Allow myself to introduce myself . . . . and yes, we will be talking about Allotta Fagina here:
I’m Mrs. Aaron Leigh Johnson-Horton. That is the long format. You can call me “Aaron,” or “Aaron Leigh” or “The Mesh Warrior” or something else you may not want to share. Lately, I’ve preferred “Aaron Brockobitch,” as in, “I’m ’bout to get all Aaron Brockobitch on that!” I digress. . .
Anyway, I have found that the spelling of my first name leads people to believe that I am an elderly Hebrew man. I happen to think highly of most elderly Hebrew men, but I am not one myself. I am a 30-something female, with a mesh-injured mother, and when meeting folks over the internet, I have found that “Aaron” is confusing and just doesn’t get my message across. So now that you know that, call me whatever you like, but know that I am at your service as YOUR MESH WARRIOR. The subject matter of this blog is not funny, not at all a laughable topic, but I find I must inject humor to keep going some days. I hope it will help you through particularly physically or emotionally painful days.
I am not myself mesh-injured, but I have lived alongside my mesh-injured mother for close to four years now, and I’ve met many, many others who’ve walked in her shoes, and maybe some that have walked in yours as well. I’m here to help you.
My journey started with the oppressively-constant ache in my own heart over my mother’s condition. As I’m working on the art of listening, I felt it best to write my feelings rather than spew them at friends, family, strangers or anyone who might ask me to pass the ketchup. So I poured my heart onto the page, googled “medical mesh” or something similar, and came upon a site that seemed like it had something to do with transvaginal mesh, and without knowing much more, I submitted my writings, begging the someone-in-cyberspace to help me or allow me to help or just something I didn’t know what to call yet. The editor of the site turned out to be the very experienced and highly-regarded national journalist, Jane Akre. She responded to me almost immediately and told me she’d like to publish my story. I hadn’t even told my mother I’d written it yet! Rather than ask permission, I said, “Yes- publish it!” deciding to ask mom’s forgiveness should it later be needed.
I thank God every day for Jane and that she published my article. She eventually invited me to become an official contributor at Mesh News Desk [dot] com, so that is how I came to be known as Aaron-something-or-other, The Accidental Journalist, The Mesh Warrior.
Once my “hearticle” (as I like to call it) was published, and my mother saw the response and how many like us are out there, she became hopeful for the first time in years. She wanted to help; we wanted to help together. Here is the article that changed my world, and because of it, I will never be the same- life will never be the same: When Family Members Suffer – Watching a Loved One Hurt by Transvaginal Mesh.
We learned there are others, like you perhaps, and we wanted to help. We could not stay silent. We did not want to, and the world around me changed drastically as I met the women below, to whom I owe a great debt for teaching me, embracing me, and helping me learn how to help. Thank you for picking up the pieces of my shattered paradigms, for listening, and for believing that I could in any way be part of the solution to this mesh mess.
Jane Akre – I will forever be grateful for Jane’s willingness to publish my “hearticle,” to believe in me, and to graciously lend me her credibility by allowing me to help and be part of the solution alongside her.
Linda Kilpatrick – I don’t want to put too much pressure on Linda by calling her, “The Oracle” but in our mesh community, that is what she is. She paved the way for all of us with her blog: http://teapapers.com/bladdersling . She tells it like it is, the gruesome and the ugly, but she is anything but. Mesh-injured herself, she remains a prolific artist with a teacher’s heart. She is intelligent, off-the-charts creative, wise, and transparent with a heart of gold and open hands to anyone who will receive.
Kim Huntress – This woman can do anything she sets her mind to, and as the daughter of a mesh-injured woman, she has given me strength and courage to find ways to help my family, as she helps herself and her mother when no one else could or would. My world is better with her in it.
Patricia Buchanan – Pat showed the world that recovery from this injury is not for whimps. A world-class athlete and cancer survivor, she proved to us that the initial condition (POP and/or SUI) and recovery from injury by mesh surgery is a difficult road, and has little if anything to do with whether a woman is post-menopausal, a little pudgy or in less-than-perfect physical condition.
Barb Vance – The first “Mesh Angel” I met. She is brave and courageous as she fights against her injury. She refuses to give up, and she inspires me. She will forever be the one who brought my mom and me out of isolation and the spark that ignited the flame for my passion to advocate on behalf of my mother and all those injured by the mesh.
I’d be glad to meet you and hear your comments. Please introduce yourself below and feel free to post anonymously here. Blessings to you all, and I hope today was one of the good days.