Originally published here on the Healing Painful Sex blog, reprinted with permission from Nancy Fish.
By Nancy Fish
On April 27 and 28, 2013, the Alliance for Pelvic Pain held its first international retreat for pelvic pain patients in Bethlehem, PA. Eighty women and men from England, Canada and all over the U.S. attended this ground-breaking event and for many participants this was a life-saving and life-changing experience. For most of the attendees, this was their first opportunity to meet and speak with others about their medical conditions without shame and embarrassment. Women and men who felt so lonely and isolated before the retreat, now have a huge network of support and no longer have to cope with their physical and emotional pain alone.
The five medical and mental healthcare practitioners who founded the Alliance for Pelvic Pain (for information about the Alliance, go to allianceforpelvicpain.com
) worked for more than a year to coordinate the conference. Their mission was to expand knowledge and care for the underserved population of female patients with chronic pelvic pain. One of the main goals of the retreat was to create an atmosphere where patients could feel safe to be their authentic selves. The Alliance members feel the retreat was a resounding success! Patients learned comprehensive medical information about the diagnosis and treatment of their conditions, psychological consequences and coping skills, and that they now have a huge support system to help them navigate their journey of healing.The Alliance hopes to hold another retreat in the future — please check the website for updates.
We also want to thank the sponsors of the retreat and the brave, courageous, and determined men and women who attended the retreat and made the weekend such a memorable and meaningful event.
The Alliance for Pelvic Pain, Above, Left to Right: Deborah Coady, MD, FACOG; Amy Stein, MPT, BCIA-PMDB, BCB-PMD; Nancy Fish, MSW, MPH; Alexandra Milspaw, M.Ed; Robert Echenberg, MD, FACOG