Original 05/22/15

Lazy? Crazy?

I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself with those words.  I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if others perceive me in that way at times.  The life that I am currently living is not the one that I imagined for myself 20 years ago.  In fact, it’s very different from what I ever conceived.

At the age of 21, I made a decision that quite possibly changed my life in a drastic manner.  I made the decision to get breast implants. It was my decision, only mine.  No one convinced me that I would look better that way. No one said that I looked bad or trampled on my self esteem. I was thin, active, and outgoing. In my mind, though, I wanted more.  Men can say all they want about a woman’s body but I think that breasts play a big part in the attraction factor.  They exude femininity.  I was out of luck.  My bra size was an AA or A at best.  It bothered me greatly.  When the opportunity to change that came along, I was ecstatic.  It gave me a hope for a “normal” figure.  My fiancé was very supportive.  He wouldn’t have made the recommendation or pushed me to do it.  It really didn’t have anything to do with him – or anyone else.  My mother didn’t seem to understand. My father seemed indifferent.  My papaw, he cried.  He just couldn’t believe that I would feel so bad about myself that I would want to alter my body.  It didn’t change my mind because it wasn’t really up to them.

I went to my consultation.  I listened to the risks.  I wanted the surgery.  No one was going to talk me out of it. My doctor had been performing surgeries in Dallas for many years. He recommended saline implants to be placed above the muscle.  They were supposed to look more natural that way.  His office offered me a discount because I worked as a paramedic.  It all sounded great.  The plans were made and I was ready.

The surgery, in 1998, went great.  I don’t remember much about it but my fiancé, Mike, took me home that afternoon.  He and my mother took care of me post op. There weren’t any complications. My breasts healed fine and I was happy with the result.  It definitely was a big confidence boost for me. I could finally purchase more flattering clothes. It wasn’t about looking like a swimsuit model. I wanted to look more proportionate.  Most of the people that surround my life now do not even know that I have implants.  That’s okay.  That’s the look that I was going for. For a little while, it was all going good.

Our first child was born in August of 2000.  I had some difficulty breastfeeding but didn’t think much about it.  After the birth, I begin to notice that my breast shape looked odd.  If I bent over, the skin directly over my sternum would pull away from my chest and the implants would fall to the center.  After doing a little research, I realized that I had developed symmastia.  Symmastia is defined as “a confluence of the breast tissue of both breasts across the midline anterior to the sternum”. It is also referred to as “uniboob” or “breadloafing”.  My original doctor agreed to consult with me about the problem.  He said that my breasts appeared similar to his wife’s breasts and didn’t see anything wrong with them.  I was not in my 40’s or 50’s so his words were not very comforting.  I sought a second opinion from another Dallas plastic surgeon.  He felt confident that he could repair them by removing the old implants, placing new implants under the muscle, and sewing the skin back to the sternum.  The recovery would be a little more difficult because it would take much more caution to prevent the skin from tearing away from the sternum again.  At a quoted price of $7,500, my repair would have to wait.

In early 2002, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Soon after my diagnosis, I became pregnant with our second child. The pregnancy went good. He was born healthy.  I did, once again, have difficulty breastfeeding.  My middle child was often sick over the first several years of his life.  He was in the hospital several times. He was at home on an apnea monitor for a while.  If weird things could develop, it would happen to him.

Over the next several years, I began to develop symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, etc.  I attributed a lot of my symptoms to stress. I was working in an ER as a paramedic and my job was stressful.  Towards the end of 2007, I started having low grade fevers by the end of every day.  The fatigue slowly worsened.  My primary care physician ran labs to evaluate my symptoms (CRP, sed rate, ANA). They were all normal.  My chest x-ray was normal.  He treated me for my chronic sinus infection.  My CBC was within a normal range but my WBC’s were always low.  I asked my primary doctor about potentially having Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and wanted to see if I should be consulting an endocrinologist.  He said no. My job suffered as a result of my health.  I was late a lot, my anxiety seemed to worsen, and brain fog began. My home life suffered because I couldn’t keep things organized.  It was a big mess. I was eventually diagnosed with ADD and placed on Adderall to try and combat some of the symptoms.  I’ve been placed on antidepressants on several different occasions for depression also.

After leaving the ER, I began working at a pediatric clinic.  I was hoping that the decreased stress would help me a little.  I found out that I was pregnant with our third child in 2008. I was still having problems.  A local chiropractor began treating me for a hip misalignment. He noted that I had pain over my thoracic duct and worked on trying to alleviate some of my sinus problems. He recommended that I push for some labwork to investigate a viral cause. I consulted my ob/gyn through the pregnancy about the continued low grade fever, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue. He also recommended that I follow up with a viral workup. My ENT continued to treat me with antibiotics throughout my pregnancy to try and combat sinus infections.  My WBC continued to be low through the pregnancy.

I was finally able to have surgery in 2009 after my son’s birth to repair a deviated septum and remove a mucocele from my sinus cavity.  My ob/gyn followed up with me regarding the fatigue and adjusted my thyroid medication again. My symptoms didn’t really improve much.

In early 2010, I began having sinus problems again. I tried to combat it with sinus washes and Motrin but it didn’t help. I began to have very painful nodules in my neck and axillary region. I was diagnosed with another sinus infection and back on antibiotics I went. Over that specific weekend, I started having extreme tenderness in the area between my axilla and breast. It was difficult to even hold my child.  The nodules were obvious and they were painful. My doctor said that it was possible that I might be suffering from fibrocystic breast disease. He also checked on my thyroid levels again.  A new medication adjustment was necessary but he would not agree to check my CBC and did not recommend that I see an endocrinologist yet. It was time to find a new doctor.

By the end of that same week, the lymph nodes on the back of my head were large and painful. I started with a new physician. He ran more labs and sent me for a thyroid ultrasound.  He started me on another round of antibiotics for my sinus infection.  He called the next day to let me know that both of my thyroid antibodies were very high – I had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  It is an autoimmune disease that causes hypothyroidism.  He also informed me that I had tested positive for Chronic CMV (Cytomegalovirus) and Chronic EBV (Epstein-Barr).  They weren’t in an acute state, though. CMV is a common virus and infects a lot of people.  There isn’t usually any cause for concern.  Once infected, your body retains the virus for life.  It usually remains dormant if you are healthy.  EBV is also a common virus and most commonly presents as infectious mononucleosis. Chronic EBV is diagnosed much less frequently. It is known to cause fever, liver dysfunction, enlarged spleen, swollen lymph nodes, anemia, etc.  The combination of chronic viruses had resulted in symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  I didn’t really want to discuss that diagnosis with my physician, though.  That wasn’t a diagnosis that I was prepared to accept.  My primary care doctor recommended that I follow up with endocrinology and infectious disease. My thyroid ultrasound showed a small nodule but it wasn’t very concerning.

I saw my primary care doctor again within those 2 weeks for continued problems. He decided to extend my antibiotics for 28 days. I remained on the antibiotics but had developed tender nodules in my neck, outer breast area, groin, inner thigh, and back of knees.  Soon after, I developed more nodules over my sternum and clavicles.  I can’t really even begin to explain what was going on at that time.  My whole body didn’t hurt.  It was like hundreds of palpable nodules and I could point out the ones that were painful. I was still running a low grade fever.  I tried to explain to my doctor that it made my eyes burn. It didn’t make much sense to him. He recommended that I see a general surgeon about the nodules.  They seem to be progressively becoming more palpable and tender.  It almost seemed like they initially started by moving from one localized region to another but I could still feel them.  Some were hard and round; some odd shaped and cyst like; some felt like BB pellets.

My ENT followed up with me about my sinuses. He used a scope to visualize my sinuses but didn’t believe that this was related.  He also asked if I had been referred to an infectious disease doctor. A few weeks later, a CT showed another 2cm mass in my maxillary sinus. I believe that the mucocele had redeveloped. Unfortunately, I was not able to follow up after that.

Financially it became difficult for me to work and place my 3 children in childcare so I decided it was time to stay home.  This was an extremely difficult decision because I knew that it would make a big impact in my healthcare coverage.  We tried to pay for COBRA insurance as long as we could but it just became too much.  There wasn’t any way for me to continue following up with these doctors over and over again.  The general surgeon said that he could biopsy a couple of the nodules but didn’t really recommend it. I didn’t get the opportunity to follow up with infectious disease.  My sinus surgery didn’t really make a big improvement so I didn’t want to pursue another possible surgery. So here we were. No insurance. No answers.  Complete frustration.  I began to wonder if these symptoms were all just in my mind.

The past few years have not been any better.  The nodules improved.  I still continue to have episodes of low grade fever.  My sinus problems are still chronic.  I began taking colloidal silver orally and as a nasal spray. It has seemed to help with that.  My antibiotic usage has drastically reduced. I believe that there is still a chronic issue.  I wish that I knew what was causing it but I don’t.  There was a point that my symptoms seemed to be related to a candida overgrowth and I questioned that the sinus problem might be related to a fungal infection and not a bacterial one.  My hypothyroidism has made me miserable.  It’s like a roller coaster that never ends.  My nodule was not visible on the last ultrasound (good news). My endocrinologist decided recently to change my thyroid medication and see if it will help my fatigue.  The fatigue is ridiculous.  I shouldn’t be this tired.  I am way too young to feel the way that I do.  On top of the fatigue, I’ve developed recurrent headaches.  I usually pawn them off on sinus headaches or hormones.  Either way, I am getting very tired of them.  The migraines will put me in bed at times.  I do everything in my power to continue my normal daily life but sometimes these get the best of me.

So back to the implants.  Over time, the implants definitely decreased in size.  The rippled edges became more visible but it didn’t bother me too much. The symmastia improved quite a bit as the size of the implants decreased. In March of 2012, I woke up to find that my left implant had ruptured. Standing in the bathroom, looking in the mirror, and I thought that I was going to vomit.  We were trying to get ready to go somewhere and I had no idea what to do.  My left breast was just sitting there sagging. It wasn’t fully deflated but it was a big difference.  I tried to get in the car and go on as planned but I had to tell my husband to turn around and bring me home.  I didn’t even know how to tell him. I was completely distraught and embarrassed. What was I going to do? We were not in any financial shape to have them replaced and I knew it. I called my original surgeon to try and get more info about the implant because I had no idea where my cards were.  He proceeded to tell me the name of two prominent manufacturers that he used during that time period but he could not confirm the type of implant because they didn’t “keep patient records that old”.  My implants were 14 years old.  I was so upset and I couldn’t do anything about it.

