How I Became ‘The Mesh Warrior’ and How You Can Too

How I Became ‘The Mesh Warrior’ and How You Can Too.

PSA-from The Mesh Warrior- August 14, 2014

 

This PSA is sponsored by The Mesh Warrior Foundation for the injured and Baron & Budd, P.C. My hope is that it helps the mesh-injured community to find, support and to add to the number of the injured we are reaching by providing a genuine voice alongside the TV commercials that sometimes seem more like used car sales commercials more than those befitting the severe injury of so many, precious men and women. WE ARE MAKING GENUINE PROGRESS! Thank you all for your support. Thank you Baron & Budd for underwriting this message and giving of your time to give our community a platform to reach out to still more of the isolated and lonely injured. Love, Aaron

#NotOneMore

The NIMH commentary on Robin Williams’ death . . .

I’m a bit “posty-bloggy” tonight, but I just keep thinking about our dear American icon, Robin Williams.

Robin Williams - what a beautiful smile, one that knows the difference between happiness and joy perhaps.

Robin Williams – what a beautiful smile, one that knows the difference between happiness and joy perhaps.

The NIMH’s director even wrote a blog. I don’t think we realize how much his death by suicide has affected us yet, in small and large ways, in small and large communities; it continues to remind us daily, unlike the deaths of other celebrities, that life is a precious and precarious thing. In fact, it’s one of the only events in recent history, that I can remember, which has united us again as a community of Americans. We are “doing it wrong” somehow. People don’t just commit suicide in the numbers we’re seeing without a very generalized cause. What do you think it could be? Is it a combination of the rat race, road rage, and the ever-tightening vice on the freedom of individuals to live in the peace of their own finding and choosing in this world?

Dr. Tim Insel of the NIMH says, “. . . our discussions of mental illness rarely focus on this inconvenient truth: these illnesses are currently just as fatal as the “big killers.”’

What do you think?  Why is suicide a better option for so many than living even a single day longer?

The Mesh Warrior Joins Consumer Union’s Safe Patient Project

Hello Angels & Warriors;

safepatientproject.org-sharing-widget175x175 There is more good news to share today! I am so thrilled to now be a formal member of Consumer Union’s Safe Patient Project Network. I will be working closely with CU and other patient advocates on patient-centered healthcare initiatives and patient-centered legislative and policy change. It is an honor for the Foundation, and an honor for me personally, to be invited to participate as I intend to represent you all in thought, word and deed as a part of this very influential group of folks who have already done so much to help patients and their families!

I love you all dearly. You drive me daily to be the best person I can be, and for that I thank you. This achievement is ours to share!

Thank you CU Safe Patient Project. You’ve got a legion of warriors now joining you in the fight to establish a patient-centered healthcare system!

About

The Mesh Warrior:

A great woman; a great purpose.

Originally posted on Mary Teresa:

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Artist / Author - Teresa R. Jones, Consultant, 1982 to Present

Select Clients - Times Printing, University of Montevallo, Brierfield Ironworks, Brookwood Medical Center, Martin Advertising, UAB, Eye Foundation Hospital, Alabama’s Children’s Hospital, U of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, American Medical International, Birmingham Southern, Golden Flake, Red Diamond, City Federal, WZZK, Bellsouth,  Oxmoor Books, Southern Living.

Current Work: The Portrait of a Courtroom Artist, H. L. Chappelear which includes decades of criminal trial coverage including the The trials and the verdicts:
» Cherry convicted
» Blanton guilty

Implant Failure: The biographical portraits of Americans implanted with failed medical implants and the trial coverage including the verdicts.

Carline Devotional: Daily devotionals for families drawn from daily carline conversations; dedicated to my grandsons.

Education

Jefferson State Jr. College – Associates Degree, transferred to University of Montevallo – 1978 – 1980, Tennis Scholarship

University of Montevallo, Montevallo, Alabama, B.F.A. Graphic Design – Printing / Publishing…

View original 11 more words

Thank you Consumers’ Union & The Safe Patient Project!

