When I was 17, one of my natural breasts was taken away from me, and the other was irreversibly altered. I was a breast-cancer patient, and just months before I was headed to my senior prom, I had to have a mastectomy and reconstruction.
What I didn’t realize then was that the reconstruction and augmenting would lead to significant and long lasting health issues whose extent matched that of the cancer’s.
I was told that saline implants were safe. If they were to rupture, the liquid inside would be reabsorbed harmlessly by my body. I was told the only threat an implant malfunction posed was an inconvenience to my schedule: I would have to take time to come into the doctor’s office for an outpatient replacement procedure. This sounded pretty awesome to me! Except I was unaware of two very critical pieces of information:
Saline implants are encased in silicone shells … and they can leak.
Can you hear the penny dropping? I did. But I didn’t hear it until October 2013 — 14 years after I got my first set of implants.
This August, I came down with a terrible, unexplainable stomach bug. It was intensely painful, and nothing seemed to help or lead me to a diagnosis: the BRP diet (bananas, rice, potatoes); sessions with my homeopath; energy healings; ultrasounds of my abdomen (e.g. liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen); blood tests for celiac, liver disease, and other things I can’t pronounce; and stool samples for parasites. Everything was negative. On paper, I appeared to be perfectly healthy. But when — for the umpteenth time — I was lying in the fetal position in my bed, crying because of pain from distension that made me look six months pregnant, I decided that was it. It was time to Google!
I try to avoid Googling my symptoms because I usually misdiagnose and freak myself out.
“Oh my GOD! My palm itches! I think I have a brain tumor! AAAAAAaaaaah!”
We’ve all been there!
But I’d had enough. I was going on eight weeks of bloating, restlessness, extreme lethargy, crazy mood swings, and the aforementioned distension. This called for an extreme measure!
So, I Googled. I searched and searched, and then that penny I was mentioning earlier dropped:
“Saline breast implant toxicity.”
WHAT!? I think my jaw literally dropped. I was FLOORED. What did THAT mean? And why had I never been told about it? How could these perfectly safe devices cause toxicity? Well, in a multitude of ways.
According to Dr. Susan Kolb, a plastic surgeon who has conducted extensive research on this particular topic and now dedicates her practice to helping women with “silicone, chemical, and biotoxicity problems from breast implants,” saline breast implants can:
- Grow mold and/or fungus
- Grow bacteria
- Leach and create biotoxicity within the body
And just some of the symptoms include:
- chronic fatigue
- hair loss
- rheumatoid arthritis
- unexplained and worrying weight gain or weight loss
- frequent fungal infections
- brain fog
- neuromuscular problems
- pain, fibromyalgia
- heart palpitations
- and many more
I’ve experienced many of these symptoms over the past 14 years, and not one of them could be explained to me by doctors or with lab tests. Each time I was examined the conclusion would be, “Your scans are clear,” “Your blood work is fine,” or, “There’s no evidence of anything.” So I would get more stressed out, convince myself it was my fault — I wasn’t handling my stress well enough — and go back to my daily routine, forcing myself to eat healthier and stay calm.
Well, that’s not the conclusion I came to this time. This time, my Googling paid off. I found something I’d been searching for for years, and knew with every cell in my body I was truly experiencing. I was — and still am — experiencing breast implant toxicity.
Now, what have I done about this? Well, I’ve totally overhauled my diet. I’m drinking amazing fruit and veggie smoothies on a daily basis (I usually have at least two a day with plenty of ginger to help calm my inflammation), I’m doing yoga regularly, I’m managing my stress much better, and I’m living with gratitude daily. I am shining my light without any hesitations; I am living the life I truly want to live.
Over the past few months, I’ve learned an immense amount of valuable information from brave women who have been on the same journey I have; I’ve eaten amazingly healthy foods, and found — and invented! — some great new recipes; and I’ve deepened my relationships with my close friends and family, who have supported me wholeheartedly on my journey.
I still have lingering symptoms. Just last week for 48 hours, I was bedridden with flu-like symptoms. My husband had to cancel his morning meetings so he could take our kids to school, and my neighbors had to help me with after school pick up. I was completely incapacitated. These episodes are awful, and I know they occur when my immune system has just had enough of working overtime trying to rid me of the toxicity.
So, my diet, physical, and spiritual development are helping, but I’ve got to get to the source. Those implants need to come out. This week, I have a consultation with a plastic surgeon!
I’m nervous … and I’m scared. I’ve been through so much already, and I hate surgery.
But when I’m on my mat, laughing with my kids, or holding my husband’s hand, I know that I’m going to be OK.
I’m going to be healthy and free again.
I am going to regain my health, and reclaim the body I was born in.
This article was featured on MindBodyGreen.