Yesterday I was officially 1 week post explant! My pain has been pretty good since day 3 after surgery, at which point I stopped taking any form of painkiller. As you may have read in my prior blog post, there have been some definite and noticeable positive physical and health improvements in the first week with regards to my symptoms, however I still have a long way to go with over 50 symptoms that have accumulated since 2013. That being said I want to be REAL and honest that when you explant things change but this healing and detox phase is very up and down. I also want to remind you is that, the last few months leading up to surgery, all I was going was downhill despite my efforts to be as healthy and physically active as possible. I was getting close to the point of being bed-ridden at 32 years of age. Yup you read that right. A little over a week ago my life consisted of going to bed at 7 pm with my toddlers, waking up around the same time, feeding us, laying on a couch watching my kids with intermittent napping, making lunch, laying on the couch again letting my kids watch way too much TV (that's how exhausted and ill I was), and then dinner and bed time at 7 again. Repeat. Literally. I have never felt so ill and exhausted in my entire life, not even during the newborn phase with my little ones (my first baby woke up every 45-90 minutes 24/7 for months!). It's VERY hard to understand if you haven't experienced it, because on the outside looking in, you may not look your best, but you still look "okay" to the outside world, friends and family. People don't understand, they eventually think you are just lazy, don't care or have lost your sense of self worth by choice. It doesn't help that surgeons, medical professionals, regulatory bodies and pharmaceutical companies try to downplay or even outright deny the possibility of breast implant illness, despite their horrendously abysmal track record when it comes to women's health and safety with breast implants. I have been fortunate I have not lost friends or family because of breast implant illness, but I know women that have lost it all because of this illness. Isn't it amazing that something touted as so safe and that can enhance your sense of confidence, your "beauty" and well being, can actually destroy everything in the end? Your health, finances, your family ties and your friendships.
I now start to understand a possible reason why there is a much higher incidence of suicide among women with breast implants compared to the general population. In fact there is a 2-3x higher rate of suicide among women with breast implants compared to the general population based on the research available. Of course the blame is cast on these women having prior issues, even though none of the research looked at that history, but my theory is that it has very little to do with the self esteem or a predisposition towards psychological challenges and much more to do with the fact these women's health and well being deteriorates to a painful state, they lose their jobs because of inability to work and medical professionals, friends and family do not believe it or support it as they continue to deteriorate so they eventually lose those supports and are left alone and in physical and mental misery. If you feel like death, have no support network around you anymore, and come to the final question of why am I here then, why would you continue to suffer if not even your own family doctor believes you or can stop the cascade of symptoms from going away?
I can only speak from my personal experience and from the stories shared with me by other women. I can tell you that with how terrible I was feeling leading up to my explant surgery and with how quickly I was deteriorating, that if I had not had the knowledge of Breast Implant Illness to know to explant as well as the loving support of my husband, family/friends and my surgeon, I can fully empathize with how and why women eventually turn to suicide to end that suffering. IT IS HELL. It is not living, it's a form of decrepit deteriorating existence and not much else despite your desire and efforts for it not to be.
I am thankful I never hit that point or came close to it, but I wanted to cover this topic because it's a reality for many women suffering from breast implant illness. I have spoken to women who have or are contemplating suicide. Not every women can explant to solve this problem. There are many reasons why, an inability to find a surgeon willing to do it properly, or in many cases lack of finances or access to credit in order to do so. That, my friends, is how bad it gets. Being stuck with only one option left. It does happen and I'd like to dedicate my blog today to those fallen angels. May you rest in peace.