Emily H.'s Story
“They were great at the start. If I hadn't had any issues with them I would still have them in most likely. When things started to go wrong with them, they started to affect my life in every way possible. My health was the first thing I noticed and then the mental issues followed. I had to pay thousands in medical bills when I first moved countries and it’s been extremely hard to bounce back from all the debts.”
Emily began experiencing breast implant illness symptoms around 3.5 years after getting her implants, and it started when she woke up to her breast swollen to double its size.
Tell us about your explant journey.
I got them in 2015 and for 3.5 years had no issues at all, I thought they were great!
At the start of 2019 I moved to Canada (from Australia) with my partner on a 2 year working holiday visa and this is when all my issues started. I woke up one day in May and my right breast was double the size of my left, it was hot and painful. We rushed into the ER only to be told that there was nothing that could be done to help me and the swelling would just go down on it’s own.
For the next few months afterwards I started researching breast swelling and I kept seeing BIA-ALCL, I was starting to get extremely worried ( I was literally reading articles that were dated to be written the day before) and every time I went back to the ER I was told that there wasn’t enough fluid inside and they risked pricking the implant with the needle.
So I just got on with my “normal” life as best as I could. My symptoms were all over the place, huge amounts of inflammation throughout my body, skin rashes, anxiety to the point where I wasn’t able to drive a car or work my full time job properly, mood swings, memory issues, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune disease symptoms, digestive issues, stomach ulcers, body odours, pericarditis of the heart, extreme weight fluctuations, stomach illnesses that almost left me in a coma and required hospitalisation every time, the list is endless.
February 2020 after tons of research and no help from any of the medical professionals I had already seen, I decided that the best thing for me to do would to just get these things out, they looked completely different to how they had compared to the past few years and my right breast was still higher and harder than my left so I knew I needed them out. They were so painful, swollen and they weren’t my boobs anymore.
I saw Dr Aaron Brown in BC for a consult in March 2020 and had my surgery booked for 10 weeks after. And then COVID hit. My surgery was pushed right back to November and I honestly didn’t think my body or myself mentally would even last that long. When I got the call for an explant date in September I almost jumped out of my skin. I was so excited and it’s the best thing I have ever done. I finally have my life back and my health just gets stronger each day.
I still suffer from some of the symptoms that I had when I had the implants in but I can see the intensity of them has definitely reduced.
I finally feel like me again.
What type of implants did you have?
Allergan natrelle silicone textured implants
What surgeon did you explant with?
When did you begin to experience symptoms?
What symptoms did you have?
Dry brittle hair
Rapid weight loss
Dry dull skin
How did breast implants impact your life?
They were great at the start. If I hadn't had any issues with them I would still have them in most likely. When things started to go wrong with them, they started to affect my life in every way possible. My health was the first thing I noticed and then the mental issues followed. I had to pay thousands in medical bills when I first moved countries and it’s been extremely hard to bounce back from all the debts.
What was surgery like for you?
Life changing. It’s easily the best thing that I have ever done for my body. It was something that I knew I needed to have to regain control over my health again. I knew that no matter how well I ate or how well I trained, my body was being poisoned from the inside, and if I didn’t remove the implants I would never get better.
The surgery itself was a harder recovery for me personally than getting the implants in. I didn’t have drains when I got them put in so they were the worst part for me. Luckily I only needed then for 48 hours.
Within 24 hours though I could literally see the change in my face and body from the surgery. My eyes were white and bright, my skin was nice and clear instead of red and splotchy. And my stomach had looked flatter and unblocked than it hadn’t in months.
How are you doing now, after explant?
Currently I am 6 months post op.
I couldn’t have predicted that my body would ever feel like this again. So many of my symptoms have disappeared completely and some have significantly dissipated.
What would you like women who are considering explant to know?
Do it. Don’t be afraid or wonder if it will be the right thing. I never knew that my body was going to feel this good and I wanted the explant so bad.
Our delicate human bodies should not have plastic bags full of toxic chemicals sitting on top of some of our most precious organs. My body was in a constant state of fight of flight because it was attacking something inside of me.
Now they are gone my body is regulating itself once again and I’m finally getting back to normal.