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Chronic discomfort/soreness after hernia surgery

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by ajm222, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. ajm222

    ajm222 New Member

    Hi all,

    I had hernia surgery 16 months ago and still don't feel quite right on my right side and can't seem to figure out what the issue is. I am concerned that the mesh they inserted for this indirect inguinal hernia has folded or migrated or something and causing the strange sensations I am experiencing, along with the occasional soreness. Like a foreign body sensation. But it's not really feeling the mesh exactly. It's just an overall tightness and pressure not only from my groin but even further up my side, especially when I sit, almost up to my chest sometimes (which doesn't make sense unless it's referred pain).

    Anyway, I have lots of anxiety issues and hypochondria and probably read way too much before the surgery and half expected things to not work out. That said, I have had other surgeries in the past that seemed to go ok. Though I did have one in college that resulted in me going on SSRIs and that was the only way I was able to move on and get over it.

    I am wondering if I am creating persistent sensations and/or pain by both overfocusing on the area (as I have been non-stop since the surgery) or maybe even carrying myself differently, causing some sort of musculoskeletal disorder.

    I will say that occasionally I have relief, like when we went on vacation for 7 days a few weeks ago in Florida. We walked several miles daily, and initially I actually began having pain on the other side (left) because I had been very worried about getting a hernia on that side as well. Meanwhile the right side (that is bothering me so much the last couple of weeks and in the past) seemed pretty much fine. No real pain, and wasn't having such an intense feeling like something was stuck in there. I will say though that during that trip I didn't sit at my work desk for 6 hours at a time. So maybe that's got something to do with it. I think the desk sitting posture is bad.

    I also have this weird ball in my side that shows up at night sometimes when I'm super stressed about this (like in my intestine), and I can kind of massage it away to some degree, while also experiencing lots of stomach growling, etc). I've had an ultrasound and ct scan with nothing showing up, thought apparently a really experienced hernia specialist is needed to view mesh on either type of image. I am trying to send my results around the country to various experts to see if they have thoughts.

    Dr. Schubiner (kind enough to respond via email) thought I should assume everything was healed and TMS is the culprit. But he did mention that if there is local tenderness maybe something else could be going on.

    I'm terrified I will have to have this mesh removed, which is dangerous and will require time and travel and great expense. And lots more testing before even being decided. Meanwhile I can't focus on anything. I feel like I'm losing it. Every couple of months I seem to get really stressed for a couple weeks, then go back to thinking I'll just give it more time, then I feel better, then it all comes back. And now that I am at 16 months, I feel like I can't continue to convince myself I'll eventually feel better because at this stage not much is expected to change any more for the better if it's in fact physical. Considering starting SSRIs again for maybe 6-12 months and see if that helps, though they scare me. Went through lengthy withdrawal and afraid I'll go crazy if I start up again. But wondering if I can short circuit the stress reaction and just give myself time to move on.

    I've had a number of things suggestive of TMS (pain and discomfort moving around quite a bit and coming and going) and a personality that would make it likely. But the whole mesh thing makes it sort of unusual. And if I think about it I can probably always notice some mile discomfort. I have a follow-up with my original surgeon next week and I am hoping he can do something to get to the bottom of this, but not expecting much. They usually just say everything looks ok, try and forget about it and get on with our life. Or maybe the mesh moved or is pulling on something and giving the feeling of discomfort but they'll then say just try and live with it because removing the mesh and fixing things again in a different way carries great risk.

    Ugh. Anyway, thanks for listening.

  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Okay, you're welcome.

    So, when the consults and tests all come back that "everything looks ok" what then? Will you be ready to accept that, and accept the TMS diagnosis, 100%? Or will you keep letting your brain be in control and distract you with fear, in order to keep repressing your emotions? Because I gotta tell you - you can not heal properly from any surgery, illness, or injury when you live in fear and don't allow yourself to visualize a positive outcome. I'm going to be blunt: all I hear from you is negativity and assumptions of failure.

