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Helping to rebuild: A hernia graft repair story

Tony is a retired engineer. Following ill health and emergency surgery to remove part of his bowel, he underwent an abdominal wall reconstruction with Biodesign Hernia Repair Graft. Over the next few weeks Tony will share his story through a series of posts on this blog.

Tony Lowe and Monday

When were you first diagnosed with prostate cancer?

“I was diagnosed in the summer of 2010, after a biopsy. I was asked to come into the hospital and meet with a consultant. He said to me, ‘I’m sorry Tony but you have prostate cancer and it’s pretty bad’. I went outside, sat on the steps and cried. I had been diagnosed with diabetes the year before and this was not the news I needed to hear. But I decided to have my prostate removed and after 12 months I felt much better. My outlook on life became better and I thought to myself I’m lucky to have missed something much worse.”

When did you first start developing hernias?

“I discovered I had 2 hernias about a year after having my prostate removed. I had these repaired and everything seemed to be well again… until that famous Monday morning came along and everything changed.”

What happened?

“That weekend my wife Margaret and I drove all the way down the south coast. We had lunch in Bridge Water and drove back the following morning. On the Monday morning, I woke up and felt what I thought was indigestion. I stood up and immediately I fell down like a sack of potatoes onto the ground… I was in a lot of pain. We phoned an ambulance and I was rushed into hospital in Worchester. I can remember seeing doctors and going into a scanner. That was on the Monday morning and then I woke up on Wednesday afternoon in intensive care. I didn’t know what had happened to me. Then my wife Margaret told me that I had an ischemic bowel and I had a stoma put into me.”

How did you feel about that?

“My mood and outlook on life went down a lot after having the stoma put in. I couldn’t get used to it. I spent a lot of time in hospital talking to stoma nurses. I couldn’t have wished for better people, but even going on holiday was difficult, I just couldn’t get past how my life had changed. I was put on anti‐depressants because of my mood and outlook; I was going down very quickly.

I started to develop more hernias too. Being told there was nothing that could be done for me and I was going to have to live with this stoma for the rest of my life was like being kicked hard.”

Note: This story reflects the experience of one individual. Every hernia-repair case is unique. We at Cook can’t guarantee that every patient will experience the same level of success. Information included in this article should not be used as the basis for any treatment recommendation. This post is intended for US audiences only.