SUNDAY REFLECTIONS: When That Rough God Goes Riding

Harper Lee was once asked why she never wrote another book after To Kill A Mockingbird. She said, “I have already said everything I wanted to say.” Poignant, no doubt.

In this same way, another writer and musician said almost everything I’ve ever wanted to say to the pharmaceutical companies, their executives, their lawyers, their consciences (if any of them even has one, that he must be ignoring). . .

In. One. B-side. Song.

Best listened to with headphones, and the words in front of you, not the video, IMHO.

From Van Morrison’s 1997’s album, The Healing Game . . .

“Rough God”

Van Morrison

Oh the mud splattered victims
Have to pay out all along the ancient highway
Torn between half truth and victimisation
Fighting back with counter attacks

It’s when that rough God goes riding
When the rough God goes gliding
And that rough God goes riding
Riding on in

I was flabbergasted by the headlines
People in glasshouses throwing stones
Gaping wounds that will never heal
Now they’re moaning like a dog in a manger

It’s when that rough God goes riding
And that rough God goes gliding
There’ll be nobody hiding
When that rough God goes riding on in

And it’s a matter of survival
When you’re born with your back against the wall
Won’t somebody hand me a Bible
Won’t you give me that number to call

When that rough God goes riding
And then that rough God goes gliding
They’ll be nobody hiding
When that rough God goes riding on in
Riding on in

When that rough God goes riding
When that rough God goes gliding
There’ll be nobody hiding
When that rough God goes riding on in
Riding on in

There’ll be no more heroes
They’ll be reduced to zero
When that rough God goes riding
Riding on in
Riding on in
Riding on in
Riding on in

 

 

 

 

Symptom Spotlight – “Ascites”*

Today’s Spotlight Symptom is:  “Ascites”

Many mesh-injured women and men suffer from this condition, yet it seems to be one of those symptoms that many doctors write off as “idiopathic” when seen in mesh-injured patients. Please refer to yesterday’s blog post to understand how doctors use the term “idiopathic” in a clinical setting.

Click here to learn how to Pronounce Ascites

Definition of Ascites: Ascites is the accumulation of fluid (usually serous fluid which is a pale yellow and clear fluid) that accumulates in the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity. The abdominal cavity is located below the chest cavity, separated from it by the diaphragm. Ascitic fluid can have many sources such as liver disease, cancers, congestive heart failure, or kidney failure. (SOURCE: http://www.medicinenet.com)

Medical-Diagnosis-2-callout-EN1

Below are actual pictures of Ascites in mesh-injured patients. These four women have shared these intimate photos in hopes that their injuries will help YOU, the reader, or another injured person you may know.

THANK YOU TO THESE MESH WARRIORS!

Ascites_Picture_Mesh_Injury

 

“While a tense abdomen filled with fluid is easy to recognize, initially, the amount of ascites fluid may be small and difficult to detect. As the amount of fluid increases, the patient may complain of a fullness or heaviness in the abdomen. It is often the signs of the underlying disease that initially brings the patient to seek medical care.” (SOURCE: emedicinehealth.com)

As I explained in yesterday’s blog, when a patient goes to the doctor with a symptom that doesn’t present in the most common medical context, many doctors do not pursue further understanding about why a common symptom is presenting in an uncommon way.

For example, the most common cause of Ascites is cirrhosis of the liver. So, say a mesh-injured woman presents to her physician with Ascites, but has no history of liver disease or alcoholism, and no cirrhosis of the liver. What happens next; or more appropriately, what should happen next?

The process of diagnosing the underlying cause of any symptom is performed by using the method of differential diagnosis. In the case of Ascites, one other possible explanation for the symptom is:

“Those who have spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (an infection of the peritoneum) develop abdominal pain and fever.” (SOURCE: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/ascites/page3_em.htm)

It is now well known that mesh can cause life-threatening and recurrent infection. So it seems to me that further investigation would be crucial to any patient with mesh who presents with Ascites.

Differential Diagnosis – the determination of which of two or more diseases with similar symptoms is the one from which the patient is suffering, by a systematic comparison and contrasting of the clinical findings.

