I was a newlywed and a dental hygienist in South Carolina when I had breast augmentation surgery in 2004.
I did my research prior to surgery. Upon inquiry on the safety of the implants, I learned that silicone implants were taken off the market due to leaking. As a result, saline filled implants were touted as a safer alternative.
My board certified plastic surgeon gently assured me that should the saline implant become compromised, the saline will get absorbed by the body.
This put me at ease and I underwent the surgery a month later.
Ten months after my surgery, I experienced unexplained and unbearable symptoms. My skin developed lesions. I sought treatment from a dermatologist, who misdiagnosed my condition as an unknown allergy. Nothing improved after four months of topical medication.
In 2010 I developed fatigue, brain fog, joint aches, hormonal imbalances, declining cognitive function, and alarmingly rapid weight loss. My numerous visits to specialists for tests resulted in no answers, leaving me feeling hopeless and confused.
My worsening symptoms forced me to give up a career I loved with immeasurable passion. It also put a strain on my marriage and other family relationships.
A quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald succinctly sums up how I felt: “The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”
I resigned myself to the idea that I might die, until December 2015 when I came across an article about a Florida woman's long battle with autoimmune disease caused by her breast implants. As a result of staunch advocacy and awareness by harmed women all over the world, the condition is now widely known as Breast Implant Illness.
Armed with this information, and determined to regain my health, I met with my plastic surgeon in early January 2016 to discuss removing my implants. Grievously, my surgeon told me that my symptoms had nothing to do with the surgery he performed but did agree to remove the implants under local sedation in his office.
The surgeon cut the saline implants with a scalpel, drenching me in saline, but did not remove the capsules, which exponentially increased the chance of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
The haphazard surgery left me in shock and concerned about a blood infection from contaminated saline. I feared another surgery.
My fear was confirmed one year later when a different surgeon who specializes in removing breast implants performed a two hour surgery which resulted in the full removal of the capsules and surrounding tissue. My health has improved by 60%.