Last night I dreamed I was on a medical table cut open and bleeding.
Im certain this nightmare has something to do with the vuvlar biopsy I underwent last Thursday. It was a relatively minor procedure, performed in my doctors office, with a local/lido-cane injection, and no apparent complications. Even so: on a subconscious level I think having a ( #27) needle injected into my most intimate, private area & a (very) small piece of labia flesh excised…was deeply disturbing on some level to my psyche.
”Its close to my clitoris”, I protested before my doctor began.
“No, she shook her head, “Not at all-it’s at least an inch away”
Thank god for small favors, I thought- ironically-how large a space one inch had suddenly become. A few moments later, my doctor tried to show me tweezers holding a 3 mm piece of skin.
“Look how small it is!” she told me as I lay there, my legs open, and tissue numb.
I shook my head-and immediately shut my eyes, refusing to look objectively at her neat round punch biopsy sample. I reacted similarly once when a dentist tried to show me a bloody area of my tooth he was working on. As a youngster, I almost fainted after a bloodless medical procedure. I’m not good with blood, or cuts, or flesh, or bone, or anything coming off my body in pieces-tiny or large.
I am no sissy. I have surfed, ridden horses, swam with sharks, dove with wild sea lions, and jumped off a boat into hundreds of feet of deep wild pacific ocean water. I have had a 1000 lb dolphin attack me underwater in a fit of rage during a live aquarium show. I’d honestly prefer that to another procedure like this one.
Lichen sclerosis is likely the culprit-It appears to have permanently changed my skin. Having pain, inflammation, a skin damaging tissue disorder -in this sensitive region of the female anatomy- where I have never really had any issues before, has stirred up an emotional hurricane (shit storm). I am sitting with unexpected, uncomfortableness. I am trying to accept & have patience with the tender, swollen places in my nether region, while waiting for treatment to work-and getting a proper diagnosis.
This experience has changed me in other ways too. I no longer have any desire to sit naked, in a classroom or studio, for teachers or groups of students. I can barely tolerate the pain in my vulva while I am resting at home in my softest PJ’s and on my own comfy, heated, mattress. Cold, hard, charcoal grimy platforms, rough towels, and old misshapen pillows, objects De rigueur in most art studios- have lost all appeal. Sweating, dancing, stretching, and many yoga/art model-y type movements-are also out of the question. Somehow when there was pain or discomfort in my head, neck, or arms-I was able to cope/hide/manage it-and still be a great model. But these new sensations are simply too invasive & extreme. They cut to the core. After 16 years, this is a real deal breaker.
Retiring has freed up my calendar in a major way. I am able to rest as often as I need, and to schedule with doctors anytime they have openings-which I hope will facilitate recovery and healing. My diet has changed yet again-to include plenty of whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, smoothies, fresh green juice and organic seafood. Lots of anti-inflammatory & immune building stuff is now in my menu.
I plan to focus on my own work. Whatever that is. I have been so removed from my own process for so long, I honestly have no idea where I am at as an artist..but I can’t wait to find out.
Also- I wonder how many other women are experiencing similar symptoms as I—but never talking openly about how it. This is definitely a conversation I wouldn’t mind starting