Hello, Good evening/morning to everyone, thank you for stopping by. This was me in August of last year, I took this selfie to remind me of what I looked like less than 60 days of no opioids. (I was not addicted to them, however I had been using Vicodin for 7 years and had harsher medications in hospitals during Pelvic Pain attacks, Morafine, Dalalid, and Fentenayl. One of my Mesh Angels made this picture for me. It shows a purple ribbon with a mesh like design, beautiful. I was seeing a pain management doctor that only dealt with injection surgeries. This was taken during my last injection appointment, before I stopped going (I will talk more about this in a future blog), however I am not looking any better today. I wanted to talk and share with you my story on this issue, OPIOIDS.
I had the Transvaginal Mesh surgery in 2009 to repair POP, Pelvic Organ Prolapse. (feel free to visit my blog and read my story for a more detailed version of events), however I have seen the advertisements from lawyers stating so many things that really leaves a lot of unanswered questions, even if you are offered a settlement, what comes with that?
Transvaginal Mesh, along with other Hernia, and Bladder Mesh implants there has been a world wide focus on the Manufacturers and them having to pay out some large settlements to patients who have been injured and had their life ripped away because of Mesh Implants. How is this able to happen in the 21st century with all the technology we have here in the United States. Well, I am here today to share a little bit about how this affects real patients, because I am one.
I have already gone through this settlement process and before I write any further, I have to document that I signed a confidentiality agreement that forbids me from saying some things, however at this point, I have nothing left to lose, I am going to tell it in my own words. I think we have a right to be informed on some things and I didn’t realize a lot of things until after the fact: Like my healthcare and how I am coping with the living Mesh Nightmare.
When I started my legal process, I originally saw an attorney in Sacramento, who then referred me to an attorney’s office out of Texas. They were handling one of the first big class action lawsuits. When I was offered my settlement, I was advised and encouraged by my attorney, to accept, indicating that the manufacturer may go out of business. My attorney got over 50% of my settlement and the facility Kaiser, that did my revisional surgery took another 14k?
I still don’t understand how they could do that, but I was told it was a legal loop hole, so by the time I received my settlement it was lower than even what my attorney received, I was really broke, had been taking cash advances against my settlement because I was behind on all my bills, so of course they got paid off too., and with having to just live with TVM underlining conditions, it has been Hell. I ended up with less than 40% of my original offer, I am permanently disabled both physically and emotionally, the amount is peanuts compared to the trade off of living with pain and also living with TVM permanently. I cannot get a full removal unless I can pay cash in the sum of over $48,000 and a waiting list a mile long. There is no liability with the manufacturer, so as a patient what do you do, take it or walk away and find another lawyer pro bono(provided you could get one to represent you fully and privately), well how can you do that when you are barely trying to take care of your family financially.
All I can say is this.. I am in pain, from the time I wake up, until the time I go to bed and it’s a living Hell. I am very upset over the manufacturer’s non liability take because they were the ones that pushed the Mesh implants through a 510k process with the FDA, and no human testing done and so thousands are sick and disabled all around the world.
I was shocked when I learned that not all the mesh devices had been recalled off the market. I know there are so many of us suffering at the hands of this dangerous device so why are they still using it?? I have no idea, I just know if I had fully known of the risks, I wouldn’t have agreed to this. My Urogynocologist assured me the side effects were less than 10% and not to worry. This past May, it was 8 years ago I had the mesh implant and here we are in 2017. Now it’s being recognized all around the world of it’s danger and other countries representatives are fighting to get them removed from being able to be used on patients. The only other point I wanted to make was why didn’t the doctors check to see if this was safe? Meaning, the history of the device and how badly it can hurt patients. At the time of my surgery, the FDA was barely starting to get complaints, but it is just mind boggling to me.
Now opioids are a huge issue, and I agree that if they are dangerous and can kill you due to overdose, but I also know that doctors and insurance companies can have you sign an opioid contract advising of how they can be used to help treat chronic dibilitating pain patients. If you are abusing them, then yes, you shouldn’t have them anymore, however that should be on the responsibility of the doctor and also holding conferences on the dangers, there are so many other treatment options that are not being offered to patients. Now it’s become such a big thing it’s overshadowing other things going on in our country. There isn’t a night that I don’t see a story on the news about this, and nothing has changed other than addicts are taking advantage and that makes it complicated for doctors to treat patients with a real condition. How does that work???
There are two sides to this and honestly I can say I am happy to be alive, but I am in so much pain during the day and into the night, that I can barely function, I am in bed most of the day, I am writing this blog right from my bed. With pain medication, I could go on walks, go grocery shopping, etc, but now, my pain is so bad, I don’t go anywhere except my doctor appointments and I have to have help with the grocery shopping, chores, and I really can’t do very much now. How do you then deal with being looked at as an opioid abuser by medical professionals vs a patient in pain constantly? I was not given a step down program or any assistance when I had my medication stopped, just cut off of Vicodin, replaced with nerve meds that barely do anything.
