At the Breast implant Helpline we are searching for stories to share. Our callers are suffering from diseases fro silicone breast implants and we do not want them to feel that they are alone. We found these on line and are sharing them with our readers
Breast Implants are in the news, but for tens of thousands of women, implants continue to raise questions that need to be answered. I am one of those women. I had silicone gel breast implants following a mastectomy in 1982.
It was an uninformed choice. Like thousands of other women, I was not warned of any dangers surrounding breast implants, and was only told of the wonderful, new technology of today's world and how great I would look and feel following my mastectomy.
Since then, my health has been on a steady decline.
In stark contrast to what I was told by my doctors, I went through multiple surgeries due to complications with my implants including infections, tightened scar tissue, and broken implants. I had consulted with three different doctors before having implants and not one doctor warned me about any side effects or possible health risks. Nor did any doctor suggest it might be my implants causing my illnesses after I became sick. For many years, my doctors told me that nothing was wrong and I was led to believe that it was just my system or the flu causing my problems.
Over time, searching for physicians that would help me became a full time job and in 1993 I became totally disabled, losing my home, car, and many other things, due to the mounting medical bills.
Over those eleven years I underwent multiple surgeries that dealt with a number of problems, including incredibly painful breasts caused by scar tissue tightening around the implant, broken and leaking implants that were removed and replaced, infections, and lumps of silicone in my chest. I even tried the so called "new and safe" saline implants after intense urging from my doctor, only to have the right breast implant rupture and spontaneously deflate while I sat on the beach less then one year later.
All of this has caused me untold suffering, physically and mentally. Not only did I lose my health, but also I lost my career, my husband, and my home. The pain and anguish I suffer daily has caused my children great pain and concern. It has taken me almost 10 years of spending my own time and money on relentless research to find out the truth about the dangers of breast implants.
No woman should be made to sacrifice so much for the truth about her health. I would never have taken the chance had I known about the lack of safety data regarding breast implants. The more I have found out, the more angry I have become that women are still being told that breast implants do not pose serious risks to their health. Many others share my outrage, including Dr. Thomas Whalen, the chairman of the FDA advisory panel that recently voted to recommend approval of silicone gel breast implants.
Dr. Whalen has publicly urged the FDA to reject the advisory panel's recommendation because of the lack of evidence regarding silicone breast implants' long-term safety.
My life is an example of what silicone gel breast implants can do to women in the long-term. How often does this happen? Nobody knows. But I want to make sure women know that it can happen to any woman — even to them. And I want the FDA will make sure that other women will not suffer the way my family or I have suffered.
Being a mother of three children, and grandmother of eight, who has multiple disabilities, I almost always find life challenging and unpredictable. But it is also quite adventurous and can still be quite satisfying. The people I've met while advocating and educating are wonderful, creative, caring, and loving people.
I believe that information gives us power, relieves stress, and can make us happier, healthier people. My personal health depends on my degree of willingness to accept my ever changing limitations and making the most out of what I can still do. My faith in God is my Salvation and sustains me everyday.
I want to thank all the women who help other women just beginning their journey here. It is because of and for these women I add my story to the many already here. They were a source of light for me and I hope the light continues to shine for all that come here.
At first, I thought what could I possibly write that hadn’t already been told. Flashback to the sixties. It was an era of uncertainty. It certainly was a time of uncertainty for me. I was a young, shy girl who was pretty by most standards. I was also flat as a pancake and very embarrassed because of it. My closest girlfriends were all amply endowed. The boys always seemed to notice them and not me. I felt unattractive and developed low self esteem. Big boobs were in. Next came the the liberation movement, the burning of bras and a boy that I became enamored with. I felt too inferior to even think he might have given me a second glance. I had a friend who suggested I see a PS and that perhaps he could help me. Young and naïve I made that appointment. It seemed like my problems had been solved. He could “fix me” and all would be fine. I was a 36AA pre-implant and he told me I would be a C post-op. So in 1974, I had breast augmentation.
I had my “friends” for almost 30 years. It was a love/hate relationship. The visual effects were excellent. I did have some firmness of the right implant, however, from the very beginning.I didn’t even think about it at the time. I was so happy to have gone from “flat to Fabulous”! I had no other real problems the first ten years or so. However, my right implant continued to harden and then there was the cold, the pain and burning. By 1993,things had gotten so bad that I couldn’t even sleep on my right side and I would walk around holding my right breast cupped in my hand. My family doctor sent me to a PS who diagnosed capsular contracture Grade 111.He advised continuing mammography and to come back for a yearly checkup. The following year I went to see him again and he told me “not to dwell “ on it. I went home that day in tears. Other things were not going so well either. In 1985 I had premature ovarian failure. I was finding it harder and harder to waitress as my back and joints began aching. I had been a healthy and athletic young girl and now I could barely get up in the morning and keep working. I was only 35! By 1993 I came down with chronic yeast and fungal infections. I had low grade fevers and began experiencing insomnia. In addition to these I also had night sweats, fatigue and intolerance to cold. I continued to try to support myself and carry on. By 1998 things had deteriorated even more and I went to another PS and made arrangements to have them removed. A week later I was informed my insurance would not cover the surgery. I canceled the procedure. Again in tears, I tried “not to dwell” on my circumstance. By now I was beginning to realize that something was very wrong and began to put all the pieces together. It was my implants causing this. I had no money . I also was newly married and had the implants when I met my husband. I had such low self esteem that I thought he wouldn’t love me without my boobs. Actually, I never let him touch them anyway as they were so tender and painful to the touch.
What good were they?! Like so many other women, I wished now I had never got them. I was told they would last a lifetime. I’d spent the last 20 years regretting it.
