The Accidental Journalist & Warrior – how it all began:

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.

Your Warrior,

Aaron

16 responses

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  4. Great Blog, Aaron. Thanks for adding another voice to those who are mesh-injured, and another resource where people can find support and information. You are an amazing woman, and gifted writer. Looking forward to more of what you have to share. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi my name is Susan. I just stumbled across this blog and oh such an uplifting page. I know all to well what lots of these women are going thru because I am also a mesh victim – and I struggle daily trying to keep things together. I pray for our group of injured ladies that God gives us all strength to come thru this victorious. God bless you for all your words of encouragement 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Welcome to the blog and to our community, Donna Hart! I am so sorry for your injury. You’ve found a wonderful community of women who will help you get through this journey with love, support, advice and lots of shoulders to cry on. Please send me an email at themeshwarrior@gmail.com so that we can speak in a more private forum. Also, check out the “Links and Resources” page and join some of those online community for support and immediate compassion and validation. I’m glad you are here. Welcome!

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  7. Hello – My name is Donna Hart , I am a 48yr old female – lover of life – wife and mother and step-mother to 5 and now collecting grand-children. Previously, I was very active both physically and mentally and worked fulltime for many yrs. I have an American Medical Systems Mesh implant placed in me in 2008 as suggested by my gynecologist at the same time as a partial hysterectomy to prevent bladder prolapse. I immediately afterwards had a lot of bleeding and many infections and finally told I have a spastic bladder that makes me feel as if I have a bladder infection when no infection exist. For some two years I dealt with this as well as symptoms of what I have been told by my doctors is osteoporosis and fibromyalgia. Piercing, radiating pain in my lower back and hips, neck, head and a burning pain that seems to go all the way through from my bones to my skin throughout my body. I was told by my doctors after using all my money to get MRI’s and blood work that all this had nothing to do with the mesh in me as I suggested . The symptoms continued to get worse and I have not been able to work outside my home since Oct -2010. I take pain meds and muscle relaxers during the day just to get by and a sleep aid at night as I wakeup from the pain after 4 hrs without it. I applied for SSDI as I had plenty of work credits and have been told by the Social security Administration that although I am very limited physically -they do not consider me disabled -I filed in May of 2011 and am on my last appeal which be held sometime in 2014. After reading the accounts of so many other people and feeling as if I was reading my own life story I came to realize that the mesh implant is the cause of many of my problems. I ,like many others, am now battling depression as my physical, mental and financial life continues to worsen . I did join the MDL lawsuit at the end of 2012. I will be seeing a urologist soon to just have an update on what they can tell is going on with the mesh – I do not have funds to have it removed. I am married and although we scrape by(slowly drowning in debt) we do not have medical insurance and make just enough not to be helped. Under the “Affordable Health Care Act” I can qualify to get pre-existing insurance but I cannot afford the payments. I realize my story is not unique and I am hoping to connect with others who are fighting this battle and can hopefully guide me in some way
    . Thank you so much for supplying this blog.

    Like

    • Hi Donna!
      Most importantly, I’m so glad you’re here, and there are many communities you can connect with on Facebook to speak more about the medical aspect of your injuries. Secondly, I am so very sorry for your injury, and I hope you find love, acceptance and emotional healing in our small but growing community. Some suggestions on Facebook are: Fighters & Survivors of All Transvaginal Mesh and Hernia Plugs, Mesh Me Not, Failed Implants & Medical Devices (FIDA) and Links on Mesh and TVT-No. These are all support groups.

      Thirdly- YOU WON OUR VERY FIRST EVER FRIDAY GIVEAWAY!!! CHECK YOUR EMAIL FOR MORE INFORMATION, AND CONGRATULATIONS! ONCE AGAIN, WELCOME!

      Like

  8. Aaron~I love the blog and I love you friend. Thank you for your sweet words. My life will be forever changed since meeting you on that rainy afternoon in Tyler. There seemed to be an instant bond with us right away. You have helped me find strength I never knew I had to continue to fight this fight to the very end and I thank you so very much. You are always there and so uplifting just when I need it the most. I call you my “mesh angel” because you seem to appear out of no
    where. May blessings on this new journey~

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Aaron, I am honored to know you, and proud of you for the time and heart you put in supporting mesh victims. I will share this link and encourage everyone to check out your blog. Thank you so much!

    Like

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