    Question: which of the TMS programs have you done?
    ajm222 likes this.
  3. ajm222

    ajm222 New Member

    yeah, at this point i am kind of at bottom in terms of anxiety and depression. they've taken hold and put me in a really bad place very recently and i am sort of getting lost in it all. this particular situation plays right into my worst fears, that go back to a similar situation in college where things were going well and then i developed a health issue and I spiraled out of control when i couldn't get it fixed (2 surgeries and continued issues). eventually got on meds (SSRIS) so i wouldn't have to be admitted to a facility because i was losing it, and eventually recovered after the meds kicked in and broke the OCD hold on my thoughts. this also allowed the physical issue to heal itself for the most part. i had woken up one day prior to that and realized my every thought 100% of the time was stuck on the health issue and i panicked because i had lost complete and total control of my thoughts. similar thing is starting to happen now. health issue that makes me feel like a prisoner in my body and no light at the end of the tunnel. so any hope i had maintained for the last year or so seems to be disappearing. the above post was sort of in desperation. like the anxiety is just driving everything right now. back in college i somehow managed to get through it all with the meds and lots of rest. unfortunately now i have a job, mortage, wife and kids, etc etc. so i'm a little more panicked now. and maybe as a perfectionist there's a side of me that just can't handle walking around in this body if it's broken and thinking it could be months or years of exams and tests and money etc to figure out what's wrong and getting it fixed. i'm an impatient patient.

    to answer your questions, i would probably feel better for a while if the tests came back 'negative,' but it would be temporary. that's my cycle right now and it has been even before this hernia. prior to the hernia i was in a similar cycle with general hypochondria - would spend the week scanning my body, find something, rush to the doctor, be told i was fine, then rinse and repeat. i also have of course stumbled on just a couple of hernia stories where people felt a lot of discomfort and eventually had their mesh removed even after all tests were inconclusive that there was any problem. and most of the folks on the hernia forums and FB groups say similar things - 'in so much pain and discomfort but all the tests show i am fine, i'm so confused!' so i'm not sure if that will help me because that thought it stuck in my head. really should have just not read anything about this and had the surgery with the expectation of a full and complete recovery. but i also had to do my due diligence. impossible situation for a hypochondriac.

    as for programs, i bought Unlearn Your Pain and The Divided Mind and read them but need to read them again as it's been a while. I also never really did the exercises. I spent last week going through the pinned program here from I think Alan Gordon.

    thinking more and more that perhaps a return to SSRIs for a brief period of time might be necessary to give me enough strength to get through this. assuming they work. the old 'withdrawal' community would consider me crazy for going back on them. but i also shouldn't suffer. have done therapy as well which helped some but i've never found a therapist that was very pro-active. just good listeners.

  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    You have to do the emotional work and you have to go deep. Right now you are just paddling around in the shallow end of the pool, because your brain is terrified of going in the deep end. Stop talking and start doing the work. That's my very best advice.
    ajm222 likes this.
  5. ajm222

    ajm222 New Member

    thank you. i'll give it a shot. i guess ruminating in my head 14 hours a day and thinking through these things isn't exactly the same as physically writing them down.
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Rumination, whether in your head or written down, is clearly what you are already expert at, and you've got to stop. It is circular, shallow, pointless, and bad for mental health. Writing down your ruminations will get you nowhere.

    I'll say it again: you have to go deep into your real emotions - the ones your brain does NOT want you to acknowledge.

    I recommend that you do the Structured Educational Program, and that you make a commitment do it with 100% honesty and courage.
    ajm222 likes this.
  7. ajm222

    ajm222 New Member

    Thank you for the link! I was actually looking for that yesterday. Already started reading through the intro this morning. Will give it all I have.
  8. alanmia

    alanmia New Member

    I had something similar from my hernia surgery. I was trying to find my post on here but can’t. Long story short about three months after surgery I have the most intense pain going from my hip to my groin. For six months I couldn’t figure it out. I went to three Drs and pain specialists. My original surgeon was a mesh specialist and he said if it doesn’t go away he may have to go back in but he said he’d never too in his career. It was when they said we may need to cut the nerve going to the testicle I I freaked. It was then I found dr Sarno. It took me one month of journaling and using other TMS tricks to finally have the pain subdue. Around the second month I was pain free. Email me if you’d like to talk. I feel you.
    ajm222 and JanAtheCPA like this.
  9. ajm222

    ajm222 New Member

    Thanks! I was hoping someone with similar experience would chime in. I may PM you. And I found your old post and read through it, by the way.

    I actually have an appointment with a world renowned hernia specialist on Monday in another state. He uses mesh but also removes it. He’s not pro-mesh or anti-mesh but extremely knowledgeable about the real problems it can potentially cause. There are in fact issues that can arise when the mesh folds or migrates or adheres to important structures in the body, and some people have auto-immune reactions to the material (very rare) and I just want to rule out anything serious. I’ve spoken to enough people that have had serious complications that resulted in removal. And it was clear why when they had the surgery. But it’s unusual for that to happen, and I wanted to see him and get an honest opinion about my symptoms and my scans. I feel I need this if I’m going to dive deep into a TMS solution. But I’d be interested in hearing more about your case. Thanks!

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