There are things I don’t want to hear a man to say when he’s positioned between my legs.
“It’s thick in there all right. More like ricotta than cottage cheese though.”
That was my gynecologist’s professional assessment of the yeast infection that had led to my appointment. It was my third visit in two months for an infection that had gone from reoccurring to continual. My treatment options were dwindling. It didn’t make sense to insert medicated antifungal cream into my filled-to-capacity Susie. Oral antibiotics were the way to go, and Dr. B prescribed a five-day course of super-powered pills. However, if the infection didn’t clear or if I had to return for the same condition within 60 days, it would be time for the big guns: a six-month regimen of Diflucan, an oral antifungal about which I’d heard negative things from friends who’d taken it.
There had to be a better way. I thought I was doing all the right things. I ate Greek yogurt and drank cranberry juice every day to maintain healthy levels of acidity in my lady region. I wore cotton undies and removed my bathing suit immediately after swimming. I kept my Susie clean, dry, and kept away from perfumed soap, body products, even laundry detergent. I asked Dr. B if there was anything more I could do, perhaps dietary changes.
Again, the man between my legs said words I did not want to hear.
“Cut out the alcohol, carbs, and sugar.”
I gripped the sides of the examining table and sat up. Dr. B looked up and our eyes met over the sheet draped over my bent, splayed legs.
“Give them up?! Completely?”
“As completely as you can. If you have to have carbs, go for whole grain. When you drink, limit yourself to one. Refined sugar’s the worst though. You’ve got to stay off the candy and sweets.”
I knew he was right. It wasn’t his fault that I was a sugar fiend, unable to control myself around candy and sweets. I kept stashes everywhere. I had one at home and another at my parents’ place. I knew where other people kept their stashes. I knew the bodegas along my commute that had canisters of single candies by the register: Laffy Taffy, orange slices, Sour Patch kids, Swedish Fish. Every day on my route to and from work, I enjoyed handfuls of pleasure for only fifty cents. Dr. B wanted me to give it all up. I wanted to crush his head between my knees.
I had two options: Take the Diflucan or cut the sugars in my diet. I didn’t want to take Diflucan. It would kill the yeast and fungus that caused my infection, but the die-off of the nasties was known to cause adverse reactions, including mood instability, fevers and vomiting, possibly for weeks while the liver and kidneys processed all the junk. The junk I’d consumed so willingly. I’d fed my infection every time I’d stuffed my face. I also didn’t want to see Dr. B so frequently. He was a nice guy but it was not like we got together to catch up and gossip over lattes. So I lay there prone, naked but for the blush-colored paper gown, and my feet in stirrups, and Dr. B behind the paper sheet draped over my legs, out of sight while he examined my congested Susie.
“Fine. I’ll cut back as much as I can.”
I said the words. It was as simple as that. The words were the easiest part of the choice I’d made.