Physicians are taught to follow these procedures to continue to rule out every cause, until a fotolia_5910589_XSshort list of possible causes remain. Ruling out underlying causes of any symptom(s) is carried out through a sequence of examinations and diagnostic testing.

With this symptom in particular, I am hearing from many women who are sent away by their doctors with some variation of an excuse, claiming ignorance, or at best, simply treating the condition with pharmaceuticals while refusing to perform simple diagnostic procedures and testing that could provide that doctor with more information and eventually to a better form of treatment, or cure ,and the underlying cause of the symptom.

So, when a mesh-injured patient presents with Ascites, and the physician has ruled out the most common cause of this symptom (cirrhosis of the liver), then his training requires that he begin to rule out additional possible causes.

In graph form, the process of ruling out causes for Ascites might look something like this:

ascites

 

Doctors are trained to use the above method with every symptom or illness. It is part of their daily scope of work, so why do I so often hear from women that they go to the ER, to their family physicians, to their OB/Gyns, and to their Urogynecologists with this disturbing symptom only to be told something like this, “I don’t know what this is,” or “I’ve never seen this before.”? The above process for differential diagnosis is relatively simple. Even the diagnostic testing is relatively simple, as noted above.

To find out more about testing used in the diagnosis of suspected Ascites, refer to the below pictures, and click on these links to learn more.

Abdominal Ultrasound

abdominal ultrasound

Diagnostic Paracentesis

drainas-300x206

Computed Tomography (CT Scan)

anatomy_of_a_CT_scan

These women describe to their physicians that this symptom is not simply uncomfortable, but it’s PAINFUL. They describe shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, naseau and vomiting, and the obvious limitations in lifestyle and decreased quality of life – not being able to fit into clothing, not being able to lie on their stomachs, pain when sitting, etc. Imagine all the uncomfortable symptoms of being nine months pregnant, except this situation doesn’t end in the birth of a beautiful new family member.

I find it maddening, sickening, detestable, and downright cruel that so many doctors refuse to treat mesh-injured men and women, especially when these patients present with odd or “out of the box” symptoms.

I encourage you to print and use the above graph if you suspect you have this symptom. Bring it to your doctor. Earlier this week, I spoke with a woman who went to her Ob/Gyn with this symptom, and he simply told her there was nothing he could do to help her. What?! She even asked for some of the testing in the above graph, but still the physician refused to help her.

The question we should be asking is “Why?” The action we should be taking is to educate ourselves about our own bodies and what our bodies are trying to communicate to us through symptoms. Our physicians must understand that we know they are refusing treatment, and we know that it’s wrong to do so.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s “Spotlight Symptom.” I hope this information will help you when you visit your doctor, seeking treatment and a better quality of life.

The_Mesh_Warrio_Flower_logo_150x150_thumbnail

*I am not a doctor. This information is for educational purposes, and is based on my own experiences. Seek medical attention for this or any other symptom.

 

 

 

MESH INJURY – “Spotlight Symptoms”

Hello Warriors;

Today, I’m starting a blog series called, “MESH INJURY – Spotlight Symptoms.”*

TVMI encounter an alarmingly typical and recurrent problem when advocating for and with mesh-injured patients. It goes something like this:

  1. Mesh-injured patient develops a disturbing symptom.
  2. Mesh-injured patient visits his/her PCP or a specialist to seek diagnosis and treatment.
  3. Physician performs a physical exam, and says something like, “I don’t know what that is,” or I’ve never seen anything like this [symptom].”
  4. Patient is confused and bewildered and asks if there are tests that could be done or another doctor or specialist who would know more about the symptom.
  5. Physician says, “No,” and doesn’t perform any diagnostics to find out the underlying cause of the symptom (environmental cause, disease process, injury, or infectious pathogen).
  6. Physician prescribes medicine to mask or alleviate symptom(s) (e.g. topical creams for rashes, antibiotics for a suspected infection, maybe some other pharmaceutical to control pain or discomfort, or even an invasive or non-invasive form of treatment).
  7. Patient goes home still symptomatic, with no diagnosis, and with one or more pharmaceutical or other treatments to consider, which may or may not work, since the UNDERLYING CAUSE or UNDERLYING PATHOLOGY, which caused the symptom to manifest, was never studied in depth by the treating physician.
  8. Patient goes home and follows pharmaceutical regimen or advice for treatment.
  9. Pharmaceuticals and treatments do not alleviate symptom(s). Symptom(s) continue.
  10. Patient is left untreated and without a next step.

