My Fascia Sling Surgery Part Four

If I did not write about this so soon after surgery, then I would soon put it all aside and forget some of the details that may be important to you. First you should know that the catheter has to stay in me for two weeks before I can remove it. Today will mark the first week after surgery and I can’t wait to get it out. However I have learned so much patience to make sure I am not rushing back to the emergency room to have another catheter put in me because I removed it too soon. The truth is I hate catheters because of my first terrible experience with them once the sling was put into me. I could not pee for nine weeks and then a second surgery was done to cut the sling in the middle. Even then I had to self cath for weeks and my bladder went into an onslaught of night and day spasms and I had very little sleep. So the after removal surgery bladder spasms never seemed terrible to me, but they are to other women. The same is happening this time and I just stop and let it pass. This will tell you why it happens. For the most part they will stop once the catheter has been removed, but not if the bladder has experienced trauma. That takes time, which is why is why I went through hell after the sling was cut to allow my bladder a chance to work again.

Catheter use: A catheter is a thin tube used to drain urine from the body, often after surgery. It is placed into the urethra and up into your bladder. Bladder spasms are a common and sometimes distressing complication of catheter usage.

Let’s talk prescription drugs before I continue. If you have never experienced a terrible drug reaction you will never understand why I am paranoid of them. I have a chain with tags to warn anyone that I have had these reactions, just in case I pass out somewhere and I am taken to the hospital. I never knew any of this until 2008 when I experienced the first one. I knew people had the type of reaction that caused swelling in the face and lips and they could die from this, but I had no idea that it could happen in the intestinal tract until it happened to me. I found this description for you to read and the amount of drugs that can cause it.

Angioedema is a swelling of the deep layers of the subcutaneous or submu-cosal tissue or both. Most commonly it occurs on the lips, tongue, face, hands or feet. The swelling is pale and non-itchy, but can be accompanied by urti-caria (hives) — red, itchy lumps. Symp-toms last for 1 or 2 days.

If angioedema affecting the tongue or upper airway occurs rapidly, the patient can suffocate. In the gastrointestinal tract, angioedema can present as severe pain, which can be mistaken for appendicitis, mesenteric ischaemia, or diverticulitis.

Top 10 drugs/drug classes associated with angioedema. Drug

ACE-inhibitors

bupropion

vaccines

selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

COX-II inhibitors

angiotensin II antagonists

other antidepressants

non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

statins

proton pump inhibitors

Perhaps you can now understand why I am paranoid of this type of drug reaction especially as I was having surgery on my abdomen. So when the doctor told me she would give me a prescription for pain meds, I hesitated to take them. All I could think of was the agony I had gone through and my stomach blew up like a whale and I could not move for days. Even now doctors do not pay enough attention when you report drug side effects. In fact it was no different than mesh. It was ignored and I had to do the work to get diagnosed. I spent a year taking supplements and marshmallow root to get myself well again after this terrible reaction. That is because it does not just stop when you stop taking the drugs. So when I was back at the hotel, getting on and off the bed was sheer agony across my stomach. Dr. Kim warned me it would happen and I understood why, but the bed at the Tiverton was pretty hard to get on and off and I dreaded it.

So I tried to make it without taking the pain med until I was sitting on the wheelchair in the lobby of the Tiverton and knew I could not make it on and off the plane if I did not do something. I could barely walk tiny steps and was in agony when I did, so I decided to take one and pray. Because I never take meds, within fifteen minutes it worked and that enabled me to get on and off the shuttle bus to the airport and in a wheelchair. So now you know why I don’t just pop a pill and relax.

I can’t tell you how wonderful Southwest Airlines was to me. I have always used the wheelchair to mull my way through airports since this happened, but with a walking stick I could walk down the ramp slowly and on to the plane. Not this time. So a big guy pushed me down the ramp and I barely got out of the wheelchair into the first seat on the plane. By then I sat stoic, waiting for the pain to subside. He even asked if I needed help to the seat which was very nice. Sometimes it is easier to do this on your own and take your time. They could see at times I was in pain and asked me if I needed anything. Because I knew I was not going to be able to get up and down to empty the catheter leg bag, I tied the big one under my skirt and you could not see it. Actually how I looked was the least of my worries.

