Reflections, is it ok to reflect or can it emotionally tear your apart? Having A TVM (transvaginal mesh implant) can cause serious life alterations, change family dynamics, and emotional thoughts on life.

Hello and welcome to afterthoughts, stuck between two worlds living with a Transvaginal Mesh Implant.  Tonight I wanted to blog about emotions.  I know the last couple of blogs have touched on emotions that I deal with regularly.  It’s no secret by now that I suffer from Depression & Anxiety, I am not ashamed to say it, it’s a serious condition I thought I was immune to.  It’s very hard just to say it out loud, which I almost never do, however I have learned so much in this journey I am on and have seen so much awareness on mental health.  This last year was an emotional one for sure… Reflections on yesterday, healthy or not???

Below is my Disclosure:

Mental Health is a very serious condition that affects so many of us.  I was shocked to see just how bad it really is. 

Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.1
Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.2
Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.

Ref:  https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers

Reflections is something that I really don’t look forward to doing, but what I get out of it is relooking at a particular situation or event that occurred this last year, 2017 and what have I learned from it.  I find it relaxing to reflect on whatever comes to mind and I have been doing this just the last couple years, I hear all the time.. “oh this happened to me”, but rarely do I hear what happened next, what was the lesson.  Most of the time, I don’t see any change at all, just the same things over & over, and expecting different results.  In order to really see changes in your life, you must make changes within yourself.  I don’t mean, change who you are, because that is who you are right?

accept-what-is-let-go-what-was-have-faith-in-what-will-be

At first I was angry, because I felt like I was attacked personally, emotionally, & in some situations, yes I was.  The big lesson for me was self work, there were some real scary reactions in a stressful situation or environment that would cause anxiety, panic attacks .  I really think that emotionally, you need to be in a healthy place in order to cope and deal with the issues right in front of you.  I definitely understand that most of us cannot do anything to change our current circumstances.  I really think the key is thinking way ahead of the possible outcomes and make a conscious decision that is best for your life. … I want to stress this part… MAKE A CONSCIOUS DECISION THAT IS BEST FOR YOUR LIFE

This last year, 2017, has been such a complicated year for me.  At the beginning of the year, I had no idea how things would turn out for me and my family.  Having a Transvaginal Mesh Implant has put strain on my family, my over all life, and looking back at this last year, there were a lot of lows and some high’s.  To protect the integrity of myself and my family, I try not to get too much into personal things. I lost 3 people just in a 3 month time frame, it’s been a rough year for sure.   Understanding that everyone copes differently, for some it’s easy to deal with it and sort it out and for others it’s not so easy. ( me)

 

Hard and difficult questions have to be asked to yourself and really this can apply to just about anything you are going through in your life.  It’s not the questions though that is hard, it’s executing the changes and actually living by it.  For some reason this really can be the hardest part of the process.  Instead of fearing the outcome and all the what if’s, I try not to think about it.  It’s really different trying not to worry so much cause that is what I am used to doing.

Anxiety:   feels like someone is stopping my airflow and my heart rate starts to accelerate, all of a sudden I can barely move, think, it’s very hard to concentrate on anything in particular. 

There have been things told to me, cruel and untrue statements said regarding my medical conditions, and myself and I was so shocked at what I was being told, that I am on some sort of drug, that are not prescribed by doctors, (the illegal kind) and that I am such a bad mother, all because this medical device just happen to not work out in my favor.  When I worked I lived pretty comfortably, however after losing my employment because of this, our family has struggled.  I couldn’t believe it at first, then the more I heard, the more I understood exactly who they were becoming and all I could think about was, “I hope I don’t end up like them”.

Having Certain Medical Conditions that disabled you , doesn’t make you a bad person/parent, if you are struggling financially, that doesn’t make you a bad person/parent, just because you can no longer work because of a medical condition, that doesn’t make you a bad person/parent.  This can happen to anyone, at anytime, no one is exempt.  #endthestigma

 

Here is the thing.. I lost everything I had worked for.. my career, my car, my independence, and most of all, reasonable access to my older kids.  What bothers me the most is how much negativity my kids have had to endure and go through because of this.  It rips into your heart knowing there isn’t anything you can do right now.  I know that it will just make them stronger adults when they have to face situations, and no child should have to suffer or be made to feel like they are nothing, because one of their parents cannot work anymore and they have to endure more responsibility because of it.  I used to let those things bother me, but it’s really nothing to me, I just become really protective when it comes to my kids, like any mother would.  I have direct contact with my kids and nothing is permanent meaning and having shared custody allows this flexibility… I will be able to see my kids this Christmas and I can’t wait.

 

Going into 2018, I have a better idea about my life and where I want it to go.  I also have emotionally dealt with so many things, that I finally feel like things are very possible now.

It’s such a hard thing, to deal with this alone, & how it’s impacted my family too and my friends.  I know there are patients out there that suffer alone, feel alone, even if they have family or friends.  It’s a horrible way to feel everyday and there are resources available.   Don’t let the depression run your life, I did for a while and even though it took time to find clarity, I was patient and waited for it to reveal itself.  The clarity is how I want to live, my choices, and not allowing the worry to run me into the ground.  It’s a hard challenge because I am such a control freak, I guess, my husband and kids swear I have OCD.

I am so incredibly grateful to my patient therapist, without that, I probably would still be emotionally stuck.  I have been going now almost 2 years and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made.  In fact, that was my first step to reclaiming my life back.  It’s taken close to 2 years just to get where I am.  New Team of doctors, New case manager with health insurance, and trying to minimize the amount of stress around me.