Thanks to the love of a kind and wonderful husband, we made arrangements to have them removed in the spring of 2004. He said he loved me unconditionally and would be happy to see the things gone. So on March 15th of 2004 I had them removed in West Palm Beach by Dr. Luis Vinas. He removed them en-bloc and the surgery lasted 31/2 hours. He did a tremendous job considering what little he had to work with and managed to find every extra bit of tissue to raise and lift. I ended up a 36, small B. They are not the perfect round breasts of what I had before but I am utterly pleased with the new and real me. They were sent on to Dr. Blais in Ontario, Canada and upon further examination were revealed to be remarkable for gross bilateral ruptures predating removal by many years and for granulomata and severe calcification affecting periprosthetic tissue.
Fast forward to September of 2005 and it has been quite the journey of ones lifetime. My fatigue has almost disappeared and I still have joint pain as before but not as often and not always as bad. My rashes have all but disappeared Since my preparing for and having explantation I have lost around 25 pounds . I jokingly tell my husband I don’t mind being “flat but I’m not gonna be fat!” The reduction in weight has helped my self esteem and my physical well being. My husband is thrilled with the new me and loves to caress my real body. I continue to work on my health and well being and hope for more of my symptoms to abate. I would like to lose 20 more pounds but will do so in a healthy manner. I have adopted a whole foods diet but still enjoy forbidden foods once in while.I am going to take back my health or as much as I can. Since my E-Day I have come a long way. I was a young and pretty girl with no breasts and today I am happily back to a somewhat older version of what I once was in the early days with a few more scars to remind me of how lucky I really am. Thank God for a second chance at life and love. I’m not gonna mess it up this time around.
Wishing all the women here once again, the truly best at what life has to offer us in the genuine, real sense of the word. Thanks for listening to one more womans story. I hope it helps.
Barb's Story I was the skinny kid. The shy one who was teased a lot about her looks. Big brothers can be brutal. I did not develop as quickly as other girls my age, especially my twin sister. Even into adulthood I was teased about my small breasts (AA or A). I don’t know exactly when I started to think about implants but in 1980, at age 32, I decided to get silicone implants. I did not want large breasts, just some breasts. I thought it would boost my self esteem.
My implant surgery went without a hitch. Shortly after the surgery my husband and I realized how hard my breasts were. The doctor recommended massage which we were already doing but continued it in an effort to get them softer. About a year after my augmentation they were still quite hard. At this point my plastic surgeon recommended and did manual rupture of both capsules. Even with the pain killers and valium that was quite an experience. My breasts remained hard.
Over the next several years I enjoyed having my new B-cup size breasts and felt I looked better in clothes. I never completely adjusted to the artificially round look I had. Somewhere in the late 80’s to early 90’s I started having some health issues. Nothing serious, things like allergic reactions, multiple infections and widespread joint and muscle pain. In 1993, I saw a rheumatologist to see if my health issues may be related to my implants. All my blood work was normal at that time and he didn’t think my problems were because of the implants but said that no one would be able to tell for sure.
I settled into handling my symptoms as they came along. I started to refer to them as my “WEIRD SHIT.” Some of the symptoms I have experienced the last several years are:
Muscle Pain -Upper arms, neck, chest, upper back, thighs, buttocks
Joint Pain -hands, feet, toes, elbows
Ringing in ears
Sun sensitivity & rash; face, neck & upper chest
Intermittent tingling in legs, feet, arms, fingers, right upper back, neck and face
Many urinary tract and yeast infections
Burning lips, mouth, tongue
Dry eyes, nose, mouth, and vagina
Nausea, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea
In the spring 2001 I was feeling so sick my chiropractor suggested I see a neurologist. She found nothing in her examination, but blood work showed an abnormal ANA. I was referred to a rheumatologist who diagnosed me with systemic lupus and fibromyalgia. Over the next few years I saw 2 other rheumatologists who did not think I had lupus. Even though I had positive ANA, SM and SSA along with other criteria they felt that I did not have “true disease.”
About a year and a half ago I started having increased anxiety. My anxiety levels had increased after 9/11 and my continued health issues were part of the mess. I’ve been an anxious since childhood, but I learned how to handle it without anxiety medication. Things got so bad I needed to seek medical help for this. I told my therapist that I had forgotten how to trust my body and my fellow men. About the same time my intestinal issues got pretty bad. I have irritable bowel and a hiatal hernia with reflux. From last December until this spring I was so nauseated that I could not eat much. I lost almost 10lbs which is a lot for someone who is already thin. My primary care doctor ordered up scopes and scans and everything looked as expected; a hiatal hernia and IBS. My adult daughters were sick and tired of me being sick and tired. Almost every time I spoke to them they would say Mom, just get them out. I had previously decided I would remove them before I was 60. I am now 56 and have had my silicone implants for 25 years. At this point I thought that now may be the time to have them removed. My husband and family completely supported my decision.
I decided to share my implant and health story with my supervisor at work who is a nurse. She called in one of the other nurses who told me her story of having silicone implants and being very ill. She removed them a few years back and regained her health. The support and information from her gave me the boost I needed to begin my explant journey. I began to do research into removing them. Along the way I found explantation.com. What a Godsend, other women who had been through this process. What a great resource and a huge support this site has been for me in making my decision and helping me on my way back to health.
With many references from my nurse friends and my family physician, I tried to find a local plastic surgeon to do the surgery. I was dismayed at the responses from them or their staff. They told me things like:
***I would not be happy with how I looked if I did not reimplant
***That my husband would not be happy
***Just have a general surgeon do it if you do not want more implants ***If you are part of the class action lawsuit we will not help with any paperwork
Wow!!! What a bad name these kind of doctors give to other plastic surgeons. I was becoming quite angry.