Paternalistic-vs-Patient-CenteredOftentimes a physician will refer to a symptom as “idiopathic,” which in layman’s terms simply means, “Who knows where it came from?” There is a responsible use of this term, but I see it used irresponsibly too often.

Some diseases are generally agreed to be “of idiopathic origin,” because no one in science can definitively identify an underlying cause. In this case, “idiopathic” is often part of the name of the disease or syndrome itself. Some examples are:

  • Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (sometimes called Acute or Chronic ITP) is a bleeding disorder, in which a patient has abnormally low blood platelets, and thus their blood does not properly clot.
  • Idiopathic Hemochromatosis – is another bleeding disorder, in which an abnormal and dangerous amount of iron accumulates in the body’s tissues or organs, including the liver and lungs.

Both disorders are life threatening if left untreated. These disorders present with SYMPTOMS, and when doctors invest in diagnostic procedures, these diagnostic procedures, coupled with symptoms, lead them to a diagnosis, which then leads to a treatment or even a cure.

A serious problem arises when physicians use the word “idiopathic” irresponsibly. In all cases, any particular symptom or cluster of symptoms do originate from some cause, from something, from somewhere, and any doctor who does not search for the underlying cause of a symptom is negligent. “I don’t know,” would be a more accurate physician response in this situation, however; “idiopathic” sounds so much more, you know, medical and stuff. Odd or uncommon symptoms can often co-occur, simultaneously with other more salient symptoms, and when viewed together as a whole, the underlying disease process in these cases, can be more obvious, leading to a higher chance of diagnosis, or a more rapid diagnosis, which then leads to the correct treatment, to the best of the physician’s actual knowledge.

Puzzled male shrugging wearing lab coat

But, what if a patient presents with an idiopathic symptom that does not have a common accompanying symptom or cluster of symptoms that is easily recognizable to an average physician? In my personal experience, this situation is when physicians can get a bit lazy with the use of  the term”idiopathic.”

“Of idiopathic origin” is so much more dignified on a patient’s chart than:

“I have no friggin’ idea, but it’s not my problem, so I gave the patient some samples.”

So, has your physician ever told you, “I’ve never seen that symptom,” or “Your symptom seems to be idiopathic and will most likely resolve on its own.”?

If so, I’d love to hear from you.

Have you had the experience I describe above?device-transvaginal-mesh-edit

If you have, what was the symptom?

Did you ever get to the bottom of it?

Did the physician suggest diagnostic testing, or did you ask for such if he/she did not?

Did you find your doctors to be helpful in assisting you as you continued to pursue a cause, or did you find that your doctor quietly excused himself from your care, and left you to find some other doctor who might help?

Tuesday we’ll talk about the first of many symptoms which are commonly seen in mesh-injured patients, but for which doctors often say there is no explanation or that physician seems to have no drive to find an explanation.

With this series of blogs, I hope to highlight some very common symptoms, for which mesh-injured patients are turned away, left with no medical solution to pursue. Let’s use our collective knowledge as a community to help one another and to help those who don’t understand the realities of ongoing mesh injury.

The_Mesh_Warrio_Flower_logo_150x150_thumbnail

*I am not a doctor. This information is for education purposes only and is based on my personal experiences. If you have a symptom, please find a doctor who will help you identify and treat your symptoms.

Sunday Reflections from Another Patient

Hello Warriors;

I have the great pleasure to share the thoughts of my friend, who is also a patient, and patient advocate.

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 8.21.52 AMMrs. Linda Radach and I met at the USA Patient Advocate Network workshop in D.C. last year, underwritten by the National Center for Health Research and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 8.21.37 AM

You know when you have the feeling that you’ve known someone forever, but you’ve only just met? That is the way I feel about Linda. Our friendship took mere hours to bloom, partly, I suspect, because she is a type of fertilizer for the soul.

