Hello and welcome to Sundays and Smalltalk, Afterthoughts, WCMF. If you have already been following my blog, then you already know my name is Michelle Hedgcoth and I had a dangerous medical device surgery, (Transvaginal Mesh Implant) to correct POP. I unfortunately suffer from side effects because I had this surgery and it has forever changed my life.
I, unfortunately, went through a lot to get to a place where filing for social security benefits was a last resort. Mesh side effects started to really impact everything in my body, from infections, to hospital visits, pain and loss of occupation and still I am not working. I really never thought that I would be disabled at the age of 42, but I am. It was fact of life I needed to start learning to live with it and when things really started to get bad, I had recently gotten married and I was a newlywed, mother of 5 teenagers, I loved working, doing things with my family and although at times well, most of the time, it was a stressful job I had to do for my work and there were good times there too in my 8 year career, however this mesh implant affected that too. I wanted to try and shed some light on the general process of filing for social security, but first I have to give full disclosure so I will be highlighting on some of that as well.
So the beginning of this process while I was still working, I had no intention or goal to be where I am at now, I was really hoping with all the procedures I have had done to try and alleviate the pain, that I could have been right back to work, but a procedure that was supposed to help me (Pelvic Botox), actually somehow caused extreme pain in my bowel passage and my lower right abdominal area shooting down my right leg, had me many times, in the Emergency Room because I couldn’t control my pain at home and it cause my stools to not pass.
Because of the amount of time I had been working for my employer, I accrued vacation and sick time. While off work, I was able to draw temporary state benefits, once I ran out of that time, I resigned with rehire options at my company, although I was getting these benefits, there is a 12 month max limit to get it. Something new I that didn’t know about. Once that was gone, I was forced to go on the State Programs while I attempted to file for permanent disability. This whole thing has taken a physical and emotional beating and because of this process, it definitely is causing undue physical and mental stress and anxiety, and additional side effects.
Examples of Side effects:
These are just some examples of what I have to live with everyday. Getting back to the process, once all your state temporary disability has been depleted, you haven’t been working for a period of time, call the social security office and ask questions, and then you can finally file for Social Security Disability.
I almost missed the deadline to file, (check with social security) because I was suffering from extreme depression and anxiety, I didn’t want to do anything, deal with anything, and just do nothing. I almost missed my chance to file. However, I was able to file and just like everyone predicted, I was denied and they only give you 60 days to file an appeal, it was at this point that I sought out an attorney to represent me. I found an attorney who is really well known in my area, has good reviews and is helping me through this long and frustrating process.
Well wouldn’t you know it, my appeal was denied, however my attorney assured me that it was normal, especially because of my age, however my disability doesn’t discriminate because of age, and because I had this done while I was younger and it certainly doesn’t change the facts that I continue to suffer everyday and it’s taken all my strength to not let this take over my life. Physically I continue to be weak and fragile, where if I catch a virus, it’s horrible because my body is fighting off them and I end up feeling so tired and in pain, off to the hospital I go for IV antibiotics, plus keeping a regular schedule with all your doctors.
I dislike labels on people, however this is our judicial system and I am trying my best to just trust in the journey. There are so many days that I cry in hiding and suffer in silence. I shouldn’t feel ashamed of what has happened to me, but I do. I feel responsible because I made a decision for something that was supposed to help me and instead it hurt me and still continues to.
It’s disheartening to go to my doctor and cry because I haven’t been able to control my pain and I need help. My paperwork, path since being off work, and currently still fully disabled, you would think it would be a no brainer.. yep she is disabled, cannot work, however Social Security is back logged with decisions to write up. I don’t know about anyone else, but I was told we just wait now for a decision. I have been in front of an Administrative Law Judge, answered questions truthfully and my Attorney was there with me.
At this point, all I can do with just wait, that is all we can do and in the mean time, we are on the state assistance programs, and somehow the good Lord above me is with us through this. In one of my recent blogs, I put up a chart showing the amount of days in Ca for a decision to be written. I will repost it again here because of what we hear vs. what we see.
This is the only thing I have found online that even tries to give guidelines on time frames and keep in the mind this is after you file, denied, filed appeal, denied, go to an Administrative Law Judge, and then 378 days. This chart could be way off, I don’t know and I am trying not to dwell on it. One day at a time…..
I really hope this blog was helpful regarding the Social Security Disability process and I really do hope if you really need it, like myself, that it will come quicker than it is. Make sure there isn’t anymore paperwork that needs to be done with your attorney. I am about 6 months past my court date and I am hopeful it will come through soon.
Thank you so much,
M. Hedgcoth, co founder of westcoastmeshfighter, advocate for patients and a humanitarian.