I decided to go forth with the surgery and after much research chose Dr. Lu-Jean Feng, M.D. in Cleveland, Ohio. We left for Ohio from Michigan on Monday, September 26, 2005. The following day I had an ultrasound done just prior to the consultation. The radiologist, Dr. Leonard Kahn, said there was no silicone outside the capsules, but that they may be ruptured within the capsules. This was my first piece of great news. We then went to Dr. Feng’s for my consultation. My husband and I were impressed with her from the moment we met her. She spent about 2 hours with us going over all the details of the surgery and my complete medical history. I had brought a packet of information for her, including my medical history, a list of all my doctors, implant records and pre implant pictures. She said the information was very helpful, especially the pictures.
I was explanted the following day, September 28. We arrived at her clinic at 6:15a.m. and the surgery started at 7:00. Everything went well. She performed the explantation using the en bloc procedure. Dr. Feng did not think that I needed a lift because my implants were quite small (150cc). More great news as this meant less surgery. Since I had a history of getting sick from anesthesia they gave me something in the IV to prevent that from happening. It worked more great news.
When I awoke I saw my husband. What a beautiful sight. My left breast had some sharp pains but I could not feel anything on the right. I asked to see the implants and capsules. I thought they looked in good shape and not ruptured. After speaking with Dr. Feng she said they were both ruptured within the capsules. I stayed in recovery and we were able to leave around 11:30. I was amazed from the start with the lack of pain. I was uncomfortable from the drains, but never needed anything more than Tylenol and Arnica. I did not drain much and they were removed just over 48 hours after surgery. We drove back home to Michigan Friday afternoon. I was anxious on the ride home, being very protective of my breasts.
Each day I feel stronger, am able to do more with less discomfort. I look forward to continued progress and improvements in my health. I am now 1 ½ years post explant and continue to see improvements in my health.
I am a believer that things happen in our lives for a reason. I have grown from this experience. It has taught me that I am a strong and courageous woman. It has strengthened my faith in God, myself, my family, friends and fellow humans. It is my hope this story may help someone else in their journey from the ill effects of silicone implants.
Email Barb at email@example.com
I was born with facial anomalies; cleft lip and cleft palate. And at several months of age, had several surgeries to correct most of the problems. At the age of 24 I was able to have more surgeries to complete the process, and to make my face more symmetrical. Part of the surgery included a silicone gel chin implant. And, I believe, silicon gel injections in my check. While the surgery itself was a huge success and changed my life for the better in many ways, I started having health problems about 2-3 years after that. I did not relate the chin implant with the surgery until about 5 years after the fact.
I want to say that I was picture perfect healthy before the implant, very physically active and had my plans for the future.
As the years went on, I was diagnosed with one health concern after another. My joke to myself was; New Year… new disease.
Subsequently, I lost everything, but with each loss, I also gained something in return. And in gaining, I found strengths and talents that I did not know I had, or was afraid to try before all my illness.
But I did not gently into the world of disabilities; I went cussing, kicking and screaming. I put up a hell of a fight before acceptance settled in.
I started to have health problems in 1988-89. In the mid 90's I started to explore the possibilities that the chin implant was the culprit. And I was explanted in '98, and replaced the silicon gel chin with titanium metal.
I spent about 10 years in rehab, and putting together a health regime that include holistic, natural and alternative methods of healing, as well as keeping up with my doctors of specializations.
About four and a half years ago, my health started to improve to the point where I could start thinking about a future. And at this point, I can work part time, have opened up my own business and am pursuing several projects that are in the creative realm, and thinking about going back to college to complete my degree that I walked away from way back when.
I am still on disability (collectively, it took 7 years to get it) and do not plan on getting off SSDI anytime soon, but I am actively working toward that goal… I can work enough now to ensure that I do not slip down the slippery slope of chronic disability and poverty. My business has grown and moving forward-as is the goal for all business. I am more financially stable and I have gone back to college. And I hope that within 5 years, I can make a substantial income for the future.
My health has also improved since the beginning of this year. I have been able to move up to a higher level of healing and better health-and it takes daily work to keep it that way.
I still have a ways to go, but am happy with where I am now (considering where I have been)I have major medical issues that I am still dealing with, and while that is frightening, the concerns at this point, are manageable.
I hope that others who have other kinds of implants can find comfort and hope and know that they are not alone in this.
Rosanne Averill's Story
"My name is Rosanne. I had my breast augmentation done with Dow silcone gel implants back in 1984. I was never told that I could develop any symptoms or suffer any ill effects of having breast implants other than a warning that if I didn`t massage them regularly that they could harden. Well I made sure I massaged them regularly and ended up very happy with the cosmetic result for a long time, or so it seemed. Even in the late 1980`s when I developed the autoimmune disease called Graves disease I never once thought it could be from the implants. Although everyone in my family including myself thought it very odd since I was always so healthy.
Then in the early 90's I started to develop some very odd flu-like symptoms that would come and go. My body would ache, I would get low grade fevers, my feet were extremly stiff, I couldn`t think. I felt foggy, my memory was poor and I was exhausted. Finally after a number of months went by I had a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrone.
Since that time my life has not been the same.
It was around this time I was hearing that silicone breast implants could cause disease. I became very freightened and went to different doctors and was told by all of them that my implants were not causing me to be sick. I felt very reasurred by this.
