Full disclosure, my vagina has been a problem of mine for as long as I can remember. It has been the running joke of my family and friends, the Achilles heel of every romantic relationship, and a daily source of agitation and discomfort. But this last week, it was the problem that almost came between me and my one true love, Disneyland.
It was the day before our big road trip, that dear Aunt Flow decided to pay me a visit. Considering we had a camping trip and 13 hour drive ahead of us, I wasn’t stoked to greet her. Finding solace in the idea that maybe my period would be wrapped up by the time we actually went to the happiest place on earth, I packed up my menstrual cup and marched on. The night we arrived in The Redwoods, I started to feel the dreaded discomfort in my downstairs. Knowing my vagina, and how it ticks, I knew this could go one of two ways. This could either just be some irritation as a result of my period that would resolve during the night, or it could be the beginning of the shit storm that is a yeast infection. I went to sleep that night praying to the vagina gods, hoping they would spare me this one week. Spoiler alert; they didn’t.
I woke up the day of our long haul to Anaheim with a raging, I repeat RAGING, yeast infection. It hurt to walk, sit, move, and even breath. Ya know, the kind of pain where it feels like your vagina is lined with a million mosquito bites that are all on fire. I was frustrated and miserable, but I knew exactly what I needed to do in order to salvage my experience in Disneyland. As we set off on our day-long drive I made a few calls, including one to the Rite Aid of Crescent City, California and we were set to pick up an antifungal antibiotic to treat my yeast infection. By 10 AM that day, I had already taken one round of the medication and picked up a whole personal pharmacy of over the counter treatments to try out of pure desperation. That yeasty beast had no idea what was about to hit it, or so I thought.
On day one of our Disney experience (Chris’ birthday), I woke up with my game face on ready to have a magical day. My vag on the other hand did not. It was irritated, swollen, and generally pissed off; all things you do NOT want your hoo-ha to be upon entering a day of non-stop walking in the blissful land of Mickey Mouse. Maybe it’s because I’ve dealt with vaginal irritation or because I’m just so over-the-top obsessed with Disneyland, but the yeast wasn’t going to keep me down. We put our best foot forward out the hotel door equipped with an army of topical ointments and pain relievers.
It took very little time at all for me to realize how bad this day was going to be. The pain I was feeling the day before on the drive was still very present but multiplied ten-fold by the rubbing and chafing of each sweaty step. If you’ve ever wondered how a raging yeast infection and a hot day in Disneyland go together, look no further. I was stopping at the bathroom more frequently than my two year old just to reapply medication and sit in vagina-burning agony in an air conditioned stall. As the day progressed my pain grew. My legs moved wider and wider apart to the point of a very awkward looking waddle and my desire to not be THAT mom, riding in her kid’s stroller, became almost invisible.
As the evening approached we all went back to our hotel to change and regroup for the evening. I, barely able to contain my relief and excitement, waddled quickly into the hotel room and pulled down my pants to assess the situation. My jaw dropped instantly when I was met with the sight of my inner labia swollen to the size of Disneyland itself.
This would be a good time to share with you all that when I gave birth to Ollie my labia tore. My midwife put in four stitches and sent me on my way, only for those stitches to heal poorly and leave me with a different looking flower than I had before. I wasn’t happy about my newfound “petal”, but because the doctor reassured me that it was purely cosmetic I decided to just leave it alone until I was absolutely sure I was done having kids. Needless to say, I’ve never regretted anything more.
Because of the existing yeast infection my vagina had become swollen causing the extra “flower petal” to hang a little bit lower. Evidently while I spent the day riding rides and eating churros, it spent the morning incessantly rubbing on my underwear. It became so enlarged and irritated that it now hung down as if I had a whole new appendage. I’ll spare you the gory deets on all the methods I exhausted in trying to prevent future rubbing and just tell you that all of my efforts failed. I sat there, pant-less and miserable, crying to Chris about how badly I didn’t want this to ruin our trip and his birthday. He tried his best to convince me that staying in for the night was the best solution and that it was our only shot at preserving the next two long days. Let me tell you, I have heard this “preservation” speech COUNTLESS times from my mom and as much as I know in my heart of hearts that it is the truth, I still struggle. So with that said, I put on some loose sweatpants sans undies and waddled back in to the happiest place on earth, damn it.
It took only one walk to the bathroom from our dinner table for me to decide that my night in Disneyland was over. I waddled back to the table in tears, defeated and exhausted, with an extreme case of F.O.M.O setting in quickly. I limped over to the stroller and sat down while Chris pushed both Ollie and I back to the hotel for the night. I immediately put a thick layer of Neosporin on my chachi, as well as a giant bag of ice, and fell asleep praying to the vagina gods yet again. This time however, they answered.
I practically sprung out of bed early the next morning with an almost normal-sized vagina! The pain and discomfort were still present but much more bearable and I could walk almost completely upright and normal. It is truly incredible what a night of rest, ice, and Neosporin will do for a swollen labia let me tell ya. I entered that day and the next on cloud nine. My vagina held tough for the rest of our trip, allowing me to have the most magical two days ever without visiting the bathroom every two feet. It was truly a Disney miracle!
Although this situation was especially unique and extreme, experiences like this are not foreign territory for me. Through way too many weird infections and illnesses, I have come to learn what I should and should not do to help myself maintain a healthier female existence. This trip was a painful reminder of the fact that I need to take care of myself to the best of my ability to keep myself, and my vagina, above the wellness line. And although I want so badly to get a “re-do” on Spring Break 2018, I know that it was just what I needed to get in touch with my inner health again.