Hi Angels & Warriors!

There are so many wonderful Warriors among us, as evidenced by the below:  A wonderfully written letter, signed by many leaders and patient advocates urging (strongly urging) that the FDA RECLASSIFY POP and SUI MESH to a HIGH RISK DEVICE/CLASS III DEVICE, which it certainly is!

Thank you Consumers’ Union!  A very thorough and well written letter.  Thank you for helping our voices to be much louder!  And if you, dearest reader, have not submitted your request to the FDA, you can do so here before Midnight TONIGHT, July 30, 2014!

http://meshsurvivors.org/tell-fda-reclassify-meshScreen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.39.41 PM

READ THE CONSUMERS’ UNION LETTER HERE:

CONSUMERS’ UNION/SAFE PATIENT PROJECT REQUST TO FDA RE: RECLASSIFICATION OF PP MEDICAL MESH FOR POP AND SUI

Finally In Print

Finally in print.Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 7.13.50 PM

The FDA reports in 2010 approximately 300,000 women in the US underwent surgical procedures to repair POP and approximately 260,000 underwent surgical procedures to repair SUI. According to industry estimates, approximately 25% of transvaginal POP surgeries and 80% transvaginal SUI surgeries were done with mesh. This data indicates that approximately 283,000 US women annually are implanted with mesh through the vagina.

If these figures were fairly constant throughout the last 15 years, more than four million women in the US were implanted with vaginal mesh. With a cost range of approximately $10,000-$15,000 per procedure, the expenses borne by the US economy due to vaginal mesh implants are estimated to be $42 billion to $63 billion; despite the finding that there is no clinical benefit from the procedure. These costs are mainly borne by taxpayers through Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements and by private insurance companies. With an estimated one in five women (or 31.7 million) expected to undergo a procedure to repair pelvic organ prolapse by the age of 80, vaginal mesh costs will increase exponentially.

While many women who have transvaginal mesh procedures do not encounter post-surgical complications, there remains an astounding 10-30% who experience a range of debilitating and chronic problems. Such a failure rate means between 400,000 and over one million women have had unsuccessful procedures, and that between 3.2 and 9.5 million women will likely face complications and require surgery to remove the mesh. This risk ratio is medically unacceptable by the U.S. medical ethics standards.

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED – FDA COMMUNICATION

Hi Angels & Warriors;Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.39.41 PM

AN IMPORTANT DEADLINE IS QUICKLY UPON US — JULY 30!

I am so honored to be among this coalition of leaders in the fight against Polypropylene Mesh Implant. Our community has banded together to be stronger so our voices are heard.  The coalition is comprised of injured patients, patient advocates, patient family members, journalists, activists and educators.

WE ALL WANT THE SAME THING!

TAKE POLYPROPYLENE MESH OFF THE MARKET!!!

Your signature on this letter TO THE FDA is the next step towards that goal.

Sign the letter to the FDA to RECLASSIFY MESH AS A HIGH-RISK DEVICE.

If we are successful in taking this action, doctors will begin to abandon its use.

The deadline is approaching quickly – THIS WEDNESDAY, July 30 is the last day to send your comments.

Click the picture or here to send the letter now:

http://meshsurvivors.org/tell-fda-reclassify-mesh

The Mission & Vision of the Mesh Warrior Foundation

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The Mesh Warrior

Click the link below to browse a PDF which includes a basic overview of the problems with medical mesh.

Thank you for visiting the site!

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Click to review a general presentation about the dangers of medical mesh.

Click to review a general presentation about the dangers of medical mesh.

Please consider donating through PayPal:

DONATE TO HELP AN INJURED PERSON

#NotOnMore Campaign – THE REASON

Happy Monday;

My primary reason for making this (what will become) a short series of films, is to raise awareness that we should be much more concerned about our mothers than Mother Earth. Mother Earth will survive on her own. It is we who will perish if we don’t rise up against the powers that be and speak for what is right and true, even though we may suffer many consequences for doing so.

