I need your help and I did not want to ask at first, but even just a SHARE will keep this post moving. Please assist me in sharing my story. My name is Kimi Rassi, I'm 29, and I am in awful, continuous pain each day. I know many of you know what has been going on, but for those who do not know, here it is:
On June 26th, 2012, I went in for what was supposed to be a simple ventral hernia and diastasis repair, as a same-day surgery, where I would be "sutured up and back to life before I knew it." This damage was the result of two large pregnancies on my 4'11" frame, sweet Jayden, age 7.5, and amazing Tanner, age 2.5. When the surgeon went in there was much more damage than he had expected, plus an additional umbilical hernia. He made the terrible decision at that time to implant a 6 x 8 inch mesh in my abdomen and even though some people fare perfectly well with these, the moment I awoke from surgery was pure hell. I was told not to move quickly, hooked up to a PCA, and I couldn't figure out why I was in unbelievable, severe pain. I had developed tachycardia, which would not go away (and has become a persistent issue) and I ended up being consulted by cardiology. I knew something was not right with these extreme pains. After five days in the hospital, I went home to try and recover, something which never truly happened. I have never been the same since that fateful day. I went to my necessary follow-up appointments, where my surgeon said things were looking great. Six months later, in December, I went back to his office because I could not rid myself of this pain, which at the time was a problem, but it at least gave me tolerable moments for a day or two at a time. He said this was all perfectly normal and to come back in a year if it continued, as it could take that long. I tried to listen to his advice, but in that time, I suffered immensely. I have been in and out of the hospital, where I have been admitted and have spent the time thereafter looking into various body systems such as GI, which check out alright. I have abnormal labs and images, extreme itching on my abdomen, skin problems and dryness, constant problems with exhaustion, sleep issues, tachycardia, extremely low potassium levels...things which I never had prior to this surgery. I was healthy, leading an active life, and enjoying each and every day as a mom to two beautiful boys, and a wife to a fabulous husband. Prior to this surgery, I had finished my undergraduate degree in Biology and had wanted to take off a year and apply to medical school after I gave birth to Tanner. This dream was halted after my surgery. I tried to think of another plan while being devastated by having to abandon medical school. From this came a Masters in Accounting degree I began online. The pain started to become even too overwhelming to continue my studies. Despite all of my random symptoms, the worst of all would most definitely have to be the stabbing, knife-life pains in various spots all over my abdomen; a number of pains occur at the corners of the mesh and it is deep and continuous. I tried to believe it would go away, but it would not. I tried to work through it, but in the midst of this my husband was (and is in his last year) going to school for his second-degree. I ended up needing him more than ever and he has tried so hard to balance freelancing for his web development career, school, and watching our boys almost exclusively at this point since I am generally unavailable for this responsibility. We NEED to have our lives back. I tried looking into seeing my original surgeon, however, he ended up taking a position in New Mexico. I wasn't sure where to turn next. Prior to this surgery, trying to get a general surgeon to touch my diastasis with my hernia proved difficult. I ended up having my gallbladder out in August 2013, and I decided to see this surgeon for my ongoing pain, in hopes that he could help me with answers. In the meantime, I had begun a long search online regarding mesh and looking for surgeons who could rid me of this pain. I felt lost, even as I accumulated so much information regarding my mesh and what it was doing to me. I felt so angry at this point because I had something in me which I was essentially having a Foreign Body Reaction to and who knows what was happening to it inside me over time. I have been subjected to numerous CT scans (which radiation is shown to degrade mesh, rendering it brittle or causing it to shrink)...one report even read of a calcification in my lower right abdomen. I was concerned, but when I saw this surgeon he suggested Pain Management. I told him that this band-aid was not appropriate and we needed to get rid of the source of the problem. He acknowledged the mesh could surely be my problem, but sent me on my way and said there was nothing more he could do to help me. I would need to live with this pain. This was unacceptable to me, so I kept my search going and finally in May of 2014, I found a surgeon in Daytona, FL (only about 4 hours North of me) who specialized in mesh removal and subsequent abdominal repair without mesh. He knows hernias, dedicates his practice to the abdomen and its repair, and I needed someone this time who was an expert in case they went inside and found it not to be intact or as it had been placed two years ago. I think I deserved at least this much. I felt renewed again at this finding and knew I had to make an appointment immediately. The earliest I could get in was July 17th, which I took, and it only further confirmed that the mesh truly needed to come out. It was beautiful to finally hear someone acknowledge they were willing to help me. All of the surgeons in my plan who I had called either: 1) Did not perform abdominal mesh removal and/or 2) Did not want to touch another surgeon's work. After this appointment in Daytona, I was scheduled for August 15th surgery - laparoscopic mesh removal. It was fantastic to think of a pain-free existence after two long years fighting to become the mommy, wife, professional, and friend I once was, who enjoyed bringing happiness