One thing I want to stress is that Mental Illness isn’t like a cold or an injury that will go away.  You can learn to cope and live (from what I have read) almost a normal life.  I take it as ok or if your depression came from your physical disability for life.. it will never go away, but possible suppressed for small moments, especially if it’s like mine (brought on by my TVM side effects), the daily challenges that I face because of it.  You can live with it, treatment is really important in having any quality of life emotionally.  It’s been a long 7 years and going through dealing with it all.  I know life will always through curve balls at me, however I will never allow it to dim my light.

I want to end with some positive information.  Talking about mental illness is really stressful, however I just want my readers to know how much I appreciate you all.  It means so much to me just knowing that you read my pieces I put out and took something positive away with you.  I am incredibly grateful for all the blessings for my family and if this grows into something bigger that would be amazing.  Getting the awareness out there is the main goal.  This is just one part of the all the conditions & complications that come with a mesh implant defect.

Thank you all once again, if you or anyone you know suffers from mental illness, seek a professional medical doctor right away.  It only take one call to save a life.  God Bless you all and have a great week, until next time.. stay strong, surround yourself with as much positive as you can, and hug your loved ones, reconnect with family and friends slowly.  Everything takes time..

Michelle Hedgcoth, Co founder of WCMF, Patient Advocate & Humanitarian

 

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Picking & Choosing Battles, Patience, and learning to enjoy life, living with Transvaginal Mesh Implant.

fallwcmfHello and Welcome to Afterthoughts for Westcoastmeshfighter.  Fall is really here and it’s definitely my favorite time of year.  I have been posting a disclaimer indicating that I am not a lawyer, doctor, or a medical professional in regards to Mesh Implants.  I am a patient who lives with part of a Transvaginal Mesh Implant and my blog is to tell my story, daily life living with a TVM.

 

Since my last blog, so much has happened.  I am really overwhelmed with gratitude, just so overwhelmed and although I cannot say why just yet, I want everyone reading this to know that if you live by truth, it really has an overwhelming feeling that cannot be described with the outcomes.  I wish I could say that I am getting a surgery that will take away all the damage that the mesh implant left, but unfortunately it’s looking more and more that surgery isn’t an option.

I am happy to report that my medical team is amazing and finally I feel like doctors care, care about me and what is happening to me.  This December it will be a year and a half since I fired my last team of doctors and started over.  I knew it was a risk considering what was happening to me at the time, I knew what my old team of doctors where doing was wrong and after 3 years of nothing but excuses, no care, and lack of proper pain management.  I knew if I was going to really deal with it all, come out of this with some quality of life and what I needed to do is really take a little while, think about my injuries, where most of my pain was coming from, then outline a possible way to start to live again.

Life will challenge you, trust in your Journey

I wonder really “is it happening, it is? and then I say to myself “you are ok, your going to be ok, put on your big girl crown and fight back”.  Considering I have been fighting this whole time, fighting for my kids, fighting for my independence, fighting lack of care, emotional and physical care for my life”, critics who don’t believe there is anything wrong with me.  When I say life, I mean life as I knew it, the life I was living before the mesh implant came in and changed everything.  Being able to hold a job without mesh interfering and jeopardizing my career, that I almost lost myself and it’s been said over and over, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”, I believe that.

Picking & Choosing your Battles:

It’s very difficult to pick and choose your battles, when you have so many going on at once.  The year 2013, my Mesh Complications were beating me, in my workplace, at home with doctor care, and emotionally I was lost.  It may not seem like such a bad thing when you say, “I have pain in my right abdominal area” and it was so bad I had multiple trips to the Emergency Room, emergency room tests done, given pain medication and sent home.  I thought then, what am I going to do?  There were no answers or the answers were maybe it’s a cyst on your ovary, maybe it’s constipation, at the time, opioid induced constipation didn’t really occur to the doctors, I was advised to take over the counter laxatives to deal with it.   That too was a nightmare… either it didn’t work or it gave me extreme diarrhea and all the while still, taking opioid medication, extreme pelvic pain, pain meds, take over the counter meds, became a regular thing.

Then in September of 2014, after I caught up all my bills, my landlords decided they wanted to sell the house I was renting from them.  I was given the notice during a Full Rent Payment transaction between me and the female landlord, the day after my birthday, September 5th, 2014.  I knew I couldn’t live there very much longer anyways, the rent was too high, and by this time I had burned through all my savings, my entire tax return, and all of my small settlement, I was trying to hang onto the life I had worked so hard to create.  To make matters worse, I was out of fmla/medical leave state mandated time of 52 weeks of time off from work, September 30th 2013 was my last official day.  (my employment and what happened during the course of the last 3 years of my career, I will talk about in an upcoming blog).  One more thing, there is the custody court hearing with my son’s father that I still hadn’t gone to court for yet, that happened in December of 2013.  (I won)

At this point, I think that is when things really started to become a reality for me.  I completely shut down.  It was like I was having an out of body experience like what?? How is this happening, why?? 2013 and 2014 was just utter chaos, just what next, and it was like each let down was one upping the one before.  I literally just watched everything I worked for, just vanish, like it all never happened and It felt like a harder punch in the stomach with each thing that happened, and If you could believe this, earlier in February of 2013, I was engaged and just days before valentines day, after a turbulent, abusive, 3 year relationship, he called off the engagement and we called it quits for good.  For me, he did me a big favor breaking it off.  I knew deep down, I could never be happy with someone like him, he was just really immature and had a really bad anger problem.  I cut off all ties and had to block him on social media due to harassing messages.  It wasn’t until later that year, I met, and started dating my husband (Engaged on Valentines day, a year later February 14th 2014, we married in June of 2014, with all our kids and family there) , by some natural shift in my life, he and I met by chance.

