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

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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

 

Thirty-Four Menopause Symptoms – Are You Suffering From One Or More Of These? — Good Medical

34 menopause symptoms? Really? It is a logical question to ask. After all, millions of women are experiencing one or more of the 34 menopause symptoms right now! What is going on? We all remember a grandmother or older aunt, how they made the transition into menopause. The so-called change will happen, but something tells […]

via Thirty-Four Menopause Symptoms – Are You Suffering From One Or More Of These? — Good Medical

How trying to unravel the social security disability process has been trying to say the least, while I am living with a Transvaginal Mesh Implant and all it’s side effects.

Hello and welcome to Sundays and Smalltalk, Afterthoughts, WCMF.  If you have already been following my blog, then you already know my name is Michelle Hedgcoth and I had a dangerous medical device surgery, (Transvaginal Mesh Implant) to correct POP.  I unfortunately suffer from side effects because I had this surgery and it has forever changed my life.

I, unfortunately, went through a lot to get to a place where filing for social security benefits was a last resort.  Mesh side effects started to really impact everything in my body, from infections, to hospital visits, pain and loss of occupation and still I am not working.  I really never thought that I would be disabled at the age of 42, but I am.  It was fact of life I needed to start learning to live with it and when things really started to get bad, I had recently gotten married and I was a newlywed, mother of 5 teenagers, I loved working, doing things with my family and although at times well, most of the time, it was a stressful job I had to do for my work and there were good times there too in my 8 year career, however this mesh implant affected that too.  I wanted to try and shed some light on the general process of filing for social security, but first I have to give full disclosure so I will be highlighting on some of that as well.

FontCandy (8)

So the beginning of this process while I was still working, I had no intention or goal to be where I am at now, I was really hoping with all the procedures I have had done to try and alleviate the pain, that I could have been right back to work, but a procedure that was supposed to help me (Pelvic Botox), actually somehow caused extreme pain in my bowel passage and my lower right abdominal area shooting down my right leg, had me many times, in the Emergency Room because I couldn’t control my pain at home and it cause my stools to not pass.

Because of the amount of time I had been working for my employer, I accrued vacation and sick time.   While off work, I was able to draw temporary state benefits, once I ran out of that time, I resigned with rehire options at my company, although I was getting these benefits, there is a 12 month max limit to get it.  Something new I that didn’t know about.  Once that was gone, I was forced to go on the State Programs while I attempted to file for permanent disability.  This whole thing has taken a physical and emotional beating and because of this process, it definitely is causing undue physical and mental stress and anxiety, and additional side effects.

Examples of Side effects:

  • Extreme Pelvic pain attacks and constant pain.
  • Extreme Constant Pain and Inflammation when passing stools.
  • Vaginal Pain and discomfort randomly
  • Cannot and/or shouldn’t lift anything more than 5-10 pounds, pain sets in.
  • Half to have something with me during grocery store trips and other appointments that are needed.  I have a transportation company who takes me to my appointments.
  • Most days in bed due to chronic debilitating pain, depressions, anxiety, and social anxiety.

These are just some examples of what I have to live with everyday.  Getting back to the process, once all your state temporary disability has been depleted, you haven’t been working for a period of time, call the social security office and ask questions,  and then you can finally file for Social Security Disability.

 

Social Security disability is a long process. Seek Legal Counsel if possible andBe prepared for a wait

I almost missed the deadline to file, (check with social security) because I was suffering from extreme depression and anxiety, I didn’t want to do anything, deal with anything, and just do nothing.  I almost missed my chance to file.  However, I was able to file and just like everyone predicted, I was denied and they only give you 60 days to file an appeal, it was at this point that I sought out an attorney to represent me.  I found an attorney who is really well known in my area,  has good reviews and is helping me through this long and frustrating process.

