In 2019, more than 313,000 women underwent breast augmentation surgery in Australia alone. Breast implants remain the number one cosmetic surgery in Australia.
In November of 2010 I was one of those statistics. I was coming out of a bad marriage and my body confidence was at an all time low.
I truly believed having this surgery would make me more of a woman, more beautiful, more confident. And honestly, I felt like it did..
I saved my money and paid $10,500 to have 470cc highly cohesive gel implants. I had been shown that these implants were indestructible. I distinctly remember viewing a video where a monster truck ran over the implants and they did not rupture. Surgeons were showing you these implants being cut in half and the silicone would remain in its original shape due to the “gummy bear” type consistency.
I was told the implants would last a lifetime. That the only reason I would need them removed was if I developed capsular contracture..
This seemed like a no-brainer. I had to spend that little bit extra to have the piece of mind by getting these implants!
The pain was quite intense for the first few day’s and every time I moved it felt like Velcro had been torn off my chest. Breathing was difficult and I was almost certain someone was beating me with a baseball bat each time I fell asleep..
Over the following 6 weeks I healed well and loved everything about my new E cup boobs. I had zero regrets.
Over the next few years I struggled with depression and anxiety. I had been diagnosed with an over active thyroid and adrenal failure.
In 2011 I gave birth to my 5th child (previous 4 were before implants) the pregnancy was not easy, I had been diagnosed with colestasis of the liver. My daughter was induced 5 weeks early as there was a risk she would be still born.
She was born beautiful and healthy.
I tried to breast feed, however it proved unsuccessful. I was reassured that since my breast implants were under the muscle that it wouldn’t be them causing this issue and instead I was told it would likely be my body rejecting motherhood due to being induced 5 weeks early. I felt like a failure.
Fast forward to February of 2020 when I started to feel that very familiar Velcro like ripping pain in my left breast. I put it down to muscle soreness for a while.
Slowly the ripping pain became more and more frequent, I had developed a constant ache in my right breast and a continued feeling like my milk was coming in - flash back to engorged boobs after having my boys.. ouchy!
I developed flu like symptoms and had to be tested for COVID19 - all clear.
Had issues breathing throughout my workouts, like I could breathe but not get air into my lungs.
The pain was getting worse each day.
My face started swelling.
My feet started swelling.
I was incredibly tired ALL THE TIME.
I was freezing, to the point of crying, daily.
I had joint pain.
My arms and legs tingled almost constantly.
I had vertigo.
A sinus infection.
I was convinced I was dying. I was such a healthy individual. My food was controlled and wholesome. I exercised daily. I took rest days.
What was happening? Why me?
I booked an appointment with my GP and then did that thing I always say NOT to do and turned to the internet - Dr Google.
I read an article which explained about a certain type of implant having been recalled due to higher risks of causing a rare cancer - Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma...
I had all the symptoms.
I went in search of my original implant ID cards, yes they have ID cards similar to the kind you received with your cabbage patch doll when you were a child.
Sure enough, my make and model had been recalled almost 1 year earlier. And I had NO IDEA!
My GP had ordered an MRI which put me out of pocket $370. These special types of breast scanning are not covered on Medicare.
4 days later I received the results that they could NOT see any formed fluid around the implant, meaning Lymphoma was improbable.
It had been seen that I had BiLateral RUPTURE.
My right breast was ruptured with the silicone remaining within the scar tissue capsule my body had made to protect itself from this foreign object.
My left implant had severe rupture with the implant shell failure, which was seen floating freely within the silicone. It was also noted that my scar tissue capsule had also collapsed and silicone was seen spreading out around my chest. Near my heart. Near my lymph nodes. Near my lungs.
Apparently this type of rupture is classified as a category 2 : life threatening but not urgent..
I booked in to see a reconstructive surgeon who had amazing reviews regarding his enbloc removal technique. He was also highly recommended by women who were talking about BII - what was BII? Breast Implant Illness.
An actual thing.
In fact, there is currently a Facebook group of Australian women only, all who have severe BII symptoms! The group currently stands a little under 7000 members.
Through this group I learnt a lot about what I was feeling. It helped me feel like I wasn’t just making it all up in my mind!
Anyway, back on track.
I went to see Dr Lam of Cranford House in Adelaide. His wait time for a general consult was currently at 4 months, however he looked over my MRI results and decided he needed to see me sooner!
2 weeks later I sat in his office, I cried.
From relief, from anxiety, from pain, from fear.. I still don’t entirely know.
But I cried.
He talked me through everything step by step. He told me that we needed to get these out ASAP and that I wasn’t alone in how I was feeling.
Surgery was booked for21st August 2020.
That is thiscoming Friday!
The final quotes started to roll in. As my procedure was now considered a medical emergency and no longer cosmetic I was going to receive a small rebate on Medicare and also the implant company had a warranty which did cover rupture - they would pay back “up to $3500 USD after receiving photo proof, post explant of the rupture”. Seems ok...
With that said this is my breakdown of fees in relation to my explant surgery so far:
GP consult x 2 - $85
MRI - $370
Initial consult with surgeon - $200
Surgeon fee total explant and excess skin removal, no lift - $8700
Anesthetist - $1450
Surgical assistant - $500
Hospital fees, 2 nights stay - $4120.70
Totals : $15,425.70
Medicare rebate estimate : $1151.50 estimate only.
Remaining total : $14,274.20
Now the implant manufactures compensation of up to $3500USD looked dismal...
But I had no choice.
My husband asked me if I had known about this pain and the cost when I got them, would I still have got them? I’d love to say no, and with my mind, self love and strength that I have NOW the answer would be a clear NO! But the real answer to that is not that easy. I was a different girl then. I was broken in many ways, worn down from years of mental and emotional abuse. I felt a true pressure to look a certain way.
But I am not that girl anymore.
Now as I write this I am 6 days out from surgery.
My anxiety levels are through the roof.
I haven’t slept in a week.
My symptom seem to get worse each day.
The pain is crippling.
Despite the fears I have of what I will look like, how I will cope mentally, being away from my children, having drains for approx 5 days, no upper body training for minimum 6 weeks.. despite all those fears, I am excited.
Excited to remove these toxic bags that are slowly killing me.
Excited to HEAL.
Let the journey begin!
I wrote this down in hope it will help someone in a similar situation.
Maybe someone considering implants who hadn’t thought of the implications.
Maybe someone with implants who is feeling like me and wondering if they are going crazy.
Maybe someone without symptoms wondering if they have also got the recalled model. Please check!
Maybe someone without symptoms at all but who would rather explant before they feel like this.
Maybe, just maybe, it will help!
I will be posting another update POST EXPLANT!
See you on the other side! #ittybittytitty
Get Outlook for iOS