Bodies are weird. There are so many factors that play a role in how our bodies function on a daily basis. If you are living with any type of Chronic Illness then you know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that bodies are “weird”. How about ”wicked weird” to put it mildly. Living with an Autoimmune condition like Multiple Sclerosis makes my body serve me like a really competitive game of chess. Constantly readjusting and moving the pieces on the board. If you are super comfortable with things being the same all the time, get ready to have that reality smack you on the face. Living with MS is an ever evolving process that changes frequently. Sometimes even day to day or hour to hour.
So where am I going with this? Well the process for me after my Preventative Mastectomy was a lengthy one. I opted for my initial Surgery in Aug 2020 where my surgeons removed all of my own breast tissue and did reconstruction with Saline implants in the same surgery. Jan 2021 we switched out the implants to a smaller silicone implant. Now May 2022 I will be explanting my implants due to “BII” or Breast Implant Illness.
I’m sharing my experience in hopes of helping other Women decide what’s best for their health after Mastectomy.
After my silicone implants went into my body in Jan 2021, I began noticing my body going through major changes by the Summer of 2021. By early fall 2021 everything was different.
*Worsening Memory Issues
*Severe Joint Pain
*Puffiness in the face
*Tinnitus (constant ringing/swooshing of the ears)
*Worsening Cognitive Problems
*Heightened anxiety and depression
*Skin issues (losing the brightness in my face)
*Slow hair growth
*Major trouble sleeping- Insomnia
Now living with MS can make anyone look at the above symptom list and coordinate it to my already existing disability. But something was different. I had never experienced any pain with MS. More so mobility issues, heat intolerance and fatigue. But this was like a light switch went off and alarms were sounding.
In early fall of 2021 I made a point to see a Rheumatologist as my symptoms were proving to be something more than just Multiple Sclerosis. I was diagnosed with Cedar Sinai with Fibromyalgia. While going over my medical history my Dr paused when I mentioned my preventative mastectomy in 2020. He immediately asked “Did you do reconstruction?” I let him know that in Jan 2021 we switched out the implants for Silicone Gummy Implants by Allergen (Natrelle).
He raised an eyebrow right away and asked “How long after the silicone went in did you start to notice a change in your symptoms?” I replied “Around 6-8 months after”. He began to share his experience with seeing a correlation between Women with autoimmune disorders and Breast Implants. He explained that silicone in the body can cause inflammation. And we know that inflammation can be destructive to anyone with an AutoImmune Condition. He connected the dots right away informing me that it may have been possible that my Fibromyalgia was kicked off directly from the Silicone Implants.
All I knew was that everything was different and I was getting worse. I could not longer sleep on my sides or chest without being in pain from the sides of my implants. They were so sensitive that I had to wear a bra 24/7 to ease the pain. My “foobs” were ruining my quality of life and I felt like I was unable to keep up with anything or anyone. It was apparent that something needed to be done.
I made an appointment with my Breast Surgeon in the Spring of 2022 and told him everything I was experienced and he confirmed all of my symptoms coincided with “BII” or Breast Implant Illness.
To go back to the beginning for a moment, I was reluctant from the start to even do reconstruction merely for the fact that I wasn’t super comfortable putting something foreign into my body while I already had MS. I went to a few different Dr’s and Surgeons and every time I mentioned possibly “Going Flat” I received strange responses. None of which were very “encouraging”. It was as if nobody could wrap their head around a Woman choosing to “go flat”. The idea was bizarre to them. I had one Surgeon with Hoag of Newport Beach tell me “You’re so young. You don’t need to do that to yourself.” As though going flat would catapult me into some “freak-show” category. I was already being pressured to follow the societal norms that Women have breasts and that’s that. However my gut and instincts said “stay natural” “you don’t need another problem.”
Long story short I unfortunately DID NOT LISTEN TO MY GUT. I can’t help but wonder if I had listened to myself in the beginning would I be where I am now? But you know me. I always say EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. Regardless I am now more educated and aware of the harmful effects Breast Implants can have on Women and am proactive about the solution.
I am one week away from Explant surgery and will be “Going Flat” as the community says. I am nervous about the healing process and obviously getting to know my body all over again but I think of it this way. If I have the chance to reverse my worsening symptoms and FEEL better than I’m going to take a shot at making that happen.
Breasts do not define me as being less of a Woman if I do not have them. The truth here is it that “MY” breasts are gone. They left this planet in Aug of 2020. And that’s okay. I now know I won’t hear the words “Breast Cancer” in any of my medical charts in the future. THAT is worth something!
I am eager to heal. Eager to feel more empowered. Eager to feel more energized. To not be in constant daily pain. Excited to LOVE MYSELF even more than I have. To embrace my femininity without breasts.
I will be sharing my Explant experience but will be taking sometime to get to know my new body first. I would love to connect with anyone who I contemplating implants or Explant Surgery.
~ Britt Q (A Hot MS)✨