My Breast Explant Journey – Part One
Today, as I compile all my notes on my past week journey of my explant operation, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.
Gratitude that I have my health, that my surgery went well without complication and that I had the funds to pay to have the toxic silicone implants removed from my body.
Before I go into details of my journey of ‘why’ I got implants in the first place and ‘why’ I decided to explant, I want to talk about Breast Implant Illness, also known as ‘BII’.
Today, there are NO studies on how safe silicone or saline implants really are. All implants are housed in a toxic casing, whether you have saline or silicone. Therefore, these chemicals can and DO leach into our bodies. How our bodies function in getting rid of these toxic chemicals depends on whether the burden on our immune system affects us or not.
Many women are suffering from BII and are not even aware. These women have literally spent thousands on finding out why they are sick and still haven’t made the connection that their toxic tits could be contributing to their daily problems. Of those who have made the connection and have explanted, many have found their their symptoms have eased or been totally cured!
Now, that isn’t just coincidence.
The purpose of this blog is to create more awareness of such symptoms and I have included links below for you to find out more. We need to mandate that the big pharmaceutical companies do more studies and look further into BII. They need to be responsible for the sickness and disease women are suffering, as many women are not aware that such effects from intact implants and implants under 10 years old could cause us ill health.
They need to come clean and actually state these as warnings of possible side effects of getting breast implants. The plastic surgeons implanting women should bear some responsibility, too. Put it this way, if you got food poisoning from a restaurant, from eating their food, you would ask for a refund, right? Or you would seek damages if it caused you hospitalisation, pain, illness or disease, right? Of course you would — that’s my point.
My Journey to Breast Implant Removal
Breast Implants – Why did I get them?
In 2006, I decided to book myself into a plastic surgeon to chat about getting my breasts lifted. At the age of 33, with 2 young sons and recently divorced from a marriage from my teen years, I was a young single mother. I had worked hard my entire life, raising 2 sons, one being Autistic and wanted to feel good about my body in the nude. I wanted to feel like a woman, and not feel I had to turn the light off before getting naked.
After being with one partner from the age of 18 to almost 31 years old, you could say I was a lil embarrassed, shy and not body confident. I developed the confidence and lost weight, but this resulted in even more sag in my breasts! I saw two surgeons, the first one suggested a lift and implants and the other said just implants. I went with the latter, as it was cheaper, had less downtime in recovery and he sold me the idea that going with a slightly larger implant would look best, And anyhow, most women go back and get bigger implants after 12 months.
The first time I saw my new breasts, I cried. They were HUGE! After a week, they were still too big and on each post-op visit, I expressed this. But I was told to wait out the full 12 months. In 2007, I went in to get a quote to have these removed and either lifted or a smaller implant and lift. I didn’t proceed, it was a bad time in my life and money and time wouldn’t allow it.
I put up and shut up with my own decision. I always planned to remove these at the 10-year mark. Implants are only 10-year devices, they should NOT be left in your body longer than the manufacturer’s warranty. However, many women keep them is, as many surgeons say they CAN!
After a cancer scare and various illnesses through bad food choices, smoking, drinking and using chemicals around the home and on my body, I finally learned to love my body.
After my best friend lost her fight to brain cancer at 38, I vowed I was no longer going to abuse this body, my temple. I made so-called ‘radical changes’ I went ‘plant-based’ and then vegan. I have done many juice fasts and detox protocols over the years, I have healed my body from so many ailments, illness and possibly diseases.
My journey in health, fitness and wellness began again in 2012. In 2011, I got married to my soulmate and was in LOVE. This gave me more reason to be fitter, stronger, healthier and most of all, happy. I knew it was all connected and that sometime in the horizon, I would remove my implants.
Here are some websites about Breast Implant Illness – HERE.
