I know women have to wait several months to go to Dr. Raz and the time waiting can be agonizing. Every woman has to decide for herself where she will go for mesh removal and I never decide for them. This blog is for those who are injured and looking for a path for their journey. Not for telling women how they should live their lives.
I know some women must think I am fearless because I have shared my journey very publically. It is far from the truth. Like you I have to face my fears and sometimes find a way to get through them without resorting to medications. Mesh injury and resulting surgeries is not an easy journey and it is very difficult to do it alone.
Five years ago I was still on post-op care. I had gone through not one, but two surgeries and I was having to self-Cath every day to get my bladder working again. Never in my life had I gone through a surgery let alone deal with serious complications and I felt terribly alone. So within six months of the first surgery I began writing my thoughts down, trying to deal with the anger, pain and stress of all I was going through. There wasn’t any blogs back then and only one site. I wrote to the person who owned it and asked about doctors who could help me and received no response back. When I couldn’t sleep, I researched and found nothing. It was if I was the only woman on the planet dealing with complications and yet I knew there had to be others. So I kept writing.
“If you build it they will come.” Yes it is so true. I took phone calls which gave me hope and yet more confusing over what to do. As I listened to other women tell me about what had happened to them during their mesh removal journey I began to learn. It was very complicated. Over time I realized that when my Medicare kicked in I would have to travel far from home to have surgery and I was so afraid. Fear is a huge part of this journey.
There is no easy way to battle fear. But if we allow it to, it will consume us and make us paralyzed. I began doing things I loved to do, in short spurts of time because I could not do very much for very long. Things creative have always been my savior and helped me through many life journeys that were often difficult. I learned I could relax and lose myself in them and that gave me the strength to get through and make important decisions and deal with my pain. That is how I dealt with my complications and still do.
I was not raised to be fearless. Fear was how my mother managed her eight children. Fear kept us from leaving home and finding our own paths in life. Fear controlled our every move and kept us paralyzed. But I fought fear even then and managed to do things I never thought possible. I began doing beauty contests and photographic modelling, even though I was extremely shy and had great difficulty doing it. I forced myself to fight my fears and get up on stage and before a camera.
Only when I met an amazing man who would become my husband of thirty-five years until his death eleven years ago, did I embark on a long journey of finding my own confidence. My husband Hugh, who I called Pat because everyone else did in his work circle, made me feel beautiful for the first time in my life. I had always felt ugly because I hated my red hair and freckles and I felt there were so many things wrong with the shape of my body and face. But he loved every bit of me and did not care about my self-invented flaws.
I was still afraid for several years of being alone and then raising a young child on my own for a good part of our married lives together. His job was offshore and he was gone much of the time and it was my job to keep the home fires burning and deal with any issues that came up. I never had those tools to do a good job because of my upbringing, so I had to learn them on my own. I alone, had to work on myself and fight the fear.
We never lived in violent countries, but we often lived where there had been uprisings in the past. I had been told that if there were any problems I should make my way to the American Embassy and take my little girl with me. Boy did that create more fear for me. When should I do it? What was the right time? It was my job to keep our child safe while he was on the rig and I was alone and it was up to me.
We all have the fight or flight instinct. We either run away or do whatever needs doing, but remaining paralyzed is not an option or you or those you love can die or be injured. Our mothering instinct is the most prevalent instinct and nothing gets in the way of loving our children and fighting to keep them safe. But often fighting for ourselves is the hardest of all because if you don’t have someone in your life who wants you to be self-preserving and prefers you are bound to them by fear, we have to fight harder to find freedom. Add sickness or injury and it becomes much harder to fight fear.
I was fortunate to have found someone who loved me enough to want me to find my own freedom. But even so I struggled for about the first five years of our marriage. Although hiding behind closed doors often felt safer to me, I saw other wives who buried themselves in their homes because they couldn’t fight their fear. That self-imposed burial stopped them from living their lives and I never wanted that for myself. So I forced myself to wander around streets and get on board taxi’s in Singapore, drive a car for the first time in my life while living in Australia and other things I found so hard to do while living in various countries. I kept both me and my daughter safe while still living my life.
I guess by the time my mesh injury happened I was much better equipped than most women, but I still had to fight my fears. I wondered how on earth I was going to climb on board a plane and sit in a chair for a few hours while I had so much pain. Worse yet, how on earth I was going to climb on board a plane, sitting in a cramped area after major surgery. I was scared to death I couldn’t do it. This is why I understand how other women feel and I have written many blogs to help them deal with it.
I asked other women questions about the things we all needed to know. What to take with us to help before and after surgery. How to dress to help with comfort. They gave me answers and after I flew out to have my mesh removal surgery, I added my own way I handled it by writing blogs. I never flinched from details that were embarrassing. I shared because this is the journey of hell and there is no easy way, but the paths of others can help us deal with it.
I shared my fears during this journey. I shared the horrors of all I have gone through, not because I love the limelight, but because no one else did it. It was for two reasons. One to share with women so that they did not feel so alone when these things happened to them and the other to save as many women as possible from going through this ordeal, who did not as yet have mesh implanted.
I can only share all I know, but I can’t fight the fear for you. Each of us have to fight it alone and find the strength. Some women do it through their faith. Everyone has to find a way, regardless of what gets them there. The journey inside our heads is the most difficult journey of all. We have to battle our own demons of fear to do what we have to do to survive this awful situation. Add to this all those people in our lives that really don’t want to make an effort to help us which includes those we call family and friends. So often we have to battle their fears too.
Ill health is a problem no one wants to face and what happens to us on our life journey often makes those who we love turn away from us. They do it because it is like looking in a mirror or because it is all far too much trouble for them to deal with. They prefer living their own lives and not facing that something like this can affect any woman, young or old. I truly get where they are coming from.