The plane ride home was three hours nonstop but we landed at Hobby Airport which was a two hour drive from my house. So I had to take another pain pill to make it on and off the shuttle and into the car. Boy was I glad to get home and I was so tired. It was around seven thirty in the evening when we pulled up outside the house. All I wanted to do was get into bed.

The next morning I had to do something because I had not cleared my colon since before surgery and I dreaded sitting and pushing. Plus I was afraid of tearing something loose. I asked my daughter to go and get me some liquid glycerin suppositories. I used one and it worked and I have not had any problems since. You will be told to use stool softeners for awhile and I do. I also have not had an appetite since surgery and nothing tastes normal. That is all the drugs and is quite normal. So eat small meals of wheat bran cereal, yogurt and other things that will help you stay well and drink plenty of water. Water will be your best friend especially your bladder’s best friend. I never drink a cup of coffee when I am going through any bladder issues. I am not a big coffee drinker but love one cup a day, but I avoid it until I am totally well after these surgeries. This is why. 1. CAFFEINE – Caffeine acts as a diuretic, stimulating more frequent urination and also causes urine to become more concentrated with urea and ammonia. All caffeinated products (coffees, teas, green teas, energy drinks, etc.) should be stopped immediately.

So at the end of today will mark me one week post op. How am I doing? Amazing. With each passing day I note less burning pain across my stomach incision. I am not ready to jump on and off the bed, but I am not in dire agony any more. It never ceases to amaze me how well the human body bounces back. I am also up in years and will turn sixty-six this summer, so there is hope as you are aging that you can make it through this. I removed the lower dressing last night in the shower and wondered what was under it. It is in the same area where Dr. Raz made the incision to remove the mesh from my nerves and muscles so I wondered what it was. It looks like it is where Dr. Kim anchored my bladder to hold it up. I knew my bladder had fallen and this was part of my reconstruction. I did sign a paper and my daughter dropped it at the UCLA medical records office before we left so I should receive them in a couple of weeks. Then I will know exactly what was done. In the meantime I am chilling out and will wait to ask Dr. Kim any questions.

I was disappointed I never got to see Dr. Raz at all while out there because I wanted to give him a big hug for all his wonderful work on me and all the other women who crosses his path. The lady who took me in the wheelchair downstairs after surgery to catch the shuttle asked me if I was his patient. I told her what he had done for me and she hugged me and said that makes sense. She said he told her one time that he had to fix other doctors messes. So true.

So why is this man so fantastic at what he does? I just received this in an email that was said by another doctor who trained under him when asked about removing the arms/anchors from deep tissue.
“Dr Raz was the only one skilled enough to do that because of his extensive experience from being a trauma surgeon in Israel during wartimes,  removing shrapnel from deep tissue, and that his skills aren’t duplicated because of this.  “

One other thing before I go today. I was told something by a nurse because she knows what I do to help women. In fact most people at UCLA do know what I do. She said something really concerned her because a few women have screamed at him when they find out they are incontinent after removal. She said this man works so hard and is such a gentle person and he does not deserve it. In fact they have suggested that he refuse these patients. However, he tells them not to worry he can help them. So ladies, leave your anger at the door. If you burn your bridges, where will you go now……………….. Enough said.

17 Comments

  1. Lyndi hatch

    Thank you so much for sharing your recovery process. I am having one of this days as I’m sure many other women have had in this process, and your words have brought me great comfort: one minute at a time, one moment at a time, we will all find a way through this.

    Reply
    1. lavalinda

      It is hard for me to watch this continue with so many women who have suffered for years when they should have been told what it was that was taking their health dpown. I don’t have funds to offer those who need it but I di office the truth and words of comfort. It never feels enough.

      Reply
  2. Barbara

    Thank you for sharing your surgery story. Your details are amazing! I’m so happy that you’re doing so well. It truly helps to read your blog in preparation for my upcoming surgical journey. That is if I’m one of the lucky ones that Dr. Raz feels he can help. I should know June 12th. Continued blessings, Barbara~

    Reply
    1. lavalinda

      I hope it will help many women.

