My Fascia Sling Surgery Part Twenty
Today is July 4th and many people will be celebrating America’s Birthday. There will also be some new mesh free women who will celebrate with their families after years of missing festivities because of their mesh injuries. I said goodbye to one of them yesterday as she prepared for her flight home to North Carolina and another will leave to go back to her home in Arkansas today. These two women have endured years of suffering after doctors told them over and over again it is NOT THE MESH! It is the biggest lie that injures thousands of women to the point of total disability.
I have been talking over the phone to these two women for many months while they waited in line for Dr. Raz to remove their mesh. It was terribly hard for both of them and there were many times they felt they could not last this long. But they did. I understand what it is like to wait. I also did it because I did not have any insurance and had ran out of money and had to wait until Medicare. But I never gave up hope. I wanted the one man to remove my mesh, who I had heard was the master at removing the mesh AND the anchors that held it attached to my muscles and nerves and cause me such tremendous pain. Pain that also crippled me perhaps for the rest of my life., I think back now and it is hard for me to conger up how bad that pain felt because my ‘low’ nerve pain now is manageable without any pain medication. It is something I have grown accustomed to and I deal with on a daily basis. I am so much better and I will always be grateful for the skills of Dr. Raz.
When I needed fascia sling surgery, I knew how many women were waiting in line for Dr. Raz’s help and I felt I could not take one place away from these women. I knew the agony and soul destruction mesh had done to my body and what it was like to wait two years and seven months until it was gone from my body. So I wrote to Dr. Raz and asked him if he thought Dr. Kim could do my surgery to have the fascia sling done and he said yes she was perfectly capable. So on April 17th this year I was here at UCLA and the surgery was performed. I have written about my long days of hell as I went through so much more than I expected. My journey is here and you can read my trials and tribulations. But regardless, I am now in a better place at this moment.
Two days ago I underwent another procedure to see if I will eventually be able to urinate on my own. As always I have hope that things will improve. If it does not I will deal with it the best way possible. The day before surgery she did a thorough job of a cystoscopy to check inside my bladder to see if there were any noticeable injuries. There were not. That is the good news. The bad was harder to swallow. She told me that my bladder may never function properly again and she explained what had happened during my fascia surgery. My bladder had fused to bone with scar tissue and before she could do the fascia sling, she had to remove the scar tissue from my bone and bladder. It took time and she made a small cut in my bladder which she immediately repaired. I did know about this but was assured this happens with scar tissue removal and I would need to keep the catheter in for two weeks instead of one as normal. Well you know what happened when I removed the catheter or you can read it as I wrote it aping this journey.
Because of all my long term injuries, my bladder has a smaller capacity to hold urine and it does not function the way it did. She said at present it is a vestal that catches urine, but I do not have the pressure to push it out. That may or may not improve with time. In the meantime the sling was too tight and I could not go at all. Her concern was if the sling would be compromised if she cut it in the Y center too soon so she took all the test results to Dr. Raz for discussion. He said cutting it would be a good idea and it will not hurt the sling which is now stopping the severe incontinence I had after mesh removal. My incontinence was due to a badly damaged urethra, which happened when the mesh was beginning to cut through.
Did the procedure work or help? I will see her Monday before I travel home on Tuesday and they will remove my catheter and see. Am I anxious? Honestly no. I am tired. I don’t expect anything one way or the other at this point because this has all been so draining. Expectations have been so disappointing and right now I am learning to play the wait and see game. It is not fun, but it is what it is. My uterus had also dropped and she did a suspension that may or may not stay with time. I will wait and see. When I see her Monday I will be able to ask more questions.
My care at the day surgery of UCLA was once again exemplary. I had a wonderful night nurse whom I discussions with about all the thousands of women who are injured by mesh. She was the gentlest nurse who took great care of me. She made my experience a wonderful pleasure and I have much to be grateful for. My sincerest thanks go out to all the nurses who have cared for me and the many mesh injured women who have gone before me. I know that they now understand the plight of all the injured women of the world and they help us with their kindness.
The reason I am writing today instead of waiting until after I see Dr. Kim on Monday, is because I have spent time over the past week with two wonderful women who I met face to face and I have gone through their mesh removal journeys with them, to a better future. It is wonderful to meet women who I have spoken to for so long, but not only that, to see them both before and after their removal surgeries. Gosh what a difference.
I was offered a room to stay with Sharon when I found out I was to come back here again for many days and finding a room was proving difficult. I got to know her well and we have hugged a lot. Her journey has been one of suffering so hard for so long, but she made it through and hung in even on her darkest day. There were many times she thought she could not make it and sent me notes to say she did not know how. I responded by being her cheerleader and told her I had watched many, many women go through this and they did make it. I knew she could do it and the prize dangling before her was a new life ahead. I told her she HAD to do it, if it meant one minute, one hour and one day at a time. She did.
She had a hospital stay of four days and her condition looked grave at first. She had five mesh in her bodyand two of those were hernia mesh. Dr. Raz told her he would remove all he could without compromising her life and if he could he would remove it all but he had to see first how she would do during her surgery. If not, she would need a second surgery. Well he did it! Every bit iof her life threatening mesh is gone This man is a miracle of his own making. His skills are skills of many, many years of learning and experience. I know of no other urologist who can do what he does.
Sharon was a different person as soon as her condition improved. When she came out of the hospital, her voice and her demeanor was of two different women. The night before her surgery, she was writhing in pain most of the night. At all times, she walked around rubbing her lower abdomen with her hand to try to sooth the pain. I remember constantly rubbing my groin because it never stopped hurting. I no longer do that and she does not rub herself either. It was the first noticeable change when I saw her after surgery. She has now been offered a chance at a new life and she is grabbing on tight. I know she will do well.
Sereda has also suffered so much for years. Her pain was so bad she could not sleep in her own bed. She slept or half slept in a chair to ease the pain in her hip. The reason? It was because the mesh had caused infection in her hip bone and Dr. Raz had to scrape it to clear the infection away. He told her puss was oozing from her body and it was a terrible situation.
Sereda was in hospital until yesterday, having had her mesh removed on Friday soon after Sharon. Both women had a very hard time but they came through it with flying colors. I sat with Sereda last night in her room along with her daughter and her granddaughter. I can’t tell you how it feels to be part of a miracle except to say it is like a divine experience to witness such transformation. Yes, both women will remain mesh injured in one form or another, but they will live to tell the tale and enjoy their new lives.
I often ask myself why this keeps happening to so many new women. But the truth is I cannot spend all my time worrying about it when so many women need someone to hear their cries. I know that what I do here is worth my time and effort. I am witness to it and I am so blessed to be this fortunate to experience such transformation in these wiomen.
What I saw in these two women’s eyes when I first met them a week ago was agonizing pain. What I saw before they left here is happiness and hope. What a wonderful gift they have given to me. I am very blessed.
On Monday I hope for a better outcome and I will be more blessed if I can at last urinate on my own or my situation will improve with time. However, I can tell you this. Meeting these two and other women while I have been out here has given me new strength. I can and I will work with anything that happens so me and I will get stronger. They passed their strength on to me and I will not disappoint them by wasting it. I am a very lucky woman………….
I hope one day many of us women will meet up somewhere where we can laugh once again. Hug each other and feel the strength of all the mesh injured women around the world. I also hope that I can pass some of their strength on to you. I wish you the kind of happiness that they feel now that their mesh is gone completely. And their joy………….. Life for these women will be lived once again.
I know you will have a long wait to go to UCLA, but it is worth it. I have witnessed the miracles of these doctors and their patients. They are worth the wait.