Linda was injured by a failed hip implant, and she has suffered greatly as a result. Still, though her spirit is weary at times, she leans upon her faith in Christ and the Lord of the Bible for wisdom and strength. She has allowed me to share her faith and source of healing in a poem she wrote, Captured Free.

Scripture inspires her life and her writings. She has offered a collection of her thoughts and expressions of her pain in scripture here: Healing Worship – Lenten Study Notes. As a true believer, she runs further into the wisdom of God, so freely given to all, even in her suffering. I hope her words bring you comfort and serve as a salve for your aching soul. I know the many conversations we’ve had were powerful for me and healed some of the broken pieces in my soul. In the realm of human suffering, we are all alike. We all experience it in different ways, but suffering can bring those who sing, in spite of their trials, together – to make a beautiful noise to the Lord who hears our cries.

Here is a beautiful song to listen to, as you read Linda’s words and meditate on them.

Lord, Hear My Prayer

SongbirdSpectrumWC391

“Captured Free”

 

Songbird sits, quiet and still

No warble or whistle, no song or trill

Once free to fly, with songs soaring high

On the perch where she sits

Her soul wooden and dry

 

The view from her cage – dark and drear

No light or shadow, only shades of fear

Dreams shattered

Heart tattered

Pain has silenced her praise

 

There must be a way to regain her song

But night after night the silence grows long

Freedom and joy – mere memories now

Still, faint though it be, hope wonders how

A melody stirs in the darkness

 

Slowly light dawns upon the small locked cage

Revealing the way known to the wise and the sage

In this new morning she would take a chance

To free her soul and rejoin the dance

Humming the melody of the darkness

 

Imperceptible at first, the cage doors released

Giving flight to her wings as imprisonment ceased.

Tearful, yet growing stronger, her song she raised

Offering up a sacrifice of praise

Giving thanks for the limitations of her life in the cage.

 

By Linda J. L. Radach

November, 2012

 

Look for these beautiful songbirds, and remember the Lord’s word.

He cares for you.

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows”. – Luke 12:7

“Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God.” – Psalm 84:3

bird-poster

“2 Doctors 2Day” – Dr. Kevin Benson of Sioux Falls/Dr. Vincent Lucente of Allentown, PA

Hello Warriors;

Coloplast Restorelle Direct Fix for POP; the device used in this FDA 522 study.

Coloplast Restorelle Direct Fix for POP; the device used in this FDA 522 study.

Below are two more physicians who are participating in the prospective cohort study, ordered by the FDA:

Restorelle® Mesh Versus Native Tissue Repair for Prolapse

If you live in or around Sioux Falls, SD or Allentown, PA, please be aware of these recruiting physicians, and please share this post with friends and family members who live in these areas.


Kevin Benson, MD, MS of Sioux Falls, SD

Kevin Benson, MD, MS of Sioux Falls, SD

Sanford Research

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States, 57104

Contact: Jessica Howard/605-328-1389

jessica.howard@sanfordhealth.org  

Principal Investigator: Kevin Benson, MD, MS




Dr. Vincent Lucente, a Coloplast Proctor, recruiting new women for implant with Coloplast Restorelle Direct Fix.

Dr. Vincent Lucente, a Coloplast Proctor, recruiting new women for implant with Coloplast Restorelle Direct Fix

The Institute for Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery 

Contact: Marcie Taff, RN/610-435-9575   

mtaff@fpminstitute.com   

Principal Investigator: Vincent Lucente, MD, MBA  

It is no surprise that Dr. Lucente is recruiting for the Coloplast Restorelle study that would implant new women with a Coloplast product. The doctor touts his role as a “Proctor” for Coloplast. A proctor is usually a doctor, paid by a manufacturer, (in this case, Coloplast) to tour the U.S. or other parts of the world to teach other physicians how to use the manufacturer’s product(s). In this case, Dr. Lucente has been touring Australia, teaching physicians how to use Coloplast’s “Altis Single Incision Sling” for SUI. Many of Coloplast’s products under litigation, for SUI and POP, are still sold.

See below for a video describing the placement of the “Altis” device.

The important point here is that many doctors (and very obviously Dr. Lucente) have an incentive to recruit patients for these studies, because THESE DOCTORS ARE PAID BY THE MANUFACTURER TO DO SO. To me, that represents a clear conflict of interest for any FDA-ordered follow-up study (522 study) to render unbiased science.

