Teresa Sawyer was told the procedure to implant transvaginal mesh to treat urinary incontinence was routine, and she would be back up and running in just a matter of days. Three years and four surgeries later, Teresa says she is in worse shape than before the procedure, and living a life “filled with pain.”
Teresa’s body rejected the surgical mesh, and she required numerous surgeries to remove the mesh and correct the problem. Teresa soon learned that she was not the only victim to suffer from problems caused by transvaginal mesh. The FDA reported more than 2,800 incidences where a woman’s body rejected the mesh and developed complications.
But Teresa refused to stand by helplessly as more women fall victim to a device that Teresa says deserves to be removed from the market. “The only way I can do anything – stop it – is to stand up and say, ‘Stop putting it in women,’” she says. She created TVT No!, a nonprofit organization to help women get medical treatment, transportation to appointments, as well as daily living supplies and daily life stabilization.
“Real women, real suffering! TVT-NO! Women all over the world have been impacted by what is called a ‘minimally invasive’ device. Their stories are devastating. Loss of health, loss of their marriages, jobs, medical insurance and the freedom to be the women they were before mesh was implanted in them. We have had the honor to meet other women that are mesh survivors and, sadly, learned of 18 women that fell lethally victim to mesh,” Teresa writes on the foundation’s website, TVTNo.org. “Healing from the surgical procedure of removal is long and painful. If you’re facing a major illness caused by the use of vaginal mesh, you don’t have to go it alone – we can help.”
The website provides information about side effects caused by transvaginal mesh, resources, as well as a forum for women to share their own stories. Teresa says she looks forward to the day transvaginal mesh is removed from the market; however, while the FDA has identified a high risk of complications associated with the medical device, the agency fell short of banning the product.