The reason that I was given for this sudden change is the President of the United States, Obama, didn’t want anyone on opioids anymore, however there were no guidelines on how to deal with it. Because I was gettingback injections, I had to wait until after that treatment, and still no pain meds to this day. I have severe pain in my rectal area that never stops because I was having Opioid Induced Constipation, I believe that area is a lot worse now, also I have severe pain in my left buttcheek, down my left leg, abdominal, vaginal, and overall body wide pain and for a couple years the doctors couldn’t get my bowels balanced. Now my pain is ridiculous and I hardly go to the ER anymore in fear of Patient Stereotyping, so I just suffer at home and deal the best I can, which right now isn’t much. I don’t know how much longer I can go without getting ER care involved.
In a future blog I will post how my new pain management is going and that should kick start next week. I actually requested that my health insurance help monitor my progress so I can get the best care possibly while dealing with this, I have an assigned nurse case manager, however I was just told that they are meant to just be there for a short time , I have had mine for almost 3 years and I feel like they don’t have a stance on patient care for something like this. So far it hasn’t been that great, in fact it’s unacceptable however I am not giving up hope that we pain patients get care, support and benefits like the rich , because before this took my life away, I had a good fulfilled life, that I worked for, making really good money and I lost it all, because of this TVM .and also not get labeled as opioid abusers and avoid the stigma.
I apologize this blog post is a bit longer than I intended however I feel like a small fish in an ocean of Sharks and it’s absolutely cruel to do this to patients. I will post the link that shows patients rights, but the real question is Do we have any anymore???
Reports of complications came too late for hundreds of thousands of women who already had mesh implanted, but most companies never recalled the devices. More than 100,000 women sought compensation for their mesh injuries by filing lawsuits against the manufactures. Those cases resulted in multimillion dollar verdicts and more than $1 billion in settlements.
I was reviewing blog posts on similar issues and I came across this one that hit’s the mark for explaining what is going on with all of a sudden getting no more pain meds to help treat lifetime chronic debilitating pain conditions. I have little choices, but I feel I have a responsibility to the public to share my story and share any information pertaining to it, and try to help others and I want to thank bloggers for posting blogs like the one below. Please check it out…
The Powerful Highly-Addictive Drug The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising doctors to cut back on the dose and length of opioid prescriptions for pain when possible. The agency released 12 recommendations for doctors and other health care prescribers in March. Prescription opioids are powerful, highly-addictive drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine. […]
Serious Complications Caused by Transvaginal Mesh
Although transvaginal mesh surgery is simpler and less invasive than more traditional treatments for POP and SUI, it also carries a higher complication rate. In 2011, the FDA reported that it had received 4,000 reports of complications related to transvaginal mesh during the previous six years.
Other Treatments for Mesh Complications
In some cases, doctors try alternative methods to mesh removal. Doctors may prescribe vaginal estrogen cream to help the walls of the vagina heal on their own and manage symptoms, particularly if a woman is not sexually active. Then, she can follow up every few months to observe the erosion and make sure it doesn’t worsen.
If only a small amount of mesh is exposed, doctors may simply trim off the piece with a local anesthetic. Typically this is an option when the amount exposed is 5mm or less. This is a less complex form of surgery than complete mesh removal.
Treatments that do not use mesh include:
Peccaries: A pessary is a small, plastic device inserted into the vagina to provide support to the organs and bladder. Doctors teach women how to insert a pessary, and it is recommended for women who still want children, do not want surgery or are not optimal candidates for surgery. These devices are typically made of inert plastic or silicone.
Pelvic floor therapy: In addition to Kegel exercises, pelvic floor physical therapy can strengthen the pelvic muscles and improve prolapse or stress urinary incontinence symptoms in mild cases.
Surgery without mesh: The patient’s own tissue can be used to treat POP or SUI. Slings composed of a tissue have a higher rate of complications during surgery than synthetic mesh, and they have a higher rate of symptom recurrence. However, they have fewer serious long-term risks than synthetic mesh.
In conclusion, this issue is being highly debated world wide and I really hope and pray that every Mesh Patients moving forward can get the care and compassion they need and deserve, and family members get medical knowledge to care for their family member who may be suffering from a mesh implant, this all from medical professionals as we all must face an uncertain road ahead, dealing with unforeseen illnesses, for a problem we never asked for, so lifetime healthcare pertaining to mesh complications, and underlining side effects that come with it, should be an automatic given, (just my opinion).
Thank you so much for reading through this and for your support to patient knowledge and care. Please feel free to ask me any questions, comment and share. Knowledge is Power for anyone who has to deal with this daily in their life. I know there are so many of us suffering, but we are stronger together as one. God Bless Mesh Angels and their loved ones. #tvmwarriorandsurvivor, #standagainstmesh, #westcoastmeshfighter, #lovemeshpatients
M. Hedgcoth, Co-Founder of westcoastmeshfighter, advocate and supporter for Transvaginal Mesh Patients, their family and friends.
Chris Elkins is a writer and researcher for Drugwatch.com. He’s worked for various newspapers and has writing experience in sports, health communication and public relations fields.
Patient Bill of rights for California, http://www.cpapsych.org/page/52
Californians with mental illnesses who are receiving treatment in mental health facilities, including those persons subject to involuntary commitment, are guaranteed numerous rights under Welfare and Institutions code (W&I Code), Section 5325, including the right to be free from abuse and neglect, the right to privacy, …Nov 24, 2015
Office of Patients’ Rights – California Department of Health Care Services