How I was affected by Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome

A number of years ago, I was on a return flight home with my sister from a vacation in Ireland, when something happened. The flight itself was pretty nonsequential, until about half-way through I developed what I like to refer to as an “itch”. For some reason, my genitals decided to become aroused and they stayed that way all through the flight. I twisted, and turned in my seat, hoping that it would go away just as suddenly as the itch had appeared, but that wasn’t happening. By the time I arrived home, I was actually in physical pain, and had no idea what the heck was going on with my body.

At home, I soon put my husband to work, but no matter how many times I reached orgasm, the feelings of arousal did not decrease. This persistant state of arousal lasted a full two weeks for me. During that time, my husband tried everything to relieve what was now a painful “itch” and when he was at work, I tried myself, but my private parts refused to co-operate. I had no idea what was going on with me, and I was too embarrassed to tell anyone except my husband, so I Googled.

After searching my symptoms, I was able to find information on Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD) (or Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome (PSAS)). Basically, you are in a constant state of feeling aroused, and even if you are lucky enough to reach orgasm, the symptoms do not always go away. Causes of this disorder are far ranging and was only first written about in 2001 by Dr. Sandra Leiblum. For me, it could have been the long flight, the fact that I was perimenopausal, my medication, or a combination of all three, or we will never know. All I do know, is that for a period of two weeks, I was in agony. Then as quickly as it had appeared, it disappeared. Months went by, and then PGAD came back twice, each time lasting for about three days.

I’m not sure why I decided to leak this very personal information about myself, except that I had read about it again on the news and thought sharing my story could help others that are still suffering from PGAD (PSAS). Following are some links for further information on this disorder:

Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome
What doctors should know
PGAD
Wikipedia – Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder
Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder: An Update of Theory and Practice

Have you been affected by PGAD or have you even heard of PGAD or PSAS?

Chronic pain is ruining my make-up

These past few months have been hell for me, which I am sure quite a few of you are aware of, if you follow my tweets. First it started with a particular drug manufacturer to all of a sudden, without notice to its customers, stop making the one and only muscle relaxant that I have been on for years. Some of you may wonder, what is the big deal? Well, there are literally only a couple of true muscle relaxants on the market, and the other one, it seems I am allergic to it, causing me to sleepwalk up to four or five times a night. Hubby was very afraid of me falling down the stairs or burning the house down.

During this time, my medications have been increased, changed, stopped and restarted, all just enough to completely mess with me. There was the time I went through withdrawal, where my husband sat by my side, rubbed my back, telling/reminding me to breathe while holding a bucket so I could puke up nothing, listening to me cry in pain wanting to just give up because I was hurting so much (if my daughters are reading this, no I wouldn’t have given up, I was just venting so don’t worry).

In effort to alleviate the pain caused by the constant muscle spasms in my neck and shoulders, which gradually grow down my back, I first went to massage therapy, something I clearly cannot afford, only to have the massage therapist make me worse. Thus I went back to physiotherapy something I admittedly hate, having been in and out of treatment since my first accident when I was 17. There isn’t a machine/device that hasn’t been tried on me, but given the amount of pain I have been in, I thought I would give it another try. The physiotherapist I am seeing, I saw a few years ago, so she remembers my body well.

One of the first things I was put back into was traction. Oh, so much fun. Your head is literally put in this ridiculous contraption with a heating pad wrapped around your neck whilst being pulled up and down. Twice a week for a month, followed by massage and more heat. I forgot, when I first arrive I have a set of exercises to do, tailored to how much I can move, which isn’t much some days. The traction didn’t help, it caused more pain. Some pain is good, but too much pain is bad. Next we tried acupuncture. She put a whopping four needles in me, two at the base of my head, then two at the base of my neck. By the time I arrived home, I was in misery. The pain had quadrupled, and for the next twenty-four hours, I ate as many painkillers as possible. Now, I was quite willing to give this a second try but my therapist said no because I had had such an adverse reaction.

This week when I arrived for my usual appointment, and was trying to do my exercises, my physiotherapist made the mistake of asking how I was? I don’t really know what happened but the tears flowed, down my cheeks, ruining my make-up, you see my neck muscles had been inflamed for days. After finishing my exercises, I had my massage, and she asked if I wanted to try laser treatment? Why not? So a zap here, a zap there and there, all completely painless. In basic terms, the theory of the laser is to break up the inflamed cells, to promote the healing process so my muscles can relax. It was hours later when I noticed the inflammation had actually decreased some. I had my second laser treatment today, a lot more zapping.

Note: After leaving physio, I went to pick up one of my prescriptions and spoke with my pharmacist, a lovely man. He has been researching medications for me, and in that process, found out that another company is now making my original muscle relaxant. He will fax my physician on Monday for a script and have it filled for me asap.

My husband’s surgery

This past Friday, hubby went in for surgery on his breast, a light mastectomy were the exact words the anaesthesiologist used, not something a man or woman wants to hear. It was back in August of 2012, that he first noticed the lump, we called, well actually I called the doctor immediately and he saw hubby the next day. An appointment with the specialist was made, thank goodness we/he did not have to wait long for that appointment either. A biopsy was taken with the specialist telling us there was nothing to worry about. Yet, it wasn’t until the next appointment that the doctor explained hubby had what was called a Gynecomastia (for those not familiar with the term, it is enlarged breast tissue). Hubby could leave it, or if it bothered him, he could have it removed. We decided, he would have the lump removed because it hurt when he tried to lay on his right side for any length of time or if someone grabbed his breast (that would be me, in those, you know, weak moments). As it turned out, the gynecomastia became much larger, so to have it removed was the right decision.

On Friday, I dropped him off in front of the hospital for his day surgery. The children (23, 20 & 18 years of age) were not impressed that I had just “kicked him out of the car” (hubby’s words). The twenty-three year old had bused in the night before, while the other two, being away at university could only wait for updates from mom by phone. I reassured them that their father would be fine without me there, and the hospital would call if there was a problem which there wouldn’t be. I also reminded them, that I had been by myself when I had had my back surgery (yes, their father would have been there if he could, but the kids were very young and we didn’t have a babysitter). I was a horrible wife they all decided. 

Since I had dropped him off at 8:30 a.m., and the operation wasn’t until 10:30 a.m., I knew it would be hours until I heard anything. About two hours after his operation, I phoned the hospital only to be told that he was still in recovery so they would not be able to give me an update yet. I reassured myself and the children their father, my husband was fine. Another hour went by, the phone rang, hubby was doing very well (huge sigh of relief) and I could pick him up in about forty-five minutes, but to bring a wheelchair. A wheelchair? Apparently the hospital prefers patients be wheeled out, rather than them walking out on their own. Thank goodness the eldest was with me, since I walk with a cane and there was no way I would be able to push hubby in a wheelchair.

When we arrived at the hospital, we found hubby doing amazingly well. The first words from my lips, not hello, but “they gave you morphine, didn’t they?” Hubby smiled, and said “you know with my eye’s closed, there are all these really cool colours”. The eldest laughed, all was fine. She texted her brother and sister, while I got his prescriptions and instructions from the nurse. Hubby sat in the wheelchair and the eldest had a hoot pushing her dad to the van. Now the real fun begins, he is home, off work for two weeks. So which one of us will do the other in first?

Light Mastectomy