My husband and I faced the challenges together, we have talked about it, what the complications could mean.  Now we roll with the punches, if anything, this has made me a stronger person, made us both stronger.  I pick & choose my battles, if I know it will cause anything negative, I just try to let it go, if I have learned anything through this experience it’s to be authentic, be yourself, & most importantly, learn how to love yourself.  Understand what is going on with you, don’t give up trying to get proper medical care, if something isn’t working change it and don’t be afraid to.  Once I understood my symptoms, I knew what kind of treatment was needed, then I went to work on my care.  The world is becoming more and more aware of the dangers of a Mesh Implant, what kind of physical and emotional damage it can do to a person.

I lost my career, what my life once was, because of a Transvaginal Mesh Implant, now I am learning to live again slowly, it takes time, and even with all my non believer critic’s, that doesn’t bother me so much anymore, I know what is really going on with me.  2017 has been one of the hardest years, I lost 3 people, family, and although the beginning of this year started out really rough, it’s ending on a high note.. a really big one.  God Bless you all this Thanksgiving, I am so incredibly grateful to my family.  Happy Thanks giving..

Michelle Hedgcoth, co founder of westcoastmeshfighter, advocate and humanitarian.

 

Having a Transvaginal Mesh doesn’t mean you stop believing in your dreams. How having this has impacted my family.

picturetopeople.org-WESTCOASTMESHFIGHTER

Good evening/morning and welcome to my blog.  For those of you who are new to my blog, I welcome you.  If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe and read my past blog posts.  I blog about the trials and tribulations of living with a transvaginal mesh implant.

This evening I wanted to blog “a little bit” about how this whole thing, TVM, has impacted my family dynamics.  It’s been a long rough road and I am forever grateful to our loved ones for supporting us through this difficult time our family continues to go through.  We wouldn’t be where we are without them, we are very humbled and blessed.  Because our children are older, they really understand what is happening with me and that I cannot do the things I used to.  It took a long while for everything to start to fall into place and in this blog post, I will talk about real situations that happened in my family and to me.  (FYI: it’s quite a long blog, please take some time, grab a warm cup of your drink of choice and I hope you enjoy).

 

In recent blog posts, I post my disclaimer pictured above explaining that I am not a doctor, lawyer, or a licensed professional regarding the transvaginal mesh implant, I am a patient who advocates for patients, their families, in the hope that it helps our mesh community on their life journey.  I share real stories of my own experiences living with a Transvaginal mesh implant and isn’t easy at all to deal with.  Since having the TVM in 2009, I have had quite the Journey up until now.

When I started to have complications I was working full time trying to do that, be a full time mother, and dealing with the constant infections for almost a year due to mesh erosion.  This happens when the mesh starts to push it’s way through the lower part of your vaginal wall and having to get a new antibiotic prescription every 4-6 weeks.  I became immune to all antibiotics with cillin’s in it.  That is Penicillin, Amoxicillin, really anything in this family, it caused major hive outbreaks and my throat started to close up and suffocate me.  I was hospitalized several times for this and at one point I had hives from head to toe and it was miserable, so please be careful when dealing with medications and know your allergies, this information is really important if you ever need to go to the hospital, take a file with you, that has all of your medical info in it, sometimes you may get a really great ER doctor that will try to help you.

Time is Precious social media graphic

One of the many challenges our family has had to face is that we are a blended family, with that comes what I like to call the “EX Factor”.  What that means is that we have kids with other parents and juggling it all has been really difficult on my family.

Recently, my son’s moved with their father about 30 minutes from me.  They are older, 20 and 17, and  I know that their opportunities for working towards a better future are better off over there where they are, however it seems with a big breakdown in communication with the other parent for the last couple of years, there are a few things that seem to be incorrect regarding me and I want to clarify them.  I haven’t had a vehicle to drive to be able to see my kids and the other parent was giving my kids a hard time about bringing them to see me.  I recognized immediately that if the roles were reversed I would take them to see their dad, however not everyone has a heart.  It’s really hard because I miss them so much,  they both have jobs and my middle son has two jobs and goes to high school.  Normally I wouldn’t even give this any of my energy,  however I know it isn’t right to our kids, when a parent speaks ill of the other parent to the kids, it can really create a parent alienation situation, which had happened to me.

Insert:  I have shared custody of my son’s, I worked my entire life, I paid all their insurance premiums, soccer mom, football mom, baseball mom, bowling mom, all of it and at the time I started to have a lot of complications they were both still under aged.  The other parent tried to take our son’s away because he didn’t agree of my medical decisions.  (note to self:  Don’t tell your ex anything about your personal life directly, divorce is divorce).  I ended up going to court to fight for my kids and WON.  The judge (who did our divorce and custody over 10 years ago),  saw that over 10 years of co parenting without any issues and she felt there wasn’t any reason to change things, and she also told the other parent that he should encourage a healthy relationship between me and my son’s.  Of course, here we are and they think they have custody, just because they are staying there doesn’t automatically give you anything.. oh geez, so at this point he can go right on ahead and think what they want, (check the court order)  I don’t care, because I know the truth and I encouraged my kids to just let it go, it’s not important.  They are older and need to stay focused on their life goals, instead of being yelled at and belittled, and to just work hard it will all be OK.  They should have encouragement, and support emotionally and not worry about the ones who like to stir pots, spread lies, they should definitely lick the spoon for sure.  Love that quote:  There is nothing that can keep my son’s from me, it’s a strong bond that will last forever.  I am their mother and nothing can break that bond…. Ok so moving on now.. lol.  

