How I almost missed Lady Gaga (in Vegas!) because of my boobs

Breast implants
2 days post surgery and my skin is glowing!

Warning: there is a photo of a ruptured implant, post surgery, toward the bottom of the page.

I’m an over-sharer and always have been, but I think in that there is authenticity and that’s what actually helps people, and helping people is what I’m all about!

So, here’s my wellness story. I had breast augmentation surgery with silicone implants almost 14 years ago (right before I met my husband, actually!).  I wanted out of the itty bitty titty committee and I was not in a place to accept myself for the beautiful person I was. While my reasons for getting breast implants were not great, I don’t regret them being part of the confidence building that made me the woman I am today. I really like her!

I want to be very clear that I’m not judging anyone who has enhanced themselves (I did it!). Women have been doing it for years in so many ways, and I think that it’s a natural desire. Some of us choose our clothes, hairstyles, makeup and jewelry as extensions of who we are and who we want to be and that is a beautiful thing.

Boobs

Boobs for us women are a bit of thing. Big boobs are seemingly everywhere and obviously desirable. I remember during my high school years when mine stopped growing I started the “I must, I must, I must increase my bust” chant while I exercised my pecs on a regular basis. The funny thing is that my breasts were the perfect size for my petite frame. Some of my family and I even made a pact that if one of us won the lotto we would all get boobs! The desire for bigger breasts was pervasive. The rest is history.

What the health?

Right before Thanksgiving, I passed a kidney stone. For the few weeks following there was still pain so I got an MRI (two actually) to try to determine the cause. Long story short, right after Christmas I was in the ER with what turned out to be a ruptured hemorrhagic ovarian cyst as well! It was a fun month or so!

I’m lying in the ER bed and the doc returns to give me the news about the cyst and, oh, by the way, it looks like one of your implants has ruptured. He thought I must have known. When I explained that I had no idea, he asked two questions; “Was I assaulted recently?” No. “Had I had any rough sex recently?” Nothing out of the ordinary, I told him ;P

With 14-year-old implants, the rupture could have happened when the kids or the dog jumped on me – a regular occurrence. What a life that doc must think I lead, ha ha!!! As it happens, I believe the implant ruptured at my last mammogram, the day after my 40th birthday. And I thought my exhaustion and all the health issues that followed were part of the “it’s all downhill from here” talk you hear after turning the big 4-0.

Choices

I have reached a stage in life where I am very conscious of the things going into and onto my body – the quality of food, the types of food, my beloved fruit and veggie capsules, skincare and makeup. I just don’t want chemicals and nasties in my body. Early last year it kinda hit me that I’d had these potentially toxic foreign bodies inside my chest for a really long time and I was starting to think I didn’t want them anymore.  So I started researching…

Breast Implant Illness – the quiet #metoo movement?

Did you know there’s a thing called Breast Implant Illness? Neither did I. It’s not recognized by the medical community at large, but the almost 60,000 women in just one of the support groups on social media have a lot in common. Thousands of women have tracked their symptoms over the years they’ve had their implants and have commonly suffered the afflictions outlined below. The ones I have experienced are highlighted.

Fatigue or chronic fatigue, cognitive dysfunction (brain fog, difficulty concentrating, word retrieval, memory loss), muscle aches, pain, and weakness, joint pain and soreness, hair loss, dry skin, eyes, mouth, hair, weight gain or weight loss, easy bruising and slow healing of wounds, temperature intolerance, low libido, ringing in the ears, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, metallic taste in the mouth, oral thrush (white tongue), night sweats, skin rashes, insomnia, estrogen/progesterone imbalance, diminishing hormones, or early menopause, swollen and tender lymph nodes in the breast area, underarms, throat, neck, or groin, tingling or numbness in the arms and legs, burning pain around the chest wall or breasts, cold and discolored hands and feet, foul body odor, muscle twitching, vertigo, fevers, dehydration, frequent urination, chronic neck and back pain, photosensitivity, nail changes (cracking, splitting, slow growth, etc.), skin freckling, pigmentation changes (darkening or white spots), or an increase in papules (flesh colored raised bumps), edema (swelling) around eyes, premature aging, decline in vision or vision disturbances, slow muscle recovery after activity, liver and kidney dysfunction, gastrointestinal and digestive issues, sudden food intolerances and allergies, smell or chemical sensitivities, new or persistent infections – viral, bacterial, and/or fungal (candida), reoccurring sinus, yeast, and UTI infections, throat clearing, cough, difficult swallowing, choking feeling, chronic inflammation, headaches, dizziness, and migraines, mood swings, emotional instability, anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, depression, hypo/hyper thyroid symptoms, hypo/hyper adrenal symptoms, symptoms or diagnosis of fibromyalgia, symptoms or diagnosis of lyme. Common autoimmune symptoms or diagnoses: rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjörgen’s syndrome, Raynaud’s syndrome, Graves disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, scleroderma, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease

As a natural skeptic, I recognize that experiencing any of these things could be part of something else. However, I can also appreciate that so many women experiencing these afflictions since getting implants is alarming. There are women all over the world whose lives are being severely impacted by breast implants. Within the support groups, I hear stories of women who can’t get even out of bed because of autoimmune issues, and a large number of women who power through extreme fatigue every day.

Bye, Felicia!

It was the rupture that finally made me decide I was getting the implants removed, and not replaced. The thought of the contents of the implants being free in my body terrified me. I was ecstatic the day after surgery when the doctor told me the ruptured implant had been contained within the scar capsule!

Friends, I really don’t want this to be a scare campaign. I know I was terrified when I started reading about so many women having health issues and then I got mad for a while. I even felt betrayed by the plastic surgeon that put them in and trapped that I couldn’t get them out right now. It was a rollercoaster of emotions! After the surgery, I just feel a lot of peace and a desire to fill my body with good food and good supplements to get it back to peak health. I’m learning a lot from Anthony William (the Medical Medium) and doubling up on my favorite fruit and veggie capsules to give my body the best nutrition and healing power I possibly can.

And I’m sharing because I want women to have a voice and information to make informed decisions.

The views

It is important to note that very different views exist on whether breast implants cause health issues. The plastic surgeons certainly don’t feel silicone is dangerous and there are studies that agree. There are also studies that disagree.  So this post is simply a starting point and something to think about before you do your own research.

Also, know that it is possible to find caring plastic surgeons who understand our desire for peace of mind and healing. They are aware of the information available and many of them are doing implant removals regularly.

Ruptured breast implant
Left (ruptured) and right implants – note the color difference.

Here are some of the things we know about implants:

  • They don’t last forever. At some point, they will need to be removed or replaced.
  • All implants have a silicone shell and silicone has been known to bleed through this shell. It can create a biofilm around the implant that causes low-grade recurrent bacterial infection. I have heard that when you touch it, it leaves a film on your hands similar to a silicone-based makeup primer.
  • Saline implants are thought to be safer – if they rupture the saline spills into your body and is absorbed and excreted. However, they can develop fungus and bacteria within the implant and you don’t want that in your body. They are also housed in a silicone shell.
  • Our bodies can experience a persistent foreign body reaction to the implants.
  • Implants contain numerous heavy metals that can leach into the body and act as neurotoxins.
  • While implants aren’t related to breast cancer, they are related to Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkins lymphoma (cancer of the immune system). The risk is higher with textured implants.
  • If you’d like to read more, start here.

Money where my mouth is

So, I’ve put my money where my mouth is and I’m no longer just talking about how to live a healthy life. I’m coming after wellness from all angles now!

My implants came out January 16, 2019 and I’m quickly on the mend. Surprisingly for me, it has been a very spiritual experience. I couldn’t sleep the first night after surgery (insomnia due to the steroid given during the procedure), and it turned out to be a night of prayer, meditation, guidance, and talking to my body. I even promised my tiny boobs that I would never belittle them (me!) for being small. It’s healing and acceptance on all levels! And not just for me.

I got to have amazing conversations with our 8-year-old twins about what was going on. When I told them I got plastic surgery when I was younger, my daughter ran to me, hugged me and said “but why? You’re beautiful just as you are!” My kiddos and husband have been so supportive and I love them so much for that! And now we have the opportunity to be upfront with the next generation about what is important.

Onward and upward

And so begins the new wave of health…the girls are out, and I still get to go on my first girls trip after all – Lady Gaga here I come!

I’ll be sure to update on my healthy journey as time goes on, and I would really love to hear your stories too. Let’s get our experiences and this information out into the world, beautiful people and help anyone who’ll listen.

Love, and healing,

Claire.