The secondary reason is to give families a way to communicate, especially strained communications or severed relationships between MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS.  I received this quote today from one injured mother. This is all I will ever need to keep on going, knowing I’m heading in the right direction, and that my work is making a difference in people’s lives.

“Even though we were not used in the video I wanted to say thank you it was a great life lesson for my daughters. My daughter wanted to know why it was so important to me and it got us talking about standing up for what you believe in and to fight for injustice! It took us about 20 takes but we laughed, cried and brought us closer together! Thanks again!”  ~ Anonymous

DON’T FORGET TO TWEET WITH #NotOneMore @TheMeshWarrior

6/2014 – The Faces of Mesh: Heather Zuk – Her Passion for Plenty

Heather Zuk is a breath of fresh air.  She has a light and airy countenance about her that makes you want to float into her realm.  She is creative, witty, hard working, heart warming, and all of 20 years old.  Over the six or so months that I have watched her online, followed her posts and giggled at her shenanigans, one word comes to mind immediately: BEAUTY.  

Heather playing guitar

Heather playing guitar

She surrounds herself with it.  She embodies it.  She has a lovely outlook on life, not an ounce of bitterness in her tone or, I imagine, even lurking around in the roots of her heart.  She never has unkindness at the tip of tongue; never a shaming remark; never a desire to tear down. Quite the contrary, she is the consummate builder: she builds flocks of chicken; libraries of photos; books filled with poetry.  She’s a creative mind, and it’s on that gift that she chooses to focus.  She’s kind and a brilliant and creative steward of all things lovely in the world.  I see her in pictures of meadow-filled flowers; in pictures with family, smiles broad about their faces, clearly enjoying the company of one another; in pictures adoring the relationships she’s built with her brood of chickens.

When I ask her what the mesh has taken from her, she seems not to understand the question.  Innocence maybe, but her youth has not afforded her the hindsight to gaze upon the bodily sacrifice of bearing and rearing children.  I ask again.  This time, the answer comes more naturally, “Well I used to love to help out with the farm more, you know, milking the cows and stuff, and I can’t do that anymore.  I miss helping with the work on the farm that I used to do.  But I can still do a lot,” she concludes.  Our vignettes of conversation never end on sour notes, or lingering notes of fear, or uncertainty.  That’s just not who Heather is.

She is a 20-yr-old who knows what she wants and is content with what she has, and what she’s able to do, despite what’s been taken from her by the hernia mesh that was first implanted in her as a 17-yr-old.

Playful and fun!

Playful and fun!

When I interview her, it’s more like a girl chat.  It’s fun and fresh and spirited and upbeat.  It feels like mesh is someone else’s problem.  We talk about maybe getting to meet someday, about her photography and, dare I say, quite eccentric interest in poultry.  New York feels closer than ever during our discussion.  Heather is multi-dimensional, and she’s not afraid to show it.  I love that about her.  Oh ya, and she works at a body shop. “Just in the front office,” she reminds me, but inside I think, “How cool! I just love this kid.”

 When we do enter the mesh realm, she explains to me that when she was 17, she was mounting the stairs to her bedroom, and on the way, she sneezed.  A few short minutes passed, and she began to feel weak, nauseous, fatigued and just “very ill.”  Neither she nor her parents knew why.  After three or four hours of enduring the worsening symptoms; they subsided almost as abruptly, so she and her family thought it simply to be a strange, single incident . . . until it happened again a few months later.

This time, they sought immediate medical attention and discovered that Heather had, not one, but two hernias – one femoral and one inguinal.

Heather was referred to a specialist, and most of you reading know, “the rest of the story,” as the late, great radio personality, Paul Harvey, spoke in signing off at the end of his radio program.  Unfortunately, like many of you, Heather can’t end her story here.  After seeing a specialist, she and her family decided to follow doctors’ orders and have mesh implanted at both hernia sites.  She has never been the same.  In fact a third hernia (femoral) showed up about a month after her first mesh implant surgery.  She has had another hernia since, hernia revision surgery, and attempts at removing some of the mesh, and all this, by the ripe-old-age of 20.

