Fascia Slings & Reconstruction Surgeries
As you all know I have been trying to step back from this blog for a time, only writing when I feel it is viable and necessary. Today is one of those days when I know I need to write to assure women that I have not left this blog, but I am trying to live my life more and more. First mentally I need to because always talking to women about their mesh complications was taking a toll on me. Second I need to do things physically to help with my gentomicin ototoxicity. I am sewing again to work on teaching my brain, things that could help me deal with the extreme vertigo I have to work with every day. It is not fun and I now know it will never go away. But I stay positive by working on something that gives me so much pleasure and I hope you will too. We must never give up on our own lives.
You all know I am a very honest and sincere person. You may not always like what I write but I write to speak the truth of what we deal with because of bladder sling mesh. It is no laughing matter. Some are fortunate to have full removal and go on with their lives without more surgeries and no incontinence. But others like me have not been so fortunate. We have had far too many surgeries that we never planned on and we deal with many complications. But to lay blame on great surgeons who try to help us and know what mesh does to us, won’t help us get better. So mentally we have to become more stable and find other things to move forward.
I understand how quickly we can move to the depths of despair and feel like life will no longer be worth living. This past year I wondered if I could ever move forward. But I have. I love life and feel a need to live it the best way possible, regardless of what I have been through. I hope you can do the same. If that means taking a break away from support groups or this blog, do it. Begin by spending more time with your family and doing the things that make you feel happy. That is the best advice I can give you.
Now. You know I hear a great deal from other women because of this blog. I and the ladies, who help me, hear things you will never know, out of respect of observing women’s privacy. It is because of this we are all far more knowledgeable than you could ever be or read on any blog or support group. We have to step back at times so as not to be too overwhelmed by women’s pain or draw conclusions that may make it difficult for us to help anyone. It is hard but we must remain open minded. It is hard because we all are mesh injured and live with it on a daily basis. We may not go to support groups for our own mental benefit, but we know what goes on, because other women tell us.
Here is why I am writing this blog today. There is far too much going on, on support groups that are making women uneasy or is upsetting them. So let’s get real. This is not a competition between great surgeons. Any great surgeon can help women but what you write on support groups can hurt them. So do not decide your surgeon is ‘better than theirs’. We are not children, we are adults who should be willing to keep an open mind and realize for one reason or another, others may not be able to go to the surgeon that you chose. There are a lot of factors. Financial and travel are too of the biggest reasons. Don’t make the waters muddy for women who cannot go one direction or another. You are not helping if you do. Use restraint and do what you are supposed to be doing on these groups. Support other women.
Now about fascia slings. When I went out to UCLA and saw Dr. Kim for mine, it was because of Dr. Raz’s commitment and time given to help mesh injured women. I changed to Dr. Kim because he had assured me she was very capable of doing this surgery. I did it because there are hundreds of women waiting in line for mesh removal and I wanted to give one of them a chance to get it done without a long wait. So I gave up my place. When I went out there she made sure a cystocopy and urodynamics tests were done so that she could assess my situation. All the mesh was out of my body by Dr. Raz so another translabial ultrasound was not necessary. Dr. Raz had shown me what he had removed and it had been measured and recorded. Another test would have been wasting money for everyone. Once all tests were back and she had evaluated them, I met her in her office later in the day. My daughter was with me and she spent time with us, first going over the tests and then what a fascia sling was and what my surgery would entail. She told me it was still my decision and I should know there is a fine line with fascia slings as to how well it would work. So let’s go over a few things.
First your age and tissues are a huge issue. The younger you are the better you will do. I am sixty-six and my tissues are very thin. But I opted to do it because I could not hold one drop of urine and that meant I had to stay at home or take with me ample supplies and changes with me, while hoping nothing embarrassing would happen. I hated it. I was not blinded by Dr. Kim in any way, because she was willing to spend time and allowed me time to ask questions and make my own decisions. She told me the risks. I did not want to do it, but to move forward I felt I had no choice. Believe me I went from a very thin pad before the mesh sling was put into me, to multiple pads after removal with no end in sight. I had waited six months to be mentally ready and never felt anyone wanted me to do something I was not ready for. That is how you should feel too.
Another thing to consider. How bad was your removal surgery? If you answer to yourself that it was very traumatic and you had to be opened up to get it all out, because you were plastered in it, you may be quite traumatized and nowhere near ready for another surgery. I was told the best place to remove fascia tissue is the stomach, but it may be taken from your thigh if your stomach is compromised. How much bearing either has on healing over time, I cannot tell you. So please don’t read anything into what others are telling you. Only YOU know your body. How long the mesh was in you. How much your health was compromised. How well you heal. What other health issues you have now. The list goes on and on. There are far too many factors to consider other than reading what others are proudly saying on support groups. No one can make the decision for you, when and if you should have fascia sling surgery or reconstruction. If you are fretting all the time and getting so upset when you think about it, wait! Give yourself time. We are all dealing with medical PTSD, let alone our continuing stress when around any doctor.
Reconstruction surgery is another huge issue. You must ask questions before you agree to doing it with any surgeon. You need to know how long it will take you to recuperate. Reconstruction can be as simple as a small prolapsed repair to cutting you open to fix many problems that mesh has caused you. Don’t rush into anything. All surgeries have risks.
Fascia slings can fail just like mesh slings can. Any surgery can fail. Many of us are compromised to begin with since mesh was put into our bodies. You should also ask your surgeon his views on mesh and if it should be used at all. The reason I say this is because women have told me that they cannot be in a room with any surgeon is pro mesh. They have lost everything. Home, family, and career. They don’t want to hear it should remain on the market. If you want to by-pass this, then you have to put it out of your mind.
As always, you are the only one who knows your body and your mind. You cannot ask me or any surgeon to make a decision for you. If you are asking, you are not ready. It is as simple as that. Your outcome is all up to you.
I will always tell you the truth. I had to go back because my fascia sling was too tight. It has happened to some with Dr. V, Dr. Raz and any other surgeon. They are not Gods. They are doing the best they can with the tissues you have. You may have to self cath for awhile so be prepared. I did as you know if you read this blog. Thankfully I no longer do. No one has the answers before your surgery and any answers you get are the ones you ask.
I hope this helps. I wish you well because I want you to live again.