Breast Illness Happened to Me
“Breasticles, testicles, wallet and watch.” Wait, that’s not how it goes. But I just wanted to say “breasticles”. I also wanted to lead with humor because it’s just ME. And because today I’m going to talk about something that’s very personal and very important to me. Breast Implants and Breast Implant illness. I have breast implants, and later this week I am having them removed forrrrr–evvv–errrr (said like Squints Paladoris).
When I got breast implants 17 years ago, I did NOT believe breast implants could make a woman sick.
Before you read this, you MUST understand how emphatically I denied the existence of Breast Implant Illness! I assumed that only hypochondriacs “got it.” In fact, it wasn’t until eight months ago that I opened my mind to the idea that a mounting and gradual slew of unresolved health issues might have something to do with the silicone gel implants sitting in my chest.
Keeping You Abreast
I’m a very transparent person. Ask The Hubs. He likes to say that I can be with a person 10 minutes and they’ll know my entire life story. But this story is likely the most personal I’ve published to date. And not just because I’m posting a picture of myself in a bra! It’s private and confusing and scary to tell. It’s scary because it leaves me vulnerable to judgment. I’m not afraid of being judged for getting implants, but because there will be naysayers like I was, who won’t believe me. I don’t want to open a debate.
However, this is my story and I feel compelled to tell it. Because if you’re like me and have implants and unexplained ongoing health issues and have never connected the two, I’d like to save you some time and confusion. It took me 17 years, lots of money and frustration to connect the dots myself. And what good is my story if it can’t help someone else?
Could This Post Be For You?
If this sound like you or someone you know, keep reading. If you already have breast implants or are thinking about getting breast implants this might be for you. If you have implants and any health issues that can’t be diagnosed or maintained by medicine, please, read on.
*This is article is my personal story and is in no way intended to be taken as medical advice.
More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About My Boobs
If you’ve followed me for any length of time on Instagram or Facebook, you may be already be acquainted with “The G-Sisters”, the human-head sized bosoms that I attempt to keep controlled and elevated in some modicum of comfort every day. Okay, they are closer to “H’s,” but they are getting ready for a name change. They are getting divorced if you will. Not from each other but from the dead weight that may have been slowly poisoning them and me for years. Since my breasts don’t have that Pamela Anderson tight, giant, boob-ball look, you may be surprised that The Sisters larger than life (or standard bra size) personality isn’t au natural. 😉
Seventeen years and 80 pounds ago I had breast augmentation. Though my entire body was MUCH smaller before breast implants, I was a full C-cup when I hoisted the pendulous girls up into a bra. I also had a significant amount of breast asymmetry and breast ptosis (sagging). The asymmetry was severe enough that when seeking consultations, separate surgeons agreed with the treatment plan to do the breast lift on only one side!
Hindsight is 20/20
In hindsight, I should have gone with my first thought, which was to just have a lift on both sides and called it done. But at that time, breast augmentation was becoming more and more prevalent and accessible, and I wanted fullness that I wasn’t going to get with only a lift.
Instead, I “super-sized” my order. Well, not really. They went to a respectable full D-cup. But now with the addition of added pounds and “heavy breast tissue”, my breasts are heavy, ugly and saggy like an old bosomy dowager. Not that I’ve seen any in person, I just watch too many British TV shows. 😉 You’ve heard of the “pencil test”? Well, I can hold a hairbrush under my boobs. And maybe the entire contents of a cute clutch too.
I had honestly NEVER wanted large breasts. Large breasts that sag and create that “butt crack” cleavage aren’t slimming or youthful to my eye. But I did want fuller, lifted boobs, so I opted for a one-sided Mastopexy and Silicone Gel Breast Implants.
January 11, 2001, was the day I had my first breast augmentation with silicone breast implants along with a breast lift. Followed by an implant replacement in June of the same year. And subsequent surgeries in the several years that followed for scar revision for keloid scarring (you could see the scars through my clothes) and yet another, more extensive lift on (not so) Little Miss Long-boob. Though not everyone has this experience, understand that if someone has breast implants, it is not a one and done procedure.
Breast Implant Illness? Nope! I Don’t Believe it.
I am NOT an impulsive person. I think most decisions around in circles. Before getting breast implants, I had done the research and knew that there were women claiming that silicone implants had made them sick. In fact, at that time, silicone breast implants could only be obtained if you met requirements to have them placed as part of a *study. To qualify, you must have needed to have either a mastopexy or breast reconstruction.