In and around this time frame I became aware that I had a ruptured breast implant inside me. I new I had to do something but was so scared of going without any implants. After all, when they remove the implants they have to scrape the embedded silicone from your tissue which cause you to remove some of your own tissue. Hence I would be even smaller than when I started. I freaked out and made a foolish decision. I opted to remove the ruptured silicone implants and replace with saline implants. I did this in 1993.
My health has deteriorated as time has gone by. My fatigue has worsend, my vision has worsened , I have developed asthma, peripheral neuropathy, cognitive difficulties. I have difficulty with walking because my balance is off, my muscles are weak, I have had a diagnosis of mutiple sclerosis -like disease, I have developed migrane headaches, arthritis and for the past 3 years I have developed a severe tightness in my face and head which feels like my skin inside my head/face area is being stretched and pulled. This symptom is very painful to live with.
I have become totally disabled. The saline implants were removed almost 4 years ago.
I no longer care if I don`t have breasts. What is important to me is to help spread the word that silcone breast and saline breast implants can make human beings very ill. Silicone does not belong in the human body!"
When I was barely a teenager, a doctor looked at my breast and told me they were 'deformed'. One breast was larger than the other. Needless to say, I was mortified. Years later, I finally decided to do something about it. At that time, I trusted doctors a lot more than I do now! I chose a doctor from the yellow pages, that claimed he was 'board certified' (he never was). I was 30 years old, divorced and the mother of a baby girl. I was thrilled with my new breasts, and for the first time in my life I looked good in clothes. I healed quickly, and felt great. At 32 I finished my degree in electrical engineering and started a new career.
Never did I once suspect there might be a problem. In 1991, I had numbness on one side of my body and a dx of 'probable MS' at Northwestern University. I certainly didn't consider it then – never even told the neurologist I had implants, because I did not consider it germane.
After working for years as an engineer, I decided to go to law school – an interest that I developed after my dad's death from mesothelioma (asbestos cancer). When he died, I read the Reports to the Senate Subcommittee on Asbestos Related Diseases. It changed my opinion of corporations forever – and for the first time, it dawned on me just how callous and greedy corporations can be, concerned only about the 'bottom line'. Little did I realize that it was not just my father that was used as a pawn by corporate greed…I had never considered the possibility that my implants would cause me problems! Talk about denial. When my mother sent me newspaper clippings in the 1990s about registering for the settlement, I threw them away! I was sure I was fine, and foolishly I never considered that I would ever need to have the implants removed.
Before I started law school, I had my first mammogram, at 46 years old. Looking back, I believe that is when the implants ruptured. Almost immediately thereafter, I developed rashes that itched and would not go away. I developed severe carpel tunnel, which I assumed was the result of excessive writing and computer work. And, I presumed the fatigue and pain was stress and the aches and pains of middle age. I assumed dizziness was due to overwork, and the vertigo I experienced was exhaustion.
My internist was not as optimistic. The month after I graduated, she called to tell me that I had Hashimoto's thyroiditis. She insisted I see a neurologist, rheumatologist, and endocronologist. I finally started the long process of seeing specialists, and having a multitude of tests – blood tests, MRIS (brain & cervical spine), and spinal tap. All were abnormal. Still, I never thought of my implants.
Through a homeowner association battle I tackled & won, I ended up doing some legal research for an attorney who was dealing with his own condo association. However, I was rapidly going downhill and becoming very depressed. In explaining why I could no longer work, I told him of some of my health problems – by then, I was being tested for multiple sclerosis and lupus, among other things. He asked me, over the phone, if I had silicone breast implants. I had not yet met him in person and I was floored at such a personal question. He explained he was also an MD, and had worked with litigation and settlement issues with implant cases. He asked me if I had told my doctor that I had breast implants. I had not. The next day I told my internist, and she immediately ordered an MRI. The MRI showed rupture – a 'linguini' sign. That was fall of 2003. By then, I had already been told I had peripheral neuropathy in all my extremities, carpel tunnel, Hashimoto's, MS and lupus. Every week it seemed something worse was happening. In February, I developed hives and went into anaphylactic shock, for no *apparent* reason. I feared I was going to die.
By the time I told my doctor I had implants, I was already very sick. In fact, she told me she saw me "deteriorate before [her] eyes". So when I told her, she immediately ordered an MRI. At the time, she said she didn't know if implants caused autoimmune problems. She told me of the reports that doctors read (that we all know say how safe implants are). Still, she kept an open mind. She wanted to find out what was wrong with me. After I had the explant, and she saw the lab report — the migrating silicone, chronic inflammation and the abnormal cells surrounding what was left of the implant — she no longer doubted. She told me that she did believe the implants were causing my illnesses.
To say I was desperate is an understatement. I had 'googled' implants, for the first time, and found Explantation.com, Implant~Info~Net and other helpful forums. Through the encouragement and compassion I received there, I began to realize that there was yet hope. I looked for surgeons in my area, and out of my area, and finally talked with Dr. Kolb in Atlanta. My internist and Dr. Kolb helped me with my insurance, that agreed to pay for a portion of the explant surgery. FInally, in April of 2004, I had an explant.
The attorney/MD (who had the audacity to ask me if I had implants) is retired from medicine and law, and has since been appointed by the governor to be the state 'condo ombudsman'. It sure sounds odd to say the condo ombudsman saved my life! He is helping me now with a settlement, as a late registrant for the implant settlement. I don't know if I will ever see a penny, but I do know that I have my life back.
It has been two years since my explant but it feels like a lifetime. At times I was sure I would never work again. But now, I am feeling better and working part time. For five years before my explant, I had consistently had high ANA, anti-Smith, RNP and SSA antibodies. Just recently, I had another blood test that was normal. I am beginning to feel that I have my life back. I am incredibly thankful for all the help and support I have received from the 'condo ombudsman', my husband, the women who have been through this ordeal before me, and my surgeon, Dr. Kolb.
