The V Word

I received a notice in the mail the other day. It was a notice that I owed a substantial amount of money for the treatment and testing that I had received while at Mayo Clinic a couple of weeks ago. Of course, I’m lucky enough to still be on my parents’ insurance and it covered a large chunk of the humongous and anxiety-causing bill. But, unfortunately the diagnoses that I received at mayo cannot be magically fixed and I am now going to physical therapy 2-3 times weekly and seeing a total of 4 different doctors for 4 different issues.

Obviously, this kind of prolonged treatment isn’t cheap and it would be nearly impossible to afford it for anyone in my position. I wasn’t born with a trust fund, I don’t have an unlimited supply of funds from old relatives, and I don’t have the time or ability to work several jobs. Therefore, I must rely on my insurance.

But here’s the problem: Insurance won’t cover my visits.

Sure, if I had a torn ACL, a broken arm, or even back spasms I could receive treatment at little to no cost with the help of insurance. But for my problems? They won’t hear of it. My physical therapist has to ultimately lie about my issues to trick insurance into helping me out with the payments so that I can receive the treatment I need to lead a normal life.

This shocked me a little bit so I started to do some research last week and talked extensively with my doctor about it. There’s a long, complicated history with insurance companies and their refusal to cover ANYTHING that has to do with vaginal or pelvic pain.

I was curious what their stance on the opposite was…and unfortunately I wasn’t too surprised to discover that most insurance companies have no problem covering treatments/ therapies for erectile dysfunction.

I don’t like talking about these taboo health issues anymore than the next person but something needs to be said.

I have something called vulvodynia. If you don’t know what that is, please google it and spare me the uncomfortable sharing of the details. I’ve struggled with it for years never knowing what it actually was.  I was told time and time again that it was all in my head. Now, I finally have someone who believes me…someone who knows that I’m not exaggerating when I say that some days I feel as If I’m being repeatedly assaulted with a steel rod…and yet I cannot receive the treatment that I deserve.

Is our society still so patriarchal that a woman cannot receive healthcare for her vagina without having to pop a kid out? Am I, as a woman with severe vaginal pain, tossed to the side because I have an extremely low chance of ever reproducing?

For years now, I have never talked to anyone about the pain that I have experienced with this condition. I was ashamed. I felt as if I didn’t work properly.

I refuse to allow another woman to ever feel the way that I have felt for so long.

Health problems happen. It is in no way my fault that this happened to me. I will never apologize for seeking help to ease the pain of living with this condition.

It might not happen in the next  5 years…maybe not even in the next 10…but someday, iff I have anything to say about it…there will equal care for men and women.


…and it’s not in mine either.

One response to “The V Word

  1. Confession: As a freelancer, I don’t have health insurance. And as small business owners, neither do my parents. Fortunately they’ll be okay because they’re approaching 65 and about to head into Medicare. As for me, I don’t know yet what I’m going to do, but I after seeing the costs of some medical bills even with the help of insurance, I’m not even sure what use insurance really is anymore. Everything is out of control. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (another great female condition often treated with birth control and a cocktail of a couple other meds) when I was 19, and the bloodwork alone at the hospital just to verify my doctor’s suspicions (even though I had all of the classic symptoms) was over $500 dollars. A few years ago I got sick and was experiencing pain, which they thought was the result of a ruptured cyst. The visit to the clinic, blood work (NOT at the hospital, but at a cheaper independent lab), an ultrasound (the unpleasant kind) and meds for what turned out to be a serious infection in my colon were well over $1000. It took me almost a year to pay everything off. In addition, be billed for a basic check-up increases the cost of the appointment to $225, so I have to pay over $100 in the office each time. This is why I don’t go to the doctor as often as I should. It’s ridiculous.

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