Michele A.'s Story
Having been bullied throughout her school years for having a smaller chest and short hair, Michelle decided it was finally time to get breast implants after nursing three babies left her flatter than before.
“In the beginning it was great, I finally filled out a shirt with breasts! But I spent the next 26 years in a fight or flight mode. 26 years of rash decisions and bad behaviors.”
Tell us about your explant journey.
At 24 years old, after successfully nursing 3 babies, I was left with absolutely no breasts. That along with being bullied all throughout my school years for having no breasts and having short hair I consulted with a plastic surgeon, 3 times before I actually scheduled for augmentation. I finally got my breast implants put in in November of 1993. I can remember my ex-husband standing behind me telling me how great I was going to look with my implants. That sticks with me. Within 2 months of implanting, I was hospitalized for 24 days with a collapsed lung. I also experienced my first ever sinus infection ever within the first 2 months of having implants. Sinus infections became a 3 times a year thing for me.
I have had several health issues over the past decade. Including pericardial effusion, inflammation throughout my body, my pancreas numbers were high, nausea, serious gut issues, thyroid removal, ovaries removed, just to name a few. All unexplainable! In June of 2019, I was scrolling through Facebook and came upon a video of someone talking about Breast Implant Illness. My jaw hit the floor as I realized this was what's wrong with me. I went into panic mode. I explanted one month later, July 25th, 2019 Life started over for me that day!
I'm done living in a fight or flight mode!
What type of implants did you have?
Allergan Biocell Textured Saline Implants
What surgeon did you explant with?
When did you begin to experience symptoms?
In hindsight, my symptoms started within 2 months if having my augmentation with breast implants.
What symptoms did you have?
Sensitivity to sound
Sharp pains in breasts
Swollen/tender lymph nodes
Irritable bowel syndrome
Shortness of breath
How did breast implants impact your life?
Looking back, in the beginning it was great, I finally filled out a shirt with breasts! But I spent the next 26 years in a fight or flight mode. 26 years of rash decisions and bad behaviors. Alcohol and drugs were my bandaid for many years. Implants changed who I was as a person. I'm just getting to know the real me now, at 51 years old! Breast implants high jacked my life!
What was surgery like for you?
Recovery from augmentation was rough with three little kids under the age of 5. Explanting was easier on me than the initial augmentation surgery. I woke up from explant surgery looking 10 years younger and breathing deeper than I had in years!
How are you doing now, after explant?
I am just shy of 10 months post-op. All but a few lingering symptoms are gone since explant. The remaining symptoms are tied to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome which I got from my implants. It's been a 5-year journey to find out why my right arm has been losing feeling and going numb. I travel next month to a Vascular surgeon in Colorado to see what my next steps are. I'm left with pain throughout my right side from the TOS. Aside from the TOS, it's great to have my life back!
What would you like women who are considering explant to know?
Do your research. Learn how implants can affect your health. Be your own advocate and don't settle for no answers.