Lisa Christine's Story
I had Silicone breast implants in 1987. Thinking it would complete me for I had never filled out,(developed) This period in my life was filled with many examples, Adult entertainment,the music industry, fashion magazines and of course my chosen field,(photography) was to be perfect.
After being implanted, I noticed how painful and sensitive my breasts had become all the time. Intimacy with my chest was look but dont touch,,it was too pain full.
I had my two children very close together, 15 months apart. I was told upon Implantation I could Breast feed with no problem, I tryed with my first son and could only handle 2 weeks for the pain was unbearable. I completely skipped any thought of breast feeding my second child.
As years went by, pain and sensitivity in my chest increased. Other symptoms started,terrible skin irritations, joint and bone pain, chills all over my body, dizzy spells, blurred vision, chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression.
Thank goodness for my family doctor for I have been with him for 7 years and with all my symptoms, He told me,"Get the implants out!!" your symptoms ARE implant related! It took me 1 more child and a couple years later and an MRI (both implants ruptured) to decide to explant.
After months of research, I found one of the best ex planting surgeons in the world, Dr Edward Melmed and was ex planted in 2007.
To date recovery has been hard physically and emotionally, I am unable to work, and sometimes feel I waited too long for explantation. I do have hope that I will get better and each day in itself is a blessing for me to be implant free.
If I had been told the truth, 20 years ago I would have never even considered this operation. It has affected the rest of my life and my family's to. I would not recommend this operation to any one ever ! Work on ourselves from the inside out,,,,not the outside in,,,it doesn't work.
Terri P. Story
Hi everyone, My name is Terri P I am now back in Hawaii. I had my saline implants for 20 years.I was sick for 10 years before figuring it out. I had heard of the problems with silicone and even had been contacted by Dow about 15 years ago. I called my PS right away and he incorrectly told me that it didn't apply to me because my saline were completely safe. Sound familiar?
Anyway I heard a women on the news while I was doing dishes say her saline implants had made her sick. OMG I thought. That is when I went on the computer and looked up saline implants and sickness. Over 400,000 women who had the saline implants 20 years or more it said have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I couldn't believe it. I had been sick 10 years!!!
I saw over 26 doctors and hospitals, but no one ever said a word about my implants. I listed it every time they asked on the form for previous surgerys. Not only that but I had capsular contraction on the right side that I had for 18 years. It was so hard and all the way up in my armpit. The PS again tried to pop it manually and then said don't worry it is just scar tissue.
I am now post explant, after going down another road from (Bleep). I had to move back in with my ex-husband because nobody else cared to help me and my children. I have two children. The good news is I live in Hawaii and feel better.
I didn't know about the whole detox thing so I haven't really started that yet. I gave up all meds. I couldn't remember who I was when I was at my sickest. Since explant, my memory is back and my fibro is better. I drink smoothies fresh fruit and am going to try a detox from all the toxins.
I am so glad that Rosie told me about you gals. We are in this together. I read other womens stories and I decided women don't need my tears — they need my strength.
I actually had DD breasts when I got my implants. Penthouse magazine offered me the money to get my implants so that my large breasts would look perky again instead of sagging. I was 25 and thought being a centerfold was everything a young girl could want.
I did the centerfold it was 1987. Now I am 44 and my post explant breasts look just like they did before all this mess started except have scars and I am not skinny, but am overweight. But you know what? I still love myself and hope that if I can save one girl from getting those poision bags than all of this was worth it.
I am on my way to being better.
I have a new attitude.
I was 25 in 1981. I had been married a year to my high school sweetheart when I decided to get breast implants. I have never been happy with my AA cup size. I had a very curvaceous body but no boobs and I always felt unbalanced in my appearance. I had a girlfriend who was built just like me and we used to share our feelings about how we thought we got shortchanged. It was difficult to fill out bathing suits, and other clothing.
One day she told me that she had decided to get implants. We both grew up in Southern California where plastic surgery is a norm — "If you don't like it, fix it" mentality. Not to mention, my parents were both vain, and outward appearance was always an asset. Anyway, my friend ended up having surgery with a double lumen implant under her muscles. I saw what she looked like and how happy she was about her results. Also, my mom, who had always been flat-chested as well, had silicone injections into her breast when I was a teenager.
My husband liked my small breasts. He was not a "boob" man. There was never any pressure from him to alter my breast size. My hips yes, but that is a whole different issue. My husband's concern was that I would make myself too large. This was never my intent. I just wanted to look more balanced. I ended up going to a different plastic surgeon than my friend. I went with a surgitech smooth silicone surface implant around 275 cc's on top of the muscle and under the mammary glands. I wanted to have children and wanted to make sure I would still be able to breastfeed them. I knew a nurse who worked with my plastic surgeon who highly recommended him for his beautiful work.
I do remember the doctor asking me if I felt I should wait until after I had children to do the augmentation. I said no, that I really did not want to wait. I was going to do the surgery with local anesthesia only in his operating room to avoid the risk of a general anesthesia. My mom and mother-in-law supported me on my decision. I actually asked my Dad to borrow money for the procedure and he said no because he did not approve of putting a foreign object in my body. (Of the people I knew, he was the only one who had that insight.) So my mother-in-law loaned me the $ to get my augmentation. Afterwards, I paid her back monthly for her entire loan.
In November of 1981, I took a week off from work and had the procedure. I remember starting to cry when I was on the operating table. In looking back I think I instinctively knew that this wasn't a good thing to do; but it was too late as the doctor was cutting into me.
