Christine (not her real name) says the transvaginal mesh side effects began just a few months after it was implanted. “I was getting constant infections because my bladder wasn’t emptying properly,” she says, “and we had problems with our sex life, to the point where we almost broke up over so many arguments.”
Because some of the mesh had eroded into Christine’s vaginal wall, it was poking and jabbing her husband. Sex hurt for both of them but Christine’s doctor said he could fix that, and she was referred to a urologist. Christine had no idea that the mesh was the problem.
“If somebody told me that the mesh could move and cause these complications, I would rather have suffered with a little leakage, which is nothing compared to what I have gone through with this TVM.”
Christine kept a diary: she noted every doctor appointment and conversation; she kept a detailed record of symptoms and surgeries, which might prove invaluable in court.
Christine had a cystoscopy - a procedure used to see inside your urinary bladder and urethra. “The urologist said it wasn’t where it was supposed to be; it was further up the urethra. He did a mesh excision that hurt and it was very degrading. He took out the part that had eroded and told me that some mesh was still there. He also said that I might need a bladder operation.
“Still having bladder problems and my husband says sex is hurting again so the mesh has moved again. Back to the urologist for a urodynamics test - to check incontinence - which is another degrading test: they watch you pee. He couldn’t find anything so I had another cystoscopy, which showed more erosion. I went through another mesh excision.
“The urologist put in a continual suture and I asked if this was going to happen again. ‘If it does you had better find yourself another surgeon,’ he said, patting himself on the back and meaning it won’t happen again. And another six weeks without sex. I asked him about scar tissue. He said that is usually soft tissue and cannot hurt your partner.”
“We waited six weeks and it happened again, my husband got jabbed. I couldn’t get scheduled for another mesh excision until January. No sex.”
“The urologist finally said the transvaginal mesh could have been defective, in a bad lot. He said four other patients are going through the same thing as me. He also said that if I have any more problems I have to go upstairs for an operation instead of all these excisions. And there wasn’t much mesh left by now.”
“It happened yet again. I called the urologist’s office and asked his receptionist if I could be allergic to the mesh. She said it is frustrating for the doctor. What about me and my husband?”
“I had to fly to another city and have surgery. ‘I bet you wish you never had this transvaginal mesh,’ the nurse said. This surgery was supposed to clean up everything once and for all and they planned to put in another mesh made from my own body parts.”
“I had the mesh from my body implanted. After that surgery I couldn’t pee at all and had to stay in hospital until I could. I was sent home with a catheter to be removed after one week. I had to measure pee every time, and if that didn’t work, a home care nurse would come in.”
“I still couldn’t control my urine and had to wear pads. This incontinence is way beyond my first issues with coughing and sneezing. So I went back to the urologist with pee issues. He said the last surgery was more invasive and healing could take up to three months but a lot of issues could clear up over time. If the desire to pee occurs and I cannot go, I have to come back in six months and maybe I will need medication.
“By mid-April I was having one bladder infection after another and yeast infections. I was on a daily antibiotic and antidepressants.”
“My daughter was getting married. I was so frustrated with trying to pee and nothing coming out. The doctor said my bladder isn’t emptying for all these reasons: infections, muscle deterioration and more.
“I had to start self-catheterizing. I had to get taught how to do that at a different hospital, another extremely degrading and embarrassing procedure. And I am still doing that.”
“I had another urodynamics test, which showed a blockage. I needed another surgery to open things up and the urologist said things should work this time. I went to physiotherapy and did everything to fix my muscles. It turns out that my own mesh was put in too tightly so I had to get that repaired. I saw another specialist in Calgary and nothing has improved.”
READ MORE TRANSVAGINAL MESH LEGAL NEWS
She is still in pain with constant infections and is suffering from depression. Who wouldn’t be? Now she has two choices: live with these issues or try botox in her bladder. Christine’s doctor cannot promise that botox will work and she would need injections every three months. Or she could end up wearing a catheter all the time.
“I recently decided to file a claim - it took me so long because I am so embarrassed. I’m in a no-win situation so I decided there is nothing I can do except file a transvaginal mesh lawsuit. Needless to say, this supposed simple procedure has ruined my life. And my husband isn’t too happy either.”