It's done! I had my implants removed almost 5 weeks ago. After doing all my own research and consulting with a new surgeon, I decided that having an explant surgery was going to be the best thing for me. I couldn't be happier with my decision. Seriously.
I was scared though. What if I removed them and nothing really changed? I'm a breast cancer survivor, and I had a mastectomy which means I have no breast tissue. Which also means that by removing my implants, there isn't anything there except skin. But I'm super lucky to have found my surgeon! She was able to take the extra skin along with some fat grafting to give me a little shape so my chest isn't concave and it looks like I just have really teeny tiny breasts. Which I am totally ok with. Especially now that it's done and I've felt so much improvement!
I haven't been this flat since I was, like, 8 years old (I was an early bloomer). And it has been an adjustment. My clothes fit differently and my silhouette is completely different. I've always been anywhere from a C cup to a DD cup depending on my overall weight, so I've always been a bit of a chesty girl. And to be completely honest, I'm embracing my new body. This is me now and those silicone, fake breasts were never mine to begin with. I never really felt attached or connected to them, and they always just felt so unnatural and out of place. I mean, my results were nice! My first surgeon did a great job, but I think it never really was
the right move for me.
I also knew that the only way to know if my implants were causing problems was to remove them. And that is risky, or at least I thought so until they were actually out.
I have absolutely no regrets. I've noticed so many improvements in these last 5 weeks, and I hope to see more as the weeks go on.
I had my implants for about 5 years. I got them in 2014. Shortly after that, I noticed some things changing but never tied them to my implants. I was told that my implants were perfectly safe, there was no risk of them rupturing and leaking into my body (because they were gummy bear style implants), and I only had to have them checked my MRI every other year and replaced every 10 years. I didn't even question any of this and went with it. I don't think my surgeon was out to hurt me. I think that she was just giving me the information that she had. At least, that's what I like to think! Anyway, toward the beginning of 2015, things got even worse. I started to feel like someone was choking me whenever I would lean down to pick something up. That progressed into feeling it whenever I exerted any kind of energy. I had that feeling along with fatigue for about 10 months before I found out it was a massive blood clot in my neck! All that time, I had been told by at least 4 doctors that all I had was a terrible sinus infection. It all came to a peak when I ended up in the emergency room with a swollen neck, pain, fatigue, and rapid heartbeat after spending 2 weeks in bed. That's when we found out I was actually dealing with a blood clot which explained a lot of the symptoms I was having. My clot was caused by my port. It had somehow damaged my aorta which slowed down my blood flow and eventually formed the clot. Thankfully, after spending a few days in ICU, the clot was broken up, I was fine, and got to go home. Shortly after, my port was removed and I started to feel so much better!
I had some residual symptoms, but I had improved so much that it felt amazing! Also, I just figured after everything I had been through, some stuff would never be perfect. So I accepted it and went on with life the best I could.
But here's the thing. After chemo, I had so much energy once I started to recover! I was able to start a fitness routine, something I had never had in my life, and I just felt great overall! But once I got my implants and then had to deal with my blood clot, it all went downhill, and it never really got better. It was a slow decline, and because of my blood clot, it wasn't terribly obvious that my implants correlated with the slow ride downhill. I just assumed the stuff I was feeling was either from everything I had been through or I wasn't doing enough for my health.
I realize now that I was struggling because of my implants. I don't doubt it one bit. Along with fatigue, I experienced muscle fatigue, sensitivity to light and sound, digestive issues (constipation and feeling like my food wasn't digesting), anxiety, inflammation (swollen face, ankles, hands), hair loss, dry skin, constant fluid in my ears, slow unexplained weight gain, and neck and low back pain among other symptoms that I am realizing have either resolved or gotten better since I had my implants taken out. I suspect my irregular periods might also have something to do with all of this as well.
One of the biggest things I noticed almost immediately is that I feel like I'm coming out of a fog. I feel alive again. In an Instagram post I made recently, I compared it to coming out of a long, dark winter. It is honestly the best feeling! I had read about other women experiencing this, and I was hoping I would be as lucky, and it turns out, I have been! I can take a deep breath without struggling again! Something I didn't realize was that big of an issue until it wasn't anymore. And recently, I teared up while hugging my husband because I forgot what a real heart to heart hug felt like. Yep. I couldn't feel it. I just assumed because of my mastectomy and being completely numb on my chest that I would never feel that again. I remember crying one night right before bed when I first had reconstruction because I couldn't genuinely feel hugs anymore. I just accepted it as my new normal. But now my implants are out and I can feel the warmth, the energy, the magic of a really really good hug. It makes me sad to know how long I went without feeling that, but hopeful and excited that I can feel it once again.
The only thing I can hope for by posting my story is that I help spread the word about the complications that come up from having implants like Breast Implant Illness (BII). I won't judge anyone for getting implants. It's a really personal decision, and isn't always an easy one. But if you have implants or you're thinking about getting them, just make sure you do some digging around, read about this, read the thousands of other stories like mine that are out there before you do it.