Op butchered me

This so­called sim­ple surgery has ru­ined my life

Chat - - Inside - By Teresa Hughes, 66, from Liver­pool

As the cred­its rolled for Cor­rie, it was time for a cuppa.

But as I stood up to put on the ket­tle, I felt a fa­mil­iar feel­ing down be­low.

‘I’ll be wear­ing a nappy soon,’ I sighed to my hus­band, David, now 70.

It was back in 2007, and I’d re­cently started suf­fer­ing from in­con­ti­nence.

I’d wear panty lin­ers, but some­times, it was even too heavy for them.

I’d al­ways loved ten­nis, but all that run­ning around wasn’t good for my blad­der, so I’d had to stop.

I vis­ited my GP, who re­ferred me to hos­pi­tal.

‘I know this hap­pens when you’ve had chil­dren, but I’m only 55 years old,’ I ex­plained.

Plus my son Paul was 23.

Why now?

‘I think that you’re an ideal can­di­date for a tape,’ the doc­tor told me.

The vag­i­nal tape was es­sen­tially a mesh sling, put un­der the blad­der to keep it in its nor­mal po­si­tion, so you don’t pee your­self.

It sounded like a so­lu­tion that would be the an­swer to all my prob­lems, so I agreed.

In April 2006, I had the pro­ce­dure done in hos­pi­tal.

The spe­cial­ist ex­plained that it would only take around 20 min­utes and as­sured me it was straight­for­ward – but, like any op­er­a­tion, it did come with risks.

They said I could get bleed­ing or wa­ter in­fec­tions. Noth­ing else. I trusted the doc­tors and signed the con­sent form.

Yet, when I came round, I was in agony.

It ac­tu­ally felt like I was be­ing stabbed.

‘What’s wrong with my legs?’ I screamed.

A medic told me that it was just side ef­fects from the anaes­thetic.

But all night I was in agony, right up to my groin.

Plus my toes kept curl­ing un­der with se­vere cramp, too.

How­ever, the next day I was al­lowed home. ‘This re­ally doesn’t feel right,’ I wor­ried to David.

And the in­con­ti­nence was now worse than ever!

I just kept wait­ing to wake up and feel bet­ter.

But that day never came.

I went back and forth to my own doc­tor and also to the hos­pi­tal.

But no­body could tell me what was wrong.

Six months later, I was di­ag­nosed with fi­bromyal­gia.

I was in con­stant pain, could barely get out of bed. It was like I’d aged 100 years. ‘What’s hap­pened to me?’ I sobbed to David.

At a time in our lives when we should have been en­joy­ing pub lunches and walks – in­stead David just fer­ried food up to me, helped me shower. He’d be­come more of a carer than a hus­band. Bedrid­den, I did some re­search and found the only thing dif­fer­ent about me was the mesh that I’d had put in. On­line, I found that there were hun­dreds of women all over the world who had ex­pe­ri­enced sim­i­lar prob­lems af­ter hav­ing a mesh op. ‘They’re bar­baric!’ I raged. The mesh had ru­ined lives. Des­per­ate to help other women, in 2010 I set up The Meshies United Group. ‘We can’t let oth­ers suf­fer,’ I vowed. In 2012, I went to Lon­don to the Medicine Health Reg­u­la­tor Author­ity HQ. I held a plac­ard that said, Thou­sands of women are in­jured by transvagi­nal mesh and I told the passers-by my story. That year, I went to the Houses of Par­lia­ment to meet my MP, too. I had a pe­ti­tion signed by 2,500 peo­ple to de­liver to 10 Down­ing Street the same day. ‘These things ruin lives,’ I told them. And I would have said the very same to the Prime Min­is­ter, given

When I came round, it felt like I was be­ing stabbed!

half the chance.

I even wrote a let­ter to David Cameron, who was the PM at the time.

I needed to give all suf­fer­ers a voice.

Fi­nally, in 2013, doc­tors agreed to re­move my mesh.

The con­sul­tant ex­am­ined me, told me the mesh had bro­ken up and mi­grated into my blad­der and ure­thra.

Dur­ing an op­er­a­tion to re­move the mesh, they had to re­con­struct my ure­thra us­ing blood ves­sels from my vagina, and they had to take the mesh out of my blad­der.

They’d taken pho­tos dur­ing the surgery and, look­ing at them after­wards, I wept.

‘My in­sides have been butchered,’ I sobbed.

I’d been left with mo­bil­ity prob­lems and in­con­ti­nence.

‘These meshes should be banned,’ I told David.

I de­cided to take dras­tic ac­tion to ram the point home.

‘I’m go­ing show my pho­tos to the world,’ I told David.

So I stuck pho­tos onto a plac­ard – they were scans of my blad­der and my vagina.

Then I went to a sur­geons’ con­fer­ence in Manch­ester, made sure they saw my sign.

I sat out­side my MP’S of­fice with them, too, in Mersey­side.

I even up­loaded the shock­ing pho­tos on­line, beg­ging other women to join my cam­paign.

Thou­sands of women have been af­fected by this so-called sim­ple op.

Left dis­abled, suf­fer­ing life-al­ter­ing, chronic pain.

In some, their body treats the mesh as a for­eign body, trig­ger­ing a painful re­ac­tion.

In oth­ers the mesh erodes or be­comes in­fected.

Now, MPS are de­bat­ing ban­ning the mesh, like they have in Scot­land. But it’s just the start. It’s ru­ined my life. If putting my in­sides out there helps just one woman think twice about hav­ing a mesh, it’ll be a job worth do­ing.

De­liv­er­ing my pe­ti­tion My plac­ard of shock­ing scan im­ages

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