Well wouldn’t you know it, my appeal was denied, however my attorney assured me that it was normal, especially because of my age, however my disability doesn’t discriminate because of age, and  because I had this done while I was younger and it certainly doesn’t change the facts that I continue to suffer everyday and it’s taken all my strength to not let this take over my life.  Physically I continue to be weak and fragile, where if I catch a virus, it’s horrible because my body is fighting off them and I end up feeling so tired and in pain, off to the hospital I go for IV antibiotics, plus keeping a regular schedule with all your doctors.

I dislike labels on people, however this is our judicial system and I am trying my best to just trust in the journey.  There are so many days that I cry in hiding and suffer in silence.  I shouldn’t feel ashamed of what has happened to me, but I do.  I feel responsible because I made a decision for something that was supposed to help me and instead it hurt me and still continues to.

disability MH graphic designs

It’s disheartening to go to my doctor and cry because I haven’t been able to control my pain and I need help.  My paperwork, path since being off work, and currently still fully disabled, you would think it would be a no brainer.. yep she is disabled, cannot work, however Social Security is back logged with decisions to write up.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I was told we just wait now for a decision.  I have been in front of an Administrative Law Judge, answered questions truthfully and my Attorney  was there with me.

At this point, all I can do with just wait, that is all we can do and in the mean time, we are on the state assistance programs, and somehow the good Lord above me is with us through this.  In one of my recent blogs, I put up a chart showing the amount of days in Ca for a decision to be written.  I will repost it again here because of what we hear vs. what we see.

ssd timeframes

This is the only thing I have found online that even tries to give guidelines on time frames and keep in the mind this is after you file, denied, filed appeal, denied, go to an Administrative Law Judge, and then 378 days.  This chart could be way off, I don’t know and I am trying not to dwell on it.  One day at a time…..

I really hope this blog was helpful regarding the Social Security Disability process and I really do hope if you really need it, like myself, that it will come quicker than it is.  Make sure there isn’t anymore paperwork that needs to be done with your attorney.  I am about 6 months past my court date and I am hopeful it will come through soon.

Thank you so much,

M. Hedgcoth, co founder of westcoastmeshfighter, advocate for patients and a humanitarian.

 

How Creative Therapy helps me coping and passing the time, dealing and living with chronic pain associated with a Transvaginal Mesh Implant

Hello and welcome to Afterthoughts, westcoastmeshfighter, where everything I know is because I experienced it and it’s the afterthoughts that keep my topics coming to talk about.  I believe in free speech, but this even comes with a responsibility.  The fact is that I am a patient learning all over again how to live and have some quality of life.  I suffer from Mental Illness, which constitutes to a number of medical conditions, so many that I will save my serious everyday symptoms to another blog post, this one is flipping a positive out of a negative and that is that I am still here and deserve life as much as any of us do.

Explanation of Titles…

I don’t know if anyone ever thought, why does she call it Afterthoughts?  If not, then great, but if you did I wanted to highlight on the why?  Before my complications started, it was almost unheard of having complications from a mesh device, let alone several of them, no one knew what to do, so unfortunately I had to suffer, and I learned going through it all and now they are after thoughts, because I am reliving it all over again to help others and that is ok, sometimes I get a bit teary eyed just thinking of it.  I know there are so many patients that are suffering and cannot get a surgery, or proper medical care, it’s so hard to see other patients dealing with far more complicated symptoms and I started this because some of the Mesh Groups are confidential and to me privacy is really important.  Some patients don’t want the complete public to know what they are dealing with.

In order to tell my story, I gave myself full disclosure for the sole benefit to help others.  I am ok with this because the only way to spread awareness is with telling our stories the whole truth whether it’s good or bad.  I hope to see more mesh patients doing the same.  Impromptu Vlogs came about because every week it’s different experiences and I usually don’t know what I am going to VLOG about until I do it, making it Impromptu VLOGS, you can find me on YouTube at westcoastmeshfighter, it will take you to my YouTube Channel, please go there and check it out, if u are ok with it, subscribe, like and share and I will notify u when my weekly Vlog has posted.  Because of time management restrictions, I only do 1 Vlog a week and with time, I am sure that will increase.   I usually do Sundays and Small Talk, and Manic Mondays, due to my medical state the last couple of weeks have been really rough with pain and it’s getting worse everyday.