* Note: While symptoms of BII may not be noticed for many years, the study only followed silicone breast implant recipients for five years.
You see, silicone implants had been pulled from the market in the early 90’s because of lawsuits involving these sick women. But I still wanted them! I “needed” them! At least I thought so at the time. In all honesty, I thought these women must have been hypochondriacs. Also, for every bit of evidence you uncover that points to breast implants leading to sickness, there’s a doctor, the FDA, or breast implant manufacturer saying that breast implants are perfectly safe.
Missing the Signs of Breast Implant Illness
I was so sure that breast implant illness was at the very most, “rare”, that for 17 years it never even occurred to me that the myriad of symptoms I had been dealing with had anything to do with the implants in my chest. This is where breast implant illness gets confusing. Any number of factors could have caused my symptoms. But the thing was, there were never any lasting cures or reasons for my symptoms. Most of the time there wasn’t even a diagnosis.
I had actually given a little thought that maybe my implants were causing my weight gain. When ALL attempts to lose it failed, I Googled: Weight Gain + Breast Implants. At that time, I couldn’t find any link to corroborate my suspicions other than the few that talked about weight gain shortly after surgery. And that could have likely been due to fluid retention or something. I chalked it up to hormones, age, stress or just not working on it hard enough and in time, decided to try and make peace with my fuller figure. The positive that came from this was of course that dimples on my WHAT? was created!
Hair and Nose and Boobs, oh my!
I had started the consultation process to explant about a year and a half ago for purely aesthetic reasons. Have YOU ever tried to shop for a comfortable bra in a G or H cup? Ugh! However, I hated the surgeon I consulted with and not long after that we purchased My Cedar Palace to demo and renovate, so the boobs just got stuffed back into an industrial strength bra and I’ve been dealing with it. Then, about eight months ago I started having some weird issues with my hair and nose. I know. They don’t necessarily go together, or so I thought.
Bad Hair YEAR?
My hair had developed some sort of waxy buildup that no amount of treatment would remove. I had my (treated) water tested for hardness twice, and my hair was still hard to comb through when wet and stiff and unmanageable when styled. Even my stylists were baffled. It has gotten a bit better with the more frequent use of my RX shampoo that I have used for seborrheic dermatitis since I was in my teens. But it’s not the silken hair I was accustomed to having.
“It wasn’t a pick!”
My nose felt like it had a buildup too. It was kind of like scabby, bloody boogers 24/7. Sexy, right? It was uncomfortable, and of course one can’t go around picking their nose all the time. Nobody wants to be THAT kid in the class. Homeopathic remedies failed to help. A $700 ENT consult (gulp) and so-called “procedure” (the tiny scope he looked down my nose with.) solved absolutely nothing, and I was deemed an “unusual case” and sent on my way to “try” Himalayan salt therapy. Thanks for nothing! I’ve continued to wake either during the night or in the morning with a massive headache and congestion more days than not and keep tissues at the ready. Nobody wants to be caught in “a pick.” Am I right? 😉
When All Else Fails – Google!
It’s NOT always a good idea to START with Google in regards to medical issues. It will likely lead you to sleepless nights and a premature funeral plan. 😉 But in this case, modern and holistic medicine and professional hair treatments were failing me, and I had to become my own forensic investigator. I won’t bore you with all those details, but here I’ve outlined the highlights of my search.
As you can see, I’m stretching a tiny bit for the cause of my nose issues. I couldn’t find specific information linking either condition to the nasal lining. However, I don’t think I’m reaching to think that a condition the causes dry eyes and mouth might not affect the nose as well. That being said, the closest common denominator in the separate searches for the individual problems was Silicone Breast Implants.
I Could See the Matrix
I might be on to something. I was hoping it wasn’t right. I was hoping it was. Because I wanted, no, needed answers. It was not just because I was having a bad hair YEAR. And not just because I had become the gross, nose-picker in class. But because deep down I felt something just wasn’t right with me.
I continued searching: Silicone Breast Implant + Illness. Breast Implant Dangers. Side Effects of Breast Implants. Breast Implant Illness Symptoms. BOOM!
There it was! Right there in black and white – literally!
Like in the movie The Matrix, I could finally see it. The puzzle of unresolved health issues that I would have never connected to breast implants suddenly came together. Brain fog. Memory Loss. Hysterectomy.
