I hope each of you had a meaningful Independence Day celebration!

Used with permission. ©Larksong Photography.

Used with permission. ©Larksong Photography.

Happy Father’s Day!

If you get to spend time with the man who raised you today, you have more blessing than you know.

“It is a wise father that knows his own child.”  ~ William Shakespeare

happy-fathers-day-2013-greeting-cards-fathers-day-card-ideas-beautiful-fathers-day-greeting-cards-father-day-2013-cards-beautiful-happy-fathers-day-2013-cards-8

The Daughter’s Oath – Take the TMWF Pledge!

The Daughter's Oath

A HISTORY OF TRANSVAGINAL MESH VERDICTS: Have you and your attorney discussed your options?

keep-calm-and-protect-yourself-19Transvaginal Mesh Verdicts and Settlements
A chronology of the sixteen (16) plaintiffs’ verdicts and three (3) defense verdicts, manufacturers, products, and jurisdictions follows:
7/12: $5.5 million – Christine Scott – C.R. Bard Avaulta Plus – CA
2/13: $11.11 million – Linda Gross – Ethicon/JJ Prolift – NJ
8/13: $2 million – Donna Cisson – C.R. Bard Avaulta – MDL WV
2/14: $0 – Carolyn Lewis – Ethicon/JJ TVT-O – MDL WV
4/14: $1.2 million – Linda Batiste – Ethicon/JJ TVT-O – TX
7/14: $0 – Diane Albright – Boston Scientific Pinnacle – MA
8/14: $0 – Maria Cardenas – Boston Scientific Obtryx – MA
9/14: $3.27 million – Jo Huskey – Ethicon/JJ TVT-O – MDL WV
9/14: $73.465 million – Martha Salazar – Boston Scientific Obtryx – TX
11/14: $6.7+ million – Amal Eghnayem – Boston Scientific Pinnacle – MDL FL
11/14: $6.7+ million – Margarita Dotres – Boston Scientific Pinnacle – MDL FL
11/14: $6.7+ million – Mania Nunez – Boston Scientific Pinnacle – MDL FL
11/14: $6.5+ million – Juana Betancourt – Boston Scientific Pinnacle – MDL FL
11/14: $5.25 million – Jeanie Blankenship – Boston Scientific Obtryx – MDL WV
11/14: $4.75 million – Chris Wilson – Boston Scientific Obtryx – MDL
11/14: $4.25 million – Carol Campbell – Boston Scientific Obtryx – MDL
11/14: $4.25 million – Jacquelyn Tyree – Boston Scientific Obtryx – MDL
3/15: $5.7 million – Coleen Perry – Ethicon/JJ Abbrevo sling – CA
5/15: $100 million – Deborah Barda v. Boston Scientific Pinnacle and Advantage Fit – DE
2015 – 2016 Transvaginal Mesh Trial Schedule
Thirty-one (31) trials against Bard/Covidien, Boston Scientific, and Ethicon in the MDLs and state courts for 2015 – 2016 follows:
2/15: Settled – Wise v. Bard in the MDL;
3/15: Settled – Bellew v. Ethicon (Prolift) in the MDL;
3/15: $5.7 million – Coleen Perry – Ethicon/JJ Abbrevo sling – CA;
5/15: Settled – Sanchez v. Boston Scientific (Pinnacle) – CA;
5/15: $100 million – Deborah Barda v. Boston Scientific Pinnacle and Advantage Fit – DE;
Wave 1 & 2 v. Bard (200 cases trial ready) – June 2015 in the MDL;
Hall v. Boston Scientific – TBA 2015 in Wisconsin;
Figueroa v. Boston Scientific – TBA 2015 in Texas;
Ramirez v. Ethicon (TVT-O mechanically cut) – TBA in Texas;
Wave 1 & 2 cases v. Boston Scientific (200 cases trial ready) – TBA 2015 in the MDL;
TBA v. Boston Scientific (Solyx) – June 2015 in Texas;
TBA v. Boston Scientific – June 2015 in Massachusetts;
Lopez v. Boston Scientific (Solyx) – June 5, 2015 in California;
Ramirez v. Ethicon (TVT-O, mechanically cut) – July 13, 2015 in Texas;
Garcia v. Ethicon (TVT-S) – August 24, 2015 in Texas;
Edwards v. Ethicon (TVT-O) – August 13, 2015 in West Virginia;
Rabiola v Ethicon (TVT-S, Prosima) – August 24, 2015 in Texas;
Caveness v. Ethicon – Fall 2015 in Texas;
Cole v. Mentor OB Tape – October 19, 2015 in GA;
Way v. Bard – October 24, 2015 in FL;
TBA Bellwether v. Mentor OB Tape – November 30, 2015 in GA;
Sherrer v. Boston Scientific (Solyx) and Bard (Align S) – November 30, 2015 in MO;
TBA v. Bard (Align) – prior to December 2015 in the MDL;
TBA v. Bard (Adjust) – prior to December 2015 in the MDL;
Hammons v. Ethicon (Prolift) – December 7, 2015 in PA;
Delacruz v. Ethicon (Prolift) – January 11, 2016 in PA;
Carlino v. Ethicon (TVT) – January 25, 2016 in PA;
Vanderveer v. Ethicon (Prolift and TVT) – February 8, 2016 in PA;
McGee v Ethicon (TVT Secur) – February 22, 2016 in PA;
Hansen v. Ethicon (Gynemesh PS) – March 7, 2016 in PA; and
Navarro v. Ethicon (TVT and Pelvitex PP Mesh) – March 21, 2016 in PA.

