I'm now 88 days into my healing since my breast implant removal. I have been waiting for a much anticipated first appointment with a specialist regarding my silicone exposure and related symptoms (breast implant illness) and my day finally arrived March 15! Yesterday I had that appointment.
First of all, this is no hokey pokey doctor. He is a renowned and well-respected MD, PHD (Doctor of Medical Sciences) with specialities in Nephrology & Immunology. His areas of expertise include autoimmune disorders, inflammatory disorders and ASIA ( autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by an adjuvant). I was VERY fortunate that my family MD provided the referral to this specialist.
My appointment was over 2 hours in length and included a very thorough review of my family medial history, an extensive review of my personal medical records and history, going over all of my symptoms, records and photos of my breast implant illness related symptoms as well as a physical examination. After all of that, I was officially diagnosed with ASIA complicated by potential allergies and either an undefined autoimmune disease and/or autoimmune deficiency. He ordered a large number of tests to evaluate possible allergies, autoimmune disorder markers, deficiencies, inflammatory markers, among other things.
Of note, he couldn't believe my MD and other ER medical professionals I'd interacted with over the years, with all my symptoms, hadn't referred me to other specialists at any point even with the pictures I showed him. I told him all my tests always came back normal, so I was told more then once, that I was just stressed and a tired mom.
Based on the physical examination, all my lymph nodes have swelling in them which is indicative of silicone being everywhere. He told me I have silicone everywhere, there is no definitive test developed to "prove it", but he has worked on cadavers from donated bodies of women and they consistently found matching silicone every where in the body, especially lymph nodes. Unfortunately, the silicone continues to plague the body and cause chronic inflammation which also increases risk of other health problems and specifically increases cancer risk! There is no known way to remove silicone to date, he agreed that the heavy metals in breast implants are absolutely part of the overall health picture and further add to myriad of symptoms. He didn't advise heavy metal testing because of it's tendency to be inaccurate, the best thing is to get the body working optimally so that it can detox those metals itself.
He stated unequivocally that it was a good thing I had my breast implants removed when I did. Leaving them longer can be more detrimental to ones health, especially once symptoms have begun to manifest themselves. He also confirmed that capsule removal is crucial to health improvement, those with full capsule removal tend to have better overall health recovery outcomes, based on some of the small studies he conducted, compared to those with capsule left behind, and especially compared to women that do not have capsules removed at all. In his words, the capsule is absolutely proof that the body is reacting negatively to the implant and that the implants should be removed before symptoms even begin to manifest themselves.
As you may be aware I still have a small portion of capsule that remains inside my chest. I inquired about that as a problem, and he felt that, while it would have been ideal to have it all removed, sometimes surgeons do not have the technical skill to remove it all safely. He felt that the bigger concern was less so that small portion of capsule, and more so the silicone that is everywhere in my body. He felt that with my current level of improvement since explant as well as the treatment I will be starting under his watch, the risks and expenses of an additional surgery did not warrant attempting to remove the small amount. In his words, the silicone is everywhere in your body, removing the small capsule, won't remove all the other areas of your body that have that constant silicone exposure triggering symptoms.
My treatment right now is based on my full medical history, most recent blood work before his visit, and the reported symptoms I have to date as well as the physical examination. Due to the chronic state of my inflammation I am going on an anti-inflammatory; because keeping that in check is one of the more crucial aspects of preventing other health problems like cancer. So I will be taking a daily anti-inflammatory. The other aspects include balancing the gut flora which is destroyed as a result of the implant exposure; so it's a very high dose probiotic daily as well as a very high dose Vitamin D weekly (50,000 units). There are a few other things, like eye gel to deal with the dry eyes. Overall most of it is not medication! He also recommended the FODMAP diet, however, he did say it would be hard to stick too. Ideally I'd do this diet for 6-8 weeks and then slowly re-introduce the grains, sugars, etc separately seeing which ones my body reacts most to and which ones it may be able to tolerate.
In the meantime I will be awaiting the results of all the blood work, taking the recommended items as a start to my treatment plan, and revisiting him in 2 months time. Overall I am highly impressed with his knowledge, his credentials, and his experience. He has worked with many women experiencing adverse health problems as a result of breast implants and has done specific research and studies with regards to it as well. I'm hopeful this will help to address the more chronic problems I have had since 2013. In the meantime I wanted to update after this visit! I'm really optimistic about the future and working with a specialist that understands breast implant illness or as he refers to it; ASIA. My latest V-LOG update available here too.
If you'd like to learn more about ASIA the links below may be of interest.
Silicone implant incompatibility syndrome (SIIS): A frequent cause of ASIA (Shoenfeld’s syndrome) (2013)
Autoimmune/in ammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA) due to silicone implant incompatibility syndrome in three sisters (2014)
Silicone breast implants and autoimmune rheumatic diseases: myth or reality (2017)