"My doctor explained that a transvaginal sling will lift the bladder and take the pressure off, which would treat my SUI," says Kathy. "It actually worked for a while but over time the incontinence came back and I noticed a nasty odor; I thought I had some kind of infection. So I went back to my doctor. (By the way, she had done many of these TVM surgeries.)
"Over the next few years she kept examining me and giving me prescriptions for the bacterial vaginitis or whatever she thought it was. Every time I went on this med it helped for a week or so then the odor would come back full force. And this issue was draining me financially. The medication wasn't covered under my insurance and it cost $100 for each prescription; plus I had surgery and doctor bills to pay.
"I was dating someone at the time and there were some sex issues—I had abdominal cramping and sex was uncomfortable, but the worst problem was that the smell was so embarrassing. 'It feels like you have pipe cleaners in there,' said my boyfriend after we had sex. As you can imagine, this mesh really affected how I felt about myself; I sunk to a new low, it was devastating.
"I went back to my doctor again and told her what my boyfriend said about the pipe cleaner reference and asked her if there was any way my body could be rejecting this material. She laughed at me! (I talked to my attorney about a medical malpractice suit; unfortunately the statute of limitations had passed.)
"So I went to another doctor who asked me a few questions; she didn't even examine me and said, 'It sounds like your body is rejecting the mesh.'
"About one year ago I had reversal surgery—my new doctor removed all the mesh. This transvaginal mesh was laying on my urethra and it would have actually cut through my urethra if I left it any longer. I would have wound up with toxic poisoning, additional surgery and, if it was bad enough, I might be wearing a bag today.
"I have not had one infection since the reversal surgery. Now I am back to being incontinent again but the trade off is worth it: So what if I wet my pants when I laugh, I can handle that.
"After I broke up with my boyfriend, he mentioned how awful it was to be with me that way [having sex]—I was crushed. This infection smelled like feces; I can't think of any other word to describe it—like I was rotting inside. I could even smell it sitting at my desk.
"When my doctor explained to me that my body was rejecting this mesh, I thought it was something I was going through personally and not anyone else. Then my daughter saw an ad on TV and said this TVM is a huge issue and has harmed so many women. I was shocked…
READ MORE BARD AVAULTA TVM LEGAL NEWS
Kathy has retained an attorney who is looking into her medical records to determine the manufacturer of the transvaginal mesh. Several lawsuits have been filed against a number of manufacturers, including C.R. Bard , the manufacturer of Bard Avaulta mesh, claiming the Bard Avaulta System is defective.