I had drains for a few days. I honestly don't remember the dressings. I do remember the doctor having me lay on my breasts in the recovery process and it hurt like HELL! I ended up being a full B cup. Just right for me at the time. I had capsular contraction on both breasts within the first 6 months. I remember the doctor would manually squeeze them to break up the scar tissue. I remember thinking that this was not what I had envisioned. Eventually the doctor said that it was not a good idea to do a closed capsulectemy as it could cause a rupture.
About 5 or 6 years after my breast augmentation, a lot of publicity was coming out about the Dow Corning products. I remember the talk show host Jenny Jones sharing her nightmares about her implant experience. My sister who was a nurse called me one day after watching a show about breast implants and said "sissy you need to get those out". I remember thinking, I have small children when would I deal with this. I went to have my breasts evaluated by the same surgeon who had done my friend's implants. He told me that the right breast was hardened to a 3 level and the left to a 2 level. He asked if I had any pain or other discomfort. I told him not really. His recommendation was to just leave them alone.
I have to mention, that I split up with my first husband in 1982. I married my second and current husband in 1985. We have 3 daughters. I nursed all three of them. Thank god it was not long after I got the implants. So I became part of the lawsuits against the manufacturers of implants. I didn't have any problems related to them. (Or so I thought) So I never claimed anything against them.
Life was very busy raising 3 girls close in age. During that time my younger brother died. I remember having a lot of fatigue but associated most of it to being a mom. My sister then passed away also at a young age. I was 39 and began to suffer from depression. I also relocated to a beach community and started having a lot of symptoms of chronic fatigue. Then I started having trouble with the top joints of my fingers. I saw rheumatologists who diagnosed me with osteoarthritis. My internist felt my fatigue was due to depression and allergies. Basically, I have had numerous blood panels and no markers show that I have rheumatoid arthritis. But, all the doctors agree that I have some unexplained inflammatory process going on. I have pretty severe arthritis in both shoulders. Moderate arthritis in both knees. Some arthritis in both feet. Every finger joint is disfigured due to arthritis. Over and over again, because I am proactive about my health, I have asked is there any possibility that these conditions are due to my implants? Not, one doctor felt that was the case. They said that they have found no proof of a connection between silicone and these conditions. My internist said that I would be very distraught if I were to remove them as I would be disfigured!
I have been getting regular mammograms since I have had my implants. They have always used special placement of my breasts because of the implants. Every time I have a mammogram they would ask me how old my implants were. This last time, in December of 2008, the technician had me sign a waiver due to the possibility of a rupture in the implants due to the procedure. My instincts were saying in a small voice "don't have one". But I did. I felt a pain worse than usual during the mammogram on my right breast. Shorty afterwards, I felt a lump on my right breast near the areola. I had tenderness and pain near the armpit on my right breast as well. I also felt a tiny sore spot on my left breast. Well, it was holiday time. I was due for my period and I had just changed my hormone patch to a higher level. This is how I procrastinated on dealing with it.
In January, we had a re-decorating project going on in the kitchen. Then in February, I had to take care of my mom after a surgery. Finally, in mid-February I asked my husband to see if he felt something odd. Yes he did, and how long has that been there you need to get it checked out. So I went to my ob/gyn. She felt it was above the implant. I had an ultrasound. The radiologist came in and said I think that your implants may have leaks. He was fairly certain that it was not cancer. Then I had an MRI with contrast which showed an intracapsular leak in the right breasts. I had consultations with 3 different surgeons. All 3 said to not wait long to fix this. The implants needed to be removed. I made my decision, and I went with the doctor who would do less cutting. A doctor who was not intimidated by my questions. He was also aware that for all the research against the connection with health issues and implants; there are women who do have issues and no one can deny that. I would never want to deal with implants again, saline or silicone. At least they now tell you that they will last 10 years tops before there will be a rupture. So, it turns out that both my implants were taken out in one piece; however, the right implant had a posterior extra capsular rupture This may explain all the shoulder issues! The left breast implant was also ruptured inside the capsule. When evaluated by the surgeon before explantation, my right breast hardness was at a 4 level and my left at a 3.
He said that the capsules were very hard. He was able to clean out all the silicone on the outside of my capsule.
What I don't understand, is how can a doctor recommend a mammogram, and not an MRI knowing that I had implants in me that were 27 years old!
My surgery went well. I am recovering nicely. I feel confident that I will look attractive enough with my new boobs. My husband, family and friends have been very supportive. I'm looking forward to more healing, detoxing, supporting others, and accepting myself as God made me!
(Here is the photo my surgeon took of my explanted beasts on 4-27-09 The right one was very calcified thus appears more opague)
Karen Curry's Story
Karens' ruptured 1985/Bristol Meyers/Surgitek implants. Then read her heartbreaking story below (website under construction) Pictures will be here shortly.Upon having a Bilateral Mastectomy, I was reconstructed with Silicone Gel Breast Implants. I had them for twelve and a half years. They were the largest on the market, 800 cc's a piece. Both ruptured. Right one was fragmented (dissolving). Right Capsule Ruptured, forming a secondary capsule in upper right abdomen. A lot of spillage during explant surgery. A lot of migration prior to surgery. All was retrieved with exception of a little over 200 cc's of silicone gel. Though they were removed eight years ago. I still to this day, show crystals when I do a spit test or sneeze and when I cough up phlegm, it never dries but remains as an oily substance.
My health has been on a steady decline since 1988, three years after I was reconstructed.
1. 1983 – Underwent a Bilateral Mastectomy.
2. 1985 – Reconstructed with Silicone Gel Breast Implants.
3. 1986 – Hardening of the right Breast Implant and underwent a Closed Capsulotomy.