In September of 2013, I had just lost my employment, (ran out of FMLA) and although I had spent over 8 years working towards a career in collections, my employer was AT WILL (like most in California), meaning they can let you go if they want, if you run out of state mandated time off and they did, with rehire options if a doctor ever released me to go back to work.  Like so many before me, it was my turn to say Goodbye to my company and I was moving out of my house in the town I lived in at the same time (our landlords decided to sell their home, so we were given sufficient notice (4 months), then a month later the court with the ex (read insert above), and just after Christmas our family moved in with friends and we were essentially without a home for about 6 weeks.

What I wanted to say is that just because you go through financial hardships it doesn’t make you a bad parent or a liar, (which has been said about me).  It felt like a personal attack against me as a mother without any regard for what I and the kids face handling this.  It’s just really irresponsible so if you find yourself dealing with the same things, don’t stop fighting, and don’t let the other parent intimidate you into believing you are a bad parent because you became disabled because you are not.  It definitely says a lot about the other parent not really knowing the full scope but if they are apprehensive, it’s ok, you don’t really have to tell them anything.  (HIPPA RIGHTS).

I also was trying out cannabis to help with sleeping problems.  My doctor at the time, wanted me to take Valium, along with all the other pills I was on, my husband insisted not doing it.  It was clear the amount of meds I was on at the time were a really dangerous mix which included muscle relaxers and opioids to help with the chronic pain I was experiencing after a failed Pelvic Botox Treatment I had in August of 2013. (I will talk more about my Emergency Room visits that will explain my abdominal issues, diagnoses’ and treatment plans in future blogs).  Everything happened so quickly, it was so overwhelming.

We have been here for almost 3 years now, we live in a small place but cozy and our family is all together again.  My son’s were just here to celebrate their sisters birthday and everything (I hate to say perfect), but it was.  We had all 5 of our kids under one roof for the first time in 3 years.  I can’t express enough how much love can fill a room until you see all your children together.  I also am lucky to have my husband, and my parents and family from both of our sides, we are truly humbled and blessed to have your support.

At the beginning of the year I always do this one thing, and I know, call me superstitious, however I look over my horoscope for the year and it did reveal that at the end of this year major changes are coming for the good.  So far in the last couple of months, it’s all coming true and I will get into more of that in future blogs.  One thing I have learned is to roll with the punches, because they are going to come regardless and it’s how we handle ourselves that can really define and show true authentic character.

This experience of living with TVM side effects has really opened my mind up and has me really looking at life from a new perspective.  I know this is going to be challenging and I am really ok with it all now.  It took time, but slowly I am able to start preparing for a new chapter and that is living life now.  Until next time…. thank you for reading and please if you like what I am doing, I would love to hear from you.  Comment share and questions.. I will do the best I can to find answers for you and don’t forget about all the social media sites, I will be hopefully updating all of them by the weekend and more blogs are coming….so much has happened in the last couple of weeks alone and I cannot wait to share it all with you.  Thank you all so much for your support!

Michelle Hedgcoth, Co-Founder to westcoastmeshfighter, advocate & humanitarian for patients, family and friends of those who suffer and living everyday with mesh related illnesses and struggles, for the sole purpose to help those in need.  Thank you all.  Goodnight.

 

 

Celebrating a milestone, Westcoastmeshfighter has made it to 6 months, Sharing my experiences while living with a Transvaginal Mesh Implant.

Hello and Good Evening Mesh Warriors.  I really can’t believe it’s been six months since I started blogging about my struggles living with a Transvaginal Mesh Implant.  Emotionally this has by far been one of the hardest/best things that has happened because it’s allowing me to share with all of you, my experiences and struggles, different situations, and there are many,   Every single person I have connected with is suffering some of the same symptoms I am and also different ones I never thought would happen.  Being able to blog about the different situations I have endured while trying to find Healthcare to help me with my symptoms, right here in California, United States.

WestcoastmeshfighterAfterthoughts_Impromptu ThoughtsMade it to 6 months

The last week or so, it’s been a really bad struggle, I almost ended up back in the hospital with constant throwing up nothing and couldn’t stop for at least 5 hours at home and when I was done, I was so exhausted I slept for almost 3 days.  Today ended up being an ok day, but with lot’s of pain in my abdominal area and rectal areas.  I was placed on a new pain medication, however I believe it may be too strong.

Each day ends up being different and my sleep patterns are all over the map.  I can’t sleep either day or night on a regular schedule, that is another issues I am dealing with.

I definitely want to thank you all for your continued love and support.  I will be blogging more so please stayed tuned and keep coming to my blog.  You can also find me social media for westcoastmeshfighter and coming soon, a new video on my YouTube Channel.  Thank you all again and until next time……Don’t lose hope, we are stronger together.

Michelle Hedgcoth, Patient with a TVM, co founder of westcoastmeshfighter
Advocate and Humanitarian, Blogger, Graphic Designer for social media

How days like today, keeps me reminded how fragile my body feels. Living with a Transvaginal Mesh Implant these days is harder than you may think!