Can you relate to Eric Clapton? I sure can. . . .

Great song, never gets old, because it tells a timeless truth.

2-day shipping for Mother’s Day! 20% OFF @ TMWF

Hello all;

It’s not too late. If you order today, you can still receive 20% OFF any color of our #TMWF Mesh Awareness Bracelets!

Click to order from the Yes M.A.M. Market!

These are handmade – leather, stainless steel, and glass. The bracelets are a beautiful accessory, and are also a great conversational piece for those who are mesh injured.

With interchangeable glass buttons, one bracelet becomes two!

Order one for someone you love today! 100% of proceeds benefit #TMWF, the only non-profit serving the mesh-injured and their family members!

#TMWF's Mesh Injury Awareness Bracelet

#TMWF’s Mesh Injury Awareness Bracelet

Public Access to Mesh Trials – It’s a Constitutional Right

The layout of a typical U.S. Courtroom

The layout of a typical U.S. Courtroom

Please read my most recent blog for @BaronBudd | Protecting What’s Right! In it, I explain how you can confidently exercise your right to observe our judicial system at work for “We the People!” It can be intimidating, but after reading my post, you’ll be “In the Know.” Thank you Baron and Budd for helping us to elevate the voices of those who are mesh-injured and their families.

Access the full post here:

Public Access to Mesh Trials – It’s a Constitutional Right.

#HatsOff to my fellow WeGo Writers! 5 Blogs I Missed! #HAWMC

Our wedding invitation from 11 years ago! Yep, I did that - scarlet red! It was BEAUTIFUL!

Our wedding invitation from 11 years ago! Yep, I did that – scarlet red! It was BEAUTIFUL!

Tomorrow is my wedding anniversary (11 years!), so I am finishing up my WeGo Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge (#HAWMC) today! I am thrilled that I was able to participate and so grateful for a big ‘ol wild internet, full of people, like me, who want to make a difference in this life by writing and speaking up in support of a cause, condition, disease, or in support of a better way of journeying towards personal health and a more caring, empathetic, knowledgable and healthy world for all of us.

#HatsOff to my fellow writers for a meaningful month of writing and for crossing the finish line!

For my last entry, I am going to recap by writing an omnibus blog including the prompts I missed. I am proud of my commitment to stick it out for the long haul, but I did miss some days of writing!

Here’s my way of making up my homework! :)


April 10th Prompt – Comfort Food

We’re not all 5 star chefs, but we all need to eat! Tell your readers how to make your favorite dish. Does the recipe hold a good memory for you? Is it the act of cooking itself that brings you joy, or the people that come together to eat it? #HAWMC

