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Coping with chronic pain

In 2006, Linda Gross underwent a “minimally invasive” surgical procedure to implant mesh called PROLIFT® into her pelvic area — a device manufactured by Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

In this web exclusive, Linda Gross speaks to Need to Know medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay about how she deals with her chronic pain, compounded by feelings of anxiety, frustration and isolation.

The mesh — which has since been pulled off the market by the manufacturer — was implanted to treat Linda’s original diagnosis of pelvic organ prolapse, a condition impacting hundreds of thousands of women. Following the procedure, Linda suffered complications when her body rejected the mesh.

“I was being told by my physician that you cannot remove all of the mesh,” she said. “The wings are in such an area that’s high risk — for bleeding, for [becoming] incontinent… or death because of the main arteries that are in there. That scared me because I was not given that information prior to my surgery.”

Due to the location of the device, doctors have been unable to remove the mesh in its entirety, so pieces of it remain inside Linda — causing her intense, lasting pain.

“The only way today that I can stay ahead of my pain is to lay in bed and rotate my left leg outward to take the tension off the pelvic floor muscles,” she said. “My muscles continue to twitch constantly. I have done many treatments to try and break the cycle of the pain.”

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  • cricketgirl

    I have the mesh and have not have any trouble with it at all. I had the surgery in August of 2006 and everything has been great. I am not saying that some women may have pain associated with this, but some could be attitude. I was told by another woman not to have the surgery as it would cause problems, but did not follow that advice. Could some of the complaints now be due to lawsuits and possibility of large monetary settlements?

  • InAZ

    If you followed the trial, the it was noted 33% complication was found, so you must be the lucky 67% of the population. Half of the lawsuit was failure to warn, I nor thousands were not told it can not be removed along with chronic infections and erosions plus much more problems. The mesh product have ruined thousands of women’s lives and their families to imply the pts are out for money is outrageous. No amount of money will replace the loss of our life as we knew it. Since the companies can go to jail(although I think they should) only recourse for killing and surgically raping women are financial punishment. These companies make untested unsafe products to make money, so if they lose money from the lawsuits perhaps they would think twice before putting unsafe products on the market. Women have been crying for help for 13 yrs but it took way too long for the FDA to put out an warning. The attorneys are only trying these cases because of the fact and truth found from J&J’s own documents. Lana Keeton has been speaking against the mesh from her near death experience over 10+ yrs before any lawyers were advertising, so do not make ignorant statements. Just like Linda Gross most of us lost our jobs and spent all of our money and in debt trying to get better from the damages from the mesh. Had we been told the truth most of us would not be in this situation. You have no clue until you are in our shoes, do you think legal process is fun while you are so sick from the mesh? All of us would love to have our lives back, instead life of going to doctors, surgeries, hospital stays and taking so many rx meds just to survive while spending money, losing our possessions or going into debt!

  • ASG

    That is fortunate for you, unfortunately your risk to develop complications never subsides as the inflammatory process never subsides. Mesh contraction is progressive. I would be cautious in asserting that women are filing complaints due to these settlements. I wouldn’t wish what I have experienced on my worst enemy. J judging those who have suffered and have been courageous enough to share such intimate details of their ordeal seems like bad karma.

  • Chronic Pain

    Hello Beth. There’s some fantastic advice in this post. Extremely useful for anyone who’s suffering from issues with chronic pain.

    Keep up the good work.

    Best wishes, Alex

  • Colene Rufo

    Glad to hear you’ve haven’t any complicated issues, But My. GoD, There’s soooooo many that do, & They SUFFER DAILY, You shouldn’t. Assume. someone is just making it up to Benefit from it financially, That’s HORRIBLE of you, You should apologize to that poor suffering women, My prayers go out to her, & all people w/ daily pain!