Coloplast “Altis” Procedure Animation


I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m ending this post on a high note, but I am ending it on a note. . . from the great Billy Joel and his famous song, “Allentown.”

Dear Allentown, PA:

Don’t let the manufacturers of ANYTHING “take all the coal from the ground” again or return under a new name to take your mothers, grandfathers and fathers who “met at the USO” and fought and survived World War II at home and abroad. Mesh manufacturers, too, will “crawl away” leaving a generation of your families demolished by polypropylene mesh. 

I wouldn’t say it if I hadn’t seen it myself.

Generations of families are being wiped out by an enemy of a different name.

The rest of the country thinks of your community as the great, sturdy, American, Allentown.

Stand up to mesh in your community!

“Allentown” Lyrics/Billy Joel (1982)

Well, we’re living here in Allentown
And they’re closing all the factories down
Out in Bethlehem they’re killing time
Filling out forms
Standing in line

Well, our fathers fought the second World War
Spent their weekends on the Jersey shore
Met our mothers in the USO
Asked them to dance
Danced with them slow

And we’re living here in Allentown
But the restlessness was handed down
And it’s getting very hard to stay

Well we’re waiting here in Allentown
For the Pennsylvania we never found
For the promises our teachers gave
If we worked hard
If we behaved

So the graduations hang on the wall
But they never really helped us at all
No they never taught us what was real
Iron and coke
Chromium Steel

And we’re waiting here in Allentown
But they’ve taken all the coal from the ground
And the union people crawled away

Every child had a pretty good shot
To get at least as far as their old man got
But something happened on the way to that place
They threw an American flag in our face

Well, I’m living here in Allentown
And it’s hard to keep a good man down
But I won’t be getting up today

And it’s getting very hard to stay
And we’re living here in Allentown

“A Doctor A Day” – Costas Apostolis, MD/Akron Urogynecology Associates AND What Would You Say?

Hello Warriors;

Here is your “Doctor A Day,”  Costas Apostolis, MD at Akron General. You know what to do!

Costas Apostolis, MD is currently recruiting new patients for mesh implant in Akron, OH.

Costas Apostolis, MD is currently recruiting new patients for mesh implant in Akron, OH.

Akron Urogynecology Associates

Akron, Ohio, United States, 44333

Contact: Connie Cottrell    330-344-7681

Principal Investigator: Costas Apostolis, MD


Science with Hope

Many of you may have seen the recent video posted by Dr. Shlomo Raz and his team at UCLA. Associate Professor, Division of Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Urology, Ja-Hong Kim, MD, and a fellow of Dr. Raz, hosts a 20-minute video presentation titled, What You Need to Know About Vaginal Mesh for Female Pelvic Surgery.” Dr. Kim opens her talk by saying, she will provide a “clear, concise overview of mesh.” Finally, a well-respected surgeon is putting transvaginal mesh in plain English. This video will surely provide a much better education for women who are considering mesh as an option for repair of POP or SUI. Please watch the video below, and then read the rest of my post.

  • 1:25 – Dr. Kim defines Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) as a loss of urine during physical activity due to weaknesses of the pelvic floor. Dr. Kim notes that a woman’s lifetime risk for developing SUI is 20% – 40%. A 20% variability represents several standard deviations. I believe it is the most conservative approach to cite the highest level of known risk in treating SUI with mesh: 40% LIFETIME RISK.
  • 1:42 – Dr. Kim defines Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) as a vaginal bulge of pelvic organs resulting from weaknesses of the pelvic floor and cites that a woman’s a lifetime risk for POP is 30% – 50%. Again, with a 20% variability, I believe the most conservative approach, when contemplating repair with mesh, would be to use the highest incidence of lifetime risk: 50% LIFETIME RISK.

The Coloplast Restorelle® Mesh Versus Native Tissue Repair for Prolapse study for which I’ve been posting “A Doctor A Day,” has INCLUSION and EXCLUSION criteria.