It’s now been 3 years and the implant is still here and ruptured. Yes – 3 years. For 3 years, I have been making my breasts look even by inserting a silicone insert into my bra.  We went on one vacation the summer immediately following the rupture but none since.  Slowly, the implant has leaked more and more.  No swimsuits. No revealing clothes. It’s becoming more and more difficult to hide.  The silicone insert that I have been using is no longer big enough to make them even.  What little self esteem that I had (after gaining so much weight) is now gone.  My opinion is, of course, what matters most.  My husband will say that it doesn’t bother him.  I’m sure that he is okay with it but it has to be a little awkward for him.  If I dealt with it in a better fashion, it probably wouldn’t be so bad.  I find it very difficult to act appealing when I don’t feel that way. You could tell me all day long that I’m attractive or desirable. If I don’t feel that way, though, it really doesn’t matter.  We are 15 years into our marriage.  Intimacy already suffers.  It is really suffering now.  How do you get someone to understand that the issue is not personal?  I would take it personally. My lack of intimacy has nothing to do with the attraction factor. It has to do with low self esteem and lack of desire.  It’s horrible to know that I am causing that much distress to my husband and marriage but I really don’t have an answer to fix it.

Since having the implants, many medical issues have developed. Some may not have anything at all to do with the implants. Some might.  My list includes:

Hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis),

Cytomegalovirus,

Chronic Epstein – Barr virus,

Depression,

Attention Deficit Disorder,

Fatigue,

Brain fog,

Difficulty concentrating,

Memory problems,

Weight gain,

Anxiety,

Irritability,

Headaches,

Painful nodules,

Joint pain,

Toenail fungus,

Constipation,

Dry skin and hair,

Hair loss,

Sensitivity to sounds (repetitive noises / tapping really bothers me),

Decreased libido,

Chronic sinus problems,

Dental problems,

Arm and hand numbness…

 

Prior to staying home with my third child, I had been a paramedic for 11 years.  I am not ignorant to the medical profession or medical terms.  I am fully aware that my symptoms can be related to other issues and intertwined.  If you were to look up my symptoms on blogs or certain websites, it would pull up an enormous amount of info that would scare the crap out of you. I don’t read blogs.  When I decide to do research, I focus on medical journals and clinical trials. I look at actual radiological reports. When I first began looking up my symptoms and the symptoms of candida overgrowth, I came across a physician by the name Dr. Susan Kolb. Dr. Kolb is a plastic surgeon in Atlanta. She is the founder of Plastikos Surgery Center and Millenium Healthcare in Atlanta, Georgia. She learned about the problems from breast implants on a first hand basis. She was, in essence, her own first patient. She has developed protocols that help women with biotoxicity problems from breast implants.  She is also the author of the book “The Faked Truth About Breast Implants”. I have learned a lot about breast implants from her videos and articles.  Breast implants are recommended to be changed every 10 years. They have a shelf life.  I’m sure that I was told that before signing my consent, but you really don’t consider making a financial goal of replacing your implants.  I should have, though.  We have all heard about the dangers from leaking silicone implants.  Saline implants, though, are made with a silicone based shell.  Most people probably don’t take that info into consideration.  They can be textured or smooth.  All shells will begin breaking down once in the body but textured implants seem to break down more.  The textured implants can flake off and get into the implant capsule.  They can also get into the lymphatic system and lymph nodes.  A foreign body reaction in the lymph nodes can (rarely) cause lymphoma cells.  Smooth implants do not flake and are more commonly used.  Saline implants do often leak.  Over time, a slow leak can be contaminated with mold due to the environment. More information is being researched about the creation of biotoxins by implants.  Biotoxins can greatly affect the immune system. Her video on YouTube explains this more and elaborates on sick building syndrome and the relationship between implant symptoms / autoimmune issues.  She explains the reason that a lot of us have multiple symptoms but physicians are unable to place a diagnosis.

http://youtu.be/3OfBt7DYRqk

http://youtu.be/iEu-wcxCf8A

I have been contemplating a consultation with Dr. Kolb but I am not sure that it will be within financial reason.  Her office can arrange a consultation and surgery within the same week. It is difficult, however, with three children at home, to travel to Atlanta and pursue this.

A few months ago, I was going through some old paperwork and came across one of my breast implant cards.  When I saw the manufacturer name, it didn’t look familiar to me.  In fact, I don’t believe that it is one of the two that my doctor talked to me about over the phone.  The card said that I had Textured Saline implants by PIP (Poly Implant Prostheses).  When I began to investigate my implants, a sick feeling came over me. PIP is a manufacturer in France that is now defunct. The company was closed in 2010 amid controversy over their implants.  The founder was arrested and accused of manslaughter and involuntary injuries caused by ruptured PIP implants.  Apparently, his silicone implants were made from industrial-grade silicone (as used in mattresses) instead of medical grade silicone.  PIP silicone gel implants were used worldwide but were never approved for use in the United States.  PIP saline implants, however, were used here.  I believe that it is estimated that 35,000 women in the US were implanted with PIP saline implants. They began using them in the US in 1996.  In 2000, the FDA rejected the PIP implants due to high deflation rates.  They continued to sell them here, however, until 2002 or 2003.  I have not been able to find a definitive answer on the material used in their silicone shells. My implants may not have their defective silicone filling but I am not confident that the silicone shell in my body is made of safe materials. I will have to investigate that more.  My other concern is now with the fact that I do, in fact, have textured implants.  This goes back to the concern that textured implants have a higher capacity for flaking and causing complications.  Several countries have recommended that women with PIP implants have them removed as a precaution.  This new information really scared me.

I decided that I would see if there were any other doctors near me that have the same beliefs.  Most plastic surgeons will not address this as a real problem.  My brother is an anesthesiologist.  He has connections with a plastic surgeon near him who could do my explantation. The discussion has also come up about removing these and replacing them with new ones.  It is a dilemma that really bothers me.  My husband has joked about replacing them with bigger ones.  He’s even made a comment to me about how he knows that I won’t be happy with myself if I don’t replace them.  In some ways, he is right.  I know that removing the implants is going to leave me with nothing.  I would be lying if I tried to say that it wouldn’t bother me.  I have been trying to convince myself that it couldn’t be worse than how I have lived the past three years.  It can’t be worse than inserting a silicone boob in my bra every day and not being able to put on a swimsuit to get in the pool with my kids.  It can’t be worse than hiding myself from my husband for the past three years.  Complete nudity has not been an option. I don’t even want to look at myself in the mirror – much less let someone else.   Of course I begin to question what attraction my husband will have towards me if I have them removed.  It goes back to my feelings about breasts and femininity. If I take them away, am I going to immediately feel like less of a woman?  If I go to a general plastic surgeon to have them removed, will they understand my concerns?  Will they act as my advocate? I have contemplated going to the surgeon that my brother knows and letting him remove these, then potentially replace them based on what he sees during the surgery.  Would a plastic surgeon really decide to decline new implants? Is it possible that all of my symptoms are completely related to other issues and have nothing to do with the implants? If I knew for sure that this was the cause, I would definitely want them out for good.

Upon doing more research, I found a Dallas surgeon by the name of Dr. Edward Melmed. Dr. Melmed is one of the few plastic surgeons that have publicly questioned implant safety.  He is one of the characters in a documentary film by Carol Ciancutti-Leyva that is called “Absolutely Safe’. I have not personally purchased this film but I would like to watch it and see what other information is given.  Dr. Melmed practices at Medical City Hospital at Dallas.  I contacted his office in reference to a consultation. The lady that I talked to on the phone devoted a lot of time to me and was extremely friendly.  She emailed me the explantation info and also the contact information for a few women who are around my age and have undergone explantation. I contacted one of the women. She responded to my email and let me know that she feels much better after having her implants removed. She said that she continues to improve daily. My consultation is scheduled for May 14, 2015.  I am extremely nervous and anxious.  I have gone back and forth about cancelling my appointment.  I know that I do not currently have the funds to get the surgery done.  I’m afraid that I am going to feel overwhelmed by the desire to pursue the surgery and not be able to follow through at this time.  On the other hand, I am extremely interested in hearing what he has to say.  I have a couple of people in my circle of acquaintances that have breast implants and similar symptoms. I would really like to be able to pass on information that might be helpful to them. I don’t really know that I will be able to make this decision until I have consulted with him and perhaps the physician that my brother knows.

My daily life right now is chaotic.  I don’t really know how to explain the way that I feel.  My life is in constant disarray.  I can’t think straight. I can’t keep things organized.  My house is a mess and it causes me anxiety because I know what I need to do to but I don’t have the energy or drive to do it.  My patience is always thin.  Unfortunately, this takes a toll on my family life.  I know that I shouldn’t be this impatient with my husband and kids.  It makes me sick to know that I ride a roller coaster of emotions and I can’t control it.  I get aggravated when I am asked, “Are you out of your meds?”  I don’t want a medication to define me.  I don’t want my emotions to be directly related to the medications that I am on. It has been difficult to maintain appointments with my psychiatrist and endocrinologist. The endocrinologist has to come first.  When my husband needs heart medication and my son needs thyroid medication, those issues come first. When my children need to see a doctor, they come first. That’s just the way that it is.  Unfortunately, that sometimes means that my health takes a back burner.  My thyroid problem has been difficult to deal with. I think that my thyroid has now finally atrophied enough that it is not working at all. That’s actually a good thing because my thyroid medication dosage should be easier to adjust now.  I am currently off of my antidepressant and my ADD medication.  The antidepressants always make me feel like a zombie. I hate taking them. I know that they make my mood mellower but it makes me feel so indifferent about everything.  I think that the ADD medication definitely helps me with my organization and accomplishing tasks.  Being off of it has not been good.  The household chaos makes me feel out of control.  I am, by nature, a control freak.  Lack of control makes me irritable and frustrated.

If you were to ask what symptom bothers me the most, it would be the brain fog.  I find myself going into a room or a store and not remembering what I went in there for.  I can look back on my day and not understand why I didn’t accomplish more.  Lists help me on occasion.  If I make a list of things that I need to accomplish, I can sometimes follow through on some of the items.  It gives me a little sense of accomplishment. Lately, though, it takes everything in my power to just get up and perform basic duties.  This is not fair to my family. It’s not fair to my friends.  I don’t feel like being social. I don’t feel like doing things with my kids even though I want to.  I don’t feel affectionate to my husband right now.  I can’t help it. I don’t know how to change it.  I suppose that someone reading this would say that it fits the definition of depression but I believe that there is much more to it. There are still the physical symptoms that accompany it.  For the past week, my sinus problems have been really bothering me.  My occipital lymph nodes (on the back of my head) are really swollen. One is almost the size of a ping pong ball.  It has made it difficult to turn my head because the pain is so bad.  Ibuprofen has been a friend to me for several years.  I realize that it isn’t good for my stomach, but it is necessary.  My low grade fever is back.  I am running between 99.0 and 100.5 every day again.  It almost seems to come in phases or cycles.  I would probably say that it makes me feel like my body is battling itself at times.  If my immune system is fighting one issue, then it can’t seem to keep up with it all and another symptom arises.  My body just doesn’t seem to be able to maintain itself.  I know that sounds weird. I broke down a few days ago and pulled out a bottle of Penicillin VK from my cabinet that was never used.  I started taking the prescription to see if it would help my symptoms but, so far, hasn’t.  My mother keeps telling me to go to the doctor.  I don’t have a primary care physician anymore.  Since we lost our insurance, we haven’t been following up with all of our physicians as much as needed.  When I need lab work done, I just order it online through an out of state physician and go get it drawn.  It’s really been a blessing to be able to do that because it saves me a lot of money.  I can send my results to my endocrinologist as needed.  So I don’t go to the doctor for all of this.  I guess that I got so tired of no one being able to find anything that I gave up.  I should have followed up with infectious disease and rheumatology but I knew that it would end up being too costly.  So what do I do in a situation like this?  My mom said that I should go see her primary care.  And then what?  How do I tell a physician that I have sinus problems that I haven’t followed up on, dental work that desperately needs to be done but I can’t afford it, and a ruptured breast implant that I can’t afford to have removed? It’s completely embarrassing. I feel like a complete failure. I have failed myself and my family.

