My Fascia Sling Surgery Part 1
I dragged my feet to pack…………… I didn’t want to go out to L.A. for yet another surgery. I didn’t want to put together a mound of supplies that would hopefully keep me from having an incontinence accident. I just wanted to stay home and go along with my ‘new normal’ life. More pain and a long recovery is all I could think about for my immediate future but………………… I had to go.
What was I going to do I asked myself. Was I going to become a complete shut in and become afraid of living? No, no, no! So two days before leaving I forced myself to gather together the things I needed and faced my fears full on. Half a suitcase contained all the incontinences paraphernalia. All that stuff and my fears were weighing me down and I had to make the changes in the sheer hope for a better life. So I did…..
I swear it seems a lifetime while you wait for your surgery appointment date, then suddenly it barrels down on you like a loaded gun and you are never ready. You have to face it full force and no one can do it for you. No one………. It doesn’t matter how much I write here or tell you what to expect, only you will be at the helm of the wheel. YOU have to get up and take very small baby steps to arrive at where you need to be. Better.
So I did just that. I got packed and climbed aboard the plane that would take me to yet a fourth surgery. I tried not to go the angry route this time. I kept reminding myself that without doing this surgery I would be stuck forever and drowned by my own incontinence. I had to give myself a reason to go and a reason to find a better future. Not remove the positive with anger. Yes it was going to be rough. Yes, once again I would have a fairly long recovery period and more pain than I had at the present. But I wanted more out of life and have to throw all the fear out of the window and go for it.
A gathering of women…..
UCLA is a place where women go to get the medical help they need. The Tiverton House Hotel is the place they go to meet and find the kind of mental help they need. Help from others who understand exactly what they have gone through and still have to endure. Warm hugs are handed out like bars of creamy chocolate. Yes women’s hugs and a bar of chocolate and on par with the best medicine possible.
The UCLA urologists would take care of our bodies but we collectively would take care of our minds. By meeting up before consults and surgeries we give each other the one thing we have never been given by our doctors. Acknowledgement that this was done to us. Only a mesh injured woman understands what it is like to go through this. By hugging one and another and spilling out our stories in front of family and friends, they learn what it is like to be in our shoes. They understand the deep injury to our minds as well as to our bodies.
We arrived at the Tiverton on the evening of Saturday the 13th of April. My daughter and I were very tired but even so I could not wait to see M again. M is from Canada and she was one of the ladies I met when I went out for removal surgery Oct 11th 2012. She was there for consult. This time she was back for post op. I was also going to see L who we met at the same time and she was back for her post op check. Two women like me who were mesh survivors who could now give great hope to other ladies who were there for their consult. S and P, two more mesh injured ladies arrived within a couple of days and we all met up one evening in the Tiverton House Lobby. Five women sat there with one husband, three daughters and one very special friend. They were there to see us through a very difficult time and make sure we would be okay.
It’s not what you think. It’s not a time of misery. It is a time of joy so that we can share and begin the long journey of healing. Healing time for our souls. Yes there is pain on women’s faces, but there is so much more. Joy that we got to meet someone just like us who has suffered in the worse possible way. Bladder sling mesh is one common denominator. Getting well and hope is the other.
Everyone had appointments and tests to go to but at the end of each day we regrouped at the Tiverton. Chatted and laughed together. Yes laughed. Laughter is the truest best medicine and we made the most of the doses of laughter. Yes we still had pain but for a short time we set that pain aside so that we could get what we needed out of each other. Plenty of love and plenty of hope.
As each lady left for home after their appointments we hugged and said our goodbyes, promising to stay in touch with each other. It was a given that we would see those through it who had to face upcoming surgeries and we never had to say it.
I had one test on Monday 15th and another on Tuesday and my surgery was on Wednesday the 17th. However I thought about each woman as their consults or post op appointment time neared. I knew they had the strength to make it through.
After my own surgery I received a note from another woman who was also there for a surgery. I was leaving Friday morning so we planned on meeting in the Tiverton lobby around 6 pm Thursday. My daughter had gone off with the Canadian family for a break that afternoon and had thought she would be back in plenty of time but she did not realize the extent of the L.A traffic. I decided I needed to walk a bit because it was not good to lie in bed all the time. So I put on a robe and carefully walked behind the wheelchair the Tiverton had loaned us when we got back from surgery. Due to pain at that time I was unable to walk from the lobby to the room and they allow you to use any equipment they have. Take advantage of it as you do not want to fall when you are so drugged up.
I literally crept to the lobby and sat on the wheelchair on a pile of pillows I brought from the room and I waited. Three people soon stepped through the front door of the lobby, two women and a man. G was there for another surgery with her husband and in tow was yet another Canadian lady. Canadians have no one to remove all their mesh and they have partial removal after partial removal, remaining in a state of constant pain and a downward spiral. Those who can pluck up the courage and borrow the money to head for UCLA to have their mesh removed. The word is out in that country. Either remain in pain by continuous partial removal surgeries and allow their government to keep saying “We have the doctors who can remove it” or do what they have to to survive and live once again. These brave women make the decision to save themselves. C was another woman who said “I am going to survive”.
G had to be up and 4 am to be at surgery early so we did not have long together before she had to go to bed. I asked the lobby to call up to M’s room so she could come down and meet two more mesh injured ladies and we had another gathering of women at the Tiverton Hotel lobby. It was hard for me to sit, but I somehow managed. It’s what we all do. We meet up, hug and spill out our feelings.
When everyone else left my daughter and I sat for a short while with M and her husband. We were leaving the following morning and it was going to be hard to say goodbye. However pain won out and it was time for me to go back to the room and into my bed.
This blog isn’t about my surgery. I will write a second blog and share that part as soon as I can. It is a blog about a gathering of women who want to help heal others as well as themelves. If you want to experience meeting others who share your experience of suffering, send me an email and I will add your dates to my spread sheet of other women who want the same thing. I can’t guarantee I will have anyone at that time, but I will try. If I have someone then I will send you and email to notify you and you can take it from there.
Time for me to rest right now and heal. It has only been three days since my fascia sling surgery and I have a way to go to get well. But I will and so will you…………….
Update. For new information click here. http://meshangels.com/2014/04/mesh-will-i-get-complications-in-the-future/