I arrived here two weeks ago today at UCLA and it has been a long two weeks. I am homesick. I want to be in my own bed and my own house where I am most comfortable. But I have persevered this long stay in hopes my life and health will improve. It hasn’t been easy.
It was three months ago since my fascia sling surgery and I have battled my way through not just healing from surgery, dealing with doctors and co-coordinating my care through the pseudomonas infection, getting through self cath with my remaining injuries of nerve damage in my right leg and all the time I try to keep my own spirits up to get through it. Several days ago a woman actually told me to get a hobby other than this blog, which is laughable. I don’t do hobbies. I have a business that has lacked attention through three surgeries and the help I give to other women. I WANT my life back and yet every time I think I am getting closer, I have to fight yet another battle.
I could do what this woman says. Ignore this blog and not share with you my latest issue, but then once again who will warn women of the pitfalls of mesh complications. Endless pitfalls I may add. I know she won’t and neither will others. So regardless of a few bad comments aimed at me, I am mindful of the thousands of women this will reach and the lessons I and others have learned, so I will share with you in hopes I can keep you from going through more hell.
Last Tuesday I had surgery once again in hopes I will find relief from self cath night and day. I was worried about having surgery so soon after the last and part of me hoped I would not need it. I had to come here for tests because no urologist doctor in the Houston area will have anything to do with me let alone do the tests I needed. So whatever it cost I had to move forward and make this trip. Tests done, it was decided I had some issues that needed help and perhaps cutting the new fascia sling in the center will release by bladder enough so that I can urinate at least enough to have a normal life, with self cath only part time. I hope it will work and Monday morning I will see Dr. Kim and have the catheter removed and discuss my surgery. I am guardedly hopeful. To get one’s hopes up only to be dashed is very hard indeed, so I am in wait and see mode.
After the surgery last Tuesday I stayed overnight in day surgery and then came back to my hotel room. It was a much less invasive procedure that the other two surgeries I have had here and I knew to rest, eat small meals and begin taking my supplements to get back on the road to better health. I had bought salad and raw veg along with juices and planned to get back to normal as quickly as possible. That did not go to well however. The first night I awoke with stomach cramps
and diarrhea. I have never had any bowel issues because of mesh and this to me was a huge warning. I had C-Diff.
Before you jump to conclusions you need to understand that this has happened to other women around the country both before and after mesh removal. We are all highly vunerable due to overuse of antibiotics due to infections from mesh. Various antibiotics are handed out like candy whenever a culture result comes back for e coli and other infections are discovered. We take them to try to get well and they wipe out all the good flora in our bodies.
I have been aware of the seriousness of overuse of antibiotics and before this last surgery it was my biggest fear. I had been taking antibiotics far too much since the fascia surgery and I hated every minute of it, so I took more than usual probiotics to combat the issue. The only day I missed was the day of my surgery last Tuesday. But during my hospital stay I was given I.V. antibiotics which pushed me over the top.
I really don’t need to give you a link for you to read about antibiotics and C-Diff because they are everywhere on the Internet. But this will explain why we as mesh injured women have to be so aware of the dangers we face.
Antibiotics can wipe out bacteria, which can offset the balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut, setting the stage for C. diff infection.
“We know the micro-organisms in the gut is a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria, which can be disrupted by many things,” Robynne Chutkan, MD, says in an email. She is an assistant professor of medicine at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. and founder and medical director at Digestive Center for Women in Chevy Chase, Md.
This includes the inappropriate or overuse of antibiotics, as well as changing the acidity level of the gastrointestinal tract with acid suppression. “We need to be more judicious with our prescribing patterns of these drugs,” she says.
When I say diarrhea, I don’t mean just loose stool. I mean water. It can be very serious and if you don’t take action quickly you will wind up in the ER dehydrated and seriously ill. So the next morning I took action. I may be alone here but I am responsible for my own care, so I pushed a wheelchair to Target and bought a packet of Target’s own brand ‘Up’ of loperamide HCI. It has the same ingredient as Imodium A-D. I knew about this product because when my husband went through prostate cancer radiation he suffered with terrible diarrhea and it was the only thing that stopped it. So I followed the directions and took two the first time and stayed within the four guideline in a twenty four hour period.
The last few days I have felt unwell and ate a very bland diet and pushed fluids. This morning I got up and at last I feel relief. I know I am on the other side of this problem and I won’t wind up in the E.R. Believe me I was worried to be out here in L.A. alone and in hospital in serious condition. The other thing I continued taking was marshmallow root because of it’s properties in dealing with issues of the gut. I hope I am now home free.
So my advice is to watch for the warning signs and take action immediately. Push fluids, eat small meals of a very bland diet and rest. Don’t let it go on until you are completely dehydrated and very ill. I hope this will help any woman who has been on long term antibiotics either before or after surgery for mesh complications. If so, then my sharing will be worthwhile. Now I want to be antibiotic free for a very long time. I want my health back and resume my life.
I decided to write a little more about my own experience. First, sometimes it does not take a rocket scientist to know when something is going wrong with your own body. When the sling was put into me in March of 2010 I tried proving to my surgeon I had an issue and I wanted tests. I found out getting tests done was impossible when she did not want to believe me anyway. Plus those tests would not have proven it, although I did not know that back then. These days I trust in how I feel and I take action instead of worrying about a test.
Yes they have a test to check if it is C-Diff, but that is usually done when the person is so bad off and fully hospitalized. I had surgery on July 2nd then woke up the night of July 3rd with excruciating diarrhea pain. I had been given more antibiotics via and I.V. the days before. This was not normal for me after surgery and I usually have the opposite problem. Pain meds make me terribly constipated. I was alone in a hotel room in L.A. and had to rely on my own instincts. The next morning was July 4th, a holiday. I could have curled up in bed and worsened, called 911 to get taken to the hospital or do what I did. As soon as Target opened their doors I had managed my way there to get some medicine to stop it as soon as possible.
The purpose of writing this blog was not to prove I had C-Diff, but to warn women this does happen with overuse of antibiotics. I speak to so many women and one who also had a pic line for antibiotics, just like I did a week before I came to UCLA, came down with severe diarrhea. Dr. Raz told her to stop the antibiotics and take metamucil. He knew what was happening to her, because they see this more often than you can realize.
So forget proving it and start taking something to stop it before you wind up in the ER. I no longer need something written on paper for me to know when something is wrong with me. My satisfaction is to get over something quickly before it destroys my health. I want the same for every woman which is why I wrote this blog.