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Breast Implant Illness – Part 2 of 4 – Are They Real?

I believe there are some noble and righteous reasons for going through breast augmentation… things like wanting to get back to a pre-pregnancy figure after breastfeeding, not feeling confident about having small breasts, or undergoing breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. Mine was not one of these noble and brave reasons – I just felt like crap after a bad breakup.

I spent a week awkwardly looking at topless women on the internet and asked my most trusted male friends to send me some of their favourite porn pictures

Prior to my surgery, Dr God-man asked for my photo inspiration so he could put it up in the surgery to get an idea of what I wanted, like a scrub donning sculptor. I spent a week awkwardly looking at topless women on the internet and asked my most trusted male friends to send me some of their favourite porn pictures (awkward request, but they did not ask questions). I found my boob-spiration in the form of a very tasteful and artsy black and white photo, starring a woman in a very natural pose: standing with her back arched and hand behind her head. You know the typical pose us women make daily standing at a bus stop or buying groceries.

I am writing my story about the years of hell I went through after making the poorly thought out decision of undergoing breast augmentation. Be it a cautionary tale, or catalyst to make healthy decisions, I feel as if I need to tell my story because many people are either considering implants or considering removing their implants for myriad reasons.

Our Slightly Nuts Family

Armed with my photo and great anticipation, I arrived at the surgery centre. The doctor talked about incision sites, and I opted for a peri-arealoar incision (around the nipple), as opposed to the inframammary incision under the breast. He drew on my chest with black marker like a crazed Mr Squiggle, then they wheeled my perfectly healthy body and my connect-the-dots boobs into surgery. From there the following days are kind of a blur – like when you drive somewhere and get to your destination but don’t remember how you got there? That was me.

Before we go any further… I had heard from other women with breast implants that the pain after surgery wasn’t that bad. And there’s the urban legend where a woman felt so fine after her surgery that she went straight to a nightclub to show off her new assets. Now, I’m not sure what those people were smoking, but for me this experience hurt like a mofo. When I woke up from surgery it felt like a homicidal elephant was sitting on my chest while simultaneously stabbing me. Moreover, the pain was coming from just below my breast, which was… weird since I’d had the peri-arealoar surgery. I realised, of course, that the incision was inframammary, which sucked because we had agreed beforehand to go in through the nipple – I didn’t want a huge scar on the underside of my boobs, but now I had one! It turned out to be a misunderstanding, maybe due to the American-Australian English language barrier (it’s a thing) or some whacky pre-med phenomenon, but either way I was not very happy.

The first night my ex-husband looked after me, which was probably not the best idea as I spent most of the night throwing up.

My recovery was pretty long and arduous and I spent the first few days with terrible nausea from the anaesthetic. The first night my ex-husband looked after me, which was probably not the best idea as I spent most of the night throwing up. If I was looking for any kind of reconciliation, I think I blew my chances! To top it all off, on my post-op visit I threw up in the plastic surgeon’s pristine office during our meeting – I don’t think I was his favourite patient after that. He gave me a prescription for pain killers, an ugly post-surgery compression bra, and sent me on my 34D way. I felt like I was treated like a VIP before the surgery, however, after the surgery (and he’d collected the money) I felt that some of my concerns and questions were brushed off and I wasn’t really “attended to”. This may or may not be commonplace amongst plastic surgeons, but in my case I felt like I had bought a used car – “Oh, problems? Sorry, you already bought it, not my issue anymore!”

Despite the fact that I was in ridiculous pain, I went back to work and university after three days (in true American spirit).  I started popping those pain killers like they were limited edition white M&Ms just to get through the day. I somehow managed to get through Anatomy/Physiology and Chemistry being completely hopped up on pain pills.

After a couple of months, however, I started to feel great and I went through a honeymoon moment with my new form. I was filling out my dresses and shirts in a way that I never imagined and I had an extra skip in my step. For those first few months I was walking around as if an 80s sitcom theme song followed me as I went. I felt womanly. Whenever I saw another girl with fake boobs, I would give a little nod in a similar way you would if you drove past someone with the same car as you. Things were looking up and I was loving the fact that I could get plastic surgery, even if I was broke. “Well the bank can’t repossess theeese,“ I thought.

This honeymoon period only lasted about six months though, until my boobs started getting on my nerves. I encountered some very strange things with my new D cups. It became annoying that none of my tops or dresses fit anymore – a concept I didn’t really think about beforehand. Buying new bras happened, and suddenly I was busting out of all of my t-shirts. It messed with my psyche a little – as in my mind I was still the girl I had been all my life – one with small breasts. I realised I was immersed in a world where big breasts were not all I had imagined them to be when I hastily made the decision to lunge forward into this – and much more so, they were a daily annoyance and major source of frustration for someone who was attempting to actually experience life. Did these women I saw in pictures ever do anything apart from have big boobs?

Because I could not lie on my stomach in my bed or at the beach because these massive warheads were everywhere! Going to a chiropractor was a joke – I felt they were going to pop at any second. For what seemed like the first time in my life, people stared at my chest instead of my eyes when talking to me (infuriating by the way) and in restrooms, women would come up to me and ask about my breasts and want to know if they could see them or even touch them (uh, no and NO). They became their own entity. Guys would ask me “Yo, are they real?” to which I would reply, “What do you think?”

the first time in my life, people stared at my chest instead of my eyes when talking to me

After a few months, I started to feel quite self-conscious about them. I started to wear baggy clothes and hunch my shoulders to try and conceal them. They were a nightmare at the gym and they got in the way when I was practicing yoga. I guess I never really adjusted to augmentation. I never really felt like me. But apart from the frustrations, which at the time seemed so major, this was nothing compared to what was in store for me two years later when the actual problems started…

Part 3 “Fake Boobs: Not all Fun & Rainbows”