Anne first discovered that she had an infection about one week after surgery, when she went to her doctor to have the staples removed. "When he took the staples out the incision burst open so I had to have another minor surgery," says Anne. "The doctor numbed the area and had to sew it up again - the mesh was still in there."
"It never really healed and I hurt all the time at the incision site - it was really difficult to move around. I couldn't go to work but I had to look after my kids no matter what; as well, I had a fever and there was a lot of drainage from the incision. When I had the stitches taken out my doctor instructed me to rinse my belly button out with saline solution and I had to put zinc antibiotic cream on long Q-tips and swab the area. I thought the infection was clearing up; I thought it was just an outside infection from the stitches. But that wasn't the case.
In the last year I have had severe constipation, really foul-smelling drainage from belly button and terrible stomach pains. I feel worse now than I did before the hernia surgery.
When I found out about the recall, I was horrified; I didn't want to go through that again because it was such a horrible experience. I am currently seeing my doctor to determine the best course of action. So far I have had two CATScans, and several x rays.
At first he told me that to get drainage cleared up he would have to completely remove my belly button and not stitch it up; rather it would have to heal but from the inside out. Then he changed his mind: instead he would have to do exploratory surgery to see if there is a stitch that is causing the drainage. There was no way I could go through another surgery. The third option was a round of antibiotics for one month and see if the drainage stops. Naturally I opted for door number three. But I have a gut feeling that I will have to get the kugel mesh taken out.
I started the antibiotics last Friday, March 16th. I hope it works out but the pain is still here - it really is horrific.
Every time I go to the doctor, he uses a Q-tip eight inches long and digs in my belly, but he still can't get to the bottom of the infection. I endure this stabbing pain every day and it pinches and pulls. I can't move around in too many positions - naturally, I have lost a lot of sleep. I have already had two CAT Scans that has exposed me to high doses of radiation - they say radiation makes you more prone to stomach cancer. I am a severe asthmatic and get sick just thinking about having surgery again.
And I have a lot of mental anguish. I worry every day that this mesh is going to break and perforate something. I have been to so many doctor visits and ER visits. I had to pay for all of them and I had to partially pay for the CAT Scans. This mess has cost me thousands of dollars. I have kids to raise and now I have to worry about them.
Here's yet another thing - I have to take Metamucil every single day and can't eat normal food. I never had this problem until I had the surgery. I know this sounds far fetched but I can't live a normal life. Until something like this happens to you, it is hard to imagine - I keep worrying that this kugel mesh ring is going to break. There are so many things I can't do because I am so scared: I can't play with my kids, I can't exercise like I used to. I can't enjoy my life like I used to. That is the bottom line.
This is what I have to say to the makers of Kugel Mesh: why didn't you test it better and why is it still on the market when people have lost their lives? I think the makers need to figure out this problem fast - this is insane.