*PHOTO 1 – 2006 Pre-Implants, PHOTO 2 – February 2018 Implant, PHOTO 3 – April 2018 Post Explant Surgery 3 days, PHOTO 4 – February 2018 A simulation of Explant & Lift
Explantation of my Silicone Implants
My journey to explant surgery
In 2016 and 2017, I talked to my hubby and friends about removing my breast implants. Friends, clients and so forth couldn’t understand why, many saying ‘I can’t live without my implants’!!! I had to be careful how I spoke about explantation as many women thought I was putting them down and got offended — especially when I called implants out as being toxic. These women consider themselves wellness leaders, with healthy and fit AF bodies.
This decision was mine, I have nothing against women that ‘choose’ to get implants or keep theirs — as long as they ARE aware of the ill effects implants do and can cause. That is without a ruptured implant too. Many women I know have had ruptures, only to go back to their surgeons and get them replaced! Now I’m sorry, with that I can’t relate, but this is a pretty strong warning that something isn’t right.
In early 2018, I started researching and joining some explant groups. To my surprise, these weren’t just explant groups talking about which doctors were specialised in removing implants. It was a ‘breast implant illness’ group! I was shocked to find and read literally thousands and thousands of women’s stories from around the GLOBE, all suffering from their implants!
I learned so much from the Facebook groups, both Nicole’s Breast implant awareness group with some 35,000 members and a local group for Australia and New Zealand ‘Breast Implant Awareness’. I was able to hear REAL life stories, understand the journey ahead I would endure and also be able to choose the BEST possible surgeon.
My aesthetics, my body and my health is my career. I am an athlete, I wear a bikini in my sport and I need to be healthy and recover as quickly as possible to avoid too much downtime and losing muscle mass. I saw 2 local doctors, emailed a Plastic Surgery Hospital in Thailand, and end up going with the most experienced, most respected and most expensive surgeon locally. Let’s call him Dr A. I didn’t want to wait any longer. HECK, I had already waited 12 years to have these removed! Plus, knowing what I do now, my health is absolutely paramount and I prefer not to play Russian roulette even though I know I feel I have NO BII symptoms.
I went with a Dr A because he was confident about doing full mastoplexy to remove the whole capsule via enbloc/capsulectomy (scar tissue that forms around the implants) and this was an important party of the explant surgery. Many doctors leave these in women’s bodies! WHAT?! Yes, it’s true. Dead scare tissue that can cause BIA-ALCL – Read more HERE.
On my first visit to Dr A, he took his time and took photos, drew images on his iPad of where and what he would be doing and explained it all thoroughly. He was happy to learn I was vegan and asked what protein powder I use as his wife is vegan, too! His receptionist then took more photos of me, and popped these into a new app that showed me roughly my predicted results (see photos below) and I was happy and walked out convinced.
However, I wanted to get a 2nd opinion from another top doctor – Dr B. This next appointment took a while to get into. Nearly all these are plastic surgeons (NOT cosmetic surgeons) take 2-3 months to get just an appointment. I went in January/February and didn’t get in until April. When I had my $180 consult with Dr B, he told me it was too risky during explant to do a full mastoplexy, and that rather, he would move the nipple slightly and pinch the skin together in what’s known as a semi-lift. This procedure saves you money and hospital time. Many women are happy with this option but I wasn’t as I know my boobs needed a lift 12 years ago, and they certainly were going to need one now with the implants bolted on for more than a decade! Now get this, this doctor didn’t even LOOK at my breasts! How on earth, then, does he know what I need? My operation was booked in with him already for 2 week’s time, and yet…this is the only thing he offered.
I went with Dr A!
I decide on a bilateral explanation, capsulectomy and mastoplexy. When I got the implants in 2006, I was an A cup, but had skin of a B/C cup and therefore, was very saggy. My surgeon put in a 410cc and 380cc silicone gel, smooth high profile as I had two slightly different size breasts. My 12-year-old implants, were put in under the muscle, and as they were so big (too big for my chest and body size) it tore my muscle, resulting in my pectoral muscle being pulled away from the sternum and causing damage. Pre-implants I had A cups, but with the skin of a B/C cup, my pockets were open to fit the new implant monsters!