Doctors say the mesh is likely to interfere with her ability to have children down the road, but she doesn’t live in that reality. She tells me, “I guess I’ll deal with that down the road, when it’s time.” I have an online friendship with her, and I delight in the person she is. I watch her post funny videos; take silly pictures with her sister; enjoy her family; playfully, skillfully and artfully enjoy her hobbies. We make a pact on the phone. She will help me learn to raise chickens, and she is excited to share with me all she knows about them, when I tell her I’ll be taking on a few yard birds soon.  We giggle about my neighbors “free range chickens,” and their birdie little antics. We laugh; make pinky swear; and both find a great deal of humor in my chicken-raising neighbor’s name: Mr. Fetherston.  I delight in her joy. Not everyone laughs at that, and I feel a kindred soul. Mesh again recedes from the forefront of our conversation.  I ask why she likes chickens so much, and she says, “I don’t know; I just always have.” I sense that she enjoys them more so now; because, with her injury, she can still participate fully in the activities of caring for chickens, not having to give up facets of their care, like she’s had to with her other bigger barnyard friends, cows and the like. Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 10.28.55 AM

Her family – father, mother, brother and two sisters – are supportive, and she knows that is a gift. She is wise beyond her years in some ways, but also green, bright and new. I sense she has no vocabulary for what many other mesh-injured women have lost, because she is simply at the point in life where many of us long to be again: she hasn’t gained quite as much to lose as her elder counterparts. That doesn’t lessen her suffering, in my opinion, for pain and suffering is always relative. In a way, I grieve that she may never experience what has been lost by so many of you; deep relationships with adult children and spouses, careers and dignity. It certainly, again, begs the question,

 “Is it really better to have loved and to have lost, than never to have loved at all?”

It’s a question that floats in the Mysterious; hangs in the balance, some days tipping towards yes, some days tipping towards no.  She confesses that sometimes when she ponders the future too much, anxiety begins to take hold – the terrifying type – full blown panic attacks. Having experienced such myself, Heather and I agree; there is no better word to describe them than, TERRIFYING.  On one recent occasion, she began to feel the pangs of anxiety growing stronger. She tried to watch a movie with her sister, but nothing seemed to help.

“I was trying not to burst out crying for no reason [during the movie]. When it finished my sister went to bed, and I stood in the bathroom trying to figure out why I was crying, and I started blaming the mesh. That led to over analyzing all the bad things the mesh has done and possibly could still do, and before I knew it, my pulse had escalated and I started hyperventilating. All of that caused me to panic more, because I couldn’t make it stop; so I sat there sobbing; almost passing out; hyperventilating uncontrollably for about 20-30 minutes before my pulse returned to normal. When it finally ended, I was so completely exhausted I barely made it to my bed before falling asleep.”

In the same exchange she says, “I am in constant pain, and I struggle with depression,” but she is quick to add, “but I don’t focus on that.” In fact, her writing about her experience is quite eloquent. Read more here: http://herpassionforpoultry.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/two-definitions/ from her first-person point of view.

One thing is clear as crystal to me about Heather. She is full of love; full of joy; full of compassion; happiness; empathy; adventure; spirit; and Hope. I believe that whatever or whomever comes her way; she will absorb the Bad, and turn back out into the world the Good. She has a Spirit about her that makes one know her story ends happily ever after, however it actually ends.

Enjoy her talent as a photographer in the gallery I’ve posted here, and visit her blog http://herpassionforpoultry.wordpress.com to get to know more about this lovely, quirky, genuine and grateful girl with the giant joy that makes up some of her beauty, and a woman I have come to call friend.

Thank you, Heather, for sharing yourself with us. We are all better for knowing you.