Character saves exist but don't work - PS3 problem?

First off, if this thread is in the wrong section I’m sorry, mods.

Anyways, I don’t have a ton of character saves - a Zer0 (72) Maya (72) and a Sal (level 7). I was recently away for about a month, so I had the new patch, but NOT the subsequent hotfix. I had been playing as Maya anyways, so I didn’t have a ton of desire to return to my Zer0 until I could get the hotfix (I had very limited internet access where I was and syncing my PS3 was not an option). I created my Sal while I was away, and then switched back to Maya.

When I hit level 72, I wanted to give her some gear (basically, I didn’t want to re-farm all the COMs that I already had found on my Zer0). I loaded him up, and got ready for the game to start. It never did. It didn’t even show the tell-tale loading screen, beyond displaying the word “loading…” on a black screen. I had to dashboard out after waiting for several minutes.

Upon loading up BL2 again, Maya (the last character I’d actually played as) appeared. I went in to check that she was okay, and then quit. I tried to load Zer0. Upon doing this, I noticed what I should have noticed before - he never appears at the home menu. I can rotate around where he should be, but he never appears. When I start the actual game, the same thing happens. I dashboard out, start it back up, and there’s Maya. Same thing happens to my Sal file, and if I try to switch back to Maya after trying one of the other two, the same thing will happen to her.

While I can still play as Maya fine, I’m very concerned that that won’t always be the case. Also, while I’ve farmed the COMs you can get from tubbies, I’d love to give her my Leg. Siren COM (as well as a Plasma Caster or two!) and sometimes I still like to play Zer0. I can’t fathom why this has happened. I’ve been out of the loop for a bit, is this because of the patch? Or is this a known problem from the past? I’m sorry for asking here, I’m not super savvy on where else I should go with this.

I very rarely play co-op, and have never accepted a weapon from someone else. I don’t use save-editors of any sort. I can’t think of why this may have happened, but I’d really like to find out. I’m scared to start up my PS3 to play in case the hotfix somehow might make it worse. A long shot, to be sure, but I’m trying to be careful.

Is this something any of you have seen and might know what to do? I’m at a loss here. For various reasons losing that Zer0 file permanently would be devastating to me.