I’m concerned about two of the INCLUSION criterion, specifically:

  • Subject has pelvic organ prolapse with leading edge at or beyond the hymen. At or beyond the hymen is defined as POP-Q scores of Ba ≥0 and C≥ -1/2 tvl or Bp ≥0 and C≥ -1/2 tvl
  • Subject reports a bothersome bulge they can see or feel per PFDI-20 question 3, response of 2 or higher (i.e. responses of “somewhat”, “moderately” or “quite a bit”)

These two criterion for INCLUSION are part of a longer list of criteria that defines a “good candidate” for the study. A woman who has early stage prolapse (Ba ≥0 and C≥ -1/2 tvl or Bp ≥0 and C≥ -1/2 tvl) and/or answers questions about how “bothersome” a “bulge” is with the answer of “somewhat” or “moderately” bothersome is considered a “good candidate” for the study.

In my many discussions with urogynecologists, some of them have been shocked, and even quite upset, that a mesh implant was used for a woman in early or moderate stage prolapse. These physicians said,

“Treatment of POP with surgical intervention and mesh implant should be a TREATMENT OF LAST RESORT.”

According to the University of Virginia, there are stages of POP, 0-4.

  • Stage 0 means that there is no prolapse. The pelvic organs like the vagina, bladder and rectum are perfectly supported by the ligaments in the pelvis.
  • Stage 1 means that there is virtually no prolapse. The pelvic organs are very well-supported by the ligaments in the pelvis.
  • Stage 2 prolapse means that the pelvic organs are not as well supported by the ligaments and have begun to fall down. In Stage 2 prolapse, the organs are still inside the vagina.
  • Stage 3 prolapse means the pelvic organs are beginning to bulge to or beyond the opening of the vagina.
  • Stage 4 prolapse means the pelvic organs are completely outside of the vagina.

Do you know which stage of prolapse you have/had at the time of mesh implant?

Do you think it is ethical for a study to recruit NEW patients who are in early-stage prolapse?

If you could talk to a woman who is considering participation in this study, what would you tell her?


NOTE: MY OBSERVATIONS SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS MEDICAL ADVICE AND SHOULD NOT BE A REPLACEMENT FOR SEEKING THE MEDICAL OPINION OF YOUR DOCTOR. THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDED AS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL ONLY. MY COMMENTARY IS MY OWN OPINION, BASED ON MY OWN RESEARCH AND MY OWN EXPERIENCE. THE QUESTIONS I RAISE ARE MEANT TO BETTER EDUCATE YOU, SO THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE A MORE PRODUCTIVE CONVERSATION WITH YOUR MEDICAL CARE TEAMS.

“A Doctor A Day” Keeps This Study Away/Novant Health Urology Partners, Winston-Salem, NC

Hello Warriors!

Dr. John J. Smith, III of Novant Urology Partners in Winston-Salem, NC

Dr. John J. Smith, III of Novant Urology Partners in Winston-Salem, NC

Please be aware if you live in the Winston-Salem area. Dr. John J Smith, III of Novant Health Urology Partners is recruiting for implant of new women in a study sponsored by Coloplast and ordered by the FDA.

Restorelle® Mesh Versus Native Tissue Repair for Prolapse

Novant Health Clinical Research

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States, 27103

Contact: Kim Robinson       krrobinson@novanthealth.org

Principal Investigator: John J Smith, III, MD


A Crazy Little Thing Called Hope

In the midst of working our way through the crazy-making maze of our healthcare system as it is now, how do we stay HEALTHY? How do we avoid danger?

I am not suggesting that you follow this physician’s advice, but I find it very telling. The last time I was in the ER with my mom, her admitting ER physician came to speak with me about some of her test results. Completely unsolicited, the FIRST thing he said to me was,

“The best way to keep your mom healthy is to keep her away from doctors.”

WOW! This unsolicited advice from a doctor I had NEVER met, who knew very little about my mother’s medical history! Honestly, I was not surprised he said it. I was just surprised it was the FIRST THING OUT OF HIS MOUTH!

While we still have the ability to CHOOSE which doctor we believe will best provide care for our speciality care needs and our total health, we can continue to educate ourselves – about our personal medical history, medical terminology, and the benefits and risks of any medications or treatments that may be recommended to us by our healthcare professionals.

