How I'm Feeling: 8 Weeks Post-Op
Eight weeks ago, I had my implants removed. When I had them put in 5 years ago, I never imagined they would cause the problems that they did. Instead, having implants gave me a sense of normalcy at a time in my life when nothing was normal. Breast cancer turns everything upside down, that's for sure. Losing my breasts was something I didn't worry too much about because I knew I was getting implants. They would make my body look somewhat normal and I wouldn't feel like anything was missing.
Although, that's not exactly how it worked. Instead, I never quite felt like myself. My surgeon did a beautiful job on my reconstruction, but I never really loved them. I started experiencing a myriad of symptoms, but I never suspected it was from my implants. I mean, I had gone through intense chemo, radiation, surgery, and a massive blood clot in my neck. I just figured I was going to feel somewhat terrible for awhile, if not forever.
When I learned about BII and complications from breast implants, I just couldn't ignore it. All I could do was hope it would make some kind of positive difference in my overall quality of life. My intuition was screaming at me that these things were nothing but trouble and getting them out would change everything. Finally, I made the connection.
Turns out, my intuition was right once again! In these 8 weeks, I've noticed so much positive change and I wish I could properly verbalize how amazing it feels, but I'm not sure I could do it justice. I'm gonna try though.
The first thing I noticed after surgery was how easy it was to breathe. I knew from doing yoga and becoming a yoga teacher that taking a deep breath took some work, but I didn't realize how much work until the implants were gone. Breathing feels so effortless now.
Before my explant, my body felt foreign. Like when you go out of town and stay in a hotel that just doesn't feel quite comfortable and you're not sure why. On the surface, it looks fine, but you can never really relax. That's how I felt in my own body, and it was hard to explain that to anyone, even myself sometimes. Almost immediately after explant, that feeling went away. Of course, there's some adjustments I need to make and get used to. Like I don't fill out my shirts quite the same way, but I honestly don't even care because I finally feel at home in my own body again!
And hugs. This one, I wasn't expecting. When I first got my implants I was so upset because I couldn't fully feel hugs anymore. Eventually, I didn't think about it too much and got used to it. I began to forget what the warmth and connection a hug brings feels like. Once my pain from surgery started to subside, and my husband was able to give me a proper hug, I immediately felt that connection I had gone so long without. I could finally feel hugs again! Of course, I still have some numbness in my chest area from mastectomy, but I can feel warmth and that energetic connection again.
I had some pretty intense fatigue as well. I had lost the ability to get through my day without feeling like I wanted to sleep the day away. Every aspect of my life suffered. My house was in disarray almost constantly, I had little to no physical activity in my routine, and forget having to get myself ready to leave the house. I mean, of course, I had obligations I had to fill, but I only did the bare minimum. Only the necessities. Since explant, my energy levels have increased quite a bit. I get up in the morning and actually feel awake. I accomplish my to-do lists and have even begun to exercise a little bit again. I feel so much more alive!
But, it's not all sunshine and roses. Recovery can be messy sometimes. I've had some detox symptoms and some sluggish, tired days, but that doesn't surprise me at all. My body is healing and it takes time. I'm dealing with some soreness still as well and my body is out of shape. But I'm positive I can work on that. Over the years while my implants were in, I was inexplicably gaining weight (some people experience weight loss). I slowly and steadily gained about 30ish pounds. I don't track my weight really closely just because I focus more on my strength and how I feel, but sometimes it is a nice, visible marker. Plus, my oncologist takes my weight every time I come in for a checkup and it's hard not to notice when your clothes begin to fit differently. Within days of my explant, I lost 11 pounds! I'm sure most of that was inflammation, plus the weight of the implants themselves, but it was very obvious, especially in my face. Since then, I've lost another 4 pounds without changing my diet or exercising. You guys.... I'm telling you. I never thought this aspect of my life would be affected so much from my implants.
Overall, in 8 weeks, my life has completely changed. So many issues I was dealing with before have either diminished or completely gone away. It's amazing. I feel so fortunate to have found the groups, information online, and my new surgeon to help me make this decision. I can't wait to see more improvements over the next several months! It feels like I've gotten my life back :) It's honestly comparable to when chemo was over and I got clear scans.