This post is guest-written by Faith Cornwall.

In August of 2004 I was diagnosed with vulvodynia, a chronic pain disorder of the vulva, after what felt like five very long months. Finally, there was to be an answer, a solution, a CURE!

Uh, nope.

The gynecologist told me I should be grateful to have a diagnosis – an empty word – as they used to tell women that they were imagining the pain, making it up. And then she showed me the door.

I googled the bejeezus out of my diagnosis, my experience, my symptoms, and found only a few abandoned blogs where affected women spoke of wanting to die. I wondered: did the blogs stop after a few posts because these women got bored, killed themselves, or, ever the optimist, perhaps because they had gotten better but never bothered to give us an update? Either way, it was not the community I was hoping for.

But I promised myself I would get better. I was a college student then, and looking back I had something better than an online community: I had a group of bad-ass in-real-life friends, both men and women, who bravely stood beside me in the darkness and said, with that special bravado unique to ridiculous college students taking on the world, “F*** this S***!”

Their courage lifted me up. Yes, I would get better, for me, and for all the women suffering as I did, past, present, and future. For all the women who were told their pain didn’t exist. For all the women who were shown the door.

And gosh darn it, I did.

It took a decade plus, during which I learned that healing can be a complex, multi-faceted, life-long, and sometimes vomit-inducing roller coaster of a process, and, at least in my case, took information, inspiration and help from resources far and wide, traditional and innovative, well-established and groundbreaking, logical to the head and sometimes only to my heart.

Life being Life, I can’t guarantee I won’t have additional relapses. I never know if some new day might bring some new illness, as it has so many times in the past. I still live with a handful of health challenges, and although they too require love and care, they are not as debilitating as the previous visitors.

But for now, I am better. My “work-in-progress” self is experiencing a prolonged state of Better. So, to you, Dear Hearts: I cannot guarantee an outcome. I do not know your solution, although I wish I did. But I can share my experience, molded over a decade of living with a tangle of debilitating chronic health issues.

Better is Possible.

(Gentle Note: It may not show up in the way you expect.)

Today, I want to be the light I didn’t have, the example I didn’t have. So if you need a hopeful story, you can re-read this, or check out my not-dead, very-much-alive blog: Because my V matters, and yours does too.

In case you are wondering, despite the distance of geography and years, yes, I am still friends with those wonderful college buddies. Sometimes I like to think we are getting wiser with age, but then we get together, and we find we are just getting sillier and more ridiculous (…thank goodness).

Be AWAP, dear one.

And always remember that you are worth an infinite amount of Love.

**This is the twelfth of many in a guest contributor series. If you would like to be considered as a guest writer for ChronicBabe, visit this link.**