Mesh Damage to the Urethra
My four week post op report.
Life after mesh removal surgery is a ‘one day at a time’ fight. Not the kind of fight you think about when you read that word. It is a fight to accept that your body will take a lot of time to heal and a fight not to let the anger about this product get the better of you. For me when I feel that emotion, I switch. I think about how I could help other women who are less fortunate than I, to go to Dr. Raz at UCLA.
The emails and comments still come in daily and there is no shortage of ways to switch. Now I am working on how to get women who are terribly ill and cannot fly, a way to get out to California without cost. Hopefully I will soon have that blog together. Nothing is easy which is why it takes time and I know a really sick woman isn’t capable of digging up this information for herself. But I digress.
I am doing very well in many ways. Healing is marvelous with just a small amount of discomfort left in my vagina which I suspect is the urethra still trying to heal after being rebuilt. The scar across my pelvis has closed up and looks really good. After I removed the surgical tape all I used was a good brand of baby diaper cream to keep the scar supple and it worked. I know there are many creams for this use, but it was here and I did not have to buy anything else. I had mentioned in an earlier blog that after I removed the catheter and the medical tape that held the incision together, I took a photo of it to remind myself later that this is why I do what I do. Fight for other women. If I think about it all I feel this way. How dare they disfigure us and put us through so much hell all because of a product that was not tested the proper way? But now just thinking about that is making me angry again, so I must not go there.
The incontinence is still driving me crazy. Dr. Raz had to rebuild my urethra because the mesh was cutting into it from the outside, and rebuilding a urethra takes a lot of time to heal. I Googled this to see what I could find on the subject and first learned the medical term used for repairing the urethra. “A urethroplasty is a surgical procedure to repair defects in the urethra” . Yes, mesh cutting through it could be described as a definite defect. As I researched I was struck by something else. “Oh my God, they rebuild urethras because of bladder cancer”. That made me furious. Here we are, once healthy women who have the same problems plus so many more symptoms of cancer and no one (except UCLA) believes us it is the terrible product in our bodies causing it all.” That took me awhile to get over, before I could research again.
Once again I began researching and found this great article written by Dr. Larisa Rodriguez at UCLA. She is one of the two women surgeons who are removing bladder slings from women alongside Dr. Raz but she is also doing research at this University. http://urology.ucla.edu/workfiles/newsletters/NL-Summer03.pdf
Once again because it made me so angry, I took a break from my research because all of this was getting to me. My reasoning of research of course was to give an answer to other women who are going through urethra reconstruction the same as I. And there are many…. You see although my right leg is badly damaged and I have no clue IF I will ever walk like a normal person again without any pain, the incontinence is the most overwhelming. I can truly see why so many women become depressed over it and need help to get through it. For me, I turn to helping others and then switch to designing to get my mind off of all of it. So researching to help myself and others gives me education on any subject to do with mesh complications.
I will say this. Dealing with ‘soaking myself’ regardless of the numerous pads I go through and keeping everything washed up and clean is a lot of work and this is the ONLY time I have thought this, but right now I am glad I am a widow. I was married thirty-four years before my husband died in 2004 and I think of him often and still miss him. But… while dealing with this, I am glad I do not share a bedroom and bathroom with anyone else. It is hell…..
So I left the research for a day and then went back to it this morning. SHOCKER! I found this article on WordPress. This was stated in the first paragraph and it pertains to bladder sling suspension!
The severely damaged female urethra is a rare occurrence that has two main causes—obstetric injury and surgical trauma.
AND. During bladder neck suspension, inadvertent injury to the bladder or urethra may occur, or an errant suture may result in fistula formation or tissue necrosis
This is the link to the entire article. http://urologysurgery.wordpress.com/2010/01/17/reconstruction-of-the-severely-damaged-female-urethra
Then I got really mad…………
How dare they say our mesh injuries are rare? How dare they dismiss all the women living in agony around the world? How dare they take healthy women and destroy their lives? It makes me sick!
Who are THEY? The mesh manufacturers and our governing body the FDA. No one cares about us. No one listens to us except the brave women who are speaking out across the world. We are saying NO MORE! You cannot keep injuring women and make money from their injuries. You MUST listen to us whether you like it or not! THIS HAS TO STOP!
So if you ask me to my face how I am really doing four weeks post op I will tell you this simple answer. “I am doing fine”. But the truth is……….Life is a daily struggle and I am angry…………