Hello and Welcome to Afterthoughts, for westcoastmeshfighter. My name is Michelle and I live with chronic pain and various side effects due to a Transvaginal Mesh Device. My blog is about my Journey, how I am handling my healthcare, and how having this faulty device side effects has affected my life and the life of my family.
The last couple of months have been some of the hardest days of my life up until this point. The constant Chronic Pain seems to increase significantly at night, (why you see me posting a lot around the times overnight). After every procedure I have gone through, every doctor I have seen, every hospital ER I have had to go to, by ambulance, to finally changing all my doctors including my Health Nurse Case Manager with my Health Plan. I admit I was really calm and collected, I knew in my gut that this was the right thing to do. I had been with county clinics since moving over to Medi-Cal from my private insurance. Also about a year and a half with Health net Medi-Cal, because they kept sending my referrals for Pain Management and for a Urogynocologist back, indicating “HIGH RISK”, never indicating a straight forward answer. This created more Anxiety and Stress. Not knowing why was really frustrating. It was suggested by the medical assistant to change insurance companies to Health Plan of San Joaquin. In the beginning it was difficult, still kept getting my referrals back with “HIGH RISK”. To this day I don’t know what that meant.
It’s important to point out that making big medical changes can actually hurt you and I will talk about that more in this Blog Post. It has been a long 8 plus years and counting since this all began and I see now that sometimes these things have to happen in order for me to become stronger, at least for me that is what is happening.
My original TVM surgery was in May of 2009, I had a revisional surgery in March of 2012 to try and stop the mesh erosion and problems with passing stools. I have also been though Physical Therapy for Pelvic Floor, Pelvic Botox, Epidural Injections in a surgery setting, Mesh Erosion, Rectocele surgery, Multiple Tests, CT Scans, X Rays, Ultra sounds, Regular and Vaginal, infections, allergic reactions to medications, body wide pain that never stops. Here I am, Still Standing, Still Fighting.
Up until today, I saw myself starting to lose a little hope, that a doctor would really listen to my concerns, that somehow a plan can at least start to help me with the excruciating pain I live with everyday. Today was a day that seemed to change that, hope, faith, prayers.
My day started really early in the morning around 8:30am, since I am up most nights, that was really early for me. Now after a rough night of pain, finally falling asleep around 4 or 5 am, for one reason or another, I have had to wake up and start the day. Now, although it stinks, I am actually glad that I did. I had phone calls to make and appointments to confirm this week, that somehow I had missed getting transportation arranged for my appointment today, rather than reschedule having to wait another 4 weeks, I immediately called my father, who luckily was able to come and drove me to my appointment.
I cannot recall exactly what woke me up this morning, however once I was awake, I got started on my Goals for this week. Made some follow up calls before I knew it, the time for my appointment arrived and off to see my new Pain Management Doctor.
I had gathered all my previous Pain Management papers for the doctor and brought my medical folder with my recent test results and information on pharmacy, my recent doctor appointments, and my last visit with a GI Doctor, a list of all my medications, and my medical journals. I can tell you, I had anxiety all the way up until the I saw the doctor, and I could still feel my heart racing.
After checking in & filling out all the paperwork as a new patient, I patiently sat down and waited. I only waited about 10 minutes and in I went. The Pain Management Doctor came in and actually sat down with me. We went over practically everything I have gone through. Being completely honest about my medical history, especially with medication.
I didn’t know what to expect so I left all expectations off the table and went over areas of pain, answered all of the questions truthfully. When I told the doctor what I had gone through, I could tell she was empathetic and understanding with her feed back and information. After my exam and consultation I was happy when she temporarily agreed to help me. The doctor has an overflow of patients, however it was advised there are several more pain management doctors here that can continue treatment and gave me plenty of time to do it in too. I may actually get some real sleep tonight.
There are a couple of things I would like to mention for information purposes. Now more than ever, if you are battling chronic pain or any other illness or injury, how you handle your healthcare is vital. There should be a trust worthy, truthful with full communication with your doctors. While I was fighting depression and anxiety from all of the uncertainty of my medical condition, I was also dealing with multiple doctors, insurance companies and pharmacies. I made sure to document in my medical Journals all the changes and why. It can look suspicious if you are changing or having prescriptions filled with other doctors or at more than one pharmacy. You must stick to one doctor for your prescriptions, one pharmacy for your meds, and to communicate everything between all your doctors, your pharmacy, and everything I do I cross reference everyone and because I have a nurse case manager, updating them regularly is also something I do.
I always give my pharmacy contact information on all my current and treating doctors, because when you fill a prescription, especially with Opioid Meds, it’s important that they know what you are being prescribed and from which doctor. Believe or not there is a thing called prescription fraud or abuse of medication. It’s great to see that doctors are really taking this seriously and that Also be prepared to sign a medication contract when prescribed narcotic medication. I completely agree with certain medications to be monitored by doctors and if you are on a lot of medication, that is even more of a reason.
Being prepared for this appointment was one of the best things did. It really feels like time went by so fast this last year. I didn’t realize until I was at this appointment, that it’s been over a year since a pain management doctor had treated me. A year without any medicine to help manage my pain, over a year that I had worked so hard to get to this point. I had documented my journey in Journals, (which I bring to every appointment)and it made it easier to remember timeframes and answer some of the time table questions. As of now my medical team is right on track with my treatment plan. One thing is for sure, it takes time, time to get things right, time to find the right doctors, time to get make the calls, make the appointments, go to them weeks later and it’s trial and error.
I really hope that this helps when it comes to have a pain management doctor handle just your pain symptoms. It took a long time to get to where I am and hope in having some quality of life has been restored. God bless and until next time, stay happy and keep fighting.
M. Hedgcoth, co founder of westcoastmeshfighter
Advocate and Humanitarian for Patients of a Mesh Implant