You lovely ladies have helped me on my journey through this nightmare, and hopefully I can pay it forward and help someone on theirs!! So here it is... my story.
I was really very awkward and different growing up, very small, skinny, and teased quite a bit until I reached the age of 17 and "blossomed". As an adult I stood at 5'5" 105 lbs 32C-24-34. I heard "you have the perfect body" a lot (my father likes to pat himself on the back for good genes, lol). I became a professional model, and was quite successful, appearing in magazines, etc...
I was always comfortable with my breasts, as they were fairly good sized for my petite frame, and the thought of implants never crossed my mind. In fact I thought I was fairly lucky.
At the age of 24 I developed a chronic and debilitating vestibular disorder that practically ruined my life. I saw a million specialists and no one could help me. It appeared as though it was something I would simply have to suffer with my entire