If you haven’t read part 1 of my health journey, you can find it here.
It started out as a small tear. I noticed it was taking a long time to heal and it was quite itchy. I went to my MD who referred me to a gynaecologist. The gynaecologist took one look and instantly diagnosed lichen sclerosis. I am grateful for finding out so soon as most women with lichen sclerosis are misdiagnosed over and over. Although I was diagnosed quickly, I was misinformed and under informed about the disease. I was prescribed steroid ointment and was told to use it whenever I felt needed and the LS would go away. No follow-up appointment, no talk about this being a lifelong autoimmune condition, only a prescription for steroid ointment and I was sent on my way. I went home and did a bit of research on it. It scared the heck out of me! Since the doctor told me the ointment would work and acted like it was no big deal, I convinced myself not to worry. In hindsight, this was a good thing at the time, since stress, as all of us with autoimmune conditions know, is usually a major trigger. I used the ointment whenever I felt I needed to, like I was told, and it did help…for awhile.
I continued on eating gluten free but decided it would be a good idea to get some tests done. I was tested for celiac disease, but by this time, I had been eating gluten free for a year. For this reason, the test was inaccurate. The doctor suggested I eat gluten for at least eight months, which I wasn’t willing to do. I knew the affect gluten had on me, and at the time, I felt like I didn’t need a test to confirm this! I was also tested for lactose intolerance, and was diagnosed as severely lactose intolerant. This was another clue that celiac disease was a big possibility, since lactose intolerance often occurs alongside celiac disease. Although I avoided gluten and dairy for years, I gave myself permission to indulge in wheat and dairy occasionally.
Time passed and so did most of my LS symptoms. I got rid of the steroid ointment and even forgot that I had LS!
Year 2008 was a big year for me. I graduated from university, got married, and a few months later found out I was pregnant! I adored being pregnant. I loved having a baby bump and feeling baby kick and move around, it was such a happy time.
I remember having some LS symptoms while pregnant but they were so minor that I didn’t even relate it to LS at the time. Then I gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy! I was overjoyed! I had a wonderful natural birth – no epidural, or any other kind of pain meds. However, what I DID get was a strong antibiotic. I had tested group B positive prior to the birth. When a mother tests positive for group B, the common protocol is to administer penicillin, BUT I am allergic to penicillin. On top of the penicillin allergy, the nurses discovered late in the labor that I was group B positive. So in turn, they chose a very strong antibiotic that would work the fastest. I now know that this majorly screwed up my gut flora and was a huge trigger for my LS. My immune system was compromised from the strong antibiotic, the lack of sleep, and the stress that naturally comes from becoming a new Mother. The time after my son was born was a very joyful time in my life, but I was having trouble healing, and I was experiencing LS symptoms like never before…
To be continued!