I was at an all time low. My body was failing me and I was failing my family. The time line was becoming crystal clear.
All of the doctors appointments, the tests, the pain and the searching and we never once considered that a choice I made in 2013 would wreak absolute havoc on our lives. I asked simple questions. I got simple answers.
I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
January 2013 I had an elective surgery. I didn’t make the decision without asking every question I could think of. I got breast implants. For me. I mean, after nursing 4 babies I clearly earned them, right!?
“Are they safe?” Yes
“What are they made of?” Silicone
”Why were they taken off the market in 1992?” They were liquid silicone. The new ones are solid silicone. They don’t leak.
“Are there any health risks.” There is always a risk with any surgery. Capsular Contracture is a risk. Some patients have experienced rupture after an accident (car). You may not like the way they look.
I asked so many questions that the office sent me home with an implant to test. I twisted it, squooshed it, smooshed it and even cut it open to see what would happen.
I thought I had been an informed consumer. Three years into my researching I found this:
Silicone Breast Implant Ingredients
Methyl Ethyl Ketone (neurotoxin)
Polyvinyl Chloride (neurotoxin)
Ethyl Acetate (neurotoxin)
Lead-based solder (heavy metal)
Oakite (cleaning solvent)
Ethylene Oxide (carcinogen)
Naptha (rubber solvent)
Epoxy Hardener 10 and 11
Metal Cleaning Acid
Color Pigments as release agents
Heavy metals such as aluminum, tin, lead, and platinum
The decision to get implants came with price tag. The price tag was my health and no amount of money was going to give me back my health.
But a risky surgery would. A surgery that most surgeons laughed at. Most plastic surgeons weren’t even familiar with this type of procedure. I was determined to find a doctor that understood. I would find a doctor that believed me. And I would never take my health for granted again. I would never ask simple question nor would I be content with simple answers. I would get me back again and along the way I was going to be a voice for others.
In August 2017, I found my saving grace. My dear friend Amy connected me with a woman in Florida by the name of Nikki. Nikki was experiencing all the same things I was. I called her. And I cried. Nikki understood and she would connect me to a Facebook group of over 10,000 women experiencing the same laundry list of symptoms we were experiencing. I was no longer alone. None of us were.
Every single one of the women had breast implants.
I read their posts. Some had been on the page for a while and some were new just like I was. I read and I read and I read. It was the same story over and over and over again. Breast Implant Illness (BII) was real.
Through these women I found a surgeon several hours away from me. He understood that I was scared. He understood that I wanted to be healthy and free. He was willing to an “En Bloc” explantation. He would take pictures of the surgery to assure me that en bloc was performed as agreed. He would allow me to keep my implants in case I needed them for future testing.
It was October 2017. The 2 hour drive to the hospital felt like an eternity. I was so scared. The doctors came to get me. One marked me up like a sketch book and the other starting the sedate me. “Promise me that you will take good care of me and that I will wake up. I have four little girls that need me.” He put his hand on my hand and said, I promise to take good care of you. You are going to be okay.”
He would set me free.