Who on earth would want to believe that there are implant products that our government won’t make sure every women really understand what they can do to their health. They pass the buck to doctors who are supposed to have our best interests at heart. However how do you take the financial gain from that scenario to make sure they do their jobs? You can’t. So leaving it up to them is like starting a fire and expecting rain to put it out, while going through a drought.
You will note that this blog is once again going through some changes. A new title, Mesh Angels makes it shorter to write and has a purpose. If you are going through this or have gone through this, you can be a Mesh Angel if you choose to be. If our government won’t do the job properly then we have to. So much is at stake for women. New names are being used to describe mesh by doctors. Lies continue about “we don’t use that one any more.” Verbal abuse by doctors can make our fears grow stronger and make us doubt our injuries. But if others state it has happened to them, we slowly realize it is not our fault and we gain strength because we learn about their journey.
A Mesh Angle’s job is to get the word out to friends, family and strangers. We have to bury our embarrassment and fight for the future of all women, young and old. We do this by telling the truth and spreading the word. If we each save ten women a year, it could mean hundreds of thousands of women saved that won’t go through hell. In time we will spread the word and stop others from fearing us because it will be common to admit we are all injured.
In time we will be like those who first broke the silence of female organ cancer and breast cancer. It is slow to do this and takes vigilance by us all. But the war will be won over time and we will break the silence of our pain. Through doing this we will change fear to fact.
The title of this blog is about Dr. Raz and all he does to help women through their injuries. No, there is no guarantee we will be pain free after removal. Time affects our injuries and some are done at the date of the original surgery. Without knowledge women go years without knowing why they are in serious trouble. Years of surgeries that never helped them. Revisions or partial removals have left many women more damaged than they should be because of doctors who do not have the skills to do it as safely as possible. That is why I tell women about the man who did mine and saved me from the hacker surgeons.
No my life is not perfect. But I get up every morning thankful I am still alive. I turned sixty-eight this past Saturday June 27th. I am still here, writing and sharing with women to help them understand this journey and find their own way.
There is a Facebook page that was set up as a tribute to Dr. Raz’s skills. I did not set it up nor am I a part of it, but it is there to help women find the strength to go through this journey. Hope is the key word.
Many of us will remain injured because of these products, but many more will be okay without repeat surgeries and a life of pain, IF they choose the right doctor and fight their fears. That is my message today, but this is YOUR journey and you must decide how to travel your own path.
I know the women who posted this story of her journey and she struggled hard to fight her fears and get through the time it takes to see the best surgeon in the world. Yes, those of us who go to him feel that way. Today I attribute the fact that I am still here and writing this blog, to a man who knows what he is doing.
No Dr. Raz is not God. He can’t change the journey of many women because the damage was already done. But he does not turn women away without trying hard to fix them and give them a better life. He doesn’t care who you went to or how many surgeries you’ve had. He will always see a woman who is so afraid she has more mesh and needs to find out if she does.
Women who should be dead by now are alive because of him. Other doctors turned them away or did unnecessary surgeries and left them to die. “Get pain management” is not what you want to hear when you are worried if you still have mesh in your body. You want someone to empathize and understand your fear. That is why we go to him.
Now read her message of hope. She is a young woman with children who I hope has many years now of a better life. Remember to take care of yourself after surgery. If someone thinks you should be fixed and up and running again in a couple of weeks, stand up for yourself and tell them to leave you alone to heal. It will take six months to two years according to your injuries to begin enjoying life in a different way.
“Hello, I thought I would give an update on me. Today, I am 6 weeks post op Complete Mesh Removal with anchors. I am doing really well. I was able to take my catheter out at 2 weeks post op and that was a huge relief. I feel like I look better. My family thinks I look better. The brain fog is gone, my eyelids have not peeled off. I can stand up straight and stretch! I can sit at my kitchen table with my family. I can ride in the front seat and go places! All of that is such a huge improvement! I couldn’t sit while the mesh was in. It’s nice to be able to do those things.
I do have some right hip and leg pain, muscular aches, not all the time, just when I’m up too much. Hives are just on one area of my left arm (were all over) I tire easy. Dr.Raz says it’s still early and I have a lot of healing to go. He told up front before my surgery that I may have some pain, but it would be a different type of pain, and it is different. Incontinence has come back just within the last week. He also told me this might happen. I will have him fix this with my fascia in a couple of months. I’m in no hurry right now though. I read on the Angel blog about some Bladder protection that works good, and a spray for the irritation, (thankful for her 🙂 My poor Ole mind and body can’t take another surgery right now.
It’s like I have new life. I’m adjusting, it for sure is an adjustment…I was consumed by Mesh. MESH stole 4 years of my life. I suffered in every way possible, but what hurts the most is the time I lost with my kids… They needed there momma. I wasn’t there for them. I think about all the things I missed because of damn mesh and All the money I spent on mattresses, furniture, cars, doctors, surgeries, tens units, chiropractor,(cause I hurt) gosh, So much heartache for stupid mesh!
I AM GOING FORWARD! But I will still try my best to be heard and warn women about mesh. I’m in the process of getting new doctors here. All of the ones I had didn’t believe me, it’s just better for me to start over. I dread it though. I will continue to update here and be very honest with how I’m doing, I think that means a lot. I hope each one of you will please do the same.
I love Dr. Raz.. He saved my life, He was good to me and my family. I feel like HE IS The BEST!! Thank you for having this page.”
Ladies the wait is long for Dr. Raz, He is so worth it. It was very hard, but I made it and I thank God every day for him.”
All I can say to this woman is I am very happy she is now a Mesh Angel and will help spread the word of hope.
Here is the link on Facebook