Hello and welcome to afterthoughts, stuck between two worlds living with a Transvaginal Mesh Implant and all the underlining conditions.  Living with a mesh implant is really difficult.  Emotionally I am getting stronger, although it’s been challenging and trying not to push myself into a full state where I cannot get out of bed.  It’s fall now, which is my favorite time of year, going to spend time with family, gather with our loved ones, and enjoy life.

The last couple of days have been exceptionally hard to deal with.  I deep cleaned my kitchen while our kids where on fall break.  I feel like I worked out for a week straight and my body feels like it’s in shock.  I am learning that I could be my own worst enemy when it comes to handling everyday life living with a faulty medical device that is partially still inside me, has my body really confused on how much normal I can do.

Enjoy the simple things in life.Don't let your medical condition keep you from it.

I really try to surround myself with as much calm as possible, it’s so overwhelming to think about everything my body deals with at one time.  I want to share it so there is a better understanding of a day in my life.

(Please be advised that after this point in my blog post, there will be very private sensitive experiences that I am talking about regarding my battles with having a TVM).

Being awake or asleep.  I can really say that the only time I feel no pain whatsoever is when I am asleep.  According to my husband, while I am sleeping, I sometimes kick one of my legs onto the mattress really hard due to pain in my thigh into my abdominal area, I will sometimes moan as if I am in a lot of pain, toss and turn, however I am always on my stomach.  When I wake up, I have to wait at least 5 minutes or more to see where my pain level is at so when I get up I don’t hurt myself trying to get out of bed.

After taking my morning pills, I sit and wait for some pain relief, because I am under doctor care with a Pain Management Doctor, I am now getting some pain relief.   It does seem like I have my good days coming back little by little.

afterthoughts blog graphic autumn chronic pain condition

pictured above:  This was me before my original surgery.  I am at the Starbucks in Half Moon Bay, CA.  Every summer I would take my kids & my mom and we would go Venice Beach, Half Moon Bay, CA.  I was able to enjoy life despite having a POP, Pelvic Organ Prolapse.  Having the surgery caused the pain and suffering to be almost unbearable to deal with.  I have tried just about everything available to help with the pain.  Today, nothing has changed since my first pelvic Botox procedure in August of 2013, which for me, my opinion, attributed to disabling me to a point of full incapacity. (please read my story on my blog page,  it explains in a greater detailed manor, how having a TVM changed my life).

depression & anxiety fall graphic

I really need to get back with my GI doctor, he was out of the country for 2 months, however he may be back now and I can schedule an appointment.  Although I feel weak most of the time, I am trying to keep busy with projects at home, things that are easy to do and save the hard stuff for family to help with.  Getting into more artistic fun projects, where I can relax my mind and body is helping me stay distracted from the constant pain.  A heating pad, medication, and rest seem to really help with trying to overcome the pain for a while.

Going back to bed at night, I try to think of one positive thing I did that day, one deed to help my family at home, and prayer.  I pray for everyone in my family and my friends whom I haven’t been able to hang out with, primarily because of where I live and also because I don’t have transportation right now.  The sad reality has settled in and although it’s been hard emotionally and physically, to even try.  I have mixed emotions about life in general.  For me, this mesh condition is really difficult to understand.  The worst feeling is that I haven’t found a doctor in over 7 years, who can tell me how to live with a partially defaulted Transvaginal Mesh Implant.  I want to believe that if I can challenge myself everyday with one thing to overcome at a time, I just still have a chance to become successful again, even if it’s volunteering, helping patients when they feel no one else is listening or even cares.  I don’t believe that it is, however finding that support system that the mesh will put you through, for those who have suffered, and even though who have lost their life, because a mesh implant caused infections, nerve damage, muscle damage, failed marriage, non believers that injury and side effects are a result of a mesh implant.

KinderJoyCollage10-19-2017_73028_AM

One thing I have learned is that even though I cannot work anymore, doesn’t mean life is over.  For the longest time I really thought so, but experience has brought me this far and being on the brink of a deep depressive state, to where I am now.  I know anything is possible, it might just take longer than I thought it would.

my collage 1

I want to blog a lot more and share daily accomplishments and hurdles.  Experiences that I have over come, it really does help that I can write about it.  Reading about Mesh Implant patients, their daily lives, they share their story, it give.s me inspiration, to know that I wasn’t alone in this and that maybe I am reaching someone, anyone, so they don’t ever feel alone, the way I did.

Thanks and Gratitude:  Blogging has also helped in communication with my husband and children, so that they have an understanding just as I have been learning to live with.  This really threw a wrench in my life “master plan”.  My medical condition has affected my life so badly that I barely get to see my two oldest children, due to lack of transportation and now we live about 30 min apart.  We keep contact on the phone. video chat, and through social media, they come and visit anytime they can.  With all the experiences,  I have learned that change happens whether we want it to or not.  Nothing is promised or permanent, I have tried to chase the American Dream, not once, but several times.  For a while, I really didn’t care about much of anything, because I couldn’t rationalize in my head, how this could have happened, why and what can I do to live with it all.

I will be doing a another separate blog insert on how having a Mesh Implant, led to loss of certain family members, loss of friends, and how it’s affected my marriage and children.  With respect for their privacy, I will only discuss certain situations, directly related to the mesh and it’s impact, negative and positive, with the understanding that their privacy stay protected as well.  To my Children:

 I am your mom

Since 2010, I have overcome many hurdles and there have been good times, great times, and even low and bad times.  It’s because I experienced being degraded, called a liar, been judged for how my home situation is, somehow it has made me reevaluate just what kind of life I want to live now, even with my limited options.  Change is enetival and it all starts with making changes, forgiveness, acceptance, and realizing that there is no magic book, or procedure, or written instructions on just how to do that.  I know that I cannot get back the life I once had.  Having gratitude for what I have and a special place in my heart for the close family members who continue to help us, as our family struggles through the hard times.

