How do I know this is Breast Implant Illness?
The short answer is. I don’t. I have a hunch though, my intuition, and a deep gut feeling. If there is anything my (short) life experience working with horses, clients and just life has taught me so far, is ALWAYS go with your gut. Don’t get me wrong this has not been a whim of a decision. I’ve spent the past 9 months pouring over literature from the leading regulatory bodies and medical research institutions in North America. I did not come to this conclusion purely on “faith” it came with a lot of information from the manufacturers, FDA, Health Canada and other researchers. I deliberately stuck with those sources because I know we don’t have all the data from anecdotal stories, however, when you put the two together you realize this has to be more than a coincidence. There is too much damning information available if you take the time to read through it all.
It’s been a 9 month journey going from the night I first discovered breast implant illness and even considered the possibility of my breast implants being a source of my health problems to now being just 6 days away from my explant surgery. It took me 6 months of delving through the details to schedule my surgery. I needed to be sure. Remember I was a skeptic, when I first uncovered the information, I looked hard for any explanation of what else could be the cause. I even set out to disprove the notion that implants could be causing these problems for so many women, however, all my research did was make the very likely possibility that implants are causing health problems undeniable.
It was an eye opener. Weird that every symptom I had and have developed since that night (March 2017) is on the BII list. Also, coincidence or not, they happen to be the same as the known side effects of exposure related to the known heavy metals and carcinogens listed on the Summary of Safety Effectives & Data (SSED) for my implants. (Read my SSED here, and the Heavy Metal data here).
I won’t deny that it took me a while to get to the point that I was emotionally ready to explant. At first I was in awe with shock, overwhelmed by the information I was looking at. I consulted with my MD and several surgeons, only two of the four that acknowledged that women can and do react negatively to implants. Only ONE of those two felt that it was wider spread and supported the explant option while also acknowledging having seen many sick women who recovered fully following explant. The other downplayed the significance and encouraged me not to worry about it, that life brings on these symptoms too. At first I latched onto that, because, at that moment in time, I was afraid of not having my larger bosom. So I withdrew from the idea of any surgery but stayed observing in the Healing Breast Implant Illness facebook group. (Today over 28,000 women)
As I stayed in the group I noticed similar stories and saw the same physical improvement post explant as well as reported symptoms resolving themselves after explant. Eventually the numbers (1000’s) seemed too large and consistent in their stories to be coincidental. I’ll also admit that in the back of my mind I couldn’t push away from the nagging feeling Breast Implant Illness was my problem. I mean I am young, I am active (6x a week exercise), I eat a clean diet, I get 8-10 hours of sleep a night, I have no family history of these medical issues, yet I feel like I’m deteriorating. All my medical tests consistently come back normal, normal, normal. Yet I was (and am) getting worse. I still wasn’t ready to accept this though and needed more “proof” of BII. It’s challenging because BII is not recognized by the medical professionals or bodies or regulatory authorities, but that is also what complicates acknowledgement because if doctors don’t believe that your implants could be causing you problems they won’t be reported as such, so the information is not necessarily accurate with regards to the numbers of women who have implant and are suffering from these problems. We have no mass database tracking this stuff! It really relies on women self reporting it.
Anyway I set out to disprove the theory of BII and my implants being the cause. I focused on the information available from the FDA, Health Canada, and accredited research institutions because I wanted something that was real proof and not based on perception, memory or belief. I wanted science and fact. At the time I felt pretty confident that this journey would end my nagging feelings of BII would fall by the wayside and I’d disprove BII. In fact, at the time, I wanted to disprove it, because I liked how my chest looked and wasn’t ready to part with it…. So I had a vested interest. How wrong I was.
If you ever take the time to read every document in the FDA database, every study available pertaining to implant, and ask questions, at least for me, Breast Implant Illness as a big and likely possibility is highly plausible. The idea that these foreign bodies could and can make us sick is undeniable. I immediately rushed to the conclusion that the risk was low, just 2-3%, no worries right? But then I realized most studies lost huge portions of their participants, the FDA acknowledges it believes the incidence rate is underreported, and knowing even through my own experience that most surgeons and MD’s believe implants to be inert and safe in your body, means many other women could be experiencing these symptoms and seeing their medical professionals regarding them with no relief and no reporting because it’s being misdiagnosed as something else and not recognized as being possibly caused by the implants.
We have no big database tracking our health and whether or not we have implants. It relies on medical professionals or the patients to self report it as being related to implants. Another thing to consider is how the reported early symptoms often mimic allergies, stress responses, connective tissues disorders or other problems ; how many women, like myself, assume it’s something else like allergies, or being a parent and never suspect implants as the cause because we are told they are safe? That thought NEVER crossed my mind. I only began searching for answers after my symptoms became more than just allergy like and became abnormal and yet my MD consistently found nothing wrong with me.
I must also credit a good friend of mine who coincidentally went through exactly what I am now. She told me her story and it’s like she was telling me mine, except she didn’t know my story yet. She explanted 3 years ago and has healed.
So, the nagging feeling turned into some minor anxiety and a overwhelming realization of the magnitude and consequences of the decision I made 7 years back. I have essentially been slowly poisoning myself over time. Interestingly poisoning often slides under the radar of the medical community because it its not very common and very hard to detect in test results. It doesn’t tend to appear in your typical labs and tests. But it will make you sick!
So, that is when I decided it was time. I wanted to be energetic, healthy and most of all ALIVE to enjoy my family and my life. It would be inaccurate to say I did this willingly in the beginning. I “liked” my fake breasts. I’d grown attached. They had become my security blanket against my lacking self confidence, self esteem and inner feelings of inadequacy. Oddly, they also are the very thing that took away my feeling of “security” in health and well being. When I look in the mirror I see someone sick and fighting to stay alive.
I cried. I denied. I mourned. Then I booked and paid for my surgery. I’m glad I did that back in September, because that is when my symptoms began to rapidly increase and health began to deteriorate much quicker. Some naysayers might argue it’s in my head, but I don’t feel or believe that. I am at peace with my decision, I document my symptoms as they occur, I live my life to be healthy and yet things are not getting better. There is no explanation for it. I don’t dwell on it either. I’m just happy I have learned about this and can make the right decision for me going forward and move on from this journey, while also providing awareness for other women.
I am so glad my surgery is just 6 days away. I am now truthfully ready and actually excited to be me again. To free myself of my preconceived notion of what defines me as a women and makes me beautiful. I am beautiful the way I was born.
Oddly enough, a few days ago, I was given a very special gift with a message from a dear friend. It’s a “mantra band” and it says “trust yourself” and I’ll end this post with the message that accompanied:
“Trust yourself, because you are the only one who knows what is best for you. Listen to your inner voice, trust your intuition. Trust that you have the strength to do what it takes. Trust yourself in your path to truth.”