"I had a hernia recently, and I had severe abdominal pain," Tracy says. "I went to the hospital and they said I had a protruding hernia and the walls of my stomach were very weak [Tracy had suffered a hernia approximately three months prior to this, at which point the doctor manually pushed the hernia back in]. Because the walls of my stomach were so weak, the doctor had to put a mesh screen for support.
"After the surgery, the doctor did say that there were a few mesh screens that were recalled and it appeared that the mesh was irritating the area that it was in.
"I was hospitalized for a couple of days and then sent home. Throughout that month I was really uncomfortable and the discomfort would come and go. I kept thinking that something was not right and I was still in pain but I didn't know what was going on. Then, later, I was lifting something and I felt something tear in my stomach. I went to the ER and they did a CAT scan. The hernia wasn't protruding but it was very inflamed around the mesh screen. There was also a lot of scar tissue where the screen was put in.
"The doctor said they would have to do surgery, so they went in and removed a lot of scar tissue that had developed around the mesh screen, hoping that would ease some of the discomfort. I just started feeling better—like I was healing—when I started getting the same pain again.
"The pain is getting worse as days go on. There is a lot of pressure on my stomach. If I cough, sneeze or take a deep breath, the pressure is there. It's very uncomfortable—there is a lot of pain. I'm only 32 and it feels like I can't live a normal life. I can't pick up anything. Sometimes it feels like it takes the breath out of me. Sometimes it's so bad I break out in sweats. It feels like someone is sitting on my stomach and I can't breathe. It's hard to sleep because I can't sleep on my stomach but when I lie on my back there is pressure on my stomach. Sometimes, I have to sleep in a recliner chair, in an upright position.
"I saw the surgeon and she said they would have to take the mesh screen out because there were a lot of screens that were defective and recalled and the symptoms I have are common with other people's complaints. She said the screen that I have is almost a cousin to the Kugel Mesh patch and even though it hasn't been recalled, there are a lot of cases related to it with the same symptoms and complaints.
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"The surgeon wants to get the screen out ASAP because I could develop an infection or the screen can break and perforate my intestines. It has been in my body for some time, so my muscles and tissues have grown around it. She said that this will be a major surgery, involving a lot of cutting.
"I have 2 jobs and a little girl [10 years old] and I am a school bus driver. Even when I am trying to drive there is pain. I'm sick of feeling sick. It's very frustrating to feel this way. I have been in constant pain. I can't walk around like this—I can't even function. It's upsetting when you're so young and you feel like you have a 70 year old body."
The Bard Ventralex Repair Patch is manufactured by Davol, the same company that makes the Kugel Mesh Patch.