Lumy, age 56, was told by her doctor that transvaginal mesh is “fantastic” and just involves a 20-minute procedure. “I read lots of brochures and flyers about the mesh; they made it sound so easy that I was convinced,” says Lumy. She just signed on the dotted line - little did she know the ordeal in store.
In 2007, Lumy had the mesh implanted to treat incontinence. About a year later she complained to her gynecologist of pain and cramping. “This is embarrassing - she asked if I had put anything in my vagina or scratched myself,” says Lumy. “I told her of course not. She sent me to a uro-gynecologist who ordered every test imaginable: I had a sonogram, MRI, vaginal ultrasound, aerodynamics, the works. He found something cutting through my vaginal wall.
“I was so scared, I started crying. The uro-gynecologist told me that it was the mesh, that it could be dangerous and it had to come out. He then explained that I should have a transvaginal mesh sling made with my own tissue, the old-fashioned way.”
Surgery to remove the mesh is difficult and many doctors won’t go there. Lumy’s surgeon explained that he had to carve into tissue where the mesh was embedded. Most of the mesh was removed but some filaments stayed behind.
“After surgery I was sent home with a catheter,” Lumy explains. “A nurse came in every day and I stayed in bed taking pain meds with this bag hanging over my side. It was so horrible. The nurse said my urine levels were okay so the doctor said the catheter can come out. All was fine until one day I sneezed and started bleeding [from the vagina] thick black clots - it was terrifying.”
“To make a long story short, Lumy’s doctor ordered exploratory surgery. The pathologist at NYU thought she had cancer so she saw an oncologist who determined that she had a “rare reaction to the mesh excision.” For six months Lumy thought she had cancer. Her ordeal wasn’t over yet.
“I was having difficulty urinating and my legs were getting swollen to the point where I couldn’t bend my legs,” Lumy says. “My daughter-in-law (she is a registered nurse) took one look at me and rushed me to hospital. I had kidney failure and spent the next seven days in the hospital.”
Lumy had the mesh removed in June 2013 and her kidney failure occurred just a few months later. She believes the chain of events leading to kidney failure began with the transvaginal mesh.
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Lumy could either settle out of court or accept $40,000 with the MDL settlement. After working with her attorney, she decided to accept neither. She is waiting to settle in the “low six-figure bracket” due to multiple surgeries she has endured.