My family loves to cook. My father’s side of the family has taught me how to cook and the joys of sharing a kitchen and table with those I love. My grandmother taught me that every single meal is a celebration. Breakfast, lunch, dinner – finger sandwiches or foie gras, she’d set the table with the entire inventory of proper utensils, beautiful placemats, beautiful dishes, cloth napkins, serving dishes and their attendant details – serving utensils, trivets, and decorative displays. I lost my Grandma Honey my senior year of high school. I miss her often and know she would have adored mine and my sister’s families. I imagine her cooking for the hoard of us and loving every minute of it. My dad picked up her love of and talent for cooking, and between both of them, I learned all I’d ever need to know to be a home chef. Since my dad ended up owning restaurants as his career (That’s how much the Johnson family loves food!), I learned classical styles of cooking and restaurant-quality fundamentals of cleanliness and kitchen protocol. I am so grateful for my grandmother and my father’s teachings. I did not know until middle age that I had skills that many people pay to learn – knife skills; order of operations; which pans to use for what; basic techniques like how to sautèe; how to make a roux; how to tell when a steak is cooked to medium, medium-rare or well-done; how to caramelize onions; and the difference between a fine chop, dice and a julienne. I knew these terms in elementary school. Amazing actually now that I think about it.

My dad's biscuits and gravy! Gravy is best made in a seasoned cast iron skillet! This skillet has been handed down through our family to me! Yay me!

My dad’s biscuits and gravy! Gravy is best made in a seasoned cast iron skillet! This skillet has been handed down through our family to me! Yay me!

In my family we have a funny way of talking about our all-time favorite comfort foods. We call it the “death row meal.” I know it’s kind of morbid, but morbid things are sometimes pretty funny. Anyway, we ask one another frequently, “If you were on death row, and you had to choose your very last meal, what would it be?” Some of my family members say extravagant things like steak or lobster, accompanied by a fine, red wine.

Proof of proud redneck status and life long love of GRAVY!

Proof of proud redneck status and life long love of GRAVY!

Nope, not me.

I’m pretty down home. My death row meal is my dad’s breakfast. Like any good Texan, one of the first “complex” dishes I learned to make was cream gravy for biscuits. Yep, seems pretty trite, but that’s my death row meal. My dad’s homemade biscuits with cream gravy, fried potatoes, scrambled eggs topped with cheddar cheese (or Migas – a Mexican dish with eggs) and bacon, yes, bacon. That is how red this neck is. :)

April 14/ “I feel best when…”

Write about moments you feel like you can take on the world. Where, when, and how often does this happen?
 #HAWMC

Wow. The last year has been learning about how to manage that “taking on the World” thing. We all have limits. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis has taught me to ask for help in taking on the world! :) I feel we can take on the world when we’re surrounded with those who love us and want us to succeed. I feel I can take on the world when I’m in a cooperative environment of good folks who have the same goals. I feel like I can take on the world when people put aside their own egos in order to help others and be part of a successful team that helps others. I feel I can take on the world when I get a phone call from someone in our community who has benefitted from the work of the foundation I built, The Mesh Warrior Foundation for the injured, www.tmwfoundation.org. I feel I can take on the world when people “get it,” when someone understands the work I’m doing and why I am trying to help at such a feverish pace. I feel I can take on the world when someone says, “Thank you.” All that said, I’ve learned that it’s wise to ask for others to help, for no one can take on the world alone!

TMW_line_art_color_logo

April 15/Get Excited!

What revs up your internal engine? When you see, hear, feel this it gets you excited and ready to face what comes next. Tell us what it is! #HAWMC
Health Activists Need a LION'S HEART!

Health Activists Need a LION’S HEART!

We also have to develop Alligator Skin!

We also have to develop Alligator Skin!

When I see, hear or feel AT ALL, I get excited and ready to face what comes next. I’ve learned that the trick to being a good Health Activist is growing Alligator Skin but keeping a Lion’s Heart. This world is brutal sometimes, and as we all know, it doesn’t stop for anyone – sick or healthy. I’ve had to learn to take the hits (that keep on coming) by growing a thick skin, knowing who I am, and retaining a tender heart that will take on anguish in order to continue to bravely press forward without fear of doing good. When I feel that I’ve hit the mark, keeping a tough skin, but remaining tender despite a brutal emotional beating by life, that’s when I’m most invigorated!

April 16/Life Goal

What’s one thing that your 10-year-old self thought you would do? Can you still do it? How would you approach it to make it happen? #HAWMC

My life goal is pretty simple. It took me a while to learn how to articulate it, but at 10 years old, 20, and 30, it’s always been the same, and it’s fairly simple at its root.

never-waste-your-time-dream-hampton-quotes-sayings-picturesI do not want to waste my life. I want to be useful.