This is not the life that I would choose for myself. I don’t like living like this.  This is not me.  I loved my job as a paramedic.  I loved being able to help people.  I still try to help the people in my life but I am finding it more and more difficult to accomplish.  I love my marriage and my children.  I wouldn’t trade any of this.  I just wish that I could be that person again. I wish that I had the energy to do the things that I want to do. I wish that I felt good enough to play with my kids and joke around.  I wish that I could get my house and life organized enough to function better.  I wish that I wanted to be more affectionate towards my husband.  People often say that they wish to win the lottery or live in a nicer home.  That’s not me.  I do want to get to a point where finances are not so constraining.  It definitely makes things much more difficult.  Being wealthy is not on my list of priorities.  We live week to week (as do most people we know).  We are a single income household.  My husband works extremely hard to keep us above water.  I want contentment.  I want peace.

The dilemma continues.  If someone came to me with money for my surgery or we were able to come up with enough, I would still be inclined to use it on other things.  We all need dental work. We all need to do follow up appointments with our other specialists.  I began to contemplate a fundraiser for my surgery.  That way, if we came up with other money, I could focus those funds on my family.  I guess that it would make me feel less guilty about needing money for myself.  I have heard myself tell people, “You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself.”  I know that is so true.  Unfortunately, it makes me feel greedy to put myself before my children.  I also feel so disorganized right now that the thought of being down for a few days terrifies me.  Relinquishing control is very hard (although I wouldn’t exactly consider myself “in control” right now). My children don’t have any idea what is going on.  It’s not really their place to understand.  My two oldest boys are old enough to help around the house but they don’t do much.  If I ask several times to get help and they don’t, I often give up because I just don’t have the energy to fight with them over it.  My husband works hard all day and I know that he doesn’t want to come home and have to pick up my slack.  If I can’t use my arms for several days, how is my household going to get by? In a perfect situation, I would get my house cleaned and organized before the surgery. I would do my grocery shopping and plan out meals ahead of time.  I would arrange for someone to help me with my youngest child for a few days.  I don’t like asking for help.  I should be able to take care of my own family.  I’m not doing a very good job.  I don’t even want anyone in my house right now because I am so overwhelmed.  I don’t know where to begin. I have 50 projects going on at once and can’t seem to finish even one of them.  This is the story of my life.

Why do I feel like I need to share my story?  I know that there are people who will read this and think that I shouldn’t complain. I should have seen this coming.  Exposing my body to foreign things could only cause problems, right? I think that is very easy to judge people when you have not stood in their shoes.  I am not sharing my story to deter women from getting breast implants. Truthfully, I don’t think that it will.  Someone could have placed this letter in front of me 16 years ago and it probably wouldn’t have made any difference.  I know that sounds arrogant but I had already made up my mind.  The risks didn’t really cause a huge concern to me.  I guess that my goal with this is to convince women who already have breast implants to pay attention to their body.  If things don’t feel right or unusual problems begin to develop with your health, pursue them.  Research these complications that Dr. Kolb and Dr. Melmed discuss because, in my mind, they are real problems.  This is not an easy thing for me to talk about. It opens up doors of insecurity and embarrassment that I really don’t want to open.  Unfortunately, this is a problem that is very real to me right now.  People who are close to me probably question whether there is any truth to this.  Honestly, I don’t know.  Until I get further along in this process, I don’t have any answers.  I know that it is time to pursue the answers.  I know that I have missed out on so many things and I don’t want to miss any more.  I want to enjoy my life again.  If removing these implants will potentially allow me to heal and feel better, then I have to move in that direction.

My appointment with Dr. Melmed is May 14th.  I will elaborate more on “My Implant Story” after I have met with him.

Update 05/18/2015

My husband convinced me to keep my appointment.  I definitely considered backing out.  I was a nervous wreck.  The morning of the appointment met me with anxiety and nausea.  I literally felt like I was going to vomit before meeting with Dr. Melmed.  Thankfully, my husband was with me and the prayers of some great friends got me through it.  On the way to the appointment, I talked to my husband about “my story”. I asked him to read it because I needed him to fully understand where I was physically, mentally, and emotionally.  He read my paper when we arrived at the hospital.

Dr. Melmed’s office is not your typical plastic surgery office.  The waiting room is small but interesting.  Safari prints adorned the walls and the furniture.  There were two vintage medical cabinets full of neat, older medical equipment.  Linda was working at the desk.  She greeted us and explained that Dr. Melmed was running late from surgery but that he would be in the office soon.  He came in a few minutes later and greeted us personally from across the desk. The consultation began in his office.  Upon entering his office, I first noticed two things on his desk. He had a fake glass of beer and a fake “spilled” cup of ice cream.  It immediately lightened the atmosphere.  He made a comment about it and explained to us the importance of making patients feel comfortable.  Humor seems to help the interaction between doctor and patient, especially in tense moments.

Dr. Melmed first asked me about my implants and their age.  He asked me why I was there.  I had prayed all morning that I would be able to get through the appointment without crying but it didn’t work.  I told him that I was afraid that my implants have been making me sick and my emotions came over me.  He told me to take a few seconds and he began to talk to us about explantation.  He told us about the patient that kind of started all of this for him. Dr. Melmed does other plastic surgery and reconstructive procedures but no longer performs breast augmentations.  He began to list the complications that women have from breast implant placement.  He also began to list the common complaints from women who have breast implants and have developed illnesses.  I’m not quite sure, but I think he started out with a list of about 10 symptoms.  I think that 9 out of 10 of those directly applied to me.  I could tell that he had Mike’s full attention.

Dr. Melmed pulled out a photo album that he shared with us.  It had pictures of general implant complications (capsular contracture, rupture, deformity, etc.).  Rough statistics show that 20 percent of women have to undergo a secondary operation within one year of breast augmentation for complications. Saline implants leak at an approximate rate of 5% per year. He let both of us know that he would be forward and truthful.  Breast explantation is often difficult mentally because of the decrease in breast size.  He basically told me that men have the capability of looking at large breasts anywhere and at almost any time.  They are everywhere.  He told me that a man wants someone that he can have fun with and enjoy his time with.  If my husband doesn’t have me to be fun and interactive in our family, then what good do large breasts do?  It made sense and I knew it.

We began to discuss a little bit of my history.  I told him about some of my symptoms and when they first began.  I started crying and explained that I just needed some justification.  For so many years, I have felt like no one believes me and I have begun to feel like I am just imagining it.  He took my hand and looked me in the eye – and gave me that justification. He told me (very clearly) that I am not imagining my symptoms. They are real.  If my symptoms are not real, then why is he seeing a multitude of patients that complain of the same things? A lot of women have breast implants and never face complications.  They don’t present with immediate deformities or long-term illnesses.  Other women, however, do.  He explained that breast implants may not necessarily “create” the autoimmune disorders but they seem to trigger an autoimmune response.  Unfortunately, that means that there appears to be a large number of women who develop autoimmune disorders after having breast augmentation. In my case, it was the Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  In other cases, it is Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc.  There is a long list of common symptoms that many of us share.  Some of us have the positive lab results to prove it, others don’t.

The next portion of the consultation was the exam.  He made measurements of where the breasts are sitting now and explained to me his proposed outcome.  We talked about the “lift” process if needed (internal and/or external).  He took before pictures.  Linda was in the room with us during the exam.  We were still discussing some of my history and I commented on my frustration with the lack of information that is out there.  She said that she would recommend that physicians take breast implants into consideration on a more frequent basis.  If a physician is addressing a patient who has similar symptoms, they should be asking the patient whether they have breast implants or not.  The sad thing is that it isn’t really recognized as a problem.  These symptoms are usually shoved under another diagnosis and the possible true culprit is overlooked.

I asked Dr. Melmed about what sets him apart from using Dr. Kolb.  He didn’t have a lot to say, but he said these two things; 1) he does not remove the surrounding lymph nodes as she sometimes recommends because he does not feel that it is necessary and 2) he would question a physician who performs a large number of explantations but continues to keep her own breast implants.  Those are two very valid points.  I am trying to take in all of the information and allow myself some time to absorb it.  I can definitely say that it is Dr. Kolb who eventually led me to Dr. Melmed.  She was the first physician that I found online who is addressing this issue.  Her public awareness movement is larger.  I have to give her credit for putting the information out there for people to find.  I am blessed to have found a doctor that is closer to me, though.  As far as her continuation with breast implants, it’s not really my place to judge.  On one hand, I’m not sure that I could try to raise public awareness on breast implant dangers and still have them.  On the other hand, these issues are not present in every patient.  There are many women who can have augmentation after augmentation and never suffer from these problems.

Hope.  Dr. Melmed gives me hope.  He said that a lot of women get relief from symptoms immediately after surgery.  The estimated peak time of recovery is nine months, however.  I realize that some of my issues are irreversible.  My thyroid is completely atrophied.  That will never get better.  I am hopeful, though, that the brain fog and fatigue will greatly improve.  I have read a few stories from women who have undergone explantation and can attest to that.  Once my body begins to detoxify, I believe that I will begin to feel much better than I have felt in a long time.

The next person that I met with is Janet.  Janet is the lady that first drew me into his office via phone chat.  Her outgoing attitude is easy to be around.  She did say something that I found to be a little upsetting.  She said that she can usually pinpoint a patient who is seeking a consultation for explantation before they ever say it.  I asked her why she knows that just by talking to someone on the phone.  She said that explant patients always sound so “unhappy”.  How sad is that?  Our lives are so disrupted and our health is so bad that we just sound “unhappy”.  I believe it. I don’t like it, but I believe it. We discussed the cost and scheduled a tentative surgery date.  Janet and Linda definitely made the whole experience so much easier.  I am not comfortable in a snooty setting so it was nice to deal with ladies who seem down to earth.