      Reply
  3. BatyaSarah

    Linda
    Thank you again for all the helpful details. I expect I will be incontinent again after mesh removal. I can’t wait to meet Dr. Raz and get my double mesh monster taken out. I am concerned about traveling 6 plus hours by plane and then another 2 by car after surgery and with a catheter. Id rather buy a foam pad to put on the tiverton bed and stay there for 2 weeks. I have type 2 diabetes and had a mild heart attack 6 months after my first mesh implant. I have very little damage but think I might still get a night or to in hospital. Do you think if I apllied early I might be able to get financial assistance and stay there for

    Reply
  4. lavalinda

    BS Ifyou can afford to stay there that long then it is a good thing to get the mattress topper. There are also apartments available in the area but I don’t know much about them. I am sure the cost is high. You can only get the hotel assistance if you are low income and it is restricked to a few nights.

    Reply
  5. Gay Courter

    Linda, your long and truthful descriptions are helpful to so many. I am so sorry you are not getting back everything that mesh stole from you, but perhaps over time much more healing and adjusting will occur. Your story points out the importance of getting to the right doctor soon even though this means leaving one’s comfortable home area and support system and entails more expense. However compare that to the incredible expense of multiple surgeries and/or bad outcomes. Thanks to you I went to Dr. Raz first!

    I would like to comment on a couple of things.

    First, how long should one plan to be in LA. We all struggle with this one, especially if we flying. When I got my airline ticket, I did it over the phone and the agent told me that if the doctor ordered me to stay longer, they would waive change fees. (Delta) It certainly pays to check this out. Obviously if you come home sooner, the change to an earlier date won’t work. For surgery on Thursday, I picked a Sunday departure, the earliest I could imagine. As it turned out, my husband got food poisoning on Saturday! First we tried to stay another night at the Tiverton–but it was booked. (Better to book there longer and leave earlier.) A few hours later and he felt he could fly so we did. For me it was a very tough flight back to Tampa, plus two hours to home. I did it, but at the time I realized I should have stayed another day or two. Also, I had a complication and should have gone back to see Dr. Raz to handle. As it was I had nobody at home to take care of it, since I was not about to go back to the gyn who put IN the mesh. Another person having surgery that week had a very serious complication that began in the airport which landed her in the hospital when she got home and she would have been better if she stayed close to UCLA. We all have to remember that this is major, tricky surgery with all that entails. Everybody’s body is different. If asked, I’d say err on the side of staying in LA longer. Although the Tiverton is great and so reasonable, for a longer stay you might want to check out AirBNB a great new website with rooms in homes, private apts, and homes to rent. They are much cheaper than hotel rooms. We are using this service for a week in LA in May to combine my check up and a family visit. You can also use the service if you need a room that night.

    Another comment is about pain medication. It seems that many people with mesh problems are also allergic to many medications. I wonder if there is a scientific correlation between certain people who reject chemical medications and those who’ve had a disastrous reaction to mesh. In any case, the most important thing is to keep telling all medical providers about allergies and not assume they read the charts. Also tell your support person to keep watching what you are getting. On the other hand, there is now a wide variety of effective pain meds and most people can be made very comfortable through the acute phases. We are all afraid of pain and there is no shame in that. Studies show we heal better when we are not in pain. It took 3 different meds before they could help my post-op pain, but they kept working on it and I got wonderful relief. Also, while I am careful about paid meds, I definitely needed them the first few days and would have been in agony on the plane without them. I made sure to take them with food so they would not upset my delicate stomach and took them on schedule to avoid the pain cycle. In a few days I weaned to OTC most of the time. We each have to do what is best for our bodies, and should not feel guilt for being weak or needing meds. For those who don’t tolerate the meds, there are many comfort measures like hot water bottles, ice packs etc. that do a lot as well–more than you think.

