take the dilators in and out with minimal pain and anxiety. I knew Dr. Pacik had said there was a wide range of time (a day to a year) before penetration would be achieved, but I was optimistic that it would happen soon for me. After all, I had a good attitude about it, right?

    I woke up with my husband by my side. Throughout the first day we dilated. It was tough because it was the first day of my period, but we got through it fine. Back at our hotel, my anxiety and fear were still strong. It hurt to walk, lay down, or sit. When I went to the restroom the dilator would come out and we would have to reinsert. I couldn’t do any of the insertion myself, my husband had to do it for me. I would start to panic, cry, and tense up. When he left to get us food and the dilator came out again I tried to put it back in myself but my hand felt paralyzed and I could only stare at it helplessly. We went back for day 2 and I was further encouraged by Dr. Pacik, my fellow patients, and husband. We left Manchester a couple days later; I still felt anxious and fearful but I was sure that once the Botox kicked in I would be able to dilate like all the wonderful women I had read about.

    This was not and still isn’t the case. Like others, the first week at home was overwhelming and scary. The first time we dilated at home I had an actual panic attack and was screaming as my poor husband tried to insert the #3. But I had heard from the doctor and read in the book and on the forum that it is common for the first week or two to feel anxious. We kept at it.

    I wish I could say that 40 days post procedure that I am dilating like a champ. I’m not. I still can’t bring my own hand to insert any dilator of any size. The lube is freezing cold and I tense up as soon as it touches me. I do deep breathing and Kegels and I still feel sharp stabbing as the dilator enters. I am still on the 3 and 4. It hurts every time. I still feel anxious and fearful. I am supposed to embrace dilation and I feel like I can barely tolerate it sometimes. Once the dilator is in I feel fine, but I want to be able to insert it myself. I want to be like my fellow patients who had intercourse shortly after the procedure. My husband and I tried getting intimate (without penetration) the other night and things were worse than ever. My privates feel raw and my libido is nonexistent. Where is my newfound confidence and relief?

    Comparison is the thief of joy. I repeat this to myself. I am grateful that the Lord intervened and gave my husband and me the opportunity for healing. I have gone from never having anything touch my vagina to having dilators inserted daily. There is tremendous growth and progress. Things will happen for me in good time. Things are already happening. All of this is true but I still must confess that I am frustrated and disappointed. I know that the treatment will work, but I also want to be honest and confront my feelings. I don’t think I fully understood how deep the roots of my fears were. It will take a long time to be healed of that pain. I guess my purpose in writing is to reach out and ask if any of my fellow patients felt this way and also to provide another testimony from someone who was not able to have sex within the first few weeks. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made and should not compare ourselves to individual stories-those are exclusive to each unique person. I know I have made progress and that I will continue to grow; it just doesn’t feel that way sometimes.


    Hi Louisa. I am so, so sorry to read of your struggles. Please know from the bottom of my heart that I am here for you and care so, so much. In a prior post, one of the Forum members, Possum, wrote: “I keep reminding myself that where we are now is so far from where we were and for that I am very thankful.” I loved reading this post. Whenever I feel discouraged with anything at all post-procedure, I think back to what it was like pre-procedure and not even being able to insert a q-tip as well as the emotional toll that vaginismus took on my husband and I. I found that solely achieving intercourse was not everything and we had to work on re-connecting and developing intimacy with one another. It truly is a journey to go on and that we are continuing to go on together. Just like Possum’s quote above, I love so much what Teddy Roosevelt said “Comparison is the thief of joy.” This is something that I, too, struggle with in every day life as we are all human beings. Please know we are all here for you and I’m sending you hugs and positive thoughts. :):):)

    I also wanted to share an additional post with you that may also help:

    From Janet Pacik: “I have recently been reading a lot on positive thinking and meditation as we all have “stuff” we are dealing with in our personal lives. One of the things that might help is to spend 10 or 15 uninterrupted minutes a day doing nothing such as meditating or staring at some natural motion like flowing water. This daily period of mindful silence may provide a sanctuary for you that can be peaceful where you can then meditate on the positive side of dilating and transitioning to intercourse. It is my firm belief that you need to visualize success in order to overcome this. This mindful silence may give you that opportunity. Just a thought and may be worth trying. Sending positive energy your way.”


    Hi Louisa, I am so very sorry that you having such a struggle. My heart broke when I read your post and I just hurt for you. You are so brave to post how you really feel and what you are going through. Thank you for doing that as I’m sure it was hard to do. It is so awesome that you are sticking with dilating now matter what number you are able to use. That in itself is a huge accomplishment. You are in my prayers and I’m here if you ever want to talk, share, etc. Please know that you truly are amazing for taking the brave step to have the procedure and work with the dilators. Sending you a big hug!


    Thank you ladies for your kind words and encouragement! It has been therapeutic to express how I feel and have thoughtful and caring feedback; I can’t say thank you enough for reading and responding. Since I wrote a day ago, Dr. Pacik also gave me some advice and for the last two nights my husband and I have been dilating with him holding the dilator in place and me pushing his hand forward. For whatever wonderful reason, this has alleviated a lot of the pain and anxiety! I hope to advance to a larger size soon.

    Thank you both for your openness and desire to help your fellow women. You are both in my prayers and I am very thankful for this community 🙂 I hope anyone who feels as I have can take the same encouragement I have. Love!


    Hi Louisa,
    I was interested in knowing how you are doing with your dilation. I hope all is well and I know how you feel. I am 39 days post procedure and still have pain when dilating and even attempted intercourse twice. Pain was so powerful I wanted to pass out. I am trying to be positive, but my fear of not being successful is high.


    Hi klove. I wanted to share an excerpt from a wonderful post from Dr. Pacik. He writes: “Slow and steady has to be the mantra. Don’t give up. Don’t belittle yourself or feel “less than”. Don’t feel in a rush, you can’t fight your way through this; you need to go with the gradual flow of dilation. Don’t compare yourself to others. You are great just the way you are.

    This post came from a wonderful thread regarding Kim’s journey of overcoming vaginismus:

    Every single time I hear the Katy Perry song “Roar”, I think of how strong you are Kim and how strong we all are on this journey.

    Please know that we are here for you always klove!!!

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