Mesh Removal Surgery for Christine Williams

$18,855 of $70,000 goal
Given by 160 generous donors in over a year

My name is Christine Williams. I need a specialist operation to remove a TOT mesh implant that is migrating and cutting through my pelvis.


Hi, my name is Christine Williams, I am 53 years old and I am a wife, mother and grandmother.

My daughter’s started this page a year ago and to date I have been able to raise $9,300 which is being held in a savings account as I still need to raise another $60K to travel to the US for mesh removal surgery. I desperately need help as this year I have met with four specialists who agree that we do not have the expertise in NZ to deal with a case as severe as mine and it would be at least 5 years before they would even attempt to try to undertake a surgery such as this. My nerve damage and the mesh and associated problems get worse each month.

Below is an update of my story

This year I have learned that during one of the surgeries to try and remove some of my mesh that the urethra muscle has been damaged and I will be incontinent for the rest of my life. This is another cruel blow when I am already feeling so vulnerable. I have also had a scan in the last 3 months that show I now have bilateral inguinal (groin) hernias. These hernias were not present at a scan I had after my partial mesh removal in May 2014. The scan also showed the mesh in my left obturator fossa area is sitting at a strange and bent angle. Both sides show I have a minimum of 5 cms in each groin area. There is still a large area of mesh that shows internally. My skin on my buttock is mottled and I suffer chronic inflammation from the mesh. I am desperate for a removal before my health deteriorates further.

My story:

When I was 49 years old I underwent what was meant to be a routine operation for the treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI). I was unaware that during this surgery a mesh implant would be used. This mesh was inserted using the TOT (Trans-Obturator Sling) method. This is a blind procedure – meaning the surgeon enters the groin area (dense with up to eight layers of muscle and multiple nerves) and blindly enters the vagina and makes a mesh sling around the urethra. No care was taken as to where this mesh would be ‘anchored in the groin area’.

Post-surgery I woke up in immense pain. My concerns that ‘something was not right’ were dismissed by our public health system. I went to a private gynecologist who immediately saw that the mesh had started to erode into my vaginal wall.

I started this Give A Little Page in the hope that other New Zealander’s will read my story and help fund the surgery I desperately need. I also hope that my story will also enable all women or men that have been recommended MESH for prolapses, SUI or hernias to seek other alternatives. The failure rate of MESH is as high as 29%. I do not want anyone else to end up like me.

I have been operated on by two NZ surgeons who believed that they could help, but each surgery did more harm than good. My surgeon has since stated to myself and ACC that there is no one in NZ with the requisite skills to remove the mesh without causing further harm to the existing nerve and tissue damage. I am currently covered by ACC for having a ‘Treatment Injury’. Despite this cover for an injury that is deemed ‘severe’, ACC legislation prevents payment for overseas surgery. Even when it has been acknowledged that no surgeon in NZ can complete this surgery.

There are only five surgeons worldwide that will undertake this type of specialised surgery. Dr Veronikis, a US based surgeon in St Louis, is one of these four surgeons and he has agreed to take on my case. He has removed over 2000 mesh implants with a very high success rate.

I live in constant pain. My injury is an invisible one. You would not know by looking at me the debilitating pain I experience on a daily basis. I spend 20 hours a day having to lay on a specially designed mattress as sitting is agony.

I can only walk short distances. I cannot sit or stand, bend or move for long periods of time and I cannot be intimate with my husband. I cannot do any of these things without being in immense pain that can last for days. The mesh has made my SUI 60% worse and the effects of this surgery are only increasing. The mesh is migrating and cutting through to other areas of my pelvis.

I constantly get infections that leave me completely incontinent. I am unable to take any of the drugs that they use to treat the nerve pain due to the side effects. Other than attending acupuncture treatments I rarely leave the house due to the pain.

Unless I get the surgery my health will continue to deteriorate from the toxic plastic mesh I have inside me.

This mesh injury has directly impacted all areas of my life. I have had to resign from full time employment as an office manager – a position I love and excelled at. I am unable to be the active and confident wife, mother and grandmother that I once was. Gardening, scrapbooking, socialising, going on holiday, sitting, walking, cleaning – all normal aspects of life have been replaced by debilitating pain. If I did not have the amazing support of my husband, children and grandchildren that light up my life then I would have nothing worth fighting for to get my life back.

My aim is to raise $70K. To date I have raised $9,300. This will cover airfares, hospital surgery costs and fees and post-operative care. I know this sounds like an impossible amount but every little bit of support would be greatly appreciated.

The links to my stories with media can be found below:

Sarah Stone's involvement (page creator)

My name is Sarah Stone. Christine Williams is my mother. I am involved in this cause as I have watched this mesh implant cause debilitating pain for my mum on a daily basis for the last four years. Our only hope is to have surgery completed by a specialist mesh removal surgeon in America. Please help my mum reclaim her quality of life back and become the mother, wife and grandmother she once was.

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Latest update

Wharf2Wharf Waiheke 2018 run walk event my daughters and friends are doing to raise funds for me  6 January 2018

Posted by: Sarah Stone

One of my daughters and an amazing group of her friends are doing the Auckland Wharf2Wharf Waiheke fun run and walking event on Saturday 17th March 2018. I'm very humbled by this as my daughter in no way likes to walk or run long distances but her friends and her are doing this for me. And although I'm aware it's St Patrick's day as well that day I admire them doing this before they probably collapse at a vineyard to celebrate or drink away their pains. Big hugs to them all xxx

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Latest donations

Guest Donor
Guest Donor on 19 Jun 2018
Louise on 17 Jun 2018
David & Susan
David & Susan on 26 Apr 2018
Best of luck with your surgery.
John Cornwell
John Cornwell on 06 Apr 2018
Most people buy jeans and harleys in the states but vaginal walls I offer no advice All the best aye

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This page was created on 2 Sep 2016 and closed on 30 Jun 2018.