It’s five thirty in the morning and for the past thirty minutes I have tried to go back to sleep. Sleep will not come when your body is racked with constant pain. I of course am not the only woman living through endless sleepless, pain filled nights. It is happening to men and women all over the world, all because of a product commonly called mesh.
Each of us have different symptoms. Some women will know that mesh is the cause of their pain when the mesh begins to erode through their vagina or up through outside their pelvic area. Even then some doctors will tell them they don’t know what is wrong with the woman and leave her struggling through endless nights of pain and fear. A daughter of one such woman recently contacted me to ask for help. This daughter was so sad and afraid for her mother and did not know what to do. The lady had been through hell and yet no one had said that the mesh was the cause even though it protruded from her body, and said they didn’t know what it was. This lady wound up in emergency surgery three months ago and almost died. The mesh is still in her and yet still the mesh was not blamed. Why, because doctors only know to put it in and nothing of the consequences and do not care about the latter. The mesh had been in this woman’s body since 2006 with no symptoms until a couple of months before the emergency surgery. So, yes! Those women who are sure bladder sling surgery is/was so wonderful can also have a wake-up call.
My Symptoms. You may be thinking “I don’t have mesh protruding from my body”. I don’t either. For some women other symptoms begin almost immediately after surgery. Searing, burning pain that cannot be tolerated except by high doses of pain killers. For others it may happen like mine. I niggling, annoying pull in my groin that was marred by other problems I had after my surgery. Nine weeks of a catheter and I could not pee on my own. Now after eighteen months or no insurance to get help, the pain has increased and walking painful and difficult. What is your story? Maybe yours is constant bladder infections that never go away regardless of the antibiotics you take. You feel down and unhealthy because of them. What this means is the sling is holding your bladder too tight and you cannot completely empty your bladder. The result. Infection after infection and perhaps kidney disease because you can’t get it under control.
I know there must be many, many women who are having some kind of physical problem that has happened slowly over time and they either try to ignore it or it is blamed on something else. A popular diagnosis when all else fails is Fibromyalgia. It wasn’t but a few years ago that no-one had heard of this name. People went to their doctors because they did not feel well and had constant nerve pain or couldn’t get on with their daily lives. Doctors thought they were hypochondriacs or those who sought constant attention. It took these people years of frustration to finally get recognition from the medical field that they were not making up stories. Finally a new name and diagnosis came out to give them satisfaction. New drugs are on the market to deal with their pain. However, has anyone yelled out that there has to be a reason for all these people having Fibromyalgia? Why are we not asking where it has come from? Could it be the mesh in some men and women’s bodies? Could it be the endless prescription drugs so willingly given to get patients out of tired doctors offices when they go for constant pain? Has anyone ever asked if mesh could be the cause of pain to begin with?
I recently found out about a woman who has written extensively about how great mesh is and how she and millions have been helped by this product. I tried to get her to see there are severe consequences for some people both men and women when this product is place in their bodies. Even though she read my story, she did not want me to share any more information about other women who are going through this and told me outright that me doing so would not change her mind. I wasn’t trying to change her mind, just open it. However, all my words cannot stand up against one word. Money! While there are so many people in the medical industry and elsewhere profiting by mesh, then the fight remains more difficult. However, that does not mean I will stop fighting to change things. I hope you won’t either.
Our fight starts with small baby steps. Report your case to the FDA. Don’t think anyone else will do it for you. They won’t. Don’t say the FDA knows about this, so that should be enough. It isn’t. Stand up and be counted. Then stand up and face doctors who keep treating women as lesser citizens. We are not! We know our bodies and will refuse to be put down when we say it is the mesh that is causing our pain. These steps may be small when we are separated but giant when they join together. I can’t do this alone.