Mesh-Injured Woman Remembers 9/11 and the Darkness of Life

Jane Akre
September 12, 2016
Still Standing graphic

Still Standing graphic

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, September 12, 2016~ The following essay is from Still Standing. It explains her need to help others through their pain.

She does an admirable job and is trained in pain management. She is a very vocal and valued member of the community.

Jane and mesh injured women.

As I watched the 9/11 remembrances today marking the 15 year anniversary, the smell and noise of Ground Zero came rushing back to me. On September 18, 2001, I was sent to New York as a national disaster volunteer for the Red Cross. I was assigned to drive an ERV( the big ambulance type vehicle you see on television).

I worked out of St. John’s University, which had become the center of red cross services and I drove to Duane Street, in Tribeca area, to pick up and load food from 10:00 at night to 10:00 the next morning.


It was grueling,exhausting work. Normally, the red cross helps survivors of disasters like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes (I worked in all of these disasters).

We didn't have survivors. We were there to take care of the search and rescue workers, hundreds and hundreds of them. At one point, we served more than 15,000 meals per day.

I witnessed horrendous pain and suffering, watched frantic firemen with the soles of their boots burned off from the heat of the pile as they searched for sons, daughters, parents, and friends. I watched volunteer veterinarians care for the burned paws of search dogs.

graphic im still standing

I watched policeman, fireman, FBI, CIA, volunteer rescue workers smile as they read the thousands of letters that came to ground zero from school children all over the country. And that smile is why I am writing this post. Some people on this site have told me I do not write with feeling, with the anger that accompanies this terrible mesh experience. Ground Zero is why I let go of my anger. I saw scores or ordinary people who were brutally thrust into this hell that no one could have ever imagined.

I was angry with God, very angry. And yet in the middle of it all, there were smiles, a glimmer of hope. Not many at first, but as the weeks went on (I was there for a month) some joy seeped in. The night the Yankees (or Mets) won their division in baseball was my last week there. They watch the televisions and cheered.

I decided when I left Ground Zero that I would make a commitment to find joy even when I didn't want to, even when life is so hard I wanted to die. I felt a strong need to honor those I served and those who died.

Seven years after my Ground Zero assignment, I was implanted with mesh. Ground zero is the lens I look at life through, the context of my conscious. It was so much more than a Red Cross assignment. it was a time of epiphany, a life-changing experience that is hard to put into words. As I face a day with pain, I am encouraged to press forward by my ground zero experience. Seeing what I saw at Ground Zero does not make me minimize the mesh pain, but it does allow me to reduce my suffering by understanding that we all swim in the fundamental darkness of life.

It is my responsibility to live my life in a way that shines a light when I can.

When I left New York, I pledged to tell my story every year so others will remember. I didn't schedule a program today, so, Jane, if you will print this somewhat off topic post you will be helping me fulfill my pledge and hopefully this might be a light of encouragement to some of our mesh family. ##

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