Updates:  I am currently up to date with all my doctor appointments, my dentures are not correct and they are rubbing against my gums and leaving sores, so back to the dentist for re adjusting.  I am still waiting on benefits to be granted through social security, and just trying to rest when I can.  I am trying to deal with the financial pressure, as it challenges us from one month to the next.  Some how we manage to get through it, with all the negative hurdles, we keep on going.

I don’t want to sound like a negative nelly, but the length of time to get approved for social security disability,  it’s long, really long, like years, and no one that, I have been able to find, actually talks about the struggle before benefits are granted, and after it’s creating career loss for you or even if they aren’t then there will be the why?  It’s still in it’s early stages of getting benefits for this type of condition, so my best observation is there are reviewing years of medical records, seeing me in court, I felt so horrible that day, and my requests, history, and I keep journals that details my daily struggles.  I will be blogging more often with new and updated information as I go.

life quote graphic final  imagesMAHEU0W9

To all my mesh brothers and sisters, I love how even though we live in different countries, we can share information, see what is going on and support each other through it.  Unfortunately, there are a certain amount of people, who think they know about what is going on and they are not doctors, or professionals licensed to treat patients with serious side effects, from mesh implants, they are not even patients. They can even be someone or someone’s, that is really close to you.  Even if they mean well, it can complicate and possibly injure an already delicate physical status and emotional state of mind.  I always recommending talking over with your doctor everything on your mind.  If they are a good doctor, they will listen to your concerns and treat you properly.

I am hopeful that my new stragty of getting a new team of medical professionals, making sure they all communicate together, is the best choice and also realizing, ” I have a faulty medical device and not all of it is gone, from the what my surgeon who did my revisional had advised me” it’s scary not to know exactly what is happening

I know that the stigma comes from more of a status of life. I will get into that in future blogs however I will discuss and highlight on how much money you make, I call it the Status Qou.  I want to do more blog posts just on treatment and lack of real care, that I experienced up until I really took my medical care back and started to make major decisions regarding my health, in fact it may take a couple of posts, just because of the length of time I have been living with this.  A lot has happened over the last 7 years and because so much has happened to me, I feel that a better understanding may come from them.  A lot of my depression comes from just dealing with ongoing medical issues, doctors, being a mom and feeling that were not getting addressed.  It’s really how you see yourself, realizing that status quo isn’t that important, if you are wanted in their life, they will make efforts to include you in it.  That part of this Journey has really been hard to deal with, especially not being able to afford things like I used to.  I miss being able to do things with my family, go on vacations, live in a better neighborhood, and just not having to worry about so much at once.  I haven’t given up on the idea that I will own my own house, get another new car, and everything will all come together, just it will be a Journey of the unexpected experiences.

Passion:  I know that what I live with, along with many other Mesh patients, that not everyone will share in trying to give/get you real help, and others will work above the challenges and over come them, one at a time.  I know that any type of mesh reaction will affect everyone differently, however I experienced a lot of questionable things that I had encountered along the way, some that shocked me.

There is a stigma, someone who has a real condition, that can’t be seen, like ours, gets treated differently, it can make it hard to believe that this happens and it makes it harder for the patient needing help.   If you should happen to run into someone who suffers from an invisible illness, or even a Mesh Injury, please remember that there is a real serious chronic debilitating condition that is a battle that we face daily.

I really want to thank everyone in the mesh community, but most importantly, My family, I am truly humbled with everything and I know that we are blessed despite the obstacles we face.  Thank you all for your continued support.

God bless and Until next time…

Michelle Hedgcoth,

co founder of westcoastmeshfighter, TVM Warrior and Survivor

How dealing with multiple symptoms at one time, can be confusing, living with a Transvaginal Mesh Implant!

Hello and Good Evening and welcome to Afterthoughts, Stuck Between two Worlds Living with a Transvaginal Mesh Implant.  I would like to thank first, my readers, followers, Family and Friends, for your support as I continue my fight.  Everyday is a challenge because while I am trying to deal with the ongoing pain that has me disabled, I am also dealing with new doctors, new lifestyle changes, and also trying to raise teenagers.  My husband and I have 3 teens and it’s definitely more challenging that I could imagine.

Speical Thanks

I wanted to talk today about my Journey with my teeth, along with some other updates.  I know it’s been a while so I wanted to bring u up to speed on where I am at.  If you are following me on social media, I am sure you all know that during this process I lost all of my natural teeth.  I want to point out that I do not have proof that the mesh accelerated my teeth decay, however I am pretty sure it had a lot to do with it.

I had my original mesh surgery in May of 2009, shortly after that I had been working on getting my dental issues dealt with, before I started to have the major side effects and underling conditions from the mesh.  I had at that time, a couple of root canals, and most of my teeth just started to decay rapidly, pretty soon it was too much for me to keep up with along with everything else.  Just to give you a visual on this part of my journey, I would like to add to this, full time job that required little to no missed time.