4. 1987 – Hardening again of the right Breast Implant and underwent a Closed Capsulotomy in October and November to no avail. In December of 1987 the Plastic Surgeon gave me a Cortisone shot and tried the Closed Capsulotomy again, but again, to no avail. So the Doctor instructed me to take 4000 I.U. of Vitamin E a day and follow up in one month for another Closed Capsulotomy. Which did not take place due to illness.
5. 1988 – Diagnosed with Benign Multiple Sclerosis; Vaginal Anesthesia; Symptomatic Gastroesophageal Reflux.
6. 1994 – Diagnosed with Atypical Connective Disease/Atypical Rheumatic Syndrome/Non-Specific Autoimmune Condition Disease with Impressive Neurologic Abnormalities.
7. 1997 – Left Breast Capsule had a Class III Capsular Contracture. Right Breast was quite firm and misshapen with loss of medial fullness. Class IV Capsular Contracture on Right Breast. Bulge of 4-5 cm beneath Inframammary Fold. Ruptured Capsule, with secondary Capsule forming in Upper Right Abdomen.
8. 1997 – Explantation of Both Ruptured and Fragmented Implants, including Capsules.
9. 1997-1998 – Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia; Connective Tissue Disease and Chronic Fatigue.
10. 2001 – Degenerative Disc Disease of the Cervical Spine with spinal stenosis and flattening of the anterior Spinal Cord, causing Bilateral Neural Foraminal Narrowing. Including disk protrusion, causing left cord compression.
11. 2001 – Per MRI, spots were found in the frontalparietal white matter with areas representing demyelination.
12. 2001 – Diagnosis of Osteoporosis of the Lumbar Spine and Breast Implant Syndrome.
13. 2003 – Diagnosis of Hiatal Hernia.
14. 2005 – Per MRI and MRA, Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis; Cerebral Atheroscierotic Vascular Disease; Peripheral Neuropathy; Anemia; Including Hyperintensity of the tip of the Basilar Artery which appears to be a focal Aneurysm.
I do not believe it's plaque build up in the Blood Vessels and Arteries of my brain. I believe it's Silicone. It's been noted that Migrating Silicone not only spreads to all the vital organs, but also passes the Placental Barrier and Brain Barrier.
But does it matter now? No! They've informed me the Aneurysm is in an inoperative area and they cannot remove the "Plaque" build up from the Arteries of my brain. They can only treat the symptoms.
I'm on Disability. My family has turned their back on me and the only friends I have are the ladies in my Support Group.
So, if anyone who reads this thinks this is all hog-wash, then please don't let anything I've said deter you. You get your breast implants, enjoy your life and be happy. 'Cause I too had a life once. I had a career, making good money, love of family and friends, a drop-dead figure, a wonderful husband, my health, active in Church, School and Community and in love with life.
But now it's all gone, including my husband who died from the causes of Agent Orange (another chemical Dow made) after having just turned 54.
Even though I had a Bilateral Mastectomy, if I had read 20 years ago what I just wrote, I would never have allowed that toxic garbage to be placed in my body. And if you still think they're healthy, then please take another look at what was removed from my chest.
Which by the way, the implants of today are not any better. They are still made from Toxic Chemicals and they are still called Silicone Breast Implants.
Karen L. Curry or know as "Snowdove" on our forum
Six months before I got breast implants. I was doing fitness competitions and I was one of the few competitors that hadn't had plastic surgery, so I didn't think anything bad could happen.
At my worst, in February 2007, I could barely walk, talk, think, move or see. I never came across a site like this when I was thinking of getting breast implants and I want to share what I learned the hard way about the risks that come along with wanting bigger breasts.
If I'd known that there was a possibility that I could lose my stamina, memory, have a seizure, be in a coma and be very sick for an year, I would've never risked it.
I paid over $7,000 to receive "safe" breast implants on December 26th, 2006. I immediately got very sick and since then have had 2 more surgeries to remove the implants and remaining scar tissue. Almost one year later, am still struggling with various symptoms and have spent over $20,000 in medical expenses trying to get well.
No doctor could diagnose me and I had to figure out what was wrong on my own by finding sites like this from other women who had been affected by saline and silicone implants.
Breast augmentation is a huge trend among girls and women in the United States right now. Now you know that someone who also thought this could never happen to them or anyone they knew – got very sick, almost dying in the pursuit of physical perfection.
I hope you take the time to read my story and share this information with anyone you know who may benefit from it. Please contact me here if you are experiencing problems, have questions or would like to talk.
BJ's Story* Blood test ~ Platinum is in the free highly oxidizing form
* Blood Test ~ Silicone Toxicity ~ * Allergy test ~ allergic to everything
* I have Severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity in small amounts of everyday chemicals
* 1984 Silicone breast implants, next day low fever, 4 to 5 months of antibiotics, Surgitek single-lumen adjustable silicone-gel and saline
* 1985 D&C , went into my change age 45 ~ started putting on weight slowly Arthritis ~ Memory ~ Headaches
*1986/87 Loss of smell ~ very little taste ~ Short term memory, pen and paper in every room
* 1985/86/87 Closed capsulotomys
* 1986 Hemotoma
* 1993 Silicone rupture, replaced with Saline in August, itching and burning ever since, ~ Open capsulotomie both breast, 12/23/1993, culture serous type fluid inflammatory in nature ~ Epstine Barr Virus ~ Lung x-ray pleural thickening and calcification reduction of lung volume ~ Right lung aspiration, reaction to Demerol, Narcan twice ~ Rare Fibrous tissue, Rare Foamy Histiocyte fill the apex of the right upper lobe ~ Videopelviscopy, Chronic lower abdominal pelvic pain, menses for 70 some days out of 85/90 days ~ Spastic bowel.