In my 20s, I was terrified that I would waste my life on meaningless things – activities, passing the time with indulgences, forgetting what is important in life. I wanted to find a way to do good with my life, and I wasn’t sure how to go about the task.

As a child, my life was very dynamic, and I always felt a sense of purpose. I started working at my father’s business when I was 14, and I had a rich life of work and play. I held leadership positions on my sports teams; I had plenty of friends; I excelled in school and enjoyed learning; I became a Christian when I was 13. All of that gave me a sense of purpose. College was a time of great personal gains – discovering the joys of life; meeting different types of people; living in a different city; and, of course, a rich inner world of constant learning. Some classes were exhilarating; some were crazy hard; some were dull, but I finished with good grades and a diploma! Whoop! I cherish my college education.

In my 20s, I thought my vocation would define me. I had a hard time breaking out of the monotony of my job. After the intensity of my senior-year college classes, I had a hard time with a “corporate” or “9 to five” type job, which, surprisingly, required little thinking. I had a hard time NOT identifying my entire being with what I did for a living. This, coupled together with some hard life lessons, ensured my 20s were a difficult time of soul searching; trial and error; mistakes and missteps. As I matured, I realized that a vocation is simply a way to EXPRESS life goals, a means to use my skills to earn money, not something to define my whole being. With that realization, I became involved in volunteering in many capacities, and by my late 20s, I had learned to lead small groups of women; I had mentored young adults; my husband and I had mentored newlyweds and folks who’d been married longer than us but needed counseling. I thrived in this environment. I felt useful. I learned what made me tick, how I’m wired. I am Myers Briggs ENFP; I’m the quintessential Aquarian; I’m more of a right brainer than a lefty. Now in my 40s, I’m hitting my stride. I know myself. I know my life goals, and I know I am not wasting my life, and that I am useful – useful to my husband, my family, to those in need, to my mesh-injured community and family of chance, to myself and to my God. That is my life’s goal and really all I’ve ever wanted.

April 17/Health Tagline

Give yourself, or your patient experience a tagline. Grab attention with your slogan. Make sure it’s catchy!
#HAWMC

Oh holy moly. . . taglines. I have lived my life with taglines, deadlines, cutlines, ad lines and bylines. A career of almost twenty years in the disciplines of marketing and advertising has taught me about all sorts of lines. I actually always loved writing lines of copy, when I could. Though I was most often in a management role, managing others who wrote copy, it is still one of my very favorite parts of the creative process. Creating a tagline is not just about a pithy statement; it is one of the most important ways to develop the voice of a community or in the business world, a brand. When I created The Mesh Warrior Foundation for the injured, I knew that our community needed a voice – a singular message. There are so many people helping and fighting for those who are mesh injured, but when I began to learn about my mother’s injury and about the community that I was becoming a part of, I sensed a lack of voice. None of us had yet figured out how to explain mesh injury with simplicity and humanity, for it’s a complex injury, illness and it’s also a political injury. It’s controversial by nature because the injury is due to a failed medical device called #transvaginal polypropylene mesh. Many of the profoundly injured are involved in litigation, which makes EVERYTHING so much more difficult.

With Twitter’s advent of the hashtag phrase, taglines have become a ubiquitous part of everyday life on the internet, whether people know it or not. Phrases not already in use are hard to come by, and sometimes, it’s best to use an already-in-use tagline (if not copyright protected) because it can draw people from any walk of life, even those, maybe even especially those, not familiar with #polypropylene mesh injury. This injury can happen to anyone and has. The wider net we cast, the better.

The phrases, in the form of a tagline, I’ve most often used to define our community’s plight is #NotOneMore, because the harm caused by transvaginal mesh is 100% preventable. It is medical error, greed and arrogance at its worst. Educating those who’ve not YET been injured is just as important as aiding those already injured. This grass-roots video that our community made is a good example of our tagline and hashtag phrase, #NotOneMore.

One Doctor, One Paragraph – What I Wish I Had Known

One doctor’s paragraph explains what I wish I would have known before my mother was approached and recommended to receive a polypropylene transvaginal mesh implant.

Dr_Greenberg_Quote_Hindsight

#HAWMC

Have you ever been “shoulded on?”

