Like so many other women who have or have had breast implants, Melissa suffered self-esteem issues that pushed her towards augmentation as a means to feel more confident. Having been diagnosed with stage IV kidney cancer when she was 10-years-old, Melissa was bullied for some of the side effects of her chemotherapy treatment, namely balding, which exacerbated her issues with self-confidence. Unfortunately, this side effect would re-emerge later in life along with many others when she began experiencing breast implants illness symptoms.
Tell us about your explant journey.
I was diagnosed with stage IV kidney cancer when I was 10. As a result of the cancer scars and scoliosis from my radiation treatments plus getting bullied and made fun of for being bald, I began to suffer terrible self-esteem issues. I convinced myself I needed implants to feel more confident, and in 2011 I had my implants placed.
Within six months, I started experiencing terrible symptoms. My hair began falling out in chunks. I became constipated for the first time ever. I started developing random dry patchy rashes on my face. It literally felt like my entire body was failing me. I experienced extreme fatigue, sluggishness and brain fog. I'm a nurse and I have always been really quick on my feet, but when these symptoms started, I began having to triple-check everything because my brain just wasn't working right, and I was worried I'd make a mistake. It was terrifying.
About nine months after having my implants placed, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's. I was told it was from my cancer treatments, and I never questioned a thing. I followed conventional medicine for the next few years, which left me feeling worse and not better. Finally, I decided to take matters into my own hands, and I was able to put my Hashimoto's into remission through diet and lifestyle.
I got pregnant with our miracle baby the next year (we'd been trying for years). Unfortunately, I had complications during labor due to radiation damage and scar tissue from my cancer surgeries, and I almost died after giving birth. I was hospitalized for 15 days and needed major surgery. The process of all that reactivated my Hashimoto's, mono and messed up my hormones. I've been working for the past two years to get them back in check, and while I hadn't been feeling bad (most likely because I'm so strict with my diet and lifestyle), my labs showed a different story.
I had come across BII about a year ago. At the time, because I wasn't feeling bad, I tucked it in the back of my head. I said, "I'll make an appointment eventually to discuss if my implants could be causing problems, but I don't need to worry about it now." However, when I saw my labs a month ago, it hit me like a ton of bricks. My thyroid antibodies, inflammatory markers and mono levels were extremely high. Some of my hormones were wacky too. I realized that these implants were counteracting all the hard work and dedication I'd been putting in to get myself healthy again after my postpartum experience.
My functional medicine doctor agreed that given my strict lifestyle, it had to be the breast implants causing inflammation throughout my body. I happened to already have a consult with Dr. David Rankin just to discuss the possibility of my implants causing issues. However, once I saw the labs and knew they were causing problems, I didn't want to delay the inevitable. I wanted those things out!
Fortunately, God worked everything out perfectly, which is how I know I was supposed to go through with this, and I was able to get scheduled for surgery quickly. I explanted on March 2, 2020. I literally feel like a weight has been lifted off me. I can think clearer. I have more energy for the most part. Some days I'm depleted, but I also know that I'm detoxing, and this is going to come in waves as I get rid of all the toxins from the implants. I can't explain it. I just feel better, physically and emotionally.
I know my health is going to continue to improve because now I have nothing holding me back. I'm focused on healing from the inside out again, but I'm also focused on healing mentally. I need to forgive myself for going through with breast augmentation in the first place, and I need to learn to love myself for exactly who I am. Self-love has never been something I've been good at (hence why I got these stupid things, to begin with), so that is my main focus currently. And thus far, it's going much better than I imagined. I have yet to have one breakdown when I look in the mirror at my new scars and flat breasts. I just feel relieved and free.
I hope to be able to use my story to inspire and motivate other women who may be suffering as I did. I hope to be able to prevent people on the fence about getting implants from ever going through with it. BII is so real, and there are women all over the world struggling with it. Society sets us up to constantly compare ourselves, and that's NOT GOOD. We were all made uniquely, and we need to come to a place of loving and accepting ourselves just as we are. We don't need surgery to enhance anything. While I wish I didn't have to be a part of all of this, BII is now an addition to my already crazy story, and I'm grateful to be alive to tell it.
What type of implants did you have?
What surgeon did you explant with?
Dr. David Rankin
When did you begin to experience symptoms?
Within six months
What symptoms did you have?
Dry patches on my face
What was surgery like for you?
This was my ninth surgery, and every time, right before, I get super nervous. However, I knew I needed to get these toxins out, so I kept reminding myself how important this was and telling myself I'd be okay. The experience I had with aqua plastic surgery was amazing! They really helped to ease my mind and make me comfortable.
How are you doing now, after explant?
I am doing great. I feel amazing! I have been detoxing since the week after my surgery, and I know its helping. I will have lab work soon to check my inflammatory and autoimmune markers.
What would you like women who are considering explant to know?
DO IT! These explants are toxic, and they wreak havoc on our health. It is never good to put a foreign substance in your body. Even though each woman responds differently to it, it will eventually catch up to you in some negative way. Your body will appreciate you taking care of it. We have to learn to love ourselves the way we were made. None of us needed implants because we are beautiful the way we are.