My husband and I are in the process of finalizing the funds for surgery.  I am anxious and stressed about the days to come but I am finally determined to follow through.  I will slowly be spreading my story for more to hear.  My goal is to make more women aware of the potential long-term illnesses that may be associated with breast implants.  I would encourage women to pay close attention to their body.  If my surgery goes well and my health improves as much as I hope it will, I will definitely devote more of my time to making the public aware.  These risks are not only associated with silicone implants as many people believe.  They are associated with ANY implants.  It’s extremely scary.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYN2H-hSHXU&feature=youtu.be

http://www.knowthecause.com/index.php/contributor-blog/31-as-seen-on-the-show/2195-after-the-show-breast-implants

 

Update 07/22/15

I’m 20 days away and counting. I bought my post-surgical bras the other day and I had a huge breakdown. No more Motrin for my headaches and pains is going to be hard. I am absolutely terrified. Some things are falling into place and others haven’t yet. I know that God is leading me on the path I need to be on and I pray that this is the answer to feeling better. My anxiety is getting the best of me, though. Praying for inner peace.

 

Update 08/07/15

The last couple of weeks have been emotionally straining. My grandfather was diagnosed with asshole cancer. He is very near and dear to my heart. For those that don’t know, my father passed away from asshole cancer approximately 10 years ago. Taking my papaw to his appointments and helping to care for him definitely keeps my mind off my own issues. I truly contemplated delaying my surgery but I know that is not a good decision. My fatigue is increasingly worse and my low grade fever has been fairly consistent for at least a month now.
Dr. Pierre Blais is a research chemist and expert in the biocompatibility of implant materials. He is located in Canada. I have read of many women who have sent their implants to him after removal for examination. I decided to email him last night. In my email, I inquired about the process and told him what type of implants that I have. Within two hours, he responded. He said that he needed to speak to me directly today.

I called his office this morning. He was very polite and informative. Dr. Blais told me a little more info about my implants. A little background (if you haven’t read my full story) – my left implant ruptured 3 years ago. When I called my surgeon, he mentioned two types of implants that he used at that time. He did not have my records, however, because they were “too old”. About a year ago, I found one of my implant cards. They are PIP textured saline (NOT one of the mentioned manufacturers). Dr. Blais said that he was appalled that my surgeon did not tell me to immediately have these removed after the rupture. He said that PIP saline implants are prefilled and sealed. The saline that is in them is considered “microbiologically uncertain”. In other words, they do not really know about the chemical composition of the saline. He said that he could label me as “infected” going into this surgery and that I am at a “microbiological risk” for infection. He recommended that I contact my surgeon and make sure that he starts me on antibiotics prior to surgery.

Dr. Blais told me that I am probably one of the last few in the US that have this brand of saline. Most women had early ruptures or got so sick that they didn’t keep them long. He remarked that I must be “made of steel or something” because he was very surprised that I was even able to talk to him on the phone.
My implants will be given back to me after surgery. The capsules have to go to the hospital pathologist. Dr. Blais recommends that I get the pathology report and request to have the capsules back. I can send the capsules and implants to him for evaluation. He sends a free basic report back and then I will have to pay an additional charge if I want a full, detailed report.

He also told me that I need to be informed about the recent link between breast implants and ALCL cancer. Although the risk is low, the link is much higher in women with textured implants that have been in place for over 10 years. The hospitality pathology report will hopefully rule that out. Needless to say, I am paying for my stupid decision. I would never have believed that there was this much risk in “safe saline implants”. I am no longer concerned with how I will look afterwards. I am sickened by the position that I have put myself in. I have no idea what my implants will look like. They might be perfectly clear. Who knows? Only time will tell. Either way, Dr. Blais has made it very clear that my illness is believable. He has seen it in many women. I am ready to move on.

Here’s to new beginnings and a good outcome!

 

Update 08/09/15

This is in regards to my post about Dr. Blais (Canadian biochemist):
I emailed Dr. Melmed (my surgeon) tonight to ask whether he had heard much about prescribing antibiotics based on my implant type. There is definitely a difference in opinion between these two. Dr. Melmed said that he does not take prescribing antibiotics lightly. He said that it takes up to a year to replenish the gut flora that a round of antibiotics kills off. Dr. Melmed said that he does not prescribe antibiotics before surgery because he has no evidence of infection, therefore, no guideline for what type to prescribe. He said that it would be like shooting a shotgun in the air and hoping that a bird gets shot. In other words, there’s no reason to start on an antibiotic that might not cover what needs to be covered. If he needs to address it during surgery, he will. If a culture tests positive after surgery, then he will treat accordingly. I told him that I am not trying to question his method. I want to be educated on the why or the why not. I told him that his explanation makes sense to me. So – no antibiotics.
This whole process is very confusing. Opinions by doctors can be very different. Opinions by other implant sufferers can be very different. I have to take in the information that makes sense to me. In doing this, I have to rely on my faith that God is leading me to the right doctor, with the right treatment.

 

Update 08/11/15

Woohoo! On the other side now. According to Dr. Melmed, the Explantation went great. He was able to remove them “en bloc” which is very important in these removals. My capsules were very thin but he was able to remove all of it. The bleeding was very minimal. He has already warned me that I will be small. If it will decrease even half of my fatigue, it is totally worth it!
My left implant was ruptured but the right one looks amazingly good for its age. He told my husband that most women had these particular implants removed within 6-12 months after augmentation because of illness or rupture. I guess that I was extremely protective of them. He placed two drains that will be removed tomorrow.

The pain hasn’t been that bad. I’m sore but it’s been okay. I had some post anesthesia nausea but it has resolved now. I was a nervous wreck this morning. Lots of prayers were coming my way. My anesthesiologist and Dr. Melmed completely put me at ease. The staff at the surgery center knows Dr. Melmed very well. They all seem to know the way he does things. With over 4,000 explantations done to date, I think I made a wise choice in surgeons.

Thanks for the prayers, calls, texts, good vibes, food, cards, etc. I know this was not a life threatening surgery but it was important to me. I’m very blessed to have the great family and friends that I do.

 

Update 08/13/15

Mike took me to have my drains removed yesterday. It hurt a lot but was very quick. Dr. Melmed told me that I might end up looking like a 12 year old boy. I think that he was joking but he is very straightforward and I think he was preparing me for the worst. When he sat me up, I actually had a little bit of boob! Needless to say, I was thrilled. I’m glad that I didn’t have high expectations, though. I was able to take a bath today. My range of motion is minimal so I’m not sure that I can wash my long hair. Some friends are taking me to get my hair washed and braided – such a sweet gesture. The pain isn’t that bad. It’s just an achy, sore feeling. The incisions itch. Overall, I’m doing very well. I will see Dr. Melmed in a week for a follow up.

 

Update 08/17/15

Tired but feeling pretty good. The surgeon just has me in a sports bra 24/7 now. My follow up appt is Thursday. Before the surgery, I was running a 99.0-100.5 temperature pretty consistently. Since surgery, it has been much better. My sinuses are draining a lot. I’m hoping that my body will now be able to fight the sinus issues. My skin doesn’t seem to be as dry but I am trying to choke down a lot of water.

I’m not starting any major detoxification at this point. I’m going to let my body try to do the work first. I’m supplementing with multivitamins, probiotic, bone broth, and juicing a little. My appetite is good.
My surgeon went in through my previous incisions. There aren’t any stitches. He has surgical tape over the incision that will stay for about 1-2 more weeks. I will be able to drive today. I just have to be cautious for about 2 more weeks to keep the incisions from opening back up. I don’t feel bad, but I don’t feel fantastic. I have accepted the fact that I may not bounce back super quick – as I kept these stupid things for 16 years. Overall, I am 100% glad that I went through with this. I think that things are definitely going to get better.

 

Update 08/20/15

I just left my follow up with Dr. Melmed. I really can’t say enough about this office. Linda and Janet are so easy to talk to. They have never made me feel uncomfortable or anxious. Dr. Melmed has been great! It might be the adrenaline from knowing this is behind me, but I feel really good. I felt myself smiling while in his office and I haven’t done that much lately. I am truly grateful that he has chosen this stance and continues to help women just like me. The surgical tape was removed in office. I am totally pleased with how I look now – although the tissue will continue to heal and fluff up – so it should get even better!

Update 09/02/15

3 week update: BABY STEPS
My energy level has improved. I wouldn’t say that I am great yet, but better. My fever seems to be remaining stable. I have had a couple of 99+ but nothing over 100.0 (big improvement). On the way home today from seeing my papaw in the hospital, I noticed that I was getting a bad headache. This made me realize two things: 1) This fits the timeline with my monthly “hormonal” headache – so it doesn’t surprise me (too much info – sorry). And 2) I realized that I haven’t had a migraine or headache since my surgery. This is a HUGE revelation. I was dealing with bad headaches 1-3 times a week. They would often turn into migraines and put me in bed. I didn’t even realize that I hadn’t had one. I should have noticed, though, because my use of ibuprofen has drastically reduced.

Physically, my soreness is pretty much gone except for the incision site. The tissue is pretty soft. One breast is a little distorted in comparison to the other. Dr. Melmed said it usually takes several months for the tissue to “fluff” and fill out. I broke down once about the appearance but got over it pretty quick. I still have a long way to go but think I’m dealing with it pretty good. So all in all, I feel like I am improving daily. I know that these are baby steps, but I’ll take it.

To reiterate – Yes, I am glad that I went through with it! No, I would not consider replacing them with new implants.

 

Update 11/04/2015

 

I just left my Endocrinology office. We are going to adjust my thyroid meds again. This was the first appointment ever with this doctor that I was able to say that I felt okay. Every other appointment in his chart noted extreme fatigue, headaches, etc. I told him about my Explant surgery. He said, “here we were thinking that a lot of your symptoms could be attributed to your chronic EBV and CMV and that might not have been the case.” We didn’t go into an in depth conversation but he noted my surgery and improvement in my records. He asked about the type of implants that I had. Before he left, he said “you know I’m not sure that I can officially talk to women who have these issues and tell them to remove their implants, but I do have another patient with Lupus (another autoimmune disease) who had hers removed also”. He kept shaking his head in wonder and almost disbelief. I told him that I’m just asking him to keep this in the back of his mind when other patients present with similar issues. I will continue to plant this seed with anyone that is open minded enough to listen. I am also going to email him or his nurse practitioner later a link to my group and some of the websites that have more information. He might not 100% believe what I just talked to him about but he was very open to hear it and responded well.
I feel good today. It’s been a busy week and I am nowhere near as tired as I used to be. I am enjoying my time with my kids and husband more. I believe that they have noticed some subtle changes in me. I am grateful for whatever improvements may come. My headaches and fever are still gone! I’m still battling my sinus issues but I’m dealing with it okay.
I felt myself smiling as I just walked out of the doctors office. What an amazing feeling that is. It’s another small step in my journey.

 

Update 12/17/2015

 

The Question I Urge All Doctors to Ask Their Female Patients

 

This is a plea to doctors – well, maybe all doctors except plastic surgeons. I would like to urge doctors to specifically ask your female patients a question: Mrs. Smith, do you have breast implants?

