I was travelling on the F3 freeway heading to Sydney with Mikey when it happened. A very sharp, crippling pain in my side came on so suddenly, and so violently, that Mikey had to turn off at the next exit and head for the nearest hospital. Travelling at speeds well beyond the legal limit, we reached emergency, pulled up, and I started projectile vomiting. The staff rushed me into a bed and the doctors started examining.
After 24 hours of waiting ‘nil by mouth’, blood tests, CT scans, urine samples and the like, the emergency room doctor told me I had a very large kidney stone obstructing my left ureter. It would need to be removed within the next couple of hours or I would be in the intensive care unit with major organ failure. I was transferred by ambulance to a larger hospital and operated on that evening and yes, once again, I hadn’t waxed my fanny and the surgery was to take place through the ureter at the entrance of my vagina. Great.
I underwent two surgeries (yes, I waxed for the second one) and once the stone fragments were removed and analysed, my urologist referred me to a renal specialist for follow-up treatments to prevent further kidney stone formation.
I was then 38 years old and sitting in the rooms of my renal specialist. My Bartholin’s cyst had been marsupialised, and as a consequence, I contracted multiple bouts of thrush brought on by the antibiotics I took post-surgery and to also fight the initial kidney stone infection. He was lecturing me on the functions of the vagina and how it is self-cleaning. How could I live with my vagina for 38 years and not know it was self-cleaning? How? “No need for soap,” he said, “just a splash of water and make sure you urinate after intercourse.” I had only just met Dr Ernie and, trying to get to the bottom of my chronic vaginal infections, I had to explain treatments I had undertaken to rid myself of this trouble. Being a bit of a naturalist, I was taking the alternative route for treatment. Paw Paw (to draw out infection), tea tree (for antiseptic) and non-fruity yoghurt to keep my girlfriend in bacterial-balance.
Dr Ernie looked shocked and said, “Sounds like you’ve had a smorgasbord on your vagina!”
Oh Lordy me, he thinks I’ve put everything on my vaj all at once! Oh, I’d better tell him it was over a period of several weeks. Should I tell him I also painted my vagina? He’ll think I’m insane! Should I? He is the specialist after all, maybe it has something to do with my condition? Oh bloody hell, deep breath, here I go…
Now before I continue, I should describe the type of person Dr Ernie is. He is a very properly dressed man in his mid-to-late 50s, and very concise and to the point. He has loads of certificates on his wall and has the air of an accountant. I like him, he’s very professional, but can you imagine sitting down with your straight-laced accountant and telling him what I was about to tell him?
“I’m going to tell you something Dr Ernie, but you have to promise you won’t get angry with me.” (Long uncomfortable pause…) “I painted my vagina. I painted it for my husband’s birthday and I think that’s what caused my Bartholin’s cyst.” He didn’t quite know what to say or where to look. I’m sure he was thinking he had a really great story for his next dinner party!
Barely able to maintain eye contact, he structured me a long-term plan and gave me strict instructions: “No fruits, yoghurts or vegetable matter, in, up or even in the general vicinity of your vagina. And no waxing… nothing!”
I mean, a girl doesn’t need to be cut like a French poodle, but some basic downstairs maintenance is a must for me. How can I, the nation’s leading waxer, not wax?
Weeks later I went back to my regular GP and after he read the follow-up letter from my specialist he turned to me and said, “What are the unusual habits you have regarding the care of your external genitalia?”
“Give me that letter!” I read it and I read it again.
I was looking at two A4 pages of my health and my history. I was embarrassed and ashamed. How could all of this stuff happen to me? How could I abuse my body like this? I like to think I’m a pretty healthy individual. I was thinking of starting a family soon. “Ok this is it,” I thought, this is my lowest point, it’s only up from here.
This is an excerpt from my book, The Vagina Buffet. If you'd like to read more, you can purchase a copy here.