I was missing at least 3 days or 1/2 days a month, trying to juggle work and appointments, dental and also with my kiddo’s being younger at the time, I always took time for their sports, their doctor appointments, and stayed home if they were ill.  The stress lifestyle was already in progress when all this started to come to a head.  It was becoming so hard to deal with it all, I put my teeth on the back burner as other things came up.

In September of 2016, I ended up having emergency surgery because on of my teeth became impacted and infected, making my left cheek look like I had a baseball in it.  This contributed to my on going battle with depression and anxiety.  Even though my pain was gone, I didn’t have any natural teeth anymore and at 42, this was just another blow to my on going stress.   It took almost a year for me to even make the appointment to get dentures, but after 4 weeks of getting things ready, I now am happy to say, I have teeth again.  There is a bit of adjustments that need to happen, as my gums swelled so bad after my first day of having them, I haven’t been able to get them back on, so next week I am off to the dentist again.  I have come this far to give up, so I am swishing with warm salt water, on my gums to help bring down the swelling, as of today, still can’t get them back on.   (sad face)

Me with my new teeth
First Day with new dentures and I love them

Taking care of your Gums and Dentures

I had an advantage to this because I remember what my Grandparents did when they had their dentures, so I have a great idea on what I need to do to care for them.

Here are some tips that will help you if you have dentures or even partials.

I really am grateful this happened because, my Dental insurance with Denti-Cal, covered the cost of my surgery and my dentures, however it’s not something that can be requested.  I had most of my permanent teeth in such a horrible state that all the rest of my teeth were removed.  The first night after surgery and I got home, I was really sick for the first 24 hours, so sick I was throwing up blood, a lot it seemed and my mouth felt so weird without them.  I had stiches in several different areas of my gums, so it took a long time, almost 2 months to get them strong enough to eat something other than Jello, Pudding, Oatmeal, etc..  Over time, my gums became stronger where I can eat anything from chicken and steak to any soft foods, however because of my diet changes and the different food I have been getting, I still have a curved diet.

As of now, I have a great team of doctors who are working together to help me with my medical care.  I really feel like depression stopped me from doing anything right after the loss of my career and the downward spiral I was dealing with.  I am certain that when pain accompanies depression and anxiety, at times it can seem like you are alone, by yourself, no one understands you, your lost, etc.

I came across this article regarding a 2 way connection between Chronic Pain and Depression.  The two-way connection between depression and pain has been known since the days of Hippocrates. Gastrointestinal problems, headache, and other less specific aches and pains are common features of depression.  Conversely, depression frequently sets in when individuals are battling persistent pain. Studies have also documented that as an individual’s number of physical complaints increases, so does the likelihood that depression may occur.

People with chronic pain are three times more likely to develop symptoms of depression or anxiety, and people with depression are three times as likely to develop chronic pain.

Depression frequently can cause unexplained pain, such as headaches or back pain, and people who are depressed might struggle to improve or maintain physical health. In turn, chronic pain can lead to trouble sleeping, increased stress, or feelings of guilt or worthlessness associated with depression. These influences can create a cycle that is hard to break.

Although depression can further debilitate people with chronic pain, these people may be less likely to recognize and talk about symptoms of depression with their doctor. In fact, half of all depressed persons who visit the doctor only complain about physical symptoms. 4 Because both pain and depression make each other difficult to treat, it’s important to address both when evaluating treatment options.

With all the research I have done, I know that the connection is real and even with all the side chatter in the medical industry, the Hippocrates, the ones who believe there is really nothing wrong, having an invisible injury with side effects is difficult to understand however I say this….

Until you have to live with it, or even know what it does to a person who has had to live with it daily and all it’s side effects, educate yourself.  There are all kinds of reliable websites, blogs, vlogs, videos,  even advertisements, that say “Transvaginal Mesh is linked to Serious and Long term Side effects, Pain, suffering and everything in between.  Really want to put this on a Neon Sign, just an old slogan I have heard a lot from my childhood and now I say it a lot.  This isn’t an easy thing to live with as I can imagine and because of the sensitive nature of having a TVM, it’s important that support for each other continues. 

I would like to Thank everyone for all your support and I will close with this in mind.  “Please Don’t judge someone who has had a mesh implant, unless your one of the thousands of people affected directly by it, you have no idea how real the struggle is, how real the pain is, depression, and anxiety.  It’s not a life I would wish on anyone”.

Take Care of Yourself and your Dentures

Taking care of yourself, physically and mentally, can stop or lighten any suffering you are experiencing.  Keep the communication going with your doctors and don’t be afraid to tell them the truth, if they know everything you are dealing with, they may be more inclined to help you through resources that are available with your insurance.  Thank you all so much and until next time, take care of yourself and keep the awareness going.

Michelle Hedgcoth, co founder of westcoastmeshfighter, writer, graphic designer, advocate & humanitarian for mesh patients, better healthcare options, for the sole purpose to help give support for Mesh Patients, families and friends.  God Bless You.

https://www.psycom.net/depression.central,

 

Seriously wish that Chronic Debilitating Pain wasn’t the worst side effect to having a Transvaginal Mesh Implant!

Hello and Welcome to Afterthoughts, for westcoastmeshfighter.  My name is Michelle and I live with chronic pain and various side effects due to a Transvaginal Mesh Device.  My blog is about my Journey, how I am handling my healthcare, and how having this faulty device side effects has affected my life and the life of my family.