Why do I exclude plastic surgeons? Let me explain. My plea is focused on other general care practitioners, rheumatologists, endocrinologists, neurologists, psychologists, chiropractors, etc., who are following women for symptoms of illness.  When we, as women, show symptoms of illness, we do not run to our plastic surgeon. We seek advice and treatment from other practitioners. It makes sense that I would like to make a plea to all of you.

The use of social media has allowed women worldwide to join together and discuss breast implants. Several websites and Facebook groups are now focusing on women who would like to discuss breast implant illness and Explantation – or the removal of their breast implants. Why are women searching for these groups? They are desperate for answers. They are seeking advice about their symptoms and illnesses and don’t know where else to turn. These women have seen doctor after doctor in regards to their symptoms and not getting any answers. What do they have in common? The first answer – breast implants. The second answer – a long list of common symptoms.

What symptoms are these women describing? They can include common symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, joint pain, headaches, vertigo, hair loss, recurrent illness, skin rashes, breast pain, brain fog, depression, swollen lymph nodes. They may exhibit symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Thyroid disorders, Connective Tissue Disorders. Some of the most commonly diagnosed illnesses are Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Lupus – both autoimmune disorders. You might decide to run a whole panel of tests. Some of these women are getting positive lab results but many are not. Many are suffering from the symptoms and still have completely normal lab results. This generally results in women being sent away with no answers, sent to psychologists for evaluation, or sent to other specialists in pursuit of additional options.

Who are these patients?  These are women who have ANY type of breast implant. It doesn’t matter if it is saline or silicone.  All implants are encased in a silicone shell. It doesn’t matter how long they have had breast implants. Some women are starting to seek treatment for illness early on after augmentation and some are seeking treatment many years down the road. It doesn’t even matter why they had breast augmentation. While most receive implants for cosmetic purposes, many have undergone surgery for reconstructive purposes or as a post-mastectomy procedure.

Why should you consider the breast implant factor? I know that the proper response by physicians is that the FDA has approved the use of implants, therefore, they are safe.  I’m not asking you to discredit the FDA, discredit any studies, or discredit other physicians. I’m simply asking that you take this question into consideration. Some women might not even list breast augmentation on their list of previous surgeries. I won’t even really get into the discussion about the studies and the FDA. The fact is that women with breast implants are suffering from a long list of common symptoms. This is the same story that has been told for many years. Most physicians will not recognize “breast implant illness” because it is not a clearly defined illness or disorder in the eyes of the medical community.  The proof comes when these women remove their breast implants and they show improvement in general health and in relief of some or all of their symptoms.

My plea is this: If you have a patient who exhibits these symptoms, follow your normal treatment path but ask them if they have implants. If for no other reason, ask them out of curiosity. If they do, please inform them that there are women who are sympathetic and willing to listen. They can search Explantation, Explant, Breast Implant Illness on Facebook or the internet. They can watch videos on YouTube by Dr. Susan Kolb and Dr. Edward Melmed. You don’t have to be an advocate of breast implant illness to refer your patients for outside support. You don’t have to imply that there is any correlation at all. I am simply asking that you keep an open mind about the possibility that some of your patients are seeking treatment from you for illnesses and coincidentally have breast implants.

Thank you for your consideration and I hope that you will keep this plea in the back of your mind for future reference.

 

 

Update 12/23/2015

 

I feel like I need to address a few things that have been weighing on my heart the past week. I know this is long winded so I apologize.

First, if you are seeking Explantation, please try to avoid getting overwhelmed with the information about breast implant illness. It is such a scary time and there is so much information to absorb. It can easily overload you. Take the time time to research and read stories. Listen to the advice that other women offer. It will not all pertain to you so don’t hang onto all of it. Take the information that seems pertinent to your situation and follow your instinct. The reason I say this is because I don’t personally believe that this is a black and white situation.  There is a very wide gray area. We are not all in the same situation. We have had implants for different lengths of times. We have had different types of implants. We have different symptoms and possible co-infections. We have different daily exposures. We have different genetic backgrounds. My path might not be the right path for you. Your path might not be the right path for someone else. I know that it would be much easier if there was one easily defined path to take, but it just isn’t that way. There are definitely recommendations for Explantation that you should consider. If you are capable of utilizing one of the top Explant physicians, please try to do so. If you can’t, though, follow your instincts and do what is best for YOU. Don’t let anyone bully you to the point that you feel guilty about a decision that you have made. We are not doctors or lawyers. We cannot guarantee that you are going to completely recover from following a “recommended path”. You are the person that has to make the decision because you are the one that has to deal with the aftermath of your decision. This is a very personal decision and quest. Make this about YOU.

Second, please do not focus negativity on specific doctors. Yes, there are 3 most widely known Explant surgeons in the US. They are all very different in technique, views, and treatment. The topic of mold in implants has recently been brought to the forefront. Not all doctors will say that this is a common occurrence. We know that Dr. Blais believes that this is very common. We know that there have been studies about bacteria and mold inside implants. We know this. Breast implant illness knowledge is consistently evolving. We are all learning as we go. The surgeons are learning, too. We need to remember that these doctors DO believe us. That is what is important. The specifics might be different but I believe that they do have our best interest at heart. Research your physician options and choose the best surgeon that makes the most sense to YOU – not anyone else.  My surgeon did not address the detox issue and it was okay with me. He made sense to ME. My doctor might not be the one for you. Your doctor might not be the one for someone else. Some doctors believe that detox is essential. Others don’t. We will continue to learn as studying this progresses.  If you are able to find a surgeon that can do the procedure that you want but doesn’t push detox, then find someone else to assist you with the detox path. No one can guarantee you that paying $3,000 to Doctor A for surgery and $200 monthly to a natural practitioner or paying $12,000 to Doctor B for total care is going to completely cure you. We have no guarantees. So again, you need to follow your own path. Someone can try to convince you that one surgeon and one type of treatment is right for you – but what if it isn’t? You have to be able to live with your own decision. I have had times when I was made to feel bad about choosing the surgeon that I chose. I’m not sure why I even questioned it. I made my own decision and I am totally happy with it. I can’t sit here and tell you that my surgeon is the best choice for everyone else. I know that he isn’t. He was my choice, though, and I am happy with the outcome. Hopefully, as implant removal is on the rise, we will begin to find more surgeons that are willing to help us and be open minded.

Third, capsule removal is a huge discussion and controversy. It is highly recommended that all capsule get removed with the implants. The preferred method is “en bloc” or all as one component. Many doctors say that they will not put a patient at risk to remove all of the capsule if there are bits that are adhered to lung or rib. Many will say that it can be more dangerous to try and remove those little pieces. So I have to honestly say that I ride the fence on this one. I would want my surgeon to use best judgment in what he deems as safe to remove. Dr. Blais clearly says that the capsules (in entirety) should not be left in. They can harbor microorganisms between the folds that can be more harmful down the road and they can cause confusion on future radiological reports. I have personally heard from women who left entire capsules or portions of capsules and still showed improvement in health. I would personally want to remove everything possible but that is just my opinion. There have been women in the UK who have undergone breast implant removal by the NHS and they have been denied removal of capsules. Some of these women are desperate for implant removal and cannot afford to pay privately for someone else to remove everything. My heart goes out to them because I think they are left in a state of despair and truly want to do everything they can for their health. I don’t think that it is fair to shame anyone for not being able to have a complete capsulectomy when it is out of their hands. I think that they need our prayers and support that the implant removal alone is going to improve their health.  It might not be the best scenario but they need our support, nevertheless. I have also heard from women who did not have a huge improvement in health after bits of capsule were left. I can imagine that it would lead people to question whether that bit of capsule is the reason for delayed healing. I’m just not sure that I can answer that. Some women have gone on to undergo additional surgery for old tissue removal and improved. I believe that those stories also involve additional detox methods too, though. So I still am left to question whether it is the secondary capsule removal that heals these patients or the addition of customized detox plans. Perhaps it’s both. I cannot speak from personal experience here. All of my capsule was removed. I can only say that I urge you to be completely  open and upfront with your surgeon about your expectations. If you have bits of capsule left, I have read that there is a possibility that low light therapy can assist in helping to dissolve that tissue. If I find more info, I will share it in another post. I am not addressing this to start a debate. I am simply stating my opinion and my concerns.

Fourth, and this is the hardest for me. My heart has been breaking lately for some women. I am on several different groups and it makes me very sad to see the desperation that comes with trying to Explant, the confusion with making the right decision, and the disappointment that comes if removing the breast implants does not provide the outcome that someone longs for. I will not sit here and sugar coat things. I refuse to sit here and tell anyone that removing their breast implants is going to cure all of their problems or turn their life completely around. I firmly believe that they cause illness and a huge disruption in our immune system. I think that they trigger a lot of problems that might have stayed dormant if not for introducing these things to our bodies. I cannot convince someone to make this decision, though. I can tell you about other stories and I can tell you about my personal experience. That’s it. I believe that a woman has to get to the point that they feel like they have exhausted all other means for a medical answer or just finally realize that hanging onto these breasts is just not worth it anymore. If you are not to that point of desperation, then maybe you need to wait until you are. I know that sounds bad, but I believe that you need to be somewhat mentally prepared for the decision that you are making.

I have been reading a lot of articles about breast implants. Dr. Arthur Brawer has really been standing out to me. I know that battling mold and co-infections can be very important in our path to healing. His articles make SO much sense to me, though. I really want to urge you ladies to read some of these. I know that prior to Explant I might not have been able to actually process a lot of this information. I am going to try and break some of this down. I will also make sure that his articles are in the group Files so you can read them.

This is my interpretation of some of the articles:

  1. Average onset of systemic disease was 2.5 years after implantation.
  2. 90% of women in one of his studies were symptomatic after 6 years. Each patient had an average of 30 symptoms.
  3. Disease acceleration occurred 5-6 years after implantation – correlating with the degradation of the shell.
  4. Implant rupture was not the stimulus for disease onset – he believes the chemical breakdown is what causes systemic disease.
  5. The average relief from symptoms after implant removal was 9 months. It is not usually a quick recovery.
  6. There was less clinical improvement after removal in patients with longer duration of implantation.
  7. Systemic improvement after removal was best in patients that had implants less than 12 years. Those with later onset of symptoms had better chance of improvement than those with the combination of early symptoms and a long duration of implantation.
  8. It was really interesting to see that those who had silicone implants removed and replaced with saline, had some of their symptoms improve – but then developed a totally new range of symptoms and seemed to have a worsening of disease progression.
  9. The sicker a patient becomes while keeping the breast implants, the less likelihood of a complete recovery.

