Jackie has been suffering from this transvaginal mesh (TVM) ever since her surgery in 2005. And now she is facing another surgery, possibly to have the mesh removed. Jackie had a TVM procedure to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP); the procedure implants a mesh sling system to support the pelvic organs—most commonly a fallen bladder.
Like most people, Jackie trusted her doctor. And like most people, she didn't think there was any need to research TVM beforehand. Had she done some homework, however, Jackie would never have agreed to the procedure. For instance, one Transvaginal mesh study by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (February 2011) raised a number of concerns about the safety of transvaginal mesh procedures. Jackie says she "really was unaware that this could cause so many problems until I went online…
"My doctor told me that this procedure was the only thing that could be done for my dropped bladder," says Jackie. "Since that time I've had a lot of auto-immune problems, I'm always tired and of course it has ruined my sex life. This mesh has really affected me, both physically and mentally—I was so sick after the surgery that I even lost my job because I had to take so much time off work.
"I have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and now my doctor is checking me for Lupus. I never had any of these problems before surgery. Since June I have been given nine different prescriptions for antibiotics and none of them have worked. And of course I'm dealing with the side effects from the meds. And to top it all off my bladder has dropped again, so why go through all this in the first place?
"As for the surgery, it is supposed to be 'outpatient'—a simple procedure, but I couldn't even go up and down steps for days because it was so painful and I had to stay at my daughter's house—which wasn't fun! Anyway, my kids are fed up with hearing me say that I don't feel good and I am tired of it too.
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"My OB/GYN said the surgery needs to be redone. I have an appointment next week to see my urologist, and I am going to ask him to look at the mesh. If I do need to get this mesh removed—and that seems likely—I'm now putting this job in jeopardy because it will mean a few more months off work…"