My explant surgery costs (with no private cover):
Doctor Initial Appointments: Dr A $200 and Dr B $180
Bilateral Explanation: 4,000 AUD
Mastoplexy and Capsulectomy: $4,400 AUD
Post Garment Compression: $120.00 AUD
Anaesthetist: $2,420 AUD
Private Hospital Fee – 1 night: $4,584.39
(Breakdown of fee is Accommodation overnight $1,139, Theatre $2,225.09, Surgical disposables $700, other costs? $520.30)
TOTAL out of pocket expenses are: $15904.39
THAT IS A WHOOPING $16000.00. Can you believe it!
It cost me just $9000.00 to put these implants in…..!!!!!
Post explant surgery
The road to healing
Day 1 – Friday 27th April: THE DAY – Operation Time
Check in at 7 am, operation at 930-10am
Dr A was fab, he spent time with me beforehand, explaining everything and gave me the choice to withdraw. He held my hand until twilight.
Woke up in the recovery area, a nurse wheeled my bed and was taken to my river view room at the Wesley hospital, with my cleaned unruptured silicone implants!
I ate a lil, Dr came to visit me at 10 pm — wow, He explained all went well and capsule was removed easily and all was sent off for testing. Blood loss was minimal in the drains. Hubby was around from mid-afternoon until evening. Was great to have him there for support and make me laugh…although, arghh I couldn’t expand my chest to laugh! Ouch! I had pain meds as I was pretty sore. I couldn’t use my upper body at all, not even to get out of bed. Luckily, during the night I had an electric bed and a strong core to get myself out of bed to go to the bathroom, with my drains hanging out of each breast and my IV trolley…it was a mission! Drinking 2 litres of clean spring water I bought in from home, plus the IV saline drip wasn’t a great idea!
Day 2 – Saturday 28th April: Discharged
I was well enough to go home today.
Drains removed…fuck, that hurts people!!
I ate some food, all vegan and mainly fruit. I didn’t drink the hospital water but pre-packed my own mountain spring water, I drank 2.5 litres plus the saline drip over 24hrs. Let’s just say, a lot of toilet trips and peed my pants too on the way, plus still on my period too (this arrived the day before). A hectic 24 hours! I took all my own organic coffee, mylk, fruits, snacks etc. I still hadn’t pooped today. Stomach was protruding a lot and my whole body was inflamed and looking very pregnant! Even more so, I was feeling backed up.
Didn’t fill my antibiotic script, but I did fill my pain meds and anti-inflammatory medication, thinking ‘I am going to need those.’ I had antibiotics day 1 and 2 through the IV. I much prefer this, as it is bypassing the GUT and straight into the bloodstream. I have to keep my elbows to my side, as it’s too hard to reach forward, up or out. I must try taping my arms in, as it’s tricky to not lift or move them. Crissi, remember you just had your tits literally ripped out!
I saw my itty bitty boobs for the first time, they look good considering, all bloodied and all taped up like a Christmas present! Today I go home, yewww! So VERY glad, as I loathe hospitals and it saves me around $1200 a night! When I got home, I relaxed, read books and showered (lower body only) then went to bed early as the tightness in my chest was telling me to get horizontal.
Day 3 – Sunday 29th April: Home
Slept in today, because I can!! Then went shopping to get more compression type bras/tops and wow, that was a bad idea…felt dizzy and saw stars. Ended up coming home, read books and watched a movie. I took an endo pain killer, anti-inflammatory as the pressure was bad across the chest. I was mainly eating fruits and whole foods, no real appetite from the meds. I started probiotics. Still no poop, so did a coffee and water enema. Yay, the release from a backed-up colon and intestinal tract felt fab after. Showered my whole body, yep the itty bitties too and felt great!