What have Dr. Brawer’s articles made me stop and think about? For most of us, recovery is not guaranteed and it is not immediate. PLEASE don’t expect to undergo breast implant removal and wake up to a complete disappearance of your symptoms. I just don’t want you to be disappointed in your decision. Our bodies take time to recover. We have endured a lot. Those of us with long term implants will not recover as fast. The longer you have your implants, the less recovery you may have. For those with implants from 5-7 years, your recovery outlook seems to be good. For those of us that have them over 12 years, the recovery is not near as good. He estimates it to be like 30%. So for women like me who had them 17 years, my expectations need to be realistic. I am extremely hopeful that my recovery gets way above 30% but the truth is, I poisoned myself for a very long time. My textured silicone shell showed major erosion. That crap is somewhere in my body. These implants started leaking toxins from day 1 and they still continue to wreak havoc on my body. I would not change my decision. I am very happy with the outcome. Some of my symptoms completely disappeared right after surgery. Others are continuing to improve. In all honesty, I’m not sure that I could have sat and typed all of this before surgery. I’m not sure that I could have processed it. That means a lot to me.

I hope that this post isn’t discouraging or taken as rude. Things have been hitting me hard this week. Reading other posts really make me stop and think. My heart is broken for all of the women that are suffering. I want to offer my support and a listening ear. I cannot make promises and I do not want to offer false hope for any of you. Really take the time to soak in the information and do what is best for YOU. I believe that removing your implants will definitely be helpful in improving your overall health. I am just asking that you step back and look at the whole picture.

 

 

Many women feel so much better after breast implant removal surgery, but unfortunately there are some who don’t.

There are women who go through a lot of mixed emotions after breast implant removal; feeling depressed, guilt, anger, crying for no reason and overwhelming sadness. When they look in the mirror at their breasts they wonder if they will ever look better, normal even. You know all the reasons you had breast implant removal surgery, but right now you can’t get past these feelings, feeling so sad and depressed about this whole thing. After your explant you will experience swelling and bruising with mild discomfort and soreness.  Usually patients are able to return to work within a few days after breast implant removal surgery.

            Does anyone else feel the same as me?

Rest assured there are a lot of women who experience the exact same sense of loss and hopelessness as you are experiencing. Your body has just gone through a very big change and your emotions are going to be on a roller coaster. It is a really good idea to talk to other women experiencing the same thing, join support groups like the one found here. Emotional support is wonderful as is seeing real pictures of women just like you.

            How long can I expect to feel this depression?

Hang in there, it does get better and you are allowed to feel sad and hideaway in your room if you want, you’ve just had a big change and it takes time to adjust. Give yourself a week or two adjust, then you need to start making a genuine effort to lift yourself out of the doldrums and focus on positivity. If you are not feeling more positive after a couple weeks, please seek medical advice.

            What can I do to make myself feel better?

In some cases your depression could be a result of the anaesthesia and sometimes the chemical imbalances from the breast implants. To help you on the way to feeling 100% again look at your diet and try to include some natural serotonin boosters or start a detox protocol. Also try to get some sunlight, a sunny day may do more than just boost your mood – it may increase levels of a natural antidepressant in the brain. A new study shows that the brain produces more of the mood-lifting chemical serotonin on sunny days than on darker days.

            When will my breasts look better?

In a week or two you will begin to see remarkable changes in your breasts, and by the end of the month your breasts will have blossomed into something natural and beautiful. It’s not a beautiful journey all the time, but don’t let your emotions bring you down. Think of the positive thoughts and know that it will get better. You really should see a vast improvement by the second month,  in 6 months to a year from now you will look totally different to you do now.  If your still unhappy with your size and shape after a year you can look into fat transfer or a breast lift. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you have so much healing to go and your body needs some loving. For scaring I use and recommend Mulu Organics Hilma Scar Serum, organic, vegan & nut free.

            How soon can I exercise after breast implant removal surgery?

Allow yourself enough time to heal after surgery, usually 8 weeks or more. Your surgeon should show you basic physical therapy exercises you can start the day after your surgery to maintain your arm and upper body mobility as you heal, if he doesn’t ASK for some.

            What kind of breast massage and exercises should I do to help my breasts firm up and look better?

Some exercises shouldn’t be done until any drains and stitches are removed. You may need 8 or more weeks before you can do most types of exercise, your surgeon will give you an exact date. (if not ASK for one) We need to take control of our health. Exercises that maintain mobility usually can be started a few days after surgery. Explant massage technique here

During the first 3 to 7 days after surgery:

  • Using both arms do slow gentle movements when doing day-to-day tasks eg brushing your hair, dressing and eating.
  • While seated – exercise both arms by opening and closing your hand 15 to 20 times. Then bend and straighten your elbow. Do this 3 to 4 times a day.
  • Practice deep breathing using your diaphragm (the muscle under your navel) at least 6 times a day. Lie on your back and breathe in slowly. Keep slowly breathing in as much air as you can while trying to expand your diaphragm (push your navel out away from your spine). When you can’t breathe in any more air, relax and breathe out all the air. Do this 4 or 5 times. Deep breathing helps maintain normal chest movement, which makes it easier for your lungs to work.

            Are there any lotions I can use to help them firm up?

That is a difficult question, in my personal opinion based on over 5 years experience, the best results are seen by those women who use an organic oil for breast massage after explant surgery. Remembering to avoid the incisions. The oil glides the hands on the breast and allows a better massage, unlike creams that dry out. When massaging you need to be gentle and soft with your touch. For a full description of breast massage after breast implant removal surgery click here. I use and recommend Mulu Organics Honour Your Breast Oil organic, vegan & nut free.

            How long until my illness symptoms go away?

This is a difficult question to answer as each person heals at a different rate, and what detox works for one person may not work for you. Some women begin to feel better instantly, others can take weeks or months depending on the level of toxicity in the system.

We need to remember that all breasts are largely composed of fatty tissue. Some women have more, some have less. The size, shape, firmness and skin texture are initially “set” by genetic background and vary among different cultures and individuals. Then, after birth, nutrition and exercise habits influence how your breasts develop.

Being prepared for breast implant removal surgery is one of the best things you can do to ensure that your recovery is as smooth and comfortable as possible. There are things that are done on a daily basis that aren’t given a second thought such as opening a childproof pill bottle. After surgery, this can be difficult, if not impossible. Preparing for these things that you would not normally think about prior to your surgery will help you more than you can imagine.

Pre-Operative List 

(Follow your Mechanic’s Instructions) 

  • Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen, or drugs containing these things for at least ten days prior to surgery. These medications thin the blood, which is not conducive to healing.
  • Unless otherwise instructed by your surgeon, discontinue Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and all other herbal and/or homeopathic remedies for 30 days prior to surgery.
  • Do not wear contact lenses to surgery.
  • Do not wear makeup on the day of surgery.
  • Do not wear nail polish on surgery day.
  • Do not wear jewellery, including any body piercings, on surgery day.
  • Do not wear any hair accessories containing metal (such as barrettes or clips with metal springs, etc.)
  • Do wear comfortable clothing and shoes on the day of surgery. It is preferable to wear pants or shorts that can be pulled on easily. Your top should button or zip in the front. It should not have to go on over your head, as lifting your arms above your head will be very uncomfortable immediately following surgery.
  • Do not eat or drink anything for 8 hours before surgery.
  • No alcohol for 24 hours prior to surgery.
  • Most surgeons will allow you to take blood pressure and heart medications the morning of surgery with a small sip of water.
  • If you smoke, do your best to stop for at least four weeks prior to surgery. If you cannot quit, cutback as much as possible. Smoking constricts the blood vessels, which can interfere with healing. Even nicotine patches can constrict the blood vessels.
  • If you are a diabetic, discuss this with your surgeon at your consult as well as the morning of surgery.

 

General 

 

Clean the House: This should be obvious. Who wants to recover while looking at a mess that’s just begging to be cleaned up? Have your entire house in order. Clean everything, wash all dishes, and takeout the trash. It’s so much nicer to rest and relax in a nice, clean space. Additionally, you won’t be able to scrub bathrooms, vacuum, etc., during the early stages of recovery.

 

Take Care of All Laundry: As with cleaning, you don’t want a pile of dirty laundry staring at you while you’re recovering. Take care of it before you have surgery so that you can come home to empty laundry hampers and plenty of fresh, clean clothes.

 

Pay all Bills: If any bills are due shortly after your surgery, you should try to go ahead and take care of them before surgery. This is especially important if you live by yourself. Narcotics and lack of sleep can result in forgetfulness, which isn’t particularly desirable when it comes to paying bills.

 

Food: For anyone that doesn’t have a significant other, friend, or family member to take care of the matter surgery, it is important to consider meals ahead of time. Many different types of meals can be cooked and then frozen. You may want to prepare a few meals so that you won’t have to worry about cooking for a few days.

 

Prescriptions: Get your prescriptions filled ahead of time. Do not wait until you leave the hospital or surgery center to go by the pharmacy. You will not feel like dealing with that. You’re going to be tired, sore, maybe nauseous, and all you are going to care about is going home and climbing onto the sofa or into the bed.

 

Pets: If you have pets, you will want to make sure that they have plenty of food, kitty litter, and treats. If you have dogs that need to be walked, you may need to get someone to help you with that, particularly if your dogs are large.

 

Moisturize: Make sure you use a good organic moisturizer on your breasts for a few weeks prior to surgery. While nothing can completely prevent stretch marks, it certainly does not hurt to try.

 

Explant surgery Recovery 

 

Ginger Ale: You may feel nauseous from anaesthesia and/or pain medication. It’s good to have something like Ginger Ale handy since it can help soothe nausea. If you don’t like Ginger Ale, and prefer something else like Lemonade, Sprite or 7-Up, make sure to have some on hand. Hard peppermint candy or ginger is also said to curtail nausea.

 

Drinks, Water, Tea: Whatever you like to drink, make sure it’s easily accessible. If you like Diet Pepsi, for example, you may want to buy them in cans instead of two-litre bottles. Opening twist-off caps can be very difficult in the first few days after explant surgery. Cans are much easier to open. If you prefer water, tea, etc., you may want to purchase a beverage dispenser so that you can fill your glass without needing to lift a heavy bottle.

 

Bland Foods: In case nausea is a problem, you will want to have bland foods on hand. Some examples of bland foods include oatmeal, mashed potatoes, bananas, jelly, rice, crackers, bread, dry toast. Try to avoid heavy, greasy foods until your stomach has settled. You do not want to make yourself sick. The chest muscles contract each time you vomit or dry heave, and it doesn’t feel good.

 

Pillows: You need to have lots of pillows to help support your back since you will likely be sleeping in a reclining position. It’s important to support your lower back to prevent your lower back from hurting.

 

Heating Pad: A heating pad is handy if your back aches. It is not to be used on your breasts.

 

Moisturizer: Make sure that you have a good moisturizer. The stretching of the skin from the years of having implants can result in dry flaking skin post explant.

 

Stool Softeners: Since constipation is common after any surgery, particularly when narcotics are taken, it is wise to have stool softeners on hand. Drinking lots of water, apple juice, or prune juice can help get things moving, but if these things do not work, the stool softeners will come in handy.

 

Backscratcher: In case your back itches, this will come in handy. It may be difficult to use at first, but you will have much more luck with a backscratcher than without one. This is due to your mobility be limited.

