‘Kang Repair’ Meshless(No Mesh/Non Mesh) Hernia Repair : Interview with Hai from UK
Stephen: Hello Hai. Good to see you again. So it’s still like 6 days or about a week after surgery, right? So how do you feel about it?
Hai: I’m pretty good actually. I think, post-surgery, first couple of days, it was quite hard but that’s expected. But now I’m moving about more and more. I’m actually quite surprised how quickly I’ve recovered.
Stephen: yeah. When I saw you that you look much better and it’s perfect, very normal.
Hai: I’m also surprised, I’m actually quite surprised.
Stephen: Yeah, you must be much better, because you are flying back to London tomorrow, right?
Hai: Yes it’s going to be a long flight. So obviously I feel worried.
Stephen: That’s right.
Hai: Now that I’m feeling better, I’m more confident.
Stephen: Some years ago I went to London. It was a long and long flight. It never stopped. The longest flight I’ve ever taken in my life.
Hai: It takes about 12 hours.
Stephen: When I go to USA, sometimes 7-8 hours I arrive in LA or Seattle like that. Even New York, I think it’s less than London I guess, the time (to take). It’s about the same, you know. I’ve just been to USA many times, no problem. But London, it was really the longest flight I’ve ever experienced.
Hai: Yeah the quickest time, as I can get to London, twelve hours. Sometimes you have to make stop-over or connecting flight, it takes longer.
Stephen: It is your first time coming to Korea, right?
Hai: It is my first time. Obviously I would prepare to visit Korea for another reason. But it’s still been a good experience. I mean because it is my first time and obviously I came for this hernia. My family was a little bit worried. You can understand. From the UK to Korea is a long trip and they worried if there’s any complication, I by myself, it is so far away. My mom said really, “Stay, stay in UK.”
Stephen: If I were your family I would have the same worry as your mom had. So Hai. We just want to know your hernia problem from the beginning and then how you have searched the doctors or hospitals? We really want to know.
Hai: Okay. So I was getting pain because of the hernia.
Hai: I think it was maybe a couple of months now. The doctor couldn’t find it was until a month later because a little pain I wasn’t sure where it comes from. After some tests, ultrasound, it was found that the inguinal hernia on my right side. And they said, “With this, you have to go surgery. So get prepare.”
Stephen: It’s your doctor in London?
Hai: Yeah, you have to get a surgery because they ought to do themselves.
Stephen: Oh I see.
Hai: So after that I did a little bit research well enough to find, so I found that there’re different treatments, surgery methods, obviously non-mesh, and with mesh. And I found UK, 90% of the surgery are done with the forms of mesh.
Stephen: 90% with mesh. Okay
Hai: And, so I worry about the stories about complications with mesh. Obviously it is not a big percentage; it’s very small percentage with people who have problems with mesh.
But it still, I think, it’s still big enough problem that I didn’t really want to take a risk. So therefore I just researched where I could find doctors or surgeons who could perform without mesh. If I had choice to do something arranged in my body because I’m worried. By the time if I find something is wrong but it’s too late. So I researched online and I found a couple of surgeons in UK but they already retired.
Stephen: Non-mesh surgeons, but they retired.
Hai: And so I had to widen my search. So I had research internationally, I’m willing to travel. So I found a hospital also in Canada, “Shouldice.”
Stephen: That’s a really famous hospital (for hernia surgery).
Hai: Anyway I did a lot of research. And finally I stumble across a forum, hernia forum?
Stephen: “Hernia Talk,” Right?
Hai: Yeah, and I found a patient, his name was Jack.
Stephen: Jack Wilkerson, right? The bike-rider.
Hai: He’s from US. I did a bit more reading. I found that he is in US, he also appears on newspaper.
Stephen: That’s right. That is the ‘Mesh(Device)News Desk’ (not a newspaper). That is another kind of hernia (or mesh) forum, or a kind of website.
Hai: So I got, “Yes, this is a piece of insurance.” So I found Dr. Kang. so I read more about Dr. Kang, I found that the luckiest idea was his philosophy. I found that he’s done many kinds of cases with and without mesh. And he realized that there are complications to come with the mesh. So I decided, “It’s right, that’s the one.” He is done both many experiences and this hospital is specialized.
I spoke to my family, and they said, “Why do you make a trip so far? My mind is very uncomfortable.”
And my mother, she says, “If you really had to go, I’ll come with you.” My mom, she is great, she is good in health but I don’t want her to travel so far, so I said, “I will be ok. Let’s give it a try.”
Stephen: Yeah that’s right. Your decision was very quick.
Hai: Yes. I’m glad. I’m happy I make a decision. I’m feeling much better.
Stephen: And since the surgery, it’s been about a week you said that, what you have done for about a week?
Hai: First couple of days, I try not to move around too much because it’s quite, you know, it’s too pressing up with. So I just tried to rest as much as I can, be properly, but each day I slowly get stronger and slowly get better. So I started to walk, a little bit further each day, just enough. But you have to listen to your body. You can’t push too much. But Now I feel a lot better. My appetite is pretty good now, .
Stephen: Okay good. So what do you want to say to those who are suffering from hernias in the world?
Hai: Suffering from hernia I would say, “Do research.” Do your research. Just be aware you have a choice. You should choose non-mesh or with traditional mesh, just remember you have a choice. But then think about the benefits and complications. Obviously now most of the world practice the surgery using the mesh, so the problems come with mesh. I know it’s small obviously very small but it still needs to be taken into consideration.
Stephen: Well finally can you talk about our cost, I mean comparison and what is your benefit to have a surgery in this country or in UK or in European countries and anywhere? What do you think about it?
Hai: I think the system here is very quick. It’s very quick.
Stephen: That’s right. One-stop service.
Hai: I was very surprised it’s very quick. I think if people decide to go with non-mesh, I think Korea is a good choice. I can vouch.
Stephen: In terms of money spending.
Hai: In terms of money spending, actually it’s very reasonable. It’s actually cheaper than some places in London if it’s done in private. It’s very, very reasonable. The service is very quick very good. Like I said, I’m glad to get a chance to come here. I hope nobody, I know, develop hernias but if they did, I would recommend Korea. Price is reasonable, the service is very quick and I felt very well treated. It’s not just, “You can do this surgery and you can leave, and that’s it.” You (Stephen) call me if I am ok. I feel very well treated. I told my family that really I’m happy. Like I said, my mom is happy either.
Stephen: Really good. Actually I can see that your sister came together with you and helping you a lot actually.
Hai: Because she is based in Hong Kong. Her trip here is not too far. I did say to come and be by my side, just to watch me. And also my family in UK, they would be happy she came with me in Seoul.
Stephen: She invited me to London.
Hai: When we come back to London, (if you come) we have to take you a round trip.
Stephen: Okay thank you very much and I wish you will have good journey back to London tomorrow. Thank you very much.
Stephen: This interview has been done at the Peyto Hotel Gangnam where Hai has stayed. I really thank Hai and thank you everyone.