Low No Libido. Major weight gain. Night sweats. Day sweats. Hormone Imbalance. HRT resistance. Exercise-induced hives. Insomnia. Joint pain. These were just a few (yep, a few) of the symptoms that were flying around in my head and attaching themselves to that “thing” I didn’t believe existed!
Breast Implant Illness.
Breast Implant Illness: noun, It’s a “Thing”.
The thing I didn’t think was a “thing”? The “thing” that I thought was only for hypochondriacs and attention seekers? Yeah, that! It might be a “thing”! And, it might be MY thing!
It turns out that this “thing”, breast implant illness, is too widespread not to have validity. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not only caused when a breast implant ruptures. And it’s not exclusive to silicone implants. Whether a woman has silicone or saline implants, the shell is made up of the same chemicals. YES, chemicals. And over time that begins to leach out into our systems causing a host of issues. Some women are sicker than others. And others don’t seem to get sick at all. But at the very least, implants must put a strain on our inflammatory response system.
Now it makes total sense to me to get these implants out! When we place a foreign object into our body made of chemicals and toxic metals, our body begins to protect itself by growing a capsule of scar tissue around the implant. In an in-depth news report that looks at breast implants and their effect on health (see the video here), a doctor who studies breast implants and the capsules say, “The capsule is always changing, for the worse.” I had never really thought about it. I imagined they sat static and benign within my body.
I have found a highly recommended surgeon, Dr. Brian Lee, to remove the implants appropriately and healthily. Though many, many doctors in the medical community don’t believe breast implant illness exists, Dr. Lee, thinks it does. At my first consultation, I nearly cried, but smiled instead, when he told me that he had so many women who come in with a similar story of having been tested for things like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, adrenal dysfunction, and thyroid issues. When the tests come back normal, they are sent on their way either feeling crazy or being diagnosed as crazy. He was telling me MY story. Except for the crazy part, which I already knew 😉 and the adrenal fatigue – mine was positive.
There is a “right” way to remove the implant. The implant and the capsule formed around it should be taken out in tack. It’s called En Bloc. There can be fluids, toxins, fungus, mold and the like between the capsule and the implant and you don’t want that unleashed back into the chest cavity. I will be having my implants removed and not replaced at the end of this week.
In a day or so I will walk into a surgery center with The G-Sisters and after the 4-hour surgery to remove these toxic bags from my chest and raise The Girls up above National Geographic levels of droop, and I’ll walk (or wheel) out with a literal weight off my chest. I will also be carrying a renewed hope that my body can be restored to a state of health. I’m not sure I can remember what that’s like. It’s not like I got implants and got sick the next day, or even the next week or month. I would have noticed that!
Dr. Lee also suggested that I be tested for MTHFR mutations. It’s a long explanation, but in short, I have a body a diminished ability to detox because I don’t have all the tools I need to make it happen efficiently. I have already started working on detoxing my body of the toxins and inflammation built up over the years through some dietary changes and immune support supplementation. So stay tuned for updates on my recovery, and detox. And of course, I’ll be learning to embrace the new shape of my body, AGAIN!
I am part of a private Facebook group call Breast Implant Illness and Healing started by Nicole Daruda of healingbreastimplantillness.com. It includes over 30,000 women and counting who share personal stories of breast implant illness and awareness. Many wake from surgery with immediate relief of a majority of symptoms. They use the catchphrase, “The Heal is Real”.
I imagine that like me, they go into surgery hoping they will feel better, but with at least a tiny bit of skepticism. But we HOPE!
I believe God has answered my prayers for answers. HOPE! I’m praying He will use my journey to help someone else see the matrix that might connect their unresolved health issues to their implants. HOPE!
If you have breast implants or know someone who does, I highly recommend checking out Nicole’s website and go from there.
Other articles of interest can be found at the bottom of this post.
Follow it. Pin it.
I have also created a Pinterest board where I will be collecting and pinning information about breast implant illness and healing. I will include lots of firsthand, personal accounts from women who have decided to embrace their natural bodies in order get their health back. You can follow that board here
Lastly, please keep me in your prayers. Surgery is always scary and I believe there is power in your prayers for a safe and speedy recovery. And if you want to throw “pain-free” in there too, I won’t be mad. 😉 HOPE!
Peace out from me. And one last time from the G-Sisters!
In this case, sharing REALLY is caring. You never know who will see this story and unlock their own healing journey! Pin it
I made it!
Come on over and find out how I’m doing six-months later. Hint… It’s good.
Three years later and I’ve found FREEDOM!
This is my personal story and experience. The information in this article is not meant to be taken as medical advice.