 

Icepacks: Icepacks are great for reducing swelling. You can purchase cold packs at your local pharmacy or you can make your own ice packs. If you do get permission to ice, make sure that you put a hand towel or wash cloth between your skin and the ice pack. Be sure to never go to sleep with the ice pack on. If the area gets too cold, circulation will stop, which can cause major problems. Consult with your surgeon prior to icing. Be sure to follow his or her instructions. Some surgeons recommend no icing, while others leave it up to the patient. It is common to ice for 10 minutes, then no ice for 20.

 

Post-surgery 

 

Clothing: You will want to have clothing on hand that either zips or buttons up the front. You will not feel like putting shirts on over your head. It may be extremely difficult (or impossible) to put your arms over your head for a few days.

 

Hair Bands :If you have long hair, you may find it helpful to pull it up into a ponytail. It’s quick, easy, and lets you not have to worry about your hair.

 

Pants: If you love to relax in your favourite track pants you may find that you don’t like having to pull them up and down when going to the bathroom. If this is the case, try wearing a long t-shirt, or a robe (whichever works best for your situation), and forgo the pants.

 

Toilet Lid: Leave the toilet LID up. Bending over can feel very uncomfortable after explant surgery.

 

Remote Controls: Make sure the remote controls to your TV, DVD player, etc., have fresh batteries. Even on the best days, no one wants to get up to turn the channel, push play on the DVD player, etc.

 

Medicine Caps: If your medication bottles have childproof caps, and they most likely will, make sure that the caps are loosened so that you won’t have to worry about having any difficulty opening the bottles. If you have children, particularly small children, this may not be a good idea. In all cases, a pill organizer is your best option (see below).Keep your medications close to you at all times so that they are easily accessible.

 

Pill Organizer: Because you will be so groggy, tired, and likely “loopy” (due to pain medication), it is important that you keep up with your medication schedule. Pill organizers can be purchased at any discount store or pharmacy. This is a cheap and effective way to make sure that you take your medication as prescribed, which is especially important where antibiotics are concerned. Pain medications, when taken other than as prescribed, can be very dangerous. A pill organizer can help you to remember when you are due to for the next dosage of medication. Keep your medications close to you at all times so that they are easily accessible.

 

Phone & Charger: Whether you’ve decided to camp out in your bed, or on your sofa, make sure that your phone (cordless, non-cordless, and/or cell phone) is with you at all times, along with the charger (if applicable). In the event that you need help, for any reason, it is helpful to have all of this close by.

 

Recliners: Recliners can work wonderfully. Many women feel that they are much more comfortable than a bed or sofa, particularly since you won’t be sleeping on your back in the beginning. However, it can be extremely difficult, if not sometimes impossible, to get out of a recliner by yourself. It depends on the amount of discomfort you have, as well as the chair. If you have trouble getting out of the chair, you should not sit in it while you are alone.

 

Books and DVDs: Since you will not be doing a lot during the first few days, you may find that you are bored. If you like to read, make sure you have your favourite magazines, books, etc. You may want to stay away from comedies since they may make you laugh, which you will feel in your chest (particularly if you had enbloc removal).

 

Underwear: If you wear underwear, you may want to just go without them for the first few days. For some women, pulling them up and down during bathroom visits is just more than they feel like they want to do. Other women don’t have a problem with it. Do what you feel comfortable doing.

 

Showering: Before you leave for surgery, turn your shampoo, conditioner, and soap bottles upside down so that you won’t have to “shake” the bottles after surgery.

 

After surgery you will be taken to a recovery area to be monitored. Your breasts will be wrapped in gauze, compression garment, bandages or a surgical bra.

Your surgeon should describe the usual after surgery (postoperative) recovery process, the possible complications that may occur, and the recovery period. Following the operation, as with any surgery, you can expect some pain, swelling, bruising and tenderness. These effects may last for a month or longer, but should disappear with time. Scarring is a natural result of surgery. Prior to surgery, ask your surgeon to describe the location, size and appearance of any expected scars. For most women, scars will fade over time into thin lines.

Your surgeon may prescribe medications for pain and/or nausea. If you experience bleeding, fever, warmth, redness of the breast, or other symptoms of infection, you should immediately report these symptoms to your surgeon. Your surgeon should tell you about wound healing and how to care for your wound.

You may need a postoperative bra, compression bandage or jogging bra for extra support as you heal. At your surgeon’s recommendation you will most likely be able to return to work within a few days, but you should avoid any strenuous activities that could raise your pulse and blood pressure for at least two weeks.

Ask your surgeon about a schedule for follow-up visits, limits on your activities, precautions you should take, and when you can return to your normal activities, including exercising.

Help at home
Depending on the complexity of your explant surgery, you may need help with household chores, dressings, transportation etc. If you have concerns in any of these areas, please talk with your surgeon or family doctor before your explant surgery.

Don’t forget to download your free copy of  ‘Getting Ready for your Explant Surgery’ here

Excerpt  from the e-book Explant-ology 

How you may look after your surgeon removes your breast implants is hard to pinpoint exactly. Every person’s surgery results are different due to various factors from the way the implants were inserted to differences in breast tissue.

Firstly your breast tissue may be displaced from the implants being in your body and you may even see a caved in area on your chest. This is caused by the implants continual pressure on the chest wall.  Everyone is different and we all heal at different rates. Remember that your tummy shrunk back after having babies and so will your breasts. You need to be kind to yourself and realise that it will take time, and by time I mean this healing process can takes months. At the time of writing this it has been over four years since my explant surgery and I love the way I look and feel. Remember that your tummy shrunk back after having babies and so will your breasts.

The first few days after explanting can be really hard on you emotionally and physically. I remember coming home from hospital in a daze.

You will be sore after your surgery and may be experiencing the after effects of the anaesthetic, some women cope better than others with anaesthetics. If you are one of the unlucky ones, then you best be prepared for a bloated belly and loads of wind. I honestly felt like the ‘Michelin Man’ for days with a belly full of gas and a thumping head. My incisions were tender but not too bad, some women experience much more pain in the first week than I did.

I used sanitary napkins as padding to protect against the pressure of the bra where my incisions were under my breasts. As my implants were large my incisions are a bit over 9 cm long. The first four days after my surgery were spent resting then I was straight back to work.

The first time you look in the mirror can be heartbreaking for some women; it is something that no one can prepare you for as no one can tell for sure what you will look like. Trust me that what you think looks terrible; another woman would be ecstatic to look like. I insisted in seeing myself straight after surgery before the bandages were put on.

Your skin may be stretched and look wrinkly. Mine was after my explant surgery but take heart as most ladies see this changing and improving in a matter of days while others report it can take weeks to months. My breasts looked like a balloon that had been inflated for a week then had the let out!!

You may also experience skin flaking/peeling after explanting and this is all a very normal part of the healing process, mine was falling off like I had boob dandruff of monumental proportions so I did some dry skin brushing. You may also experience minor complications ranging from rashes, swelling and soreness to the more seriousness of a hematoma. It is best to be hyper vigilant and seek medical advice if you are in doubt about anything.

Your breasts will change almost daily; I found it helpful to take pictures daily for the first week, then weekly for the first month, and then monthly for the first year. Yes another sign of my obsessive nature but really helpful in my emotional healing process. I was able to see subtle changes happening in my breasts well into the beginning of the second year.

When you had breast implants your nipples may have looked larger than they did prior. Post Explant Most ladies find that their nipples shrink back very quickly.

You will find that in most cases as the breast tissue firms up your nipples will once again start to stick out. You may have experienced numbness or loss of sensation with your breast implants, after explant many ladies report that they experience the return of full sensation to their nipples and the numbness below the nipples to the breast crease disappears.

After Exlantation your breasts may seem deflated, especially in the upper portions. Over a period of several months the skin will also retract, or tighten up. To what extent both of these will happen are dependent on how large your implants are, how long you have had them, and the quality of your skin and tissues. Massage also plays a large part of this healing process.

Read more here Explant-ology 

♥ деспот

I have put together the following tips for making life easier both before and after your explant surgery.

 

Things you will need to purchase in advance:

 

  • Triangle pillow for sleeping
  • Sports bras or compression bras
  • Mulu Organics Scar Serum  or organic coconut oil or organic sesame oil for massage (once cleared by your surgeon)
  • Tissues
  • Wet ones/wet wipes/baby wipes
  • Phone credit (if you’re on Pre-paid)
  • Stool softener, as you may be constipated from the pain meds
  • Purchase probiotics
  • Fill prescriptions, eg contraceptive pill, pain meds
  • Buy gauze for dressing changes, vitamins and anything approved or requested by plastic surgeon.
  • Bottled water
  • Sanitary napkins (handy for placing over incisions in your bra to stop the bra rubbing)

 

Organise the following in advance:

 

  • Pre cook meals and shop in advance
  • Arrange someone to look after your children, school run etc
  • Make sure any prescription medications have been filled and are in a convenient location
  • Bedside table/tray to hold all the stuff you’ll need/want through the night including emergency phone numbers
  • Clothes that are easy to get on and off like comfy shorts, soft open front tops, singlets/tank tops that you can step into
  • Consider waxing legs/underarms before Surgery
  • Have eyelashes tinted (so you don’t need to apply mascara
  • Braid hair, or at least have bands to pull it back
  • Make your bed with fresh sheets and pillow cases
  • Do the laundry.
  • Clean the house
  • Do the dishes
  • Position food in pantry and fridge at lower levels to avoid above head reaching
  • Keep a plastic bucket nearby (anaesthesia and medications can make you nauseous)
  • Wash your hair

 

* Things for your bedside table –

  • Chap stick for dry lips
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Tissues
  • Medications
  • Bottled water
  • Vix vapour rub or similar product for relief from stuffy nose
  • Mouthwash
  • Bucket beside the bed
  • Glasses
  • Hair brush
  • Lemonade or ginger ale
  • Slippers beside the bed
  • Wet wipes/baby wipes

 

Remember all of are different and there are no hard and fast rules in what you will need. The items and hints listed here are suggestions I have made over the years and other women have found them useful or wished they had known these things in advance.

 

Let your body do its job in healing itself, your job is to be loving and  kind to yourself and keep hydrated while the healing takes place ♥

 

Breast implant removal surgery performed by Mr. Adrian Richards of Aurora clinics, without replacing the old breast implant with a new one. The patient decided to have her implants removed and not have them replaced with new ones, as she had sufficient breast tissue to still keep volume in the breasts.
For more information, or should you wish to book a free consultation with our specialist breast surgeon,
please call us on 01844 214362.

Lynne Hayes interviews Dr Susan Kolb: How many employees do your company have? When was your company founded, etc?

Dr Susan Kolb: Plastikos has 25 employees and was established in 1995 as a holistic surgery center incorporating many disciplines of alternative medicine and spiritual healing. Plastikos Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery offers a wide variety of procedures from our board certified plastic surgeons.  Plastikos Surgery Center is state licensed and holds the highest level of national accreditation (JCAHO) for an outpatient surgery center.

