Success can be fleeting
After achieving pain free intercourse in one week, she continued being diligent with the dilators, however started dilating less with time. Her note to me is of importance to all those patients who have been treated and made the effort to overcome their disability.
Missing in action
“Hey Dr. Pacik, Sorry for being MIA for 2.5 months. I have no good reasons other than I just simply dropped the ball. I was doing really well with the dilators for 3-4 weeks post procedure, and then I slowly began becoming lazy about using them. First it started out that I wouldn’t wear them for the entire 2 hours each day. Then I would go a day without wearing them at all. At some point I got to where I would rarely wear them and it was no longer a conscious decision to skip a day; instead I was going days and wearing them wouldn’t even cross my mind. At first when I started slacking off I would still wear them before we would have sex and that seemed to work just fine, so I guess I was justifying not wearing them for 2 hours each day. But as weeks went by and the time in between wearing them would grow, I was noticing a difference when putting them in, say, before intercourse. They didn’t slip in as easy, and there was some discomfort. SO…all this to say, I fell off the wagon and need to get back on.
This last week I’ve worn pink #5 of 6 several different times while getting ready for work and have worn the purple #4 of 6 for sleep a couple nights or so. Today I wore pink for 30mins and big blue #6 of 6 for 1hr 45mins, and I’m planning to sleep with purple tonight. One of the reasons why I stopped doing the dilation log (way way back when) was because it was quite inconvenient for me to get on the computer, document the time spent wearing the dilators, and then saving the changes to the word doc and emailing you every evening. This is especially the case when I’m working several nights in a row. So I figured I would just email you every few days or so…but the problem with that was I wasn’t writing the times I spent wearing the dilators down. So I would try and remember back 3-4 days and I wouldn’t be able to. So, that’s how the dilation log ceased to exist.
But I think I’ve come up with a solution. . . I’ve made a chart that I put up on the mirror in my bathroom. It has each day of the week and 3 spaces under each day highlighted in either pink, blue, or purple. This way I can just write how much time I wore each dilator right as I’m removing them (so I don’t forget) and then I can email you the log 1-2 times per week.”
Logs help patients to be accountable and helps Dr. Pacik keep track of the their progress. Ashley continues . . .
I hope this helps me be able to stay on top of the log, as I feel like the log kept me accountable. Also, I feel like having a chart that we can see can help him help me stay accountable too.
Ashley expresses the need for post procedure counseling
Another reason I’m writing you is to find out about a sex counselor. When we first spoke on the phone months ago you suggested that we go to counseling, and now I’m really finding that I think I could benefit from some objective advice on a regular basis. I was hoping that the physical obstacle that I faced was all I needed to overcome, but I think I need help with overcoming some emotional issues as well. I’m still not as communicative about sex as I need to be. Sex continues to be too mechanical compared to what we were hoping for by now. I know you had recommended that the counselor be a part of a particular group or something, so I wondered if you could tell me again what that group is called so I can move forward in finding someone soon!
I’m so glad to see things are going so well for you (launching the website!!)! What an amazing resource for women who are searching for answers. I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon! :) Thanks! Ashley”
Postscript from Dr. Pacik
Ashley is now back on track with her dilators and learned that it takes about a year of dilation to overcome vaginismus. Even so, if intercourse becomes painful again, one needs to reach for the dilators first and begin dilating once again. The sooner this is done, the better.
As for her relationship, they have a great deal to look forward to but will need to spend some time doing the work. Both were a pleasure to work with and I felt that they had a special relationship. Their relationship is strong enough that working with a professional can help restore the specialness of their union and the raising of their child.