The Geretschlaeger Family

Saint Paul, MN
$600.00 raised of $6,409.00
Medical Bills $6,409.00
1 months
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    Elizabeth Geretschlaeger
    Severe High-tone pelvic floor dysfunction, overactive bladder, severe anxiety, depression and panic, 66+ surgeries…

    I don’t even know where to start… I have found my team who understands me, for that I am grateful. I have a very, very extensive medical history due to my pelvic mesh erosion gone wrong. Basically an hour after my hysterectomy, I wanted to use the restroom, I sat down and felt this HUGE explosion in my pelvic area. It swelled to the point that walking was not possible. I remember about 5 hours of the pain until they really pushed the strong stuff. I woke up 5 days later and crippled. From that explosion until I was sent to Mayo I had 9 different surgeries including a Urostim implant that wound up giving me a blood infection which nearly took my life, it was immediately removed. I had a wound vacuum for several weeks and I had to take it everywhere. I had a wound care nurse come daily until we were sure the wound was completely healed. Several attempts to undo what was done led me to Mayo in Dr. Gebhart’s hands. His team, my mom and I were in a huge suite where they did a cystoscope (a look into the bladder through the urethra), this procedure was awful. As they were backing the camera out, they noticed a bubble in my bladder and determined there was a hole. I went into surgery the next day, Gebhart opened his heart and his schedule and off we went hugging and kissing my mom was hard. She waited 8-10 hours before an update. The mesh had detached from the anchors, then it wrapped up on my bladder and started to bury itself into my bladder causing 2 holes, but that wasn’t it… as they were pressure testing my bladder for leaks, all the fluid went to the floor. My urethra was severed, for 3 years. For those 3 years, I would pass out when I felt like I had to urinate and would wake up in a puddle of urine and wet clothes to clean up. Repeat. Saw more specialists and I was working my way through this maze one second at a time. Dr. Gebhart, without a doubt saved my life. It was after the mesh removal/bladder and urethra repair that I had to find a new doctor that had some clue of what I was going through. I must say that Dr. Ashford, founder and CEO of MN Women’s Care is a blessing, actually I don’t think I would truly be here to talk/type about this without him and his team  

    Prior to Dr. Ashford I was left in the dark by many doctors. I was called dumb and stupid to my face just prior to a surgery by a urologist. I thought I was crazy… I had many appointments with doctors of many different backgrounds but they just didn’t have the knowledge about Pelvic Floor Disorders and that I was really, truly suffering in silence. 

    Back to when I thought all hope was lost, I happened to see a commercial for MN Women’s Care and Dr. Ashford on TV literally talking about pelvic floor. I looked at my mom, shrugged my shoulders and told her I had to try. I had to get in and see Dr. Ashford since everyone else had given up on me, completely. Even family and friends thought - and some still think - I am crazy. Many are in disbelief that these complex pelvic issues truly impact my every single move and “why can’t they just fix you already?” is a question I faced many times and still face today. Many want to know how all this can happen to a person, yes, my issues stemmed from trauma caused by “mesh gone WAY wrong” that was placed in my pelvic floor during my hysterectomy. But, Dr. Ashford and his team get it. Yes, the mesh is out, but muscles were cut, nerves were damaged. This wasn’t a “oh the mesh is out and now I’m ok.” Trust me, I wish. That surgery was the start of my recovery process. Currently, I have 66 surgeries and procedures behind me and another 3 scheduled by the end of July to help with the complications of my chronic pelvic pain. I am not giving up and neither is Dr. Ashford and his amazing staff. My story hasn’t been shared much, since so many people and family just don’t get it. I try to be strong it’s my immediate family, my mom and very few others that truly know what happened.

    Back to meeting with Dr. Ashford for the first time ever, it was 2015, I was still recovering from the surgery Gebhart performed at Mayo and  could barely walk, doubled over in pain, pelvic exam impossible… I was expecting rejection, again like so many other times, but that didn’t happen. He had several options to start my journey to recovery and he is continually learning new and better ways to help me. Most importantly, he hasn’t given up on me like so many others had. I am physically, mentally and emotionally disabled from everything I have been through BUT I have my team, MN Women’s Care, they get me, they understand. Pelvic pain is no joke. I am severely disabled without these procedures. Of course my insurance company has decided that my procedures are no longer covered, as I was getting an IV in for my Pelvic Botox injections. I had to cough up $1803.00 to proceed. I had no clue and was told by the surgery center in my pre-op call that everything was cleared, everyone confirmed. But nope, literally as I was being called back, they pulled me into the business office. My boyfriend of 23 years (I call him hubby) opened a CareCredit card (bless him) and now I have to pay him back on top of other procedures I need to not be bedridden. Living with severe pelvic floor dysfunction is life crippling. I just want my life back… my 2 children, 19 and 13 want their mom back and so does my ‘hubby’. I hate to see the hurt in my mom’s eyes as they wheel me away for another procedure, I want MY life back. I’ve missed so much living, hiding my pain through pain meds. Slowly as new procedures come out, and the testing looks good, there is a procedure called Sola Therapy that has had very high positive results in curing pelvic pain. The cost of the procedure is $5900, however, Dr. Ashford, knowing my situation and me being on a fixed income, there’s no way. He’s offering to do the Sola Therapy for $1000. For some, that’s just pennies, for me, that means I’d have to stretch on bare minimums, and play catch-up until Christmas! So, the Sola Therapy ($1000) one treatment and my Pelvic Floor Botox $1803 due in May and July. I don’t even get $1803 in monthly benefits. I really don’t like to ask for help, but in order for me to live somewhat comfortably, I have to proceed with these procedures. If you’ve made it this far, thank you. 

    Lastly, after so much bedrest, we are in desperate need of a new bed. 😞

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