One of the joys of the work I do is hearing from women about how what I do—through my practice or MiddlesexMD—helps them with their health and intimacy. Often, I hear those stories in conversations, and as good as my intentions are (because I believe in sharing our stories), by the time I get back to my office, I forget to take good notes. But a letter! Remember how lovely it is to get letters? Here’s one I can share with you!
Dear Dr. Barb,
I loved your blog post “Don’t be a Stranger.”
It was timely for me. I thought I was doing this all pretty well. Three years ago when my primary care doctor retired, I chose my new provider carefully. I told her I’d been following MiddlesexMD since the blog launched in 2010, and that I was interested in keeping my sex life healthy. I asked her not to shy away from anything she thought I should know, and that I intended to try to be as proactive as I could be.
It was a good start. I’m relatively healthy, so I have seen her only on an annual basis since. I have vibrators and dilators and use moisturizers. Most important, I have a good partner!
And life went on. My husband travels a lot. My father died. I went on Medicare (which somehow managed to administratively change my primary care provider – requiring 8 phone calls and numerous interruptions). Job changes and financial stresses complicated my life.
At my visit in January (before your blog post), my doctor and I worked to figure out how to make sure my medical care didn’t get disrupted. We reviewed all of my “checkpoints” – mammogram (sister is a breast cancer survivor), pap test (I’ve had cervical “pre-cancer”), bone density, skin check, high cholesterol testing, blood screens, etc., etc.
Only when I thought the exam was about to end, did I blurt out, “I’m unhappy with my sex life.” So much for proactive.
To her credit, she stopped. And she started asking me questions. After a little exploration, she asked, “Have you ever tried topical estrogen?”
I had. But not for years.
After a little examination (serious atrophy) she prescribed a cream.
Three weeks later, my sex life had taken a new (and better) trajectory.
So, I want to echo your advice to keep the conversation going – because I can’t keep it in perspective by myself, no matter how good my intentions are!