Breast Implant Illness – Part 3 of 4 – Fake Boobs, Not all Fun and Rainbows.
Oh good, you’re still here. Up until now it’s been like a nice fuzzy chat over a mellow pumpkin spice latte, but I’m about ready to spike it up a notch to Red Bull and vodka status as we get into tough stuff. Breast implant illness.
When my sister and I were little ankle biters, our beautiful mother forbade Barbie dolls in our household, to prevent instilling an unrealistic image of what a woman should grow up to look like – an object. Though I agree with the sentiment now, back then it was as if the world crumbled when my loser Matilda doll couldn’t fit into my friends’ Barbie sparkly dream homes and camper-vans.
..my loser Matilda doll couldn’t fit into my friends’ Barbie sparkly dream homes and camper-vans.
I was so despondent by this that I even drew out the plans of how I could steal one from the local news agency when I was eight years of age. The two things I learned from my mother’s non-negotiable no Barbie policy was that I should always listen to my mother, and that she was on to something. Growing up, I wanted sometimes to just fit in with other girls who owned things like Barbie dolls, and maybe subconsciously that factored into the decisions I would go on to make later on in life. Because somewhere along the line I became wrapped up in this idea that was exactly what my mother was trying to protect my sister and I from in the first place.
Two years into my life with the moderately annoying bolt on silicone bitch bags, I was in my last semester of college taking way too many classes in order to finish my Exercise Science degree, and my health started to wane. My classmates were some of the most incredible human beings I have ever known; they were smart and super in shape. This kept me on my toes and I worked out two hours daily, ate a no fun Paleo-style diet (a Rebecca fashioned one that included reward cheese quesadillas and the occasional Margarita).
I was constantly tired, my muscles and joints ached, and my concentration and ironclad memory felt like they were going downhill.
I should have been the healthiest and most energetic I had ever been, except the opposite was starting to transpire. I noticed I was constantly tired, my muscles and joints ached, and my concentration and ironclad memory felt like they were going downhill. I ignored the symptoms and put it down to study-related stress and I carried on as usual.
I was a walking contradiction; I was completing a degree that was all about health promotion, I was eating clean and exercise was part of my daily routine, like cleaning my teeth, however, I was slowly poisoning myself with silicone.
When I finally graduated, I was on top of the world and I had these huge plans to go on to graduate school to become an occupational therapist. Despite having the aforementioned symptoms and enough student debt to buy a small island (thanks America!), I was ready to press forward, study and work in a rewarding field.
..is there some secret class in med school that preaches if you can’t find anything wrong with a person who’s a stressed out, just send them on their merry way with whatever the anti-depressant flavour of the month is?
However, life took another fork in the road. Not to get into the gory details, but I kind of went through a physical-spiritual-emotional trauma after I graduated which left me hospitalised and I truly believed I was going to die. The doctors, to my surprise, found nothing wrong with me and prescribed me anti-depressants. This was the first of many times I would hear this statement from doctors. Seriously, is there some secret class in med school that preaches if you can’t find anything wrong with a person who’s a stressed out, anxious basket case to just send them on their merry way with whatever the anti-depressant flavour of the month is?
After this traumatic experience, I started noticing my once healthy body slowly becoming chronically ill, like a slow moving zombie infection. The first to join the party was chronic fatigue with her annoying and always-showing-up-unannounced friend acid reflux. Then came joint and muscle pain, numbness in the arms and legs, constant brain fog and the persistent migraine. Throw in some hot flashes, hair loss and crazy skin conditions and you’ve got the recipe for post-college Rebecca. My colds would never seem to clear and all sorts of rashes would pop up on my body, psoriasis, puffy faced, inflamed, digestive issues, a fierce intolerance to gluten – none of these things had ever been key staples of my life, but they were now, and I still wasn’t sure why.
This party was becoming out of control fast and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t enlist the help I needed to just get better.
Somewhere in the middle of all this I became pregnant. Wonderful and amazing and all that, however, in the boob department it was a case of “be careful of what you wish for” because I swear my boobs were bigger than my head. I understood why women wait until after they finish breastfeeding and stop having kids to get implants, holy bazoongas! I also had difficulty breastfeeding because I could not produce enough milk. This of course may have been the case whether or not I had implants, but I definitely believe that subconsciously I thought the implants could hurt my baby and this manifested itself in my not being able to produce milk.
At this point, I still did not put the pieces together. I thought my symptoms were due to stress, study, a paid-in-full karmic debt for anything bad I have ever done, a nasty heart wound from a divorce, or my personal favourite – age.
I did not want to believe that the implants I’d finally paid off were ground zero for all these sicknesses. What I needed was a big wake up call. Luckily enough, I got this in the form of something unusual with my right breast – a lump. I promptly had a boob squash pancake- style mammogram to check it out, but the lump had gone. “What kind of bizarre malarkey is this?”
…the doctor had told me all of these super harmful things were inside of my impla… oh wait, he didn’t though.
The technician suggested that there may be a rupture in my implant and that I should embark on an MRI to confirm it. Well I don’t know about you, but I certainly didn’t have MRI kind of money hidden in my couch, so the toxic demon bags stayed in and it took several more months for me to slowly realise that the implant had in fact ruptured inside of me, leaking silicone, heavy metals, and all sorts of nasty things into my body, which was totally fine because the doctor had told me all of these super harmful things were inside of my impla… oh wait, he didn’t though.
The day I finally pulled myself out of the matrix was when I had a revelation during a particularly nasty flu. I was lying on the bathroom floor screaming, “These implants are trying to kill me!” as I was trying to rip them out Chuck Norris style. Although I had written my health woes off onto other things for so long, something finally clicked – like my immune system was trying to tell me something; it was finally time to get these bad boys out.
Part 4: “Back to the Itty Bitty Committee”
Symptoms of Breast implant illness