Images found on google free, no copy write intended for sharing only.  if you don’t know them, I really encourage watching them, their projects are so beautiful. HGTV/Fixerupper.com.

In conclusion… I have been finding projects to keep me busy and I personally want to thank Chip and Joanna Gains, from Fixer Upper, for sharing the home restorations and giving me idea’s for my home here in California.

Thank you all for reading and my prayers go out to the families affected by Hurricane Harvey and Irma.  Blessings and until next time… stay strong, stay positive, don’t stop dreaming.

Michelle Hedgcoth

Co-founder of westcoastmeshfighter, afterthoughts, impromptu thoughts, writer, blogger, vlogger, graphic designer, advocate and humanitarian. 

How navigating through California’s public healthcare system had me so stressed out. Here is what I know. (Part 1)

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to Afterthoughts, for westcoastmeshfighter.  My name is Michelle and I struggle everyday living with a Transvaginal Mesh Implant.  I apologize for the delay in my posts, the last couple of weeks have been a bit chaotic.  I do have a lot of updates and possible answers to questions regarding the public healthcare here in California and how if you don’t know what to do, this post can help eliminate stress and anxiety associated with having a chronic condition/illness.

(https://www.kkc.com/handbook)  The new Whistleblowers handbook

My Medical Journey of living with a Transvaginal Mesh Implant

No matter what, what you were doing before the mesh implant, It’s probably very different than how you are doing now, if you suffered serious and chronic conditions/illness/pain.  For me, this mesh implant changed everything about my life. A year and a half after my initial surgery, my life changed forever and although I can’t ever work again, now I am learning what it is to not have options like I did with private insurance and doctors.  I was in for such a disappointment and going through this was so stressful.  Going through my healthcare options have not been easy for me.

Having to deal with the actual side effects were even worse because I was still trying to work and deal with this at the same time.  I wanted to break it down so if you are just getting started, this blog post may help you through the process.

I was working full time as a Recovery Specialist for one of the top collections agencies that was contracted with the United States Department of Treasury, Federal Government.  I started working there in 2005 in their student loan division and worked my way up the corporate ladder to a unique department for collections.  Just as I started to get familiar with my new job role at work, then the nightmare began.

I STAND UPAGAINST MESH

 

One thing I learned right away, still too stubborn to accept, is that when I developed a lifetime disability, I got treated differently, like a failure, like a nothing.  I committed myself to my lifestyle, Career, Wife, and Mother.  I had a very successful life.  I had a house, nice rental, a car worked to finance myself, and money to give my kids a regular middle class life.  My employer, (which I can’t name), more specifically, my Division Manager/ and Team Managers, at the time, started the harassment process.  Since working there I have been a subject of certain harassments since I started working there, it just never stopped, and continued to get worse.  I went to work with the idea they could fire me that day without cause, due to the at will laws in California.  Trust me, they made sure we knew it daily, weekly, monthly.  Stress was very familiar to me, but when I started to have complications medically, their support changes to, how can I get rid of them asap, and I will explain why.

When companies become power hungry, (like the one I worked for) the employees really take the heat because we are the collectors, it’s our job to hit our numbers, so the Team managers can hit their numbers, then onto division managers so they can hit their numbers and then onto our location being number 1.  It’s really an eye opener when you look it this way.  My job as a Recovery Specialist was really stressful already then dealing with medical complications just made things worse for me.

