Last year I started having rapid heart palpitations. Alongside chest pain, I decided to book an explant consultation with a local plastic surgeon recommended by a good friend who also explanted with him. I explained that since my surgery in 2003, I’ve had numbness, swelling and pain. The chest pressure had become uncomfortable for months and I wanted to discuss options.
We talked about explanting. We talked about risks and the reality of being left with small, deflated breasts when I awoke from surgery. I sat there nervous, anxious, ready-but-not-ready to see this through.
When my husband and I left the doctor’s office, we sat in the car and I started to cry. In the past he jokingly said my implants would need to be replaced one day (and I should go bigger!) He also discussed possibilities of upgrading to ‘better implants’ that were ‘lifetime guaranteed’ (both are not possible).
I was mad.
I was mad because I felt my pain didn’t matter. I was mad because I never encouraged him to mutilate his body to satisfy my attraction to him. I was mad because when the surgeon said he could drain my implants that day, suddenly my courage subsided.
I was scared.
As much as I didn’t like getting a breast augmentation (for competitive purposes) years ago, as much pain they caused me or how uncomfortable it made me feel – they had become a part of me. I was scared of the change, scared of my husband finding me unattractive, scared of my swimsuits not fitting and scared of the risks involved in any surgery.
So I waited.
I saw a physical therapist who massaged my scar tissue, which relieved my immediate chest pain. I filmed a LIVE video talking about breast implant illness with my good friend Sandra Augustin, while denying I had any present symptoms of it myself.
For years I dealt with joint pain, chronic fatigue, adult acne, unexplained weight gain and brain fog. For years I wrapped my tender wrists while training or attributed my ankle and shoulder pain to muscle imbalances from an old injury in my twenties. Every month I added to my list of food intolerances and even created a belly ball to overcome my bloating and digestive issues. I thought it was normal to take regular naps from exhaustion or wake up feeling unrested after 8hrs of sleep.
I normalized the pain. Despite being a “No Excuses” person, I made excuse, after excuse, after excuse – why I was always tired, why I felt ok with chest pain, why so many had BII symptoms, except for me.
You can make excuses, until you can’t anymore.
I announced my issues on my social media a few days ago. I knew by ‘putting it out there’ it would not only help women dealing with similar symptoms, but also help me find a community of people who overcame this illness. I knew because of my blood clotting disorder (Vons Willebrans) that I would never do regular maintenance on my boobs. I knew that silicone, even if it’s just a shell with saline inside, was toxic – and that my body was fighting this foreign object, out. I knew it was better to do this while young and relatively healthy.
I know better so it was time to do better.
As I cried in the car after our first appointment, I wasn’t mad at my husband. I knew he would love me regardless. I was mad at myself…for caring what he thought or (still) caring about how I externally looked.
One year later I came back to my surgeon’s office. This time I put a deposit. I set a date. And it’s getting done. Wish me luck.