The last couple of months have been some of the hardest days of my life up until this point.  The constant Chronic Pain seems to increase significantly at night, (why you see me posting a lot around the times overnight).  After every procedure I have gone through, every doctor I have seen, every hospital ER I have had to go to, by ambulance, to finally changing all my doctors including my Health Nurse Case Manager with my Health Plan.  I admit I was really calm and collected, I knew in my gut that this was the right thing to do.  I had been with county clinics since moving over to Medi-Cal from my private insurance.  Also about a year and a half with Health net Medi-Cal, because they kept sending my referrals for Pain Management and for a Urogynocologist back, indicating “HIGH RISK”, never indicating a straight forward answer.   This created more Anxiety and Stress.  Not knowing why was really frustrating.  It was suggested by the medical assistant to change insurance companies to Health Plan of San Joaquin.  In the beginning it was difficult, still kept getting my referrals back with “HIGH RISK”.  To this day I don’t know what that meant.

It’s important to point out that making big medical changes can actually hurt you and I will talk about that more in this Blog Post.  It has been a long 8 plus years and counting since this all began and I see now that sometimes these things have to happen in order for me to become stronger, at least for me that is what is happening.

My original TVM surgery was in May of 2009, I had a revisional surgery in March of 2012 to try and stop the mesh erosion and problems with passing stools.  I have also been though Physical Therapy for Pelvic Floor, Pelvic Botox, Epidural Injections in a surgery setting, Mesh Erosion, Rectocele surgery, Multiple Tests, CT Scans, X Rays, Ultra sounds, Regular and Vaginal, infections, allergic reactions to medications, body wide pain that never stops.  Here I am, Still Standing, Still Fighting.

Up until today, I saw myself starting to lose a little hope, that a doctor would really listen to my concerns, that somehow a plan can at least start to help me with the excruciating pain I live with everyday.  Today was a day that seemed to change that, hope, faith, prayers.

My day started really early in the morning around 8:30am, since I am up most nights, that was really early for me.  Now after a rough night of pain, finally falling asleep around 4 or 5 am, for one reason or another, I have had to wake up and start the day.  Now, although it stinks, I am actually glad that I did.  I had phone calls to make and appointments to confirm this week, that somehow I had missed getting transportation arranged for my appointment today, rather than reschedule having to wait another 4 weeks, I immediately called my father, who luckily was able to come and drove me to my appointment.

Manic Monday:

I cannot recall exactly what woke me up this morning, however once I was awake, I got started on my Goals for this week.  Made some follow up calls before I knew it, the time for my appointment arrived and off to see my new Pain Management Doctor.

I had gathered all my previous Pain Management papers for the doctor and brought my medical folder with my recent test results and information on pharmacy, my recent doctor appointments, and my last visit with a GI Doctor, a list of all my medications, and my medical journals.  I can tell you, I had anxiety all the way up until the I saw the doctor, and I could still feel my heart racing.

After checking in & filling out all the paperwork as a new patient, I patiently sat down and waited.  I only waited about 10 minutes and in I went.  The Pain Management Doctor came in and actually sat down with me.  We went over practically everything I have gone through.  Being completely honest about my medical history, especially with medication. 

Pain Management 2

I didn’t know what to expect so I left all expectations off the table and went over areas of pain, answered all of the questions truthfully.  When I told the doctor what I had gone through, I could tell she was empathetic and understanding with her feed back and information.  After my exam and consultation I was happy when she temporarily agreed to help me.  The doctor has an overflow of patients, however it was advised there are several more pain management doctors here that can continue treatment and gave me plenty of time to do it in too.  I may actually get some real sleep tonight.

There are a couple of things I would like to mention for information purposes.  Now more than ever, if you are battling chronic pain or any other illness or injury, how you handle your healthcare is vital.  There should be a trust worthy, truthful with full communication with your doctors.  While I was fighting depression and anxiety from all of the uncertainty of my medical condition, I was also dealing with multiple doctors, insurance companies and pharmacies.  I made sure to document in my medical Journals all the changes and why.  It can look suspicious if you are changing or having prescriptions filled with other doctors or at more than one pharmacy.  You must stick to one doctor for your prescriptions, one pharmacy for your meds, and to communicate everything between all your doctors, your pharmacy, and everything I do I cross reference everyone and because I have a nurse case manager, updating them regularly is also something I do.

I always give my pharmacy contact information on all my current and treating doctors, because when you fill a prescription, especially with Opioid Meds, it’s important that they know what you are being prescribed and from which doctor.  Believe or not there is a thing called prescription fraud or abuse of medication.  It’s great to see that doctors are really taking this seriously and that Also be prepared to sign a medication contract when prescribed narcotic medication.  I completely agree with certain medications to be monitored by doctors and if you are on a lot of medication, that is even more of a reason.

Being prepared for this appointment was one of the best things did.  It really feels like time went by so fast this last year.  I didn’t realize until I was at this appointment, that it’s been over a year since a pain management doctor had treated me.  A year without any medicine to help manage my pain, over a year that I had worked so hard to get to this point.  I had documented my journey in Journals, (which I bring to every appointment)and it made it easier to remember timeframes and answer some of the time table questions.  As of now my medical team is right on track with my treatment plan.  One thing is for sure, it takes time, time to get things right, time to find the right doctors, time to get make the calls, make the appointments, go to them weeks later and it’s trial and error.

I really hope that this helps when it comes to have a pain management doctor handle just your pain symptoms.  It took a long time to get to where I am and hope in having some quality of life has been restored.  God bless and until next time, stay happy and keep fighting.

M. Hedgcoth, co founder of westcoastmeshfighter

Advocate and Humanitarian for Patients of a Mesh Implant