Seven and a half years ago I got breast implants. Almost no one in my life but a handful of my friends a couple of family members knew this about me to this date, but the reason I was so secretive was because I wanted the implants to “feel whole” in what I thought was from the inside out, so never used to make a showcase of them or make it a leading part of my identity. It wasn’t necessary for people to know.
I had just gone through a breakup. One Monday afternoon, my boyfriend of 6 years walked out of our new shared London home and never came back. We weren’t even fighting, just unexpected abandonment. My whole life felt unfamiliar and out of control. The people, the city, the career, it was all new and now I was alone.
I was depressed.
I wanted radical change. I’m not sure what was going through my mind. Maybe the influence from the tv show I’d watch or the promo girls I was surrounded by in my side hustle, but I wanted physical change and I wanted to fix what I thought my disordered eating as a teenager had hindered.
So, Breast implants.
It seems crazy to me even typing this because I can’t even identify with the place I was at and the person I was anymore.
I picked my surgeon based on who would rush me in and let me split the procedure across two credit cards, and off I went to have my body cut open, with zero knowledge or research about what was going to happen, who was going to do it, or what was in the implants.
I never really ever liked them once I had them. I’m so naturally slim that I spent the next 7 years going braless just so that gravity would calm them down a little! The only time I appreciated them was when I was dressed in lycra being a grid girl at some race track (side hustle extreme) I think they were a distraction for not feeling beautiful enough compared to all the models around me.
If these first four paragraphs have highlighted anything, it’s that I was unhappy from the inside-out and I had serious self love issues which I thought were just normal and fixable from the outside-in.
I met my husband like this, 7 months after I got my implants. His never ending stream of love for me and my body healed a lot of the desire to seek outwards validation. I quite my side hustle and ditched the attention seeking photos and never felt more filled up with love. And although this was external love still, he taught me to appreciate myself and value myself through love better than any lesson I’d had before.
So I just carried on through life like I didn’t have implants. When someone would ask me and I told them, them they’d be shocked, telling me that it seemed so out of alignment with who I was, and I just agreed.
Now, flash forward to 2019, a few things happened that snapped me out of ignoring them. Throughout the year I became more and more detach from that part of my body. When on a beach in a bikini, when you can see cleavage in a photo, when I was naked, I just started to develop a new dislike for myself, only this part of me wasn’t myself!
In June I listened to a podcast episode called “Breast Implant Illness, Why I Removed My Breast Implants” on ‘The Angie Lee Show’ which a friend had shared with me after I was opening up to her about not wanting my implants anymore. She interview Karissa Pukas about her journey of getting sick from implants and recovering to full health once they were removed.
And something clicked.
From researching onwards I learnt so much. Most shockingly that my implants (textured cohesive gel) are now banned in some of Europe and Canada, and even the FDA recognises the possible side affects associated. In fact, these specific implants that I had were directly linked to Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) – a cancer of the immune system. A risk I was not ok with!
From that day at the end of June every cell in my body was telling me to get the implants out. Everything my physical body was experiencing started to make sense. My body was experiencing so many random symptoms that you would never expect knowing the healthy lifestyle I lead. I had inflammation symptoms, aching knees and elbows, a really sensitive digestive system, stomach pain, migraines, sinus problems, anxiety, and generally feeling fatigued all the time. The symptoms starting getting worst in the last 12 months and despite usually being able to rally and cultivate amazing energy for shoot days, I was crashing pretty hard afterwards.
I found my surgeon on www.breastimplantillness.com, Mr Guy Sterne, he was the top listing for the UK. When I went in for the consultation I felt instantly heard and cared for. My surgeon performed En-Bloc Capsulectomy to remove the entire scar tissue capsule that forms around the implant as a protection mechanism. This is a really delicate procedure of removing the scar tissue from your ribs and muscle and it’s really important to find a reconstructive plastic surgeon so understands the risks of leaving possibly toxic scar tissue in your body.
But my journey of finding an explant surgeon in the UK who I trusted and felt understood the situation was not a smooth one. My mind was getting more anxious, my aches were spreading and I think the stress of having toxic foreign bodies inside me that I couldn’t easily remove made my body go into panic. The power of the mind can save or ruin us. And at the end of July in New York whilst waiting to cross the street, I collapsed and suffered a massive anxiety attack on the side of the road, which knocked my health right back.
The two week remaining before my surgery, I had back to back headaches and eye pain, dizziness, head rushes, crazy fatigue, a completely dysfunctional digestive system, anxiety and tears every day. I couldn’t even walk my dogs without needing to sit down every few hundred metres. By the time my surgery date came around I was so ready for the anaesthetist to just put me to sleep for a few hours.
So one week later, I’m here, resting up on my couch, writing this blog post because I want to pass on the life changing wake up call to anyone else who needs it. And I wanted to explain the journey because so many people are so quick to judge other peoples’ choices and paths in life. But if we don’t talk about things like mental health and medical issues and risks then we are all just alone on the Internet, and what’s the point in social platforms if nothing of substance is being shared?
And I’m still full of anaesthetic and pain medication, but I can tell you that I’m fully surrendering to my body’s rest and repair mode.
I feel like I’ve not stopped for years in comparison to how I feel right now. My mind is calm and slow, my body is happy to just sit and stare at the trees with no iPhone in sight. The scars on my breast will forever be something I love because it’s the path I’ve taken to this very moment. The result I’m left with is beautiful and I’ve not regretted the explant surgery one second since August 7th.
I’ll post an update of how I’m feeling once I’m fully healed. Right now I’m feeling better already but I don’t want to declare I’ve got full health until I’m up and living my fully active life again.
So I’m not allowed to leave the house for two weeks and my days over recovery right now look like this:
(Please note that I am not a nutritionist and that I have researched a lot about foods but don’t want to miss-guide anyone or have a debate about food with anyone either)
Loads of healing anti-inflammatory plant based foods and supplements:
- First thing – Lemon and Himalayan salt in water.
- Breakfast – Avocado on sourdough toast with chia and pumpkin seeds.
- Snack – A golden milk latte with hemp milk, medicinal grade turmeric, cinnamon and black pepper, blended with coconut oil
- Lunch – A loaded rainbow salad with hemp seeds and humus, a high strength multi-vitamin, a spirulina tablet, 5 mini chlorella tablets, a glass of hemp protein and marine collagen powder mixed with water.
- Snack – High fat smoothie with coconut cream, almond butter, avocado, frozen mixed berries, Lion’s Mane, Maca, marine collagen, and cacao.
- Dinner – A whole foods plant based low carb/ high fat meal with hemp seeds, quinoa and/or tempeh. A second high strength multi-vitamin, another glass of hemp protein and marine collagen powder mixed with water.
- A minimum of 8 glasses of water and occasional herbal teas throughout the day.
- Journalling – I’ve been journalling a gratitude practice every morning for 10 minutes, writing everything I’m grateful – both what I have or what I’m calling in but always in the present tense.
- Sound healing – I’ve been using Insight Timer and being for 20 minutes of heart chakra sound healing mediation 3 times a day, laying down.
- Earthing – The garden is as far as I can go so I’ve been laying on my yoga mat supported with cushions with my bare feet on the grass (wet it first for extra conductivity) for 30 mins every day in the sun. Vitamin D + negative ions from the Earth = total chill.
Every day I’ve been staying off technology as much as I need. It’s making me feel nauseous when I’m on it for too long, so I’m listening to my body. I’m doing a tiny work block when I feel up to it because I have clients to serve still. And I’m practicing the art of accepting help from others.