What You Didn’t Know About Breast Implants

Fourteen years ago, I made the “informed” decision to get breast implants.  After waiting for my body to develop breasts on its own, it became apparent at the age of 25 that my body just wasn’t going to be the “womanly” figure I wanted.

I felt like I was stuck in a little girl’s body.  I didn’t need to wear a bra. Finding dresses and clothes to fit my flat chest was terribly difficult and embarrassing.  On top of that, I believed that I wouldn’t be as desirable to men if I didn’t have breasts.

I was teased throughout middle school and high school by both girls and boys about the appearance of my body.  I would cry to my mom about how I hated my body and how I was feeling inadequate. She would always lovingly assure me that my body just needed more time to develop.

But time went on, and nothing changed.  I wanted to feel like a woman!

The Wait Was Over

I waited and waited until finally I decided that getting breast implants was the right decision for me.  I studied articles about implants, read several plastic surgeon’s websites about the different kinds of implants on the market, and ogled over photos of women whose bodies looked similar to mine and how transformed they looked with implants.

I was ready to make this change in my life.  Before long, I booked my consultation with a surgeon near where I lived and excitedly awaited the appointment.

The appointment went just as I thought it would.  The doctor’s office was swanky, well-adorned with lush fabrics and wall coverings, and a full-on spa ambiance (think calm lighting, waterfalls trickling down the walls, tranquil music).  This suited me perfectly.  I felt like I was doing something so wonderful for my body just by sitting in the waiting room!

Then, I met my surgeon.  He was fantastic and very reassuring that I would like the change.  I was straight forward in telling him that I didn’t want breasts that were too large or “showy”, as I put it.  I wasn’t getting implants to be noticed.  I wanted them for ME.

Finally, the day came and I was on the operating table.  I was finally getting what I dreamed of for all those years.  The truth is, I DID get what I wanted.  I loved my new breasts.  I finally DID feel more womanly and confident that my body was adequate.  To this day, I STILL love my breasts.  I think they’re great….except….

What I Wish I Had Known

There was a lot I didn’t know about implants that might have changed my mind back then.  If you had told me that while they look and feel great NOW, that they would start to wreak havoc on my body in just a few years, I might have thought twice about it.

I knew that I’d need to replace them at some point (the surgeon originally said every 10-12 years).  If I had been told that my health would rapidly decline because my body was fending off “foreign invaders” that were composed of over 40 toxic chemicals, I might have chosen differently.

But, I wasn’t told these things.  I was only told that there was a possibility of capsular contracture (when the capsule around the implant gets very hard) or that the implants might rupture or leak over time.

But because I had the “safe” kind (aka saline implants), ruptures and leaks would not be dangerous.  Yes, these were things that I both read and heard during my research of implants and during my consultation.  Overall, I was told saline would only leak salt water into my body whereas silicone would leak, you guessed it, silicone.  So I chose saline.

What wasn’t disclosed was that despite the fact that I was getting saline implants, the outer shell of every implant (silicone OR saline) is made up of silicone and 40+ chemicals.  So, not only was I putting silicone into my body, which is what I was trying to avoid, I was also introducing other horrible chemicals to the tissues and organs near my implants.

These are the chemicals of ALL implants

Is your mouth agape reading this list like mine is?  It sickens me and saddens me that this information was not made readily available to me.  My plastic surgeon never disclosed this and the little pamphlet about my particular breast implants did not advertise this.

Look at this list.  When you hear about women and men getting implants, have any of these chemicals come to mind?

No wonder my body is desperately rejecting the implants!  Not only are they foreign objects inserted under my chest muscles close to critical organs such as my lungs and heart, they are introducing chemicals that have NO BUSINESS being in my body…into my body!

What’s more is that so many of these chemicals are proven carcinogens and neurotoxins.  How can manufacturers AND surgeons feel right about offering implants to people knowing that they have the likelihood to cause harm?

Well, I believe the answer is MONEY.  Breast augmentation is a money making business.  Our culture sets a standard for how women should look.  Sadly, many men support this standard causing women to feel inadequate or shameful about the body they were naturally given.

I’m not pointing a blaming finger at men, I am simply making a point that has been apparent in my life. I have heard men make comments about “ideal” women’s bodies over the years, and I have watched men practically salivate over posters, photos, and actresses embodying this ideal.  Let’s face it, witnessing these things certainly doesn’t help matters.

So, in turn, women are seeking ways to look and feel more desirable instead of knowing that they are already PERFECT.  They are ENOUGH. They have ALWAYS been enough.

What is Breast Implant Illness?

So now that you see what implants are made of, do you believe in Breast Implant Illness?  Have you ever heard of it? I didn’t know anything about BII until this year when my health started declining rapidly.

I was searching for answers to explain why my young body was quickly feeling like that of an 80 year old.  I didn’t assume, like some women do, that it was a factor of my age.  Being close to forty DOES NOT make one feel the way I have been feeling, trust me!

Every conventional doctor I turned to ran various tests and every test came back normal.  There were no signs of something wrong.  The funny thing is, every doctor I have seen over this past year, I have mentioned my uncertainty whether my breast implants had anything to do with my ailments.  Not one, NOT ONE, paused to consider the idea.  They breezed over my pondering and continued with what THEY thought might be the cause.  And yet, they weren’t able to find a cause.

Ironically, after visiting my implanting plastic surgeon last year to just check on my implants since they were over 13 years old, he did not insist that I explant or replace.  He said, “If they’re not broke, there’s no reason to fix ’em.” He said they felt fine, looked fine, so they must be okay.

What’s scary is that when I asked about the possibility of removing or replacing, he urged me that if I wanted to replace, not to do it with saline.  He insisted I get silicone.  I was adamant that was NOT going to happen.