* 1993/1999 MRI Brain, sinus disease right
* 1994 Connective tissue disease, positive ~ Organic brain syndrome with cognitive impairment ~ Atypical Neurocogic disease ~ Multiple Sclerosis like syndrome ~ Tooth Broke
* 1995 Silicone Antibody ~ Tooth Broke
* 1996 Spasms of Esophnagus, endoscopy and dilation twice ~ Sleeping spells 18 to 21 hours, 3 to 5 days at a time, 3 to 4 times a month ~ reaction to all the medication ~ Gastritis
* 1996 Total disability, retrograded back to 1993, impairments considered to be severe under Social Security act are silicone breast implant rupture and silicone toxicity
* 1997 Emphysema ~ Tooth Broke
* 1998 MRI right shoulder, tearing of the supraspinatus tendon ~ MRI left shoulder, fluid in joint.
* 1998 Allergy test, allergic to everything
* 1999 Brain Spect scan, abnormal ~ Toxic encepholopathy ~ Dry eye syndrome ~ Chronic rhinitis, sinusitis and laryngitis ~ Vestibular disorder peripheral with vertigo ~ Immune dysfunction and autoimmune disorder ~ Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, in small amount of everyday chemicals ~ Tryptase level below normal ~ Abnormal neurological examination ~ Pulmonary function low normal range ~ Elevated thyroid antibodies ~ ATOVA test, abnormal ~ Micro Cog, low average ~ Cholesterol high ~ 3mmm punch biopsy, viral exanthems and drug eruption ~ Abnormalities were detected, T and B cells ~ IgG Benzene Ring, high
* 2000 MRI, left partially deflated saline implant ~ Blood test, markers for Sclerosis ~ Lupus ~ Sicca Syndrome
* 2002 Platinum oxdizing form ~ Thyroid nodule ~ Thyroid, of Hashimotos nature ~ Tooth Broke
* 2005 MRI Spine – Cervical – Thoracic – Lumbar, Degenerative disc disease, disc dessication, spurring, spine canal stenosis, degenerative spondylosis ~ MRI Right & Left Shoulder.. (Both) Severe degeneration & osteoarthritis at the AC joint, (Both) tearing of the Supraspinatus tendon, (Both) partial tearing of the Infraspinatus tendon ~ Thyroid Ultrasound.. left nodule increase in size, there is heterogeneous signal.
life threatening, pesticides, albuteral, demerol, carmex, white diamonds, pinesol, 409. Others things that cause reactions ~ aspirin, novocain, dental gas, cortisone, predisone, oil of olay, mary kay, jergens lotion, new skin, sara michales, fressia, opium, black pearls, stetson, old spice, mennens, clairol herbal essence products, body washes, hair spray, deodorant, shower shine, fabreeze, scrubbing bubbles, loc, wd40, some paint, carpet shampoo, calvin klein 1, armirage and more.
all affect the central nervous system for me, affects lungs, throat constricted, walking ability, whole body shaking, loss of voice 5 to 19 hours at a time, lose muscle control, whole body immobile, short term memory, slurred speech, vertigo, headaches, blurred vision, chest pains, hands and feet swell, affect kidneys, feet flipping out of control. Different chemicals cause everything in the body to flip and flop.
* * Medicare won't pay for what I need, controlled out-patient surgery center, a place for recovery, test for anesthetic, antibiotics, different chemicals, what people wear cosmetic, perfume, shampoo, bath & hand soap, cleaning products in and out of surgery, the list goes on. * * I am classed as high risk. I am denied surgery do to MCS
* * My only medication, vitamins, minerals, herbs, essential oils, gamma globulin, B-12 & B complex shots, as I have a reaction to medicine /chemicals
There are many horror stories from Silicone Breast Implants and s many dangerous drugs and medical devices that harm women. The Vaginal mesh is the latest in implants that are having disasterous complications for women. See Vaginalmeshhelpline.com. Other horror stories come from yaz , yasmin, Mirena IUD and others. If you have a story to share contact one of the helplines today.
The US Government's Food and Drug Administration has caved-in to the Breast Implant Industry by giving the billion dollar safety approval to silicone gel breast implants.
The Humantics Foundation and Ilena Rosenthal's opinion on this ill advised decision mirrors the views so well expressed here by:
Dr. Sidney Wolfe, Director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group
Silicone gel breast implants most defective medical device ever approved by the FDA
Excerpt: The approval makes a mockery of the legal standard that requires “reasonable assurance of safety.”
Kim Gandy, President of NOW;
FDA Approval of Dangerous Implants Follows FDA Pattern of Favoring Money and Politics Over Science
"It is impossible for women to give informed consent for implants if the information they are receiving is inaccurate or incomplete," said Gandy. "The very real possibility that women and their children will be exposed to grave health risks is a serious matter. The FDA made an unconscionable move …"
Gandy concluded: "The FDA has never rescinded approval for a medical device after it has been approved, but that's not going to stop NOW from trying. When the new Congress takes office we will petition our representatives to initiate an immediate review of the FDA and this dreadful, dangerous decision."
& Dr. Diana Zuckerman, President, National Research Center for Women & Families, quoted in Forbes here:
The FDA's decision to approve silicone gel breast implants is a triumph of corporate lobbying and hype over sound science and women's health. The FDA's standards for implants have reached a new low with this decision.
Please click here to send a message to your Member of Congress. Let them know you believe the FDA MUST Thoroughly Examine Safety Evidence & Must Stop Ignoring Evidence of the dangers of silicone breast implants