Explant Update: 20 Weeks
It has been about 20 weeks since I removed my implants! Spoiler alert: I have no regrets. Nope. Not one. What I do have is a lot of stuff to be excited and happy about! My implants did a lot of things for me. Very few of those things were good. But I like to find the silver linings in even the worst situations, so I will say that while my implants did make me sick, they did serve a purpose that nothing else could have: They gave me a sense of normalcy after everything in my life had been flipped upside down.
The funny thing is, my implants actually never felt normal though. I guess it just made my reflection seem more normal. On the inside, it never felt quite right. But I never imagined that my implants would cause so much trouble! Nor did I realize that so many of the things I thought I was just destined to deal with forever would go away. It's crazy to think about, really.
The list of symptoms I experienced is long, and even now I'm still realizing that some stuff
was likely caused by my implants that I never would've connected to them. Even after having all the knowledge I had gained about how dangerous they are. The photo to the right shows a list of symptoms with the ones I was experiencing highlighted. But there's other stuff that isn't on here that I can pretty much guess happened because I had those stupid things in my body. Side note: most of the symptoms I've highlighted are either completely resolved or greatly improved!
1. My right palm was always itchy. I know this one is pretty weird, and I didn't know why it was happening. Around 2 months after explant, I noticed that it had stopped.
2. Caffeine sensitivity. I have been drinking coffee since I was in high school. And, of course, I had my limits, and I also know that there are strong sides on whether or not coffee is actually good for you. That being said: I still drank it. Pretty much everyday and sometimes all day. About 2 years before explant, I couldn't handle coffee anymore. One sip and I would get heart palpitations, shakes, and digestive issues. It was like I had drank way too much. So I stopped drinking it and switched to green tea. Which still has caffeine, but I could tolerate a cup or 2 of that. (Green tea has a component in it that causes the body to metabolize the caffeine a little differently, which is why those who are sensitive to caffeine can usually tolerate it better.) You can probably guess where this is going. Implants came out... I can drink coffee again without problems.
3. My yoga practice is better. I have more mobility in my torso and shoulders than I had with implants. This one probably isn't as surprising especially because my implants were under the muscle.
4. Chronic neck and back pain are virtually non-existent. Last summer I had hurt my low back doing nothing spectacular and was down for weeks. On top of that, I had chronic neck pain and couldn't turn my head very far in any direction. Now, my low back doesn't hurt (I mean, unless I overwork it, which would probably happen anyway) and my neck bothers me way less than it did. I have had some shoulder stuff going on that irritates my neck, but my chiropractor guesses that it could be my body healing and adjusting from everything that it has gone through. So hopefully that continues to improve with her help! (BTW, if you're looking for a badass chiropractor that is friendly and really helpful and you're on the northside of Indianapolis, Dr. Hillary is who you want. Click here to see her Facebook page.)
5. My shoes fit better. Weird, right? Except not really. If you think about the fact that I was really inflamed and swollen, it would make sense that my feet would shrink up a bit once the inflammation went down. This also happened with my face, arms, and ankles. You can see in the picture a huge difference. The pic on the left was taken November 8, 2019. The pic on the right was taken January 12, 2020, only 12 days after surgery. My face was so puffy before. Plus, I dropped about 10 pounds of inflammation after surgery. I was just lying around healing. Not exercising or worrying too much about what I was eating (I was still plant based though.). Weight gain is often something that women with BII are experiencing, and usually they drop some of that weight right after surgery. It isn't fat loss. It's inflammation loss. It's not typically all the weight that they want to lose either. I experienced a weight gain of about 25-30 pounds over the course of a few years. And at the beginning of the weight gain, I was still exercising pretty regularly and eating really well. It didn't make any sense.
6. I don't feel constricted or stuck in my own body. The best way I can describe this feeling is like when you try to take off a sports bra when you're really sweaty and you get stuck in it. You know what I'm talking about, ladies. You have that moment of panic, and of course, there's never anyone around to help you when this happens. The panic makes you sweat more, struggle more, and you wonder if this is how you're gonna die. Sweaty and stuck in a sports bra. I've also experienced something similar trying on dresses with a long zipper in the back or a snug dress that goes over your head. It. is. terrifying. That's how I felt in my own body all the time. I tried not to think too hard about it because who wants to feel that constricted panic all day? Not me. And I somehow got accustomed to feeling that way. Now that my implants are out, all of that is completely gone. I feel at home in my own body again, and that is the best feeling ever.
So at nearly 5 months out from surgery, I am still so thankful for finding all the information I did and being brave enough to remove my implants. Had I known at the time of my implant what I know now, I never would've done this. Even if my reflection would've looked "normal." Who's this "normal" anyway? I feel so good now and I have virtually no boobies, so suck it "normal."