Deni Cameron shares her story on Hernia Mesh and the drastic impact it's had on her life.
My name is Deni Cameron. I am a 51-year-old mother of five (the youngest is 18). I was something of a health nut and until March this year had been lifting heavy weights and doing crossfit workouts, almost on a daily basis.
I’d also been working as a service manager for a supermarket chain in Melbourne but earlier this year, decided to transfer to Brisbane to be closer to my parents who live in Noosa.
While packing up my furniture, I lifted a particularly heavy piece of furniture with my daughter, which resulted in an inguinal (or groin) hernia.
I consulted with a surgeon who suggested I have the repair surgery before leaving Melbourne. I agreed, believing it would be a quick and easy fix and allow me to start my new job in Brisbane.
In the 10 min consultation, the surgeon made absolutely no mention of the fact that I would be having a hernia mesh implant. In fact, he didn’t tell me very much about my procedure at all. All he told me was that he had had amazing success with other patients and that I’d be operated on the following day.
That was in March this year.
When I was released from hospital I was in incredible pain. Thinking it would just be a matter of time before things settled down; I embarked on the gruelling trip to Brisbane several days later. It was a nightmare!
I had to start work several days later but was in so much pain I used a hernia belt and pain medication to provide relief. I don't know how but I persevered for another five days, leaving work each day in tears of agony.
Despite the overwhelming pain, I somehow drove to my parents’ home in Noosa. They took one look at me and drove me straight to their doctor who immediately put me off work.
My elderly parents begged me to stay on so they could nurse me back to health.
Eight months on and I’m still with them. I’m a 51 years old who I has been forced to move back home with her parents.
I am financially, emotionally and physically bankrupt.
Thankfully my employers have been kind enough to provide me with as much time as I need to recover.
Life is a struggle. The pain is so crippling, I spend much of my day in bed dosed up on Lyrica and other heavy-duty pain meds.
The medical roller coaster is unrelenting. Ultrasound, CT, guided nerve block, doctor, surgeon, pain meds, psychologist, repeat.
Stop the ride. I want to get off.
I want my fun, vibrant, capable self back.
With a lot of time on my hands, I started learning all I could I about my hernia procedure. It was only when I read about another woman's complications that it dawned on me I was suffering the same adverse effects to the toxic mesh inside me and was unlikely to get better.
Polyester hernia mesh - which is what I have - is said to be the hardest to remove. In fact, no mesh is made to be removed.
There are very few surgeons who will attempt mesh removal because it's so complicated. Once it goes in, it can erode other organs, entrap nerves and even migrate.
I contacted my original surgeon to tell him how my life had been ruined. He refused to believe it was the mesh or his procedure that was the problem and dismissed me.
In the crazy world we live in, a surgeon is not required by law to report surgical mesh complications to the TGA. It's up to the patient!
I have reported my adverse event to the TGA and I encourage everyone who has complications to do so too.
I have since been informed by the authority that my notification has been received but my case has been closed due to the ‘low incidence of reports’!
I am now returning to Melbourne to explore possible removal with another surgeon. Firstly though, I need to have the cyst on my kidney removed. Interestingly, I didn't have this cyst before I got ‘meshed’. Add that to the growing list of other complications and side effects I attribute to the toxic mesh …
Through all of this chaos I have found strength through the support and understanding of other mesh sufferers in our amazing Facebook support group 'Hernia Mesh Australia'
I have told my story because I hope it inspires other people to tell theirs. I also want those who have been adversely affected by hernia mesh to complete the Health Issues Centre’s Medical Device and Implant Failure survey. The greater the number of people who come forward, the greater the likelihood the authorities will do something to stop this epidemic.