Pause-iconLately, I’ve been learning to “push the pause button.” Stop and think. If my doctor recommends a treatment, it’s responsible for me to research the risks and benefits and then ask for a second consultation once I have more education about any treatment that will affect my body and my life.

So today, as you think about your own life, your own body, your own health; think about pressing the pause button. Stop. Think. Research. Consult. Decide. All of those actions do not have to be done in one consultation with your doctor.

YOU are the most important person in the room when you’re with any doctor. After all, it’s your life. With “pressing pause” comes hope and a renewed sense of control over your own health destiny. I hope this little, seemingly obvious, technique helps you regain a sense of your options and a sense that YOU are the MVP in your healthcare decisions.

“A Doctor A Day” William Porter, MD of Charlotte, NC . . . and An Apology

Hello Warriors;

Here is your “Doctor a Day.” You know what to do. Call, email, question. Always question.

William Porter, MD of Novant Health Urogynecology, Charlotte, NC is actively recruiting for the FDA’s 522 prospective cohort study: Restorelle® Mesh Versus Native Tissue Repair for Prolapse

William Porter, MD of Novant Health Urogynecology in Charlotte, NC

William Porter, MD of Novant Health Urogynecology in Charlotte, NC

Novant Health Urogynecology

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States, 28210

Contact: Christine Mackey    704-574-5157

Principal Investigator: William Porter, MD


An Apology . . . .

As I was thinking this weekend, I realized that in sharing each doctor who is actively recruiting for this study that would implant NEW patients with Coloplast’s Restorelle for the repair of POP, I have been remiss in my “Doctor A Day” postings. I have not been doing what is core to my cause. I vowed to provide you with information, but I also promised to PROVIDE YOU WITH HOPE.

In these posts, I have not provided HOPE. For this failure, I ask, “Will you forgive me?”

hope changes everythingI hope you will. This blog is about providing you with helpful information, but it’s also about providing hope, for if we lose hope, then we have surely lost everything.

Science should be a celebration of human endeavor, the indomitable human spirit, and the ability of science, when used for GOOD, to overcome the barriers and burdens of Mother Nature that lead to human suffering and pain.

So, how does our mesh-injured community celebrate science when everywhere we turn, we seem to find another doctor who has minimized our suffering; another researcher with a clear conflict of interest; another underhanded tactic used by a lawyer; another failure of the FDA to protect us; and yet another layer of the onion, peeled back to reveal something even more horrendous?

We celebrate the true scientists among us. They are still out there.

As I’ve been sharing “A Doctor A Day,” a question occurred to me:

“What does it mean to be a ‘TRUE SCIENTIST,’ and when did the twin disciples of science and medicine begin to drift apart in such seemingly different directions?”

I immediately recalled the answer of a new friend, whom I met just recently. A chemist himself, I was truly curious and so asked him, “So, what is the difference between a true chemist and someone who uses chemistry?” I found his answer to be simple yet profound.

“A true chemist does chemistry for the sake of doing chemistry,” he said.

My friend’s answer provoked in me another question that I did not explore at the time.

“Where are our generation’s heroes of science, those men and women who, in their various hyper-intellectual specialities, are currently making history by ‘doing science for the sake of doing science?'”

And why do we now refer to scientists as “researchers?” I don’t think I like that term. At least for me, the word “researcher” carries with it a connotation that an appropriately educated person works for someone or something other than the cause of science itself, maybe even for a company who seeks to pay any given researcher to find the answer that company wants, not the answer that is scientifically valid. That is not “science for the sake of science.” That is “science for the sake of profit.”

Clearly, everyone must earn a living, but somehow the scientists of history did make a living, many times before they were employed at all. They were scientists because they wanted to be.

Maybe scientists became researchers with the advent of today’s modern Corporation, an entity whose highest value is profit.

The Corporation (Click link to view the informative documentary.)Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 3.55.54 PM

In contrast to “researcher,” the term “scientist” conveys a sense of the noble pursuit of truth, as revealed by science. For me, this word offers more meaning. The imagery I get is one of anticipation, hope and a fidelity to the purity of the scientific method.

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator. In 2015 for his "extraordinary role in exciting the public about the wonders of science."

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator. In 2015 for his “extraordinary role in exciting the public about the wonders of science.”

