Three Cheers for Dr. Raz.
If prayers were smoke signals that you could see, I have no doubt that on any clear night, the sky would be full of them and many would be for the quiet unassuming man that many women know as Dr. Raz. That is because for many ‘mesh complications’ women he has been our savior after losing all hope. We’ve lost hope that we would ever feel well again. Lost hope in the medical systems of the areas we live in.
From the moment of our first encounter with this man we at last feel believed. Most of us have fought a system that tells us we are crazy, need antidepressant drugs and it is NOT the mesh causing havoc in our bodies. We fight when we feel ill to make a pathway to the doors of the Reagan Building at UCLA, so that we can try to live again. Many of us sell possessions to get there because we have been told about a wonderful surgeon who has both skills and compassion.
My journey began on June 5th 20112. I had sold my car to take that first step on the path of wellness and I flew from Houston Texas to L.A for my consult appointment. I was crippled by the bladder sling that had been placed in my body on March 9th 2010 and needed a walking stick to get around. My TVT sling was pulling at my nerves and muscles and as days went into months, I was losing my ability to walk and lived in constant pain. There were other issues to combat such as my bladder would not empty and infections were the norm. I was frustrated and angry because the doctor who had implanted it in my body did not believe I was suffering from mesh complications and told me I must have had these issues before the surgery.
I had gone through so much money, had debt and was beaten down. But then I decided to do something about it. I began a blog and wrote what had happened to me.
They say “If you build it, they will come” and come they did. At first other women told me their story was my story. They too did not know what to do or where to turn. Then came other women who had been through mesh removal and had survived. They told me there was one man who could help but it meant more sacrifice and a long journey. I listened and I learned. I learned of doctors all around this country and the world who were performing partial mesh removal and women remained ill and in pain. I shared with others while I waited for my turn at a better life. I could do nothing until my Medicare kicked in June 1st 2012 but three months before it did I got busy. I purchased the right type of insurance supplement that would ensure I could choose where to go to get the help I needed. Then I made the appointment and made other arrangements to get out to UCLA.
When you are sick and crippled it is not an easy journey to take. I decided to write about every aspect of my journey including hidden costs and comfort. I shared so that others knew how much money they would need. You see mesh breaks us. It ruins not just our lives but our financial stability.
I don’t know of any woman who does not feel uncomfortable during a visit to any urologist office, but for some reason I didn’t. The first part of my journey was over and I was now in the hands of Dr. Raz. My first impression of him was how calm and unassuming he was. His quiet exterior made me feel just as calm. He listened as I told him my pain level. He carefully and gently examined me and paid attention when he saw my tears. He BELIEVED me and that was amazing. He restored my faith in doctors. Or at least in one doctor.
When I left that day I had a date for surgery in October. It was a long wait but I knew the wait would be worth it. The time passed and on October 11th he was by my bedside before doing my surgery. He reassured me and I felt calm and unafraid. Soon after I woke up he came to see me and brought the mesh to show me that he had removed. He told me it was all out but I had made him work quite hard because he had to unravel it from my nerves and muscles. Regardless at how horrible it sounded I knew he was the master at what he did and my life would be better. Not perfect but better.
I journeyed home after surgery and wrote in my blog as soon as possible. I still have injuries from long term mesh but I wanted other women to get out there as soon as possible to give them the best chance at full recovery. And I wanted to give them hope!
Now I am waiting for another surgery date to go back again this year to have my incontinence issue fixed WITHOUT using mesh. I am waiting for a response for that appointment from the administration and although I feel frustrated by the wait, I know I am going to the right hospital and the right man for the job.
When I go for that surgery I will write again about what the surgery is like and the outcome of my journey. There are many women like me who have to go back for another surgery and they want to understand what it is like before they go and prepare mentally. I will do my best to allay all their fears and Dr. Raz will do the rest.
So here’s to Dr. Raz. May he live a long and happy life. When his time comes, he will leave behind a legacy of hope and love and a lot of women who would not be ‘living life’ without his help. If we could all be in a room together he would hear the roar from a crowd “Hi Hip. Hip Hip. Hooray”.
This video will show you what I was like before I had removal surgery. I have not had a video taken since because I am still recovering, but I am hopeful to walk without pain one day.
It’s not an exciting video and I look like a really old woman, which I am not. I don’t like everyone seeing how bad I look but it is the only way I can show mesh affects real people. I am a woman and I would rather look like a picture of health and happiness, not this broken down old lady. However if this works, it’s worth letting go of my ego.
Until I had this surgery I was always up a ladder working on my house. I had a dream and a future and worked hard to get there. This product took all that away from me. I am a real person and this proves what can happen to women because of mesh bladder slings.
Crippled by Bladder Sling