This is not living it is existing, nurse tells of excruciating pain since having the TVT operation.
A nurse practitioner has been left in excruciating pain from the TVT operation which she says was the worst decision of her life. “I want to stop others suffering what I am going through because quite frankly it is hell,” said mum-of-four Dawn Martin from Waterlooville, Portsmouth.
Sadly her tale is typical of thousands of women across the globe who have trusted the medical profession when they have offered what they say is a minimally invasive procedure, a quick and simple operation with low risks and few complications.
She said: “TVT surgery has pretty much replaced the old open surgery for stress incontinence called colposuspension. This is because it’s cheaper as it is minimally invasive and can be carried out as day surgery.
“I don’t think anyone believed it could go so terribly wrong so what they’ve saved in ‘hospital stay’ costs they’ve lost to litigation!
Problems from day one
“I do believe my body has been trying to reject the tape since day one.
“Not only do I suffer intense pain but skin rashes, wheezing, rhinitis, thrombophlebitis, worsening of pre existing asthma and extreme fatigue. The cocktail of opiate drugs given to me to control the pain caused an anaphylactic type reaction on induction of anesthesia and subsequent respiratory arrest which left me in the intensive care unit.
“The need to self catheterise until the tape was divided has caused me recurrent urinary tract infections with painful urethral and abdominal spasms. Despite being newly wed sex is virtually non existent!
“My role as a Nurse Practitioner should be non judgmental and unbiased. As Florence Nightingale said ‘ the very first requirement in a hospital is that it should do no harm.
“I tell all women who are referred for management of stress incontinence to thoroughly research mesh before agreeing to it. It’s not the quick cheap fix everyone thought it would be and it should be considered irreversible because in many instances the damage it causes is irreversible.”
She had the TVT inserted in March 2014 and as soon as she woke up she knew something was wrong.
Pain rang alarm bells
“The pain was beyond words, I’ve had plenty of operations in my time so know how it feels to come round after a procedure but this pain was something different, it rang alarm bells.”
By June the shooting and burning pains in her pelvis and pubic bone region was so intense she urged her consultant to help.
She was on Gabapentin nerve blocker medication and morphine patches to cope. In June 2014 she went back on the operating table to have the tape cut as it was believed it was either too tight or had shrunk – shrinkage is a common problem with the tape.
However, she went into respiratory arrest due to the cocktail of opiate drug given to her to control the pain so in July she went back into theatre and this time the surgeon divided the tape.
“At first my symptoms disappeared, I felt much better and finally I had relief. I married for the second time in August and all seemed well,” she said.
But within three months the searing, intense pain was back, but this time worse.
“I have gone from bubbly, happy, confident to taking one day at a time, I am in massive pain and feel unwell all of the time.
“I manage to work as it is the best thing for me. I love my job, it keeps my mind busy plus my work colleagues are a source of amazing support, without then I don’t know what I would do.
“But the reality is I can’t plan anything as I don’t know how I will be from one day to the next. I get by each day and get into bed early in pain, take co codamol to knock me out and then start over again the next day.
Pain takes away life as you once knew it
“It isn’t living, the pain has taken away life as I knew it and every day I live with the regret that I put myself in for an operation to cure stress urinary incontinence and have ended up with no quality of life.”
“I’m 100% convinced this sling also sets up a sensitivity reaction in women. Along with pain I have weird skin rashes and burning. – it is emotionally and physically draining.”
Dawn had the remnants of her mesh tape taken out by removal specialist Natalia Price in September 2015 but still suffers pain and interstitial cystitis.
“It never really goes away,” she said.