Lynne Hayes: What is your background?

Dr Susan Kolb: Dr. Kolb graduated from Johns Hopkins University and received her medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine. She completed her post-graduate education in plastic surgery and general surgery at Wilford Hall Medical Center. Specializing in plastic and reconstructive surgery, Dr. Kolb has been certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery since 1985 and was a founding diplomat of the American Board of Holistic Medicine in 2000. She is a member of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Mechanics, American Holistic Medical Association and a Fellow of the American College of Mechanics. Dr. Kolb has been in private practice in the Atlanta area since 1988 and is also the founder of Plastikos Surgery Center. Dr. Kolb hosts a weekly radio program “Temple of Health” every Saturday from 12:00 pm-1:00pm on www.bbsradio.com, which offers a variety of informative topics on holistic and spiritual medicine as well as health and consciousness research. Susan Kolb, M.D., F.A.C.S., A.B.I.H.M., is the founder of Millennium Healthcare and Avatar Cancer Center. Dr. Kolb is a recognized authority on energy healing and spiritual medicine as well as one of Atlanta’s leading plastic surgeons. Dr. Kolb incorporates spiritual and integrative holistic medicine into her modern surgery practice.

Lynne Hayes: What does your work-day entail?

Dr Susan Kolb: We see women who are ill from defective breast Implants from all over the world, and treat them with surgery (explantation, abnormal axillary lymph nodes removal, chest wall cleanouts, breast lifts, and reconstructive breast surgery). We treat the immune, endocrine and neurological disorders and provide detoxification protocols designed for these specific problems including silicone, chemical and bio toxin detoxification as well as heavy metal detoxification and platinum detoxification. We also treat scleroderma, Raynaud’s syndrome, intracellular infections such as Lyme’s disease and mycoplasma, viral infections and other autoimmune diseases. We provide immune support including low dose naltrexone as well as immune supplements and supplements to help repair the neurological damage.

Lynne Hayes: How many breast Explant procedures and Capsulectomies do you do each year?

Dr Susan Kolb: between 200-250

Lynne Hayes: What is the most common complication you encounter with Explant surgery?

Dr Susan Kolb: Chest wall infections from prior bacterial or fungal contamination requiring additional treatments. Due to resistances which may form after treatment, changing antibiotics and antifungals is often necessary for a complete cure.

Lynne Hayes: Re after-care, do you prescribe any further treatments – medical or non-medical for after surgery? Eg medications / detox etc

Dr Susan Kolb: We provide post operative antibiotics (culture specific) and antifungals. Also detoxification protocols plus see #3 for additional areas treated. This office developed all silicone and breast implant detoxification protocols in existence.

Lynne Hayes: Do you have a newsletter or other way you keep in touch with your patients?

Dr Susan Kolb: Yes, we have monthly newsletter The Community Health Source as well as a explant specific newsletter which is emailed when new developments need to be communicated.

Lynne Hayes: Do you do any charity or nonprofit work? If yes please elaborate.

Dr Susan Kolb: Angel Explant is a nonprofit (501c3) corporation being established for the purpose of aiding women, who otherwise do not have the financial means, to obtain explantation and reconstruction procedures to remove foreign material and scar tissue and reconstruct deformities as a result of defective or infected breast Implants.  Monies from the nonprofit will go toward the surgery, medical and facility fees.  The cost of anesthesia fees, supplementsand travel expenses are covered by the patient.  Funds from Angel Explants are available for patients who do not have insurance benefits that cover surgery fees or patients who cannot afford their insurance copays for medical and surgical procedures. The procedures would be performed by surgeons at Plastikos Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, within their facility at Plastikos Surgery Center.  Medical care will be provided by doctors at Millennium Healthcare. The amount of coverage by Angel Explant would be dependent on the total cost of the covered procedures and the financial status of the patient. Angel Explant funds would be available to pay for the covered procedures either at 25%, 50%, 75%, or100%. Medical credit plans (Care Credit and I Financial) would be offered in order to cover expenses for anesthesia and supplements.

Lynne Hayes: What is an interesting story about a patient interaction you had?

Dr Susan Kolb: A patient with defective saline Implants had frequent anaphylaxic reactions which were life- threatening especially when she was hugged. After explant, analysis of the mold inside the implant, revealed penicillium and the patient was allergic to penicillin. The life-threatening reactions stopped after explanation and antifungal treatment.

Lynne Hayes: What do you think is poorly understood or unresolved within the area of breast implant removal? Why is this so?

Dr Susan Kolb: Virtually no other surgeons and most other doctors other than a few integrative holistic physicians understand that defective breast Implants are associated with bacterial, as well as fungal infections, intracellular infections due to a immune deficits, neurological, endocrine, and immune disruption, and a host of autoimmune diseases. We also see Raynaud’s syndrome, which is due to methyl ethyl ketone in the silicone shell depleting arginine in the patient, which causes a nitric oxide deficiency that results in cold, painful hands and feet.  We have extensive experience with these complications as well as their treatments where as other doctors do not understand causation or treatment.

Lynne Hayes: Does your business have an online presence on other social web spaces like: Facebook? Twitter? YouTube? etc. (If yes, please include links for us to share on your behalf)

Dr Susan Kolb: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DrKolbExplantPatients/?ref=br_tf

https://twitter.com/Plastikos

Dr. Susan Kolb discusses saline breast Implants

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OfBt7DYRqk

Dr. Susan Kolb discusses silicone breast Implants

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9g80LuU8d0

Lynne Hayes: Are there any press releases or online mentions in any magazines, newspapers, or online articles that you would like to include in your article? (If yes, include the URL or links for us to share on your behalf)

Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Kolb

Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Kolb About Breast Implants

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEu-wcxCf8A

Monsters Inside Me

http://www.discoveryuk.com/web/monsters-inside-me/videos/?video=monsters-inside-me-breast-Implants-infection

People Magazine

http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20197172,00.html

Lynne Hayes: Are there any testimonials from clients that you would like to include in your article? (If yes, include the URL or links for us to share on your behalf)

Dr Susan Kolb: Testimonial from Senator Barbara Boxer:

Due to the efforts of the public relations company hired by Dow Corning in the 1990’s, most plastic surgeons have been conditioned to believe that breast Implants cause no problems including infection around the foreign body. Frequently any issue with breast Implants goes years without diagnosis as unfortunately other doctors are also ignorant of the problems breast Implants may cause. I was part of a PR campaign to counter this campaign in the early 1990’s. In a press conference in Washington D.C. which included several famous women who were sick from their breast Implants and Senator Barbara Boxer, we presented evidence nationally to counter the PR campaign that breast Implants do no harm. At the end of this televised campaign, Senator Barbara Boxer put her arm around me and said “My dear you are very brave”.

Patient testimonials are found at:

http://www.plastikos.com/info.html#page=testimonials

Lynne Hayes: What resources do you regard as essential to women considering explant surgery?

Dr Susan Kolb: The Naked Truth About Breast Implants by Susan Kolb, M.D., F.A.C.S., A.B.I.H.M.

http://www.thenakedtruthaboutbreastImplants.com/

Please see the foreword by Dr. Douglas Shanklin, a prominent silicone researcher, as well as the table of contents for the book.

 

Our Featured Mechanic this month is the amazing Dr Linda Huang MD

Join us as we get up close and personal with Linda.

 

Our Featured Mechanic this month, the amazing Dr Linda Huang MD.

Linda Huang, originally from Ohio, is a ‘Summa Cum Laude graduate of Yale College’. National Merit Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa. She went to Stanford Medical School, where the plastic surgery department was larger than the general surgery program.

The wide variety of challenging problems, and the smiles on the faces of patients who were happy to achieve the un-achievable, convinced her that the future was in plastics.

After medical school Doctor Huang returned to the east coast, married her college sweetheart, and did her first residency at Georgetown University. He, anxious not to be known as “the bum,” went to law school, clerked, joined a law firm and became a partner, all the while Doctor Huang was still doing her residencies. General surgery at Georgetown was a five-year program.

She was board certified in general surgery. After that, she headed to Duke University for her Plastic Surgery Fellowship, where she had the opportunity to work with a diverse and talented group of plastic surgeons, including Doctor Nicholas Georgiade, who literally wrote “The Book” on plastic surgery. She also completed a Microsurgery and Hand Fellowship in Louisville. Finally, much to her father’s relief, she started a practice in Denver, where her husband’s law firm had a small office.

Linda and her beloved dog JJ

Linda and her beloved dog JJ

 

Linda Huang is passionate about her work, most days she is starts work by 7am and doesn’t finish until 7pm, Dedicated and compassionate she tries to answer all her emails personally. Linda enjoys going to church regularly and fosters genuine caring relationships with all her patients. Linda went to Yale as an undergraduate, Stanford for medical school and then Georgetown and Duke for residencies, and has been in private practice in Denver since 1988.

I asked Linda to recount an interesting story about a patient interaction she had. She gave this response – “Over the years, I remember a group of three women, who found each other because of the breast implant problems they each shared.   They all had their implants removed, and remained firm friends for many years afterwards. Linda said “It was always so nice to receive a Christmas card from them each year celebrating”.

Linda’s surgery has seven staff, Teresa and Heather answer the phone, and can answer basic questions, and Catherine, Deb and Emily are all physician’s assistants/nurses who can answer a lot of the more medical based questions that patients may have.  Lorraine schedules the surgeries, and is a whiz at helping the patients who are from out of town.

I asked Linda what resources she regards as essential to women considering explant surgery. Linda Huang: “Explantinfo.com of course, and also Toxic Discovery.  Dr Huang said that she “still remembered Lynda Roth, who passed away,( the founder the Coalition of Silicone Survivors).  Lynda Roth was just so special to me”.

Over the years Linda has done well over 1,000 explants and counting….probably about fifty per year she said at a guess. Linda said “the most common complications I would encounter with explant surgery would happen post operatively.  Dents, indentions can occur, especially if the implants are super hard.  Imagine a bowling ball sitting on a sofa for twenty years; it would just leave an imprint there.   Well implants can do that to a breast, and leave an indention when they are removed.   This is MUCH more likely if the implants are hard or ruptured”.

Linda said “If there was one protocol that worked for detox for all patients everyone would use it, for everyone.   I feel there are a lot of different things out there, because everyone’s body and their reactions are slightly different just like each implant is different.  Different lot numbers, etc.   So I feel women just have to try a few different options sometimes to see what works best for them”.

Dr Huang in the media –

New York Times – January 17, 2008  by Natasha Singer

SKIN DEEP, Do My Breast Implants have a Warranty?, 

Dr Huang can be contacted here

Linda Huang, M.D.

1601 E 19th Ave.,

Suite 3150 Denver. CO 80218

303-831-8400

www.lindahuangmd.com 

Facebook Linda Huang, M.D.

Real Self       

 JJ and Mountains

Linda’s husband Chuck and JJ