— UPDATED as of July 18, 2016 —
I’m sorry I have been doggone-blog-gone for a while, Warriors.
I have a feeling this is going to be one of those, “I hope you don’t take this the wrong way” entries. You see for me, these entries are, each one, original little flowers waiting for me to water them so they can bloom. This flower’s been buried deep in my heart for weeks, and it refuses to die, even though I’ve ignored it, deprived it of water, food, sunlight and any meager nutrient of thought. It’s still there, hanging on to life in my heart and mind. So, you see, it’s not my fault for writing it . . . for who wants to watch or should watch such a lovely, strong yet delicate flower slowly die?
YOU, Mesh Warriors, give me a reason to get up every day. It’s a good thing. Now that I’m a bit older, I look back over my life and see that an adversary always ignites a fire of love, energy and justice in me. I’ve been participating in this community – vocally anyway – since around sometime in early July 2013. Some of you, I’ve known longer than that, because you kindly reached out to me, recognizing my agony at watching a beautiful and strong, yet delicate creature slowly die – my own mother.
I’ve NEVER, NEVER, EVER met stronger people, stronger women in my life. No CEO of a multimillion dollar company, no celebrity or author I’ve had the fate to meet or spend time with, no self-made businessman or woman or real estate mogul. The physical pain you endure daily obviously doesn’t even compare to someone who can get up and out of bed regularly every day, and for those of you who can still work, how you work, veiling your pain and getting through each day, I’ll never know. The emotional and mental anguish is there too, from constant invalidation, dashed hopes, unanswered questions, doctors who are of zero help, to family who can’t understand or won’t participate or believe in you, and this last one is the one we all share, and one of the most difficult for me: EVIL. Confronting the face of pure evil every day, while trying to believe (some days more than others) that you can actually defeat this adversary.
It doesn’t compare to what YOU, the REAL Warriors go through, and I know many of you don’t have another Warrior, in your corner, fighting with you. For those of you who don’t, that is why I get up in the morning – to fight the battle for you, with you, and for my own mother and family.
And here’s the thing: Your Co-Warriors get wounded too, in different ways than you, of course; and we do not tell you, because we don’t want to increase your suffering.
Please understand that I am not comparing the pain of those of us who are not injured to the chronic, daily, unrelenting pain of what you all endure.
But for the Warriors who do participate and try to help: I GET IT. IT’S HARD. IT HURTS LIKE HELL. AND THAT IS WHERE THE BEAST IS FROM, STRAIGHT OUTTA THE DARK, BOILING, SULPHURIC CORE OF ANOTHER DIMENSION.
This ordeal is a journey that each family member traverses at different paces. Some arrive at the ugly truths of this brutal mesh saga sooner than others; some stay in denial, hoping the pain will somehow evaporate; some take on the atlas, burning their bright light out, shrugging it with tired arms- now too weak to help anyone, even themselves. You can probably think about each category and put one of your family members or friends into each one. Each category has its own benefits and pitfalls.
I’m probably writing this sentence more for myself than for you. This is not a battle; it’s a WAR. And it will be a long one, I fear. This journey isn’t for delicate flowers, which shrivel at even the first sign of a Winter day. Come to think of it, you know, I’ve never understood that American phrase we use during competitive games of Pictionary or as a member of a sports team, or when smack-talking during college football season (OU Sux!). Had to take that opportunity . . . . sorry, I digressed or regressed possibly.
We say, “You’re such a Pansy!” But why do we say that? The colloquialism basically means, “Dude, you’re a wimp!” but pansies are one of the strongest flowers on the planet, if not the strongest. They don’t wither; they don’t sulk and hang their elaborately-colored, little faces at the days-on-end of a hard freeze; they do not refuse to regenerate, or refuse to LIVE in their cold and harsh reality. Through a C.S. Lewis, Narnia-like winter that could last for ages, they would proliferate, flourish, thrive, and might just be the only sign of the beautifully-victorious spring to come.
But when the warmth of spring seems so far away from this icy and desolate place – a place without any Hope, but for this one flower, what are we to believe?
Why is this one flower so different than the others?
Why is it hearty, surviving and thriving during the harshest of winters?
Why is it so unique?
I’m sure a botanist could answer these question easily, but the real question is: Why does the pansy exist at all? And further, why have we been led to believe, even ourselves promulgated the lie that this is a weak flower, when quite the opposite is true?
If you’re a Mesh Warrior, in bed today, unable to do much of anything, but possibly read this blog, maybe you could follow that question to its end – for you – to the end that you are satisfied with knowing.
When people ask me about this mesh nightmare, I’ve started literally asking them,
“Well, which pill do you want to take: the blue pill or the red pill (another film reference)?
“Do you want to know how far the rabbit hole goes?”
Some answer directly – right away – and say, “I don’t really want to know the details.”
I don’t blame them.
Others take time to think, eventually saying, “Yes, I’ll take the RED pill.”
So I tell them the bad and the ugly. I say, “Ok, but once you know the things I’m going to tell you, you cannot UN-KNOW them. You will not see the world anymore, as you do now.” They brace themselves then. I ask them how much time they have.
I tell them about the toxicity of polypropylene plastic mesh, and how medical doctors actually thought putting permanently inserting plastic in a human body was a good idea. They called it medicine. They called it a minimally-invasive therapeutic intervention.
I start in with the medical jargon. I tell them about POP and SUI.
I move on to the policy and more jargon. I tell them about the FDA’s 510k process.
I tell them the transvaginal mesh device was not tested on humans.
I tell them about the FDA-approved device used as the predicate device for FDA-clearance of the currently-used transvaginal mesh devices, and how the predicate device was recalled, but was still used as proof to substantiate that the mesh, now in use (STILL in use!), is safe.
I tell them the difference between FDA Approval and FDA Clearance.
I tell them about the smoking gun at the first C.R. Bard trial, the third-party shell company used to gain polypropylene plastic from its source manufacturer, an oil company. “Yes, they had to lie to an oil company to get their deeds done!” I say.
“SERIOUSLY?” they respond incredulously. “Yes, very seriously,” I underscore.
I tell them about the more than 50,000 pending cases against these medical device manufacturers (as of July 2016, that number has climbed to more than 100,000) .
I tell them about the kinds of injury these devices cause. I use words like maim.
I tell them about the past four years; how much pain my mother is still in; how hard we’ve worked to find answers.
So go ahead, call me a PANSY. I will take it as a compliment. Still, even pansies cannot reach for the sun forever. You, PANSY-WARRIOR (what a ridiculous phrase) need rest and distance and to heal so that we can continue to grow through this – what will be a long, long winter, as holocaust survivor, prolific author and elite pansy, Elie Weisel puts it, “the dark night of the soul.”
But if you are a pansy, you too will survive this dark night of the soul, and you can thrive, just as Mr. Weisel did, until this month, July 2016, at the age of 87. You will not go extinct or be extinguished by this frigid and bleak time. Remember, WINTER is only one of four seasons, and it does not last forever.
In the beautiful poetic words of the Indigo Girls, I’ll leave you with this transcendent song, and its lyric,
“And I ask for Providence to smile upon me with HIS sweet face . . . ah, and I’ll tell you . . . My place is of the sun, and this place is of the dark, and I, I do not feel the romance; I do not catch the spark . . . But I will not be a pawn for the prince of darkness any longer.”