    Reply
    1. lavalinda

      Thank you Gay. Staying there any length of time is a huge financil burden for many and if I had not done so well after removal, I would have reconsidered plus I knew so many women who had flown home in the time span I did and they did okay. All of us worry about flying after surgery and it also depends on your general state of health.
      I did not think about Air B & B and it could be an option for others. L.A. is an expensive place and women do have to spend time checking these hings out so that they can plan finances. I would suggest that they check out if the place has stairs. Has a tub or shower. How far away it is from any resources because you need food etc. The Tiverton has it all close by and works well. You should also check into if taxes are added on top of payment. Also check out the neighborhood if possible. We all like quiet after surgery.
      I know one woman who is coming in from overseas contacted her church and they contacted others in L.A. She found a place to stay that way.
      I do use a microwave hot pad a lot. It calms restricted muscles. I would never want any woman to feel guilt in taking pain meds. I have a huge issue because I have not had one allergic reaction, but more. Mine happened before mesh, but I had never been sick in my entire life so rarely ever took anything, so was quite shocked when it happened and did not believe it myself at first. This the first time I have found out my aging sibblings who were also never ill until late in life, have had many allergic reactions to drugs. Perhaps it is our European background. I don’t know.
      I emailed Dr. Kim last night and told her I believe I have an infection and described her what what going on. She increased the antibiotic and through my docotrs name here, the prescripion was called in to WalMart which my daughter has gone to pik up. I was afraid to let it go into the weekend and then have worse issues. So they are on the ball with their out of State patients. Do not feel you are bothering them. Pick up a card at the window of their office with the email address on and enter it into your phone and keep it by your bed.

      Reply
      1. Jean

        Dear people, A word on accommodations…I have stayed at the International Hostel in Santa Monica. It is shared housing generally although I think they do have a couple of private rooms. It is a very nice facility and in a fantastic location in the downtown area of Santa Monica and about 3 blocks from the pier and beach. Very reasonable. If you rent a car you can park it in the garage across the street overnight for free. It is only a few miles from UCLA and it is probably very possible to take a bus from there right to campus. A very good option. Mostly, even if you share a room the other people are only there to sleep and when I have stayed there everyone was very nice…people from all over the world and ages. Also, maybe we should make up a support group list of our own home addresses and open our own homes to fellow victims so they do not need to stay in hotels, etc. when they come for surgery. Also, along those lines, what about support groups that meet regualrly at our own homes…any movement in that direction? We do not need to pay some psychologist to be a facilitator…just a bottle of wine, or a pot of tea. Wouldn’t it have been nice if the writer had been met at the airport by fellow survivors and stayed in a real home and had someone waiting for her post surgery, etc. Finally, what about starting a fund, ask a national bank to manage funds, that we can contribute to that women who need help can draw on to help with expenses….any professional fundraisers in our population? Take care all, Jean (Not my real name)

        Reply
    2. Angels123

      Gay…very good thoughts. I was super nervous about complications and I know that most happen in the first ten days after surgery. Luckily I was able to stay in the area for 2 weeks and I wouldn’t do it any other way because I did have a complication at 10 days…I would have been a nervous wreck if I had been home and had to rely on the medical care here who got me in trouble in the first place. It is heartbreaking to hear others’ stories who are restricted by finances. It would be nice if there were better options but I like your idea about the B&B..very good option if it fits the criteria Linda described as well. These logistical things are the things people need to have info about for their travels so thanks for sharing!