I left his office feeling relieved that I didn’t need to do anything about my implants.  “They were fine.”

Finding Answers

A few months ago, I happened to stumble across a webpage about Breast Implant Illness and read over the symptoms.  Oh. My. Gosh.  These were MY symptoms.  Almost every single one of them!  A feeling of panic yet hopefulness washed over me as I read each symptoms one by one.  Yes, yes, yes!  This makes sense to me.

Then, I joined an online group of women who were suffering from BII.  Some had already explanted their implants while others were like me, just stumbling upon this revelation trying to soak up every little bit of information possible.  These women were just like me.

Their stories were MY story!

Seriously, their stories were MY story.  Every time a woman posted about her ailments, its effects on her life, relationships, health, wellbeing, etc. it was as if she was speaking my experience.

I finally felt like I found a place where I was understood.  I was validated. These amazing warriors who have fought this silent nightmare too understood me.  They were being dismissed by doctors, downplayed by family members, told that it was “all in their head”, shrugged off as being “depressed”.  Meanwhile, their intuition was telling them something was seriously not right in their body.

Connecting the Dots

For some people, their symptoms started shortly after getting their implants.  Others, the ailments developed years and years later.  For me, looking back, I think my symptoms started maybe 2-3 years after getting my implants.  I developed some gastrointestinal issues and pains prompting me to seek out a nutritionist and gastroenterologist.

It seemed I was developing food intolerances that I never had before.  Tests were coming back normal, but a change in my diet/lifestyle seemed necessary for me to feel well.

Then my migraine headaches started.  I had to call out of work because they would be so debilitating.  Fatigue and vertigo hit in the following years.  All of these symptoms were distressing, but I could never figure out what was triggering them.  I would just have to deal with them.

Fast forward to today.  My list of symptoms is so long and extensive, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to simply deal with them.  

This is the list of symptoms that I have shown each of my doctors as I have tried to figure out what the heck was going on with me.  You can see on the side, I was questioning, “Is it my implants? Lyme Disease? Food intolerance?” I wasn’t sure and I was desperate to find out how to feel better.

I sought out my functional medicine practitioner who ran comprehensive tests on me.  Crazy enough, some of the chemicals listed above in implants are chemicals that showed up on my test results like those in cleaning agents, inks, lacquer thinner, benzenes, etc.

When I got my test results and reviewed them with the doc, I kept asking, “How do I have high levels of bleaching agents and lacquer in my body?” I thought maybe it was through contaminated drinking water since I didn’t have a better explanation.  Slowly, I started connecting the dots…

Now look at the list of Breast Implant Illness symptoms:

Similarities, much?? So now I am feeling more confident than ever in my decision to remove my implants.  Not only have the women in this one BII support group (over 55,000 and counting) solidified my readiness to explant, they have encouraged me that tremendous healing is on the other side of surgery.

Only time will tell if the “heal is real” once these toxic bags are out of my body, but I can assure you of this, my mind and heart will be at peace knowing that I did right by my body.

“Forget regret, or life is yours to miss”

You might be wondering if I regret my decision of getting implants.  The answer is NO.  A hard no.  I have enjoyed my implants, truly.  I am grateful for the experiences I have had with them as a part of my body.  Both the positive experiences and the negative ones are extremely valuable in my evolution and life’s purpose.

I now know what it feels like to have breasts and I will cherish that always. However, I have developed a greater appreciation for the natural wonders of my body.  With this newfound wisdom, I am able to look back at my pre-implant body and know that my body was never “flawed”.  My thinking was what was flawed.  I have always been enough.

I am also more thankful today than ever for my health.  Like many, I got caught up in endlessly trying to lose weight to look a certain way.  Screw that! You won’t find me subscribing to a fad diet ever again (mark my words!).

Now I know the importance of FEELING healthy and living with vibrance.  It’s when you lose that feeling, you recognize just how lucky you were to have had it in the first place.

Now, my only health goal is to FEEL WELL.  That’s it.  It’s simple.  I want to FEEL well so that I can do all the things in life that matter:  love my family, play with my son, travel, give back to my community.  It really is that simple.

Knowledge Comes from Learning, Wisdom Comes From Living

I believe having gone through this experience, I am able to be here…writing my story for all of you.  I am allowing myself to be vulnerable, courageous, exposed in the hopes that this information or my experience will help someone else choose to forgo the implants and choose self-love.

If you’re a male or female considering implants, do your research.  Connect with others who have been there, done that.  Then make your decision.  What you do to your body is YOUR business.

If you’re someone who currently has implants, it’s possible you won’t get sick from them.  But here is what I have learned.  They don’t last forever, that’s for sure.

If you really stop to think about it, your body SHOULD be rejecting them.  They aren’t meant to be in your body.  Deciding to implant will affect your immune system, muscular-skeletal frame, endocrine system, etc.  Even the healthiest implant is porous and will microscopically leak. The sooner you remove the implants, the sooner your body can heal itself.

If you’re a partner, spouse, relative or friend to someone who has implants, please share this article with them.  But most of all, please BELIEVE THEM when they tell you they’re not feeling well.  It’s not in their head.  It’s in their body. Your support will mean the world to them.

And finally, please let this educate you and ignite a spark inside yourself to investigate your environment – choose chemical-free living.  Implants or not, your body is being introduced to too many chemicals through your food, water, make-up, skin products, cleaning products, etc.  Reduce the toxic load you’re putting on your body.  Treat your body like the temple it is.

Let this inspire you to listen to your intuition.  Don’t silence your own voice.  If no one listens, go to the next person and try again.  Eventually, SOME ONE will listen.  Trust yourself and always do right by YOU.

Thank you all for reading my story and for learning something new today.  Your support, willingness to learn, and desire to be well in this lifetime means so much to me.  xoxo.

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