It was my job to collect a quota every month, and even though I was hitting my numbers, my then division manager focused in my comings and goings to the restroom, breaks, and even lunch time, called me into his office and put in me all the times I had to go to the bathroom, and told me they don’t retain part time employee’s and tried to get me to sign it and admit that, however I didn’t sign it and I was so nervous because this was my bread and butter for my family.  I told him that I had filed FMLA paperwork with Human Resources (which he knew about it) and I said to contact them regarding my restroom trips.  Within a month, I was demoted and sent back to another division, the lowest pay scale in the company, I was being sabotaged and harassed because of my disability and I had my Hippa rights violated. 

They didn’t just demote me, they destroyed me at work, I was placed in the lowest possible pay scale that I could get, which put me in the negative financially.   I had asked to go back to the job I had before they promoted me, I was ignored, even though I was really good at that job, I could have retained my job and somewhat of my pay.  Then the harassment continued, I knew there wasn’t anything my new Team Manager or Division Manager could do, My Team Manager was really great, I had worked with him before, that wasn’t the issue.  The Division Manager was Brand New and just promoted.  I knew She wouldn’t do anything to help me, so I tried to focus on my daily tasks in my job.  I excelled exceptionally, even with my disabilities, however financially I couldn’t recover the money and maintain a life for my family at the same time.

I went from making close to $1500 a month on bonus to maybe $150 a month and because of some legal loophole within the company, I now somehow owed them money, through a system they called draw.  So any bonus I would have made, the company took it.  I went from making close to $2000-$2500 to let than a $1000 and they were taking my bonus money.  (how can all of this be legal), it’s still a question to me.  This was just a small piece to this complicated puzzle.  I was even told by a team manager that I had to put a sticky note on my desk for every time I had been going to the restroom.  Tried to say, if there is a fire or something wrong, they need to know where I was, even though they knew, it’s little things like that daily I had to carry on my shoulders.

Can you believe that I followed the rules and I actually submitted my paperwork with Human Resources from the start and still I was being harassed.  The stress became so much that I wasn’t concentrating anymore, I was making simple little mistakes in my scripts and also they were changing the company system completely and I didn’t understand most of it.  I went to my doctor and asked to be taken off work and my doctor did, I was in and out of the hospital so much, I didn’t know much of anything at the time about my conditions and it was like the last 8 years with the company, didn’t mean anything at all.

https://www.dol.gov/whd/state/fmla/ca.htm

From 2011 to 2013 was some of the worst days at my employer.  I was so stressed out from my medical conditions and work, that it started to affect my life at home.  I don’t want to dwell on this part because the guy was a jerk anyways, I was in a previous relationship at this time and after 3 years, he confessed he was lying to me about our entire relationship and about 8 months before my departure from my employer that we split.  We had created a life together with close to a $6000 a month figure to less than $1000 a month, by the time I left my company.

At this point, I am dealing with my conditions, significantly a loss of income, and now because of Ca state laws, I was losing job and my medical insurance too….FMLA and Medically leave run concurrently together.

From the time I started to have more complications to that point, most of my FMLA and Medically leave was used and I was left with 3 months and I was at the beginning of my complications.  I know the new Human Resource did everything she could to try and help me keep my job.  She was from corporate, and came in to help clean up the mess that was going on at my job site with internal scandals and etc…

There were so many instances of harassment against me, I couldn’t see straight.  I couldn’t believe that after 8 years with the company, being at one point, ranked one of the best collectors, that my employer could do this to me.  They did and because I was basically pushed out of my company and I was forced to get public health insurance.

(footnote)  For most of my career I had BCBS (Blue cross/Blue shield hmo).  In 2012 my company changed our health insurance due to high costs and Kaiser HMO was offered.  Aside of PPO’s with BSBC, there was no way I could afford the deductible and 20% of costs, that I choose the HMO with Kaiser.  (I had me and my 3 kids on my insurance so that would have been $2000 up front for cost to keep my doctors for me and my kids), there was no way so I had to change it….

due to the length of this blog post.. please see part 2 to see what happens to me next….

Thank you all for your support… M. Hedgcoth, westcoastmeshfighter