Hello again! Well it's been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. Overall since my explant surgery on Dec 18, 2017 things have improved drastically. The decision to remove my implants was definitely the right decision for me, however, I'm potentially faced with ANOTHER expensive surgery because I did not have a surgeon that explanted properly by removing the ENTIRE capsule (only part).
For those that don't know, proper explant is REALLY crucial for a number of reasons. The capsules are formed by your body as a response to the foreign body, it's kind of like your body trying to wall it off to protect you. It's SMART! This tissue can continue to be deemed a "foreign body" itself, because the body really doesn't know it's your own tissue. The other thing is that the capsule has the bleed off from your breast implants, so the microscopic parts of silicone, heavy metals, etc leech into the capsule and sit there. So it's another source of toxic exposure if left in. BIA-ALCL, the immune system cancer associated with breast implants, tends to be found in the capsule tissue...... so yeah, capsules are a problem.
I knew when I woke up from surgery that I had capsule tissue left behind. My surgeon didn't hide it and I knew, going into surgery, that my surgeon didn't guarantee it's full removal. However, I did not have the funds or the TIME to wait for one of the expert explant surgeons because I really didn't think I would have lived another couple months to make it. I was that sick. I don't recommend this choice if you can get it done right the first time. So, anyway, I took the plunge and hoped the capsule would be removed. It was not. I was worried about this, but decide to set it aside, focus on healing and see what my body would do for the next year and re-evaluate.
Well here I am almost a year later (in a few short weeks!) and while I've made great improvements, up to about 7 months post explant, through my personal journaling I've noticed a subtle but steady decline in health and intensity in the remaining symptoms. I've been really strict on my diet, avoiding chemical exposure through environment and products, etc just to make sure it wasn't something else... But I've come to the conclusion it probably is the left over capsule.
I have spent the last little while scouring resources for information about retained capsules and complications related to it. I've also sought out other women who had partial or full capsules left behind and subsequent surgeries to remove to see what their experiences were. The brief answer is, there is enough research to indicate capsules need to be removed fully for full recovery and to avoid future complications years after explanting (including BIA-ALCL, which is the immune system cancer related to breast implants!). I have been able to reach one women with partial capsules that improved greatly for the first 6 months after her initial explant surgery with partial capsulectomy. However, like me, she began to slowly get worse again. She has another surgery to get the partial capsules removed and the healing resumed. Within 9 months, of her partial capsule removal, she had recovered fully from all of her symptoms. I also heard from several ladies who had full capsules left behind, that continued to deteriorate after explant. Once full capsule removal occurred their health began improving and symptoms dropped off.
So, my bad, I knew this was a risk. I don't regret the way I've approached this by any means, but it is a lesson for those of you following my journey. If you want to have a chance at full health, remove ALL THE CAPSULE. DON'T accept the possibility of leaving any in there. Get it out!
Dr. Pierre Blaise has countless articles and literature based on his extensive research and evaluations of thousands of breast implants and associated capsules. His view, get them out, or continue to be sick. Dr. Lu Jean Feng, is very clear that the full capsule must come out in order for full healing to occur as is Dr. Jae Chun (both I would argue are probably the best experts in the world when it comes to proper explant).
There are several small case reports of different sets of capsules being 100% contaminated by breast implant materials both with and without ruptures. There are case reports of capsules causing inflammatory reaction in neighbouring tissues. Case reports of capsules causing BIA-ALCL long periods AFTER breast implant removal. There is plenty of documentation of capsules never dissolving and being found even 17 years after removal surgery. So, in short, there is enough evidence for me to recognize that my capsules are most likely continuing to stimulate this chronic immune response.
I will clarify that many of the symptoms that left are STILL GONE, but the ones that haven't resolved are still there and while they improved briefly (up until approx 7 months post explant), they now appear to be getting worse and coming on more frequently without any real trigger. The only trigger that I have found consistent is my menstrual cycle, it seems to really set them off aggressively. It did this from day one, but it used to be a few days of "flare up," now i'm experiencing close to 2 weeks of this (the week before and during menstrual cycle).
So with all that being said. I have a consult call I am waiting on with Dr. Jae Chun and am also working on one with Dr. Lu Jean Feng to discuss their thoughts. I'll be getting their opinions and likely scheduling another surgery to get the remaining capsule tissue removed. My gut says this is what needs to be done. I am so sensitive to silicone and silicon dioxide exposure that it makes sense that leaving this contaminated tissue in my body would be stirring up a response again. I will update you as always.
The lesson in all of this for anyone reading, get a proper explant done the first time! Save the money and do it right. Or be prepared to pay for and go through another surgery, like me.
If you want to learn about proper explant surgery head over to: www.healingbreastimplantillness.com/explant
Namaste my friends,