A Letter to Angelina Jolie
This morning I received an email from a woman whom I am very proud to call a dear friend. She has been one of the five women who help me help other women and even through her own times of suffering she has been a constant friend to other suffering mesh women as well as myself. Not only does she do this, but she also deals with her own family and personal life, which as you will read is filled with constant concerns and stress. But she remains steadfast in how she cares about the mesh issue.
I have written letters to other celebrities in the past and sent them to news shows in hopes they will reach celebrity women who could begin to change this trend that constantly hurts women, but as yet, nothing has been gained. But that does not mean any of us who do this will give up. We all care very much that this issue is brought to the surface so that more new women won’t suffer the way we all do.
We all know there are other voices far stronger than ours with the backings of money and power and their voices try to drown ours out often, but we keep going to let injured women know they are not alone. We each have the power to change something that we see is doing harm to others and we have the right to choose how we act. For me and the many women around the world who have chosen to stand up and speak out, we will not be quieted. The world has to know that this tragedy for women is far more than a small matter than can easily be fixed. Mesh complications are not as they say ‘easily managed’. Mesh destroys the basis of home and family.
When you read Pat’s letter to Angelina Jolie, you will find a link to tell her story and a photo of her so that you can put a face to a name. She had a lot going for her at the time mesh was put into her but the mesh did far more damage than her family gene. Once you read this and then her story, please read my footnotes and make a statement to Angelina Jolie herself.
Here is Pat’s letter.
First, I want to thank you for your recent “coming out” as a woman with BRCA1 and congratulate you on your decision on a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. I know that your bravery will save many lives.
I’m BRCA2 and unfortunately the gene has passed along to both my children, one of which is my daughter who is in a position similar to yourself. She is 43 years old and recently had her second, and last, child and must decide if she too will have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. My hope is that your example will urge her to do it before it is too late.
It was nearly too late for me when I was diagnosed with my own Stage 3 breast cancer in 2005. Until then I had no idea about my mutation or what the BRCA gene meant. A bilateral mastectomy, 28 chemotherapy, and 28 full chest wall radiations later I am still here to tell the tale. Hopefully, my daughter and the others hearing your message will not have to suffer the same fate.
Secondly, as I am sure you are aware the BRCA gene also carries with it a high occurrence of ovarian.
Knowing this I opted for a prophylactic hysterectomy after my cancer treatments. At that time I was implanted with surgical mesh as is fairly common after such a surgery. At the time I had every assurance from the doctors that there would be no problems with the mesh.
Now I have endured years of pain and two (2) major surgeries to attempt to have the mesh removed and to help negate some of the symptoms cause by the damage. Many thousands of women are suffering the same or worse fates because of a product that the FDA issues warnings over but refuses to take off the market. The doctors will tell you that the rate of complications is only 2-3%, but what they will not tell you is that only 1 in 10 women actually report to the FDA (the only entity tracking the numbers).
Needless to say this is a widespread problem and it is an issue that needs a voice. You have championed so many worthwhile causes, and I realize that it may be unfair or even infeasible to ask you to speak out on another but this is something that has truly affected the lives of many and will potentially affect the lives of many of the women you are already setting such a sterling example for. Thank you for your time and consideration and may you enjoy the health you deserve.
There are more patient profiles to read about those who suffer from medical mesh on this same site.
Please, if any of you mesh ladies would like to help by letting Angelina know what has happened to you, this is the fan mail address. We will never know what may happen if we never try. Place your written letter in a business sized envelope, add postage and cover the outside of the envelope with as many colorful stickers of any kind. Involve your children and your grandchildren with adding these stickers and share with them why you are doing it. We want those who read these letters to take notice of our plight which is why we want the envelopes to stand out. All it will cost you the price of a postage stamp and some of your time.
1901 Avenue of the Stars #680
Los Angeles, California 90024
I you would like to know more about this gene that Pat’s family and Angelina have, here is a link. http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-101/what-is-a-risk-factor/genetic-risk/brca-gene-mutations/?region=ab