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Suffering in Silence: David and Teresa Sawyer

Teresa and David Sawyer and Ranger

“You can’t believe how a little piece of mesh can change your life” says David Sawyer about the operation his wife had in February, 2011. During surgery to remove a cyst, a Toledo doctor put a piece of prolene mesh inside Teresa Sawyer, 42, to treat incontinence. By March, the blue colored mesh began coming out of her vagina.

Returning to the same doctor because of the pain, he had a solution – he planned to fold some skin over the exposed mesh as a “fix” but Teresa decided she wanted the plastic medical device out.

“It was literally like a piece of your window screen. You’re ripped by it, that’s how sharp it is” said David, a carpenter and handyman by trade who always accompanies his wife to every doctor’s appointment. Another surgery followed and the same gynecologist said he had removed the mesh, but by July her bladder infections and severe pain returned. At a follow up with the same doctor, David had to point out to the doctor the blue mesh in his wife’s vagina. “The doctor said you’re not 21 anymore” as a way to explain why the mesh would migrate out of her body. The couple says that’s when the physician “starts pulling this stuff out” with no anesthesia. “She’s raising off the table,” said David. The doctor pulled a little more and clipped the mesh and David said he turned to him and said “it’s all gone.”

“Every aspect of our lives is ruined” says David who bought a house planning to gut it and rebuild from the bottom us. Now it sits gutted as he is busy taking care of his wife who can’t take immune suppressants for her rheumatoid arthritis because of her constant infections. As a result, he says she can’t hold a coffee cup and has constant pain in her joints. In a last ditch effort, the coupled traveled to the Cleveland Clinic where they were told another type of mesh would fix the problem.

They have heard it all – that the TVT bladder lift is the “Gold Standard”, that Teresa is depressed and should take antidepressants, that they’re “reading too much on the net.”

“I asked one of the nurses how do you learn about mesh?” says Teresa.  “She said ‘I only know what the pharmaceutical companies tell me.’ ”

 

9 Comments

  1. Nikki Bridgeman says:

    Oh my gosh!!!

  2. EJH says:

    David and Teresa,

    My heart aches for you. I’ve been dealing with this for over 2 1/2 years. It worked great for over a year, and then it shrank and cut into the urethra. I had to self-cath just to go. Everything I once loved is gone, no gardening, no grocery shopping, no painting, and no sex with my husband of over 3 decades. I’ve had 9 surgeries to deal with this (so far) and I’m hoping will need no more. Ladies, please listen and avoid transvaginal medical mesh at any costs. It is not worth your life. The medications I have been put on run the spectrum and their side effects just add to the emotional toil.

    • kim says:

      EJH, Hi, I have a few questions, All your surgery where they with one Dr. and if so was he a specialist in the mesh removal field- and what kind of med’s are you one I take a small dose of Macrobid so to try to keep infection down any time I lift my grandson I get an infection so right no Urologist has me taken 50mg. every time I lift or bend down alot , I was wondering if you had any luck with massage therapy and if so what kind and where on your body would I try to see if they could massage my pain is in both of my buttocks. I was also told about Dr. Raz in Losangel California , Have you heard of him.

  3. annie says:

    Aww, mesh how I hate you, mesh has destroyed me. I don’t know how doctors can continue to put this stuff in knowing the damage it causes, no joke. Mine was a monarch subfascial sling made by AMS, I thought well this will be a good thing but it turned out to be the worst thing that ever happened to me. I started with hip and thigh pain which turned into buttox pain as well them the pain started to radiate down my leg into the bottom of my foot, burning me like crazy, I had xrays MRI and ct scans one showed perirectal lymph node swelling then they said oh your pain comes from a buldging disk, I said my back does not hurt how could that be the cause of all pain, so I was sent to physical therapy it was no help, then I started having bad pelvic and groin pain to the point when I would walk I could feel something pulling and it would stab me it always caught me off gaurd and I’d scream out , even in public. Well I went to my gyn he said he could not feel anything but said that it could be mesh infection, I ended up in the hospital in severe pain and all my gyn could do was admit me under pelvic inflammatory other wise I would have been sent home he wanted for me to receive intravenous antibiotics, I’m telling you, I could feel my skin ripple as what ever infection inside was trying to heal’ it felt like maybe an abscess had formed and was trying to heal but they could not see it on testing or ct or colonoscopy, I had a consult with a pain management doctor while in the hospital and I was sent to a neurologist as well, I saw the neurologist she did testing, guess what I have nerve damage, it showed up on her testing, back to therapy I went and nothing worked , I started taking gabapaten for nerve damage it did not help he too me off it and gave me vicoprofen and it did not take way all the pain but helped to ease it just a tad bit, it became harder for me to walk, I had to have my husband drop me off at the doors of any store we went to, I had trouble getting in and out of the car, this mesh is a killer and if a doctor is not knowlegable they won’t know what to look for, as far as testing goes, I’ve had to push for testing and some are still pending, I’ve been through so much, in and out of hospital still seeing doctors at specialty centers, got confirmation that mesh is infected, I told the new urology specialist please take it out, he says I’m required by your insurance to send you to pelvic floor therapy, so I’m awaiting that, I got notes from his visit he wants to remove the mesh and he did directly tell me that their would be no way to remove all of the mesh and that his partner had tried to remove it from a woman it was embedded in her groin and she practically died from bleeding wow now isn’t that encouraging oh ya and he said he will remove what he can but go back in six mos later and make a sling out of my own skin, so I will get to leak for six mos, badly..

  4. annie says:

    Leaking is not the worst but to recover only to have to go in and recover again, who is going to pay my bills, my life is forever changed and my mental health I can say I cry everyday not one day that I don’t cry, I was a medical assistant before all of this, I want to work I want to have a life, I’m 42 and I feel 80 who do I blame who do I get angry at’ this is not fair to me and my family , my husband my dear husband has lost his wife, her personality her companionship , no sex, everyone including my children are suffering as well. My motivation to live … is gone.

  5. Bonnie S says:

    I am having my vaginal mesh removed eye doctor twiss in Tucson Arizona at the University of Arizona Dr twiss was trained by dr. Raz at UCLA and he believes in taking the whole mesh at one time and that’s what I’m going to have done next Tuesday

  6. Bonnie S says:

    That is by Dr Twiss

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