Yesterday was my first physical therapy appointment with Stacey Futterman in NYC. I came out torn between emotions, which always seems to be the case.
My first mistake was creating a stressful day. I was rushing to catch my train, rushing to walk to my appointment, and rushing back to catch an early train. I also had a lot of work due that I was constantly thinking about. After speaking with Stacey, I realize even more the importance of avoiding stress any way I can. It seems that my pain gets worse with stress and creates another obstacle I have to work through. I'm going to try my best from now on to give myself plenty of time to get to the train, get my work done in advance, and give myself time after my appointment to come back and lie down. This is easier said then done when you're an active college student.
I got a good feeling right away from Stacey. I didn't feel bitter towards her like my gynecologist, (probably because I knew she was an expert in the field.) She was friendly, but not overly friendly, open, and most importantly made me feel comfortable. She very obviously knew what she was doing and earned my trust quickly, which is not easy to do.
We had to do an initial evaluation even though I had done one in San Francisco. At this point I'm pretty good at repeating the entire story in under 5 minutes. After that, she left the room and I was told to undress from the waist down. Now, I've been told this many times, and each time I'm always confused with what to do with my shoes. If I had sneakers on, I would take them off and just wear my socks. But I wore cute ruby flats to therapy and didn't want to have my bare feet out. One, I'm sure they would smell pretty bad and two, I felt I could play a trick with them on. Almost like if you glanced me over quickly you'd see my shirt and shoes and just assume I was wearing pants. Don't ask me why I became so self-conscious over my feet. I'm curious to know what Stacey thought when she came back in and saw me lying on the table, wearing my red flats...
She did a therapy session that was very similar to Liz's in San Francisco. We began with working the connective tissue above the vagina and in both my legs. Again, the left side is significantly worse than the right. The difference in pain level is very noticeable- I was having a hard time dealing with the pain on the left, but the right was a little more bearable. I almost miss the days of a ten second steroid injection. Dealing with therapy for an hour is extremely difficult for me. This is why I think it's so important for me to destress as much as possible before I get there.
Stacey ended with an internal exam and internal therapy. This was the worst part, pain-wise. She taught me a breathing exercise and a better way to sit as well, which I will go into more detail next time. She also recommended I go back on the Estrace cream. I had been applying it twice a day, but stopped when I left for Tanzania and haven't gone back on it because I wanted to see what treatments were working. So, I'm going to make an appointment back in Philly to get another presciption. Stacey also recommended getting an MRI of my left hip in the future.
After the hour, I made appointments once a week until my break, when I need to come in twice a week. Stacey said I have a lot of work to do and she would like me in twice a week when I can. She didn't tell me the time frame we're working with because everyone heals differently. Howeer, she did say generally, a year is the most it would take. I'm crossing my fingers.
It's nice to be back in a routine again. I have that same satisfaction that I am actively doing something to get better, which is a great feeling. And I'm very confident that this treatment is going to work. Everytime I notice the significant pain on my left side, I really believe this is a tissue, muscle, and nerve problem. I wish I didn't have to treck to the city once or twice a week, but I'll do whatever it takes. I'm very sore today after the therapy yesterday, and it's a little frustrating to deal with. It's very hard to sit today, so I try to stand as much as possible and leave classes to go to the bathroom whenever I can. It's just a very long and daunting road ahead, but I'm going to push through the pain and work as hard as I can to be pain free by Thanksgiving of next year. I can do it.