Have you ever been the recipient of a well-intentioned comment like, “You should just…. (take a walk, meditate, pray, take antidepressants) and then you’ll feel better?” The well-intentioned person is usually speaking from some form of personal experience, probably not a personal experience with chronic pain.

I call that getting “shoulded on.”

With any chronic illness or injury, including mesh injury, it’s just not that simple. If the suffering person could do this “something” that he or she “should do,” it’s likely that person has already been there, done that. And it’s likely whatever “it” is didn’t work. Sometimes, these well-intentioned “you shoulds” make the chronically ill feel a sense of shame and failure.

A common and natural reaction I’ve observed in response is:

“Well, don’t you realize that I have tried EVERYTHING, and if it were that simple, I would be doing what you say I SHOULD do, and I would feel better, and of course, I’d keep doing the very thing you’re suggesting I SHOULD DO because it would work!”

Again, well-intentioned suggestions are just that, but most people would be surprised at the lengths the chronically ill have already gone to, to remedy the pain and loss their condition brings.

Most people who suffer with a chronic, debilitating condition live life day by day, or often, hour by hour, minute by minute or second to second, struggling and coping.

In the reality of chronic illness, when asked, “How are you doing today?” many sufferers shudder at the thought of what response you might be expecting, and the only honest answer is, “I have good days and bad days.”

So on the bad days, here are five things I do for myself and with those I love. I don’t think you should try them, but if you want to, you can.

A bee hive! A real live bee hive!

A bee hive! A real live bee hive!

5) I look for a distraction/diversion – Chronic is a full-time job. That means pain, fatigue, depression, discomfort and all forms of illness never take leave fully of their victims. Can you imagine having to feel and cope every single minute or every single day? Even a second of distraction is worth any amount of effort. Example: Today, God gave us the good fortune to witness a swarm of honey bees settling down to begin building their comb and hive. What a miraculous diversion. I’ve never seen a swarm of honey bees. It was a delightful distraction.

4) I Learn Something New – about anything other than illness or how to cope with it. Chronic illness narrows our experiences so much that it can sometimes feel like there is nothing more to live for, nothing left to gain from life. A hint of the extravagance, vastness and the majesty of the universe awaits in a single new thought, word, or path. Learning something new can be the springboard for new experiences when we’re well enough to leave the hospital, the bed, or whatever kind of incapacitation with which we suffer.

A new word!

A new word!

It's true; you can't make an old friend. This is my friend of 17 years!

It’s true; you can’t make an old friend. This is my friend of 17 years!

3) I Call a Friend – This idea seems trite, but it isn’t. It works. The trick is to call the right friends. Call someone who loves you, someone who has walked through your journey with you, someone who’s a good listener, someone with empathy. Sometimes chronic illness crowds out the blessings of life. None of us can make an old friend. Someone who’s stuck by you through your illness obviously loves you. Give them the chance to show that love by calling and asking for help through a hard day.

2) I Get Creative – You really don’t have to be Rembrant or Andrea Boccelli to gain joy from artistic endeavors. A pad of art paper, a lap desk, and a set of pastels can go a long way. Science has proven that changing up the way we express our emotions can help to reset the mind and our negative thought patterns. Listen to a new type of music with headphones. Draw the colors you hear; draw the shapes you feel; create an image from the music or lyrics. Self expression through art is surprisingly rewarding, and surprisingly unrelated to how good you are at it!

abundance

Thank you Mesh Angel Dany!

Thank you Mesh Angel Dany!

1) I Show Gratitude – Some days are just bad. We all know it. When nothing works to relieve the pain and discomfort of chronic illness, sometimes our best option is to just get through the day the best way we know how. On days like these, I pray. I thank God for the good I have in my life. I try with all my might not to ruminate over what I don’t have or what isn’t fair, how things could or should have been, or the dreaded “why me?” Instead, I thank God for my husband, my mother, my home, my sweet dog cuddled up next to me. If I’m feeling a hint better, I write notes of gratitude to others. I tell them what I love about them and that I’m grateful for their friendship. On some days, all I can muster are spoken words or thoughts, interspersed with “thank you.” In other words, I try to ruminate on joyful thoughts and the blessing I have.

And honestly, some days none of the above works. I still feel horrible. I still can’t get out of bed, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. When I’m at the bottom of the bottom, there is literally only one direction to go, so I move away from the bottom, and the more skills I have to do so, the better.

#HAWMC