Be Your Best Advocate

PBF Final Blog PhotoI recently scheduled a meeting on behalf of The Patty Brisben Foundation For Women’s Sexual Health with a psychiatrist who works with abused women with pain so deep, sometimes they don’t even have a clear understanding of the origin of the pain or how to resolve it. During the meeting, she asked me, “Patty, do you ever have women who come to Pure Romance Parties who have confided that they don’t even want to be touched?” The answer was a resounding “Yes.”  When these women began to open up to me and our Consultants about sexual health issues that they didn’t even feel comfortable discussing with their own healthcare providers, I knew we had to do something and I launched my foundation shortly after. 

When it came to women feeling uncomfortable broaching these topics with the very people tasked to help them, this psychiatrist was finding a similar trend in her own line of work. She even shared that there were many cases where she accompanied women who were too afraid to speak to their doctors, and acted as their advocate in helping their physicians learn better ways to work with them. It could be as simple as teaching a healthcare provider how to be more sensitive in his/her approach when physically touching a woman who is extremely fearful of pain associated with touch. This pain isn’t just physiological, but often is the result of a psychological condition.

The Patty Brisben Foundation also aims to improve the response of healthcare providers to patients’ sexuality issues; we are passionate advocates for women who do not have a voice or are sometimes ashamed to pursue treatment  for conditions that have been “filed” away by society as “hush-hush” for far too long. We specifically focus on assisting women and related research regarding vulvovaginal pain disorders, sexual health issues related to peri-menopause or menopause, intimacy-related sexual dysfunction after cancer treatments and libido and desire issues.

Many of these women may just not know even where to start, or even more challenging, they are trying to get answers, but without any results. Did you know that the average woman with pain during intercourse take up to two years to even approach their healthcare provider, and then sees seven doctors before she receives a diagnosis? Seven doctors! It’s no wonder that many women give up after the first appointment or trust the first diagnosis without further research. This is why it’s so crucial that you are your own best advocate for any issues that come to your sexual health or those family members and friends close to you who are suffering.

Last week, the Patty Brisben Foundation was excited to present a check for $180,923 directly to the University of Cincinnati Foundation as part of our continued commitment to sexual health; we have raised over two million dollars for women’s sexual health and community outreach since its inception eight years ago. We currently provide grants in support of sexual health research and education with UC Health Women’s Center and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. But our work has just begun! There is so much awareness that still needs to be raised around women’s sexual health and so many women who still need our help. I do want to take a moment to thank Dee Robinson (with the UC Foundation), Mike Zenz (executive director at the UC Foundation College of Medicine) and Dr. Michael Thomas (Chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine) for their continued due diligence on behalf of this cause. I also want to give a special thanks to our foundation board member, Dr. Jennifer Manders (Oncologist Plastic Breast surgeon at Christ Hospital), Dr. Dr. Margery Gass (OBGYN at the Cleveland Clinic and NAMS Executive Director), Dr. Mary South (Assistant Professor, Director Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at UC Health), Cynthia Dehlinger (Certified Nurse Practitioner of The Christ Hospital Physicians, Urogynecology & Pelvic Floor Medicine) and Dr. Michael Krychman (a gynecologist specializing in sexual health, and survivorship medicine and Medical Director at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California).

Finally, thank you to those of you reading this who have shown unwavering support for the foundation from day one. Many of our Pure Romance Consultants have partnered with us by rounding their order totals to the nearest dollar, 5-dollar, 10-dollar or even 100-dollar mark as a donation on their behalf to the Patty Brisben Foundation! We would never have been able to make such a difference without all of you. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and together we are helping women living in fear and pain to take that step and learn to walk on their own as their own best advocate.

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