to others' lives. I had long needed this spark to my flame, but it was quickly extinguished when my insurance not once, but twice has denied the prior authorization for this surgeon. He is out-of-network, and interestingly, the insurance claims there are surgeons in network who will do this surgery. That is beyond hurtful, insulting, and downright untrue...I did my homework, I tried to suck-it-up and live with the relentless pain and lack of energy...and they did not want to hear it. There is a medical director at the insurance who made this decision and while it is in appeal, I have been rescheduled for September 17th. I NEED this surgery next month desperately. This medical director is adamant that there are surgeons in network. I am too pained, exhausted, and at my breaking point. My friends and family have given me the encouragement to come forward and ask for help raising the money to pay for this surgery out of pocket. The cost is $16,000 but so far the hospital says they would take $8,000 down to perform the surgery. I am asking you to please help, even $5.00 from a number of people will add up so quickly and mean more to me than you'll ever know. If you cannot donate, I'm begging you to please share my story! The health care professionals down here will not listen to me and the surgeon who can help me is being denied that ability. We do not have the funds to pay this ourselves, otherwise, it would have been done and I would have been on my way to recovery. I wish it didn't have to be this way, but I appreciate each and every one of you who open your heart to me. Thank you in advance for your time. I am sorry for the novel post, but it needs to be shared...the FULL story of my immense pain and suffering thanks to this lovely mesh implant. My body has hated it since day one, and I need it out like yesterday. Please HELP me. I write this as I sit in bed in agony. I promise you I will pay this love and support forward one day when I feel better. <3
*Special note in case there are questions regarding this topic: I have been in contact and have reached out to a number of firms to see if I can receive compensation for this suffering. My mesh is abdominal and this is not as big of a breaking story as the pelvic/bladder ones (all the same materials, nonetheless), but I will be blogging to make sure that there is more information about these evil implants. I agree wholeheartedly that we, the victims, should not have to pay for this surgery at all. My mesh brand and company have been part of the only recent (in the past 10 years) suit against abdominal meshes I can find, and that ended in 2009. This does make it look promising for me, but the reality is a case/class action suit will likely take a few years, is not guaranteed, and my health cannot wait on that time frame...I need an answer today. I need this surgery next month on the 17th...I am in constant agony at this point and I am holding on and hoping for a miracle.
**As of 8/20/14**
Two very important reasons why the goal needed to be increased to $9,000. First, I did not realize this when it was created, but the processing fee is 7.9% from the entire donation, so I need to add a little increase to the fund to cover that portion, as there is no way we could make up the difference. It would be so heart wrenching if we made it this far and the fund was short on the total for payment to the hospital. Second, I have been informed that I need to come back up to Daytona for another pre-operative appointment on September 9th. I did not want to go through another grueling drive and my body is reeling at the thought of having to go up at least another time after for surgery, but there is no way to get around this. Unfortunately, with my insurance's denial still in place, this appointment fee will bring another $250.00 out-of-pocket cost, which is impossible to come up with on such short notice, in addition to the cost of gas (242 miles one way - 484 total, which we do in one day). Thank you all for understanding, supporting, and helping me work as hard as ever to reach this goal. I am forever grateful to you all!
**As of 9/15**
Spoke today with the hospital finance coordinator and they are willing to take $6,200 and I will then be PAID IN FULL to the hospital for surgery!!! No extra balance! This is AMAZING news! I have to give the biggest thank you ever to each of you for believing in me and the power of what beautiful things we can do when we work together! My days are now filled with focusing on surgery next Wednesday!! Can you believe I'm saying these words? It's going to happen and the mesh is coming out!!!! Crying tears of joy today because it has been 115 weeks of pure torture coming to an end!
On another note, I DO want to continue to accept the donations which are still coming in, and place them towards the surgeon's fee of $2,000. I was planning to set up a payment plan with him since they were kind enough to not ask for any down payment in addition to what the hospital needed for surgery. I am going to devote the funds to him, paying that off, and trying to start fully fresh after this surgery without any debt at all from medical bills. I will then continue to use the funds towards the anesthesiology bill, which is not sent until after surgery. Take that, insurance and your denials!!!! We did it!!! #isupportkimi
From Jessica Ortiz:
I have created this fund to help my dear friend Kimi. For over two years Kimi has suffered from a mesh in her stomach. She has done countless hours of research and spent so much time trying to find a doctor to remove the mesh, so she could continue to be an amazing mother, wife, and friend. Recently after all the searching she found an amazing doctor who was willing, and had the capability to remove her mesh. Her insurance has denied to help, and now to do the surgery she will need $8,000.00 down. She is such an amazing woman and just needs the opportunity for a second chance to live pain free, and be the amazing woman she wants and needs to be for her family!
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