I’m thinking we need to borrow from Justin Timberlake’s lyrics here and “bring sexy back” to science and scientists.

Why should our society revere doctors as if they were gods, and not think about from where their earthly powers come, the steady long-suffering pursuit of scientific knowledge by SCIENTISTS?

The lucrative “practice of medicine,” is rooted in the dreams of scientists, the discoverers, the curious among us, those with a deep-seated need to find and find out, those with a “keen sensing search,” as Nikola Tesla has been quoted to say. By this method, we uncover the highest calling to the scientist.

Sir Alexander Fleming in his lab at London University

Sir Alexander Fleming in his lab at London University

History-making scientists of the past brought us life-saving discoveries. Many of you may know the story of Sir Alexander Fleming, who in 1928, discovered the enzyme lysozyme and the antibiotic substance penicillin from the fungus Penicillium notatum. Sir Fleming is quoted as saying,

“One sometimes finds what one is looking for.”

I love that quote. It acknowledges that Sir Fleming had the fortitude of character to know his endeavors might not reveal what he’d hoped, but, alas, that is the nature of science. Science reveals truth – not convenient truth, not truth meant for manipulation, not truth meant be to harm those whom it may benefit. Sir Fleming worked at London University.


Below are two living scientists, studying polypropylene and its effects on humans. They are to be celebrated! With many hundreds of articles published as first author, these men have C.V.s that echo what my chemist-friend said.

These men “do science for the sake of doing science.”

Thank you for chasing protons, mixing potions, and failing to find a convenient truth, but succeeding to find a scientific truth in service of humanity. 

Claudio Birolini MD, PhD, Abdominal Wall and Hernia Repair at the University of São Paulo, School of Medicine

Claudio Birolini
MD, PhD, Abdominal Wall and Hernia Repair at the University of São Paulo, School of Medicine

Dr. Claudio Birolini works for the University of São Paulo, School of Medicine.

Mesh Squamous Cell Carcinoma:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23604537

Authors: Birolini Claudio, Minossi JG, Lima CF, Utiyama EM, Rasslan S.


Dr. Vladimir Iakovlev St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto Implantology, Oncology, Pathology

Dr. Vladimir Iakovlev
St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto
Implantology, Oncology, Pathology

Dr. Vladimir V. Iakovlev works for St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto.

Long-term effects from the degradation of polypropylene in vivo: 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jbm.b.33502/abstract

Authors: Vladimir V. Iakovlev, Scott A. Guelcher, and Robert Bendavid

A “Doctor a Day” Keeps This Study Away/Karolynn Echols/Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ

Hello Warriors;

Here is your doctor-a-day to call regarding the Coloplast Restorelle vs. Native Tissue Repair study, currently recruiting new patients for implant.

Karolynn Echols, MD

Karolynn Echols, MD

Karolynn Echols, MD

Cooper University Hospital
Camden, New Jersey, United States, 08103
Contact: Gunda Simpkins, RN    856-968-7547    simpkins-gunda@cooperhealth.edu
Principal Investigator: Karolynn Echols, MD, FACOG

“A Doctor A Day” – Douglas Van Drie of Grand Rapids, MI

Dr. Douglas Van Drie of The Institute of Michigan Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogynecology is actively recruiting for the FDA 522 Study:

Restorelle® Mesh Versus Native Tissue Repair for Prolapse

Dr. Douglas Van Drie of Grand Rapids, MI is participating in the study: Restorelle® Mesh Versus Native Tissue Repair for Prolapse

Dr. Douglas Van Drie of Grand Rapids, MI

Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogynecology Institute of MI
Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States, 49503
Contact: Beth Rogers, RN    616-588-1800    brogers@grwh.org
Principal Investigator: Douglas Van Drie, MD

You know what to do MESH WARRIORS!

Previous “Doctor A Day” Blogs:

Dr. Arturo Menchaca/Paris Community Hospital, Illinois

Dr. Sherry Thomas/Angoura Hills, CA

Dr. Ty Erickson of Rosemark Women Care Specialists in Idaho

Dr. Babak Vakili of Delaware’s Christiana Care Health System

Dr. Oz Harmanli of Baystate Health System, Springfield, MA