Day 4 – Monday 30th April: Recovery
I’m now off my pain meds, taking anti-inflammatory tabs, went out for dinner feeling no pain. Mixed feelings about my mastoplexy but too soon to give a shit with some inflammation across my chest. I think the ittys should be higher, and closer in and one boob is way bigger than the other, but it looks like inflammation. No poop today, gahhh! Went to go for a walk with my friend Cazzie and I started seeing stars again. NO GO! Too soon Crissi, go and rest! But I was lucky to have my friend Cazzie cook a pumpkin and lentil soup for me. I read, worked at desk and stayed put for the rest of the day.
Day 5 – Tuesday 1st May: A good day
Feeling very dizzy today.
No pain meds, no antibiotics, just anti-inflammatory and ointment. Probiotics.
Still wearing the compression crop bra and sterile padding but freshly changed each day
Did 2 poops naturally today…can I tell the world! My stomach is protruding a lot less now.
Resting and back to a lil work and coaching online
Boobs seem to be filling out…or as they say the fluff fairy is coming??!
Day 6 – Wednesday 2nd April: My first post op visit at 6 days
Today I woke, I worked online, though dizzy and light headed. Drank more water, ate more fruit, probiotics. My son Shannon drove me up to my Dr apt (75mins drive away). Post check-up went QUICK, the receptionist did my dressing’s as I am still taped up, my Dr popped in and was happy with the results. I am still feeling my boobs are a lil unflattering but pffft, I need to be patient they just went through MAJOR surgery. It was a long day and need bed rest when I got home. I still can’t lift anything, or stretch arms out or up.
Days 7-9 – Thursday 3rd to Sunday 6th May: I am mobile!
On these days, I could walk to the beach, walk to the local café and DRIVE my car on day 8 to the local shopping centre to grab a few things! Though, it was hard, as I had to keep my elbows close to my body whilst turning the wheel. Don’t recommend it. I also have to put the seat belt across my waist as its too tight and rubbing on my chest. But today I even went to the movies with my hubby on day 8!! I am still very foggy, light headed and if I move to fast I see stars! I have had some chest pain, cramp, and tightening of a belt pain ‘feels’ on my chest. Nothing to bad…but it’s there and it reminds me to lay down, slow down.
I can’t move too quickly, I still can’t reach up high, I cannot pick up anything heavy nor can I laugh or get puffed (expanding the chest isn’t a good feeling). Little things suck, like opening my heavy front door, closing the snap lock lids on my meal prep containers and being able to cuddle my fur babies, NO can do! My dogs, love to put their paws on me…arghh, so not going there. I can cook and meal prep for the week ahead!
Days 10-12 – 2nd Week Post Op: I am exercising & meal prepping
This week, my plan is to get back eating consistent and walking daily. I am also, going to do 15mins a day of leg training, using resistance bands and doing some light core work. I am so grateful my core was so strong before the explant surgery, as this helped me be able to get myself out of bed daily, most times without an aid or using my arms to help (you cannot activate your chest or upper body muscle). My advice is getting a strong core before your operation, as it made my recovery much easier for when your support person/s are not around to help you.
PART 2 & 3 TO BE CONTINUED!
My journey doesn’t end here. Stay tuned as my recovery from week 3 onwards, takes a HUGE turn as the unveiling of my new itty bitties via getting the tapes off….isn’t as expected!
I am writing a BLOG 3 on BII, Breast Implant Illness, to educate women on what to look out for. Whilst, I felt I had no symptions (that I am aware) and possibly my healthy lifestyle may have helped me in that respect, it doesn’t discount the thousands of women that are suffering and have suffered in the past. I want to educate women that implanting ANY device can cause an immune response and cause major or minor DIS-EASE in the body.
BLOG 4 will be getting back on stage again, this time ithout implants. Does it MATTER in the sport of bodybuilding? Let’s just see what I can achieve now all natural.
If you are interested in getting breast implants or looking at explanting your breast implants, get educated first. I recommended looking at ALL the facts and the stories from thousands of other women.
Here are some links to support groups in Australia, New Zealand, USA and Central America relating to breast implant illness and explanting.
BLL Support Facebook Groups
Australia/New Zealand – HERE
USA – HERE
Central America – HERE
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