Upon reading an Instagram post by someone who had suffered from breast implant illness, Jeanne realized that all of the symptoms she was suffering from aligned perfectly with those associated with BII. Hair loss, chronic pain, digestive issues and so much more plagued Jeanne, and after doing research of her own and joining the Facebook group called Healing Breast Implant Illness by Nicole, she was ready to address her issues and reclaim her health.
Tell us about your explant journey.
Well, I learned about BII from an acquaintance when she posted something on her business Instagram (she is a boudoir photographer, so it makes sense). She had recently had an explant and when she listed all the symptoms, I was like oh my goodness, that is what I have. That started me down a rabbit hole of research and led me to join the Facebook group Healing Breast Implant Illness by Nicole.
I began to share with others, practitioners I had been working with for my aches and pains; massage therapists, physical therapists, doctors, my husband and, to be honest, I received a lot of kickback. Some negativity if you will. Some, not everyone, told me it was in my head; that I was manifesting this by focusing on it. But for me, I was happy to feel like I had answers. One doctor listened, though and told me he had a handful of patients currently going through the same thing (explant). He said he had seen improvements with each of them. So he supported me, did his research, got me healthy enough for the surgery. The only negative thing I experienced from my explant surgery was that I developed SIBO. However, my doctor got me straight and said it was most likely from my body detoxing all those chemicals that are in implants.
I am just past my 9-month post-op, and I truly feel amazing, and I know there is more improvement to come. I am grateful someone I know felt vulnerable enough to share her story and I truly hope I can impact someone in the same way.
What type of implants did you have?
Mentor Silicone Memory Gel 375cc
What surgeon did you explant with?
Dr. Gwen Maxwell in Tucson, AZ
When did you begin to experience symptoms?
Honestly, some of my symptoms were instant. I had a huge decrease in mobility in my right shoulder; it was difficult to reach back and wipe. I really never regained that. The extreme acne started at around three weeks. The rest of the hormonal imbalances I began to notice around year 3. I always kind of suffered from anxiety and depression, so at first, I didn't realize they were linked to my implants. I also couldn't tolerate alcohol at all. It was as if I had become allergic to it; 2 drinks and I was at blackout status.
What symptoms did you have?
Chronic pain in neck, shoulder & back (especially right side) (I’m talking pain no amount of massage can take away. Constant heating pads, icing, muscle cream and sometimes ibuprofen)
Sensitivity to light/smell/sound
Clenching jaw and teeth grinding
Pain in breast
Dense breast tissue
Frequent urination/ inability to hold
Swollen lymph nodes
Left hip pain
Rush of heat below my left knee
Joint pain (ankles, wrist, elbows)
Dark circles/ sunken-in eyes
Poor circulation (hands and feet falling asleep)
Inability to regulate body temperature (always too hot or too cold)
Body odor (My hormones are off, I have to take hormone replacement and have been on them since I was 35, only 3 years after getting implants.)
This list doesn’t even include the feeling of isolation, where I just don’t feel myself in a crowd or even one on one with a friend. It feels like so much effort to be “on” all the time. After being “on” for my students, my family suffers, so of course, my friendships are suffering. My anxiety is through the roof. I struggle to catch my breath, some days when I’m not even doing anything strenuous, my heart is beating out of my chest, which then causes more anxiety.
How did breast implants impact your life?
To be honest, I can not look back and find a way they positively impacted my life. I never felt more beautiful with them because true beauty comes from the inside. The more I learned to love myself for who I was on the inside, the more I wanted them out before I even realized they were the reason I was sick. They caused me to be depressed and anxious. This caused a lot of problems in my marriage, not to mention that I had zero sex drive even when taking shots of testosterone each week. I could not remember simple tasks that my children would ask of me, like pick up a poster-board for a project, my kids felt as if they were unimportant to me, but that wasn't true at all. I couldn't make it through the day without a nap, I would start to fall asleep driving no matter what time of day it was and I was cranky all the time.
What was surgery like for you?
To be honest, Dr. Maxwell's team is amazing. I felt very comfortable with her from the first consultation. She didn't make me feel like it was all in my head like the first surgeon I consulted with had. She and some of the ladies on her staff have had their implants removed. Dr. Maxwell took the time to explain to my husband and me exactly how the surgery would go. On the morning of the surgery, everyone really took their time to greet me and ask me if I had any questions. My surgery was longer than expected because I had a lot of scar tissue attached to my ribs. Of course, I was sore, but I only took the 800mg ibuprofen. After a week, my drains came out, and I felt I could return to most normal activities. I still had to take things slow since I was still healing, but I had more energy recovering from surgery than I did with my implants.
How are you doing now, after explant?
The only symptom I'm still not fully recovered from is the limited mobility in my right shoulder, but I think I just need to work on it a little more. I need to do more exercises for it and break up the scar tissue.
What would you like women who are considering explant to know?
Do it! It's worth it to get your life back. Choose health over vanity.