      Reply
      1. lavalinda

        Gay and I have grown children but there are many sides to the mesh coin. Women of all ages are stricken by this and young women have young children that they need responsible people to care for. Not everyone has parents to pick up the slack or life happens when you deal with mesh. For instance one young woman who has four children, was set to leave her kids with her gentle and caring father who was going to move into her house. Two days before she was leaving he had a sudden heart attack. Her mother had to stay with him at the hospital and they did not want her to cancel due to the fact her kidneys were deteriorating. So she scrambled and asked friends to step in. A long time girlfriend moved in with her own two children and what happened added even more stress. She left food for all the entire time she was gone but her so called friend told her children to eat all they wanted and they ran out way before time was up. The kids were miserable. Her friend laid in her bed watching TV the entire time ordering the children who lived there to do chores and make food for her. From long distance she had to tell this friend to move out and another more responsible friend stayed over nights, but had a family of her own. I’m not lying about any of this. Women confide in me because they cannot confide in their own family.
        There are also older women whose grown children refuse to help them and the women have very little money to stay long and have to find an outsider to go with her. There is so much abuse of women in every direction and I could fill volumes with the stress they are put through with life, let alone mesh complications. I know what is needed but it will never happen. Those who can are charging 54% interest against women’s settlements so they can have the fist surgery. A giant rip off with a bottomless pothole. This is because this will take every dime and most of us need one or additional surgeries. They will be left high and dry with no help yet again. Women do not expect free but there should be a cap on this, if it is allowed or I truly wish for a fund that investors will have a good return such as 20% flat fee and women will be abe to get the help they need for their future. Mesh has an end for a lucky few. For others, no end.

        Reply
    3. Jean

      Even though she may not gain back what the mesh robbed her of she has potentially gained what adversity and sorrow can teach us all….wisdom, gratitude for our blessings, experience….and the peace that comes to those who are innocent.

      Reply
  6. Barbara

    Thank you Gay for the great info! Things I really hadn’t thought of. Blessings~

    Reply
  7. DebCNY

    Linda – Thank you thank you! Once again, you have outdone yourself… Sharing all this with all of us is so helpful… as you know full well you are not alone. I originally assumed I would need this surgery too once I had my mesh TOT sling removed… and I was okay with that – I just wanted the other pain to stop. I can see now, that this is no picnic either, but hopefully it is all well worth it in the end. Even though I do not need these repairs, I’m very interested in how this all works. Of course, I’m also very interested in how YOU, my dear friend, are doing. I want you to be WELL again… or as well as you can be. Please rest rest rest… and, keep us posted secondarily. ((HUGS)) <3

    Reply
    1. lavalinda

      Thanks Deb. It is amazing how different we think after we’ve been through all this. We took the workings of our body for granted. No we want to know how any surgery works and what it will do to us. No more quick “You don’t need to know all this” looks from doctors. We MUST know.

      Reply
  8. Jean

    Hello all, I would be interested in knowing more about the writers impressions of Dr. Kim because I have also had a consult with her. The writer provided a lot of wonderful and helpful information but there continues to be a real need for our impressions of physicians and surgeons we have seen. I would like to hear more about her impressions of Dr. Kim. BTW UCLA has an overnight housing facility in Westwood on campus that is very nice and probably less than hotels. I do not recall name so do not know if that is where the writer stayed. One advantage is that UC housing will only have guests that have University business so it will probably be quieter. Would like to know more about impressions of her stay there even if only a night or two. The campus cafeterias are usually cheaper than cafes in Westwood and food is not bad. It probably would have been better to take a medical transport to the airport than a standard shuttle even though it probably costs more. They are prepared to take better care of you, you can lie down, for example, and they can coordinate wheelchair transfer at airport and may even be able to arrange for you to wait in special or 1st class waiting area before pre boarding. Really happy writer is feeling better. We are all connected…when one of us hurts we all hurt. Here are some ideas about post op nutrition that may be of help: (1) The liquid supplements…there is one that is really good but s/b icy cold. Take it in addition to healty reguar meals for a month or so, not instead of. There is an immune enhancing one. (2) Platinum Perormance Immune Formula…I first gave this to one of my dogs who had cancer at suggestion of his oncologist, then I started taking it just as a daily protection against toxins in environment, it is pill form…if you have horses take care as it can make them “hot”. Take Colostrum, only by Jarrow as it is far superior, a scientist friend told me about this. Also, as an aside, I noticed the skin care companies are now raving about Haudralonic Acid in their products…don’t buy it (Pun intended). Take the real thing….this gentleman also told me about this several years ago….Hydroplenish…it is a pill…buy a bottle and take it every day. You will notice a difference in a few months. There is no immediate gratification and no magic cream!

    Reply
    1. lavalinda

      Jean I like Dr. Kim very much. I am sorry I had to remove some of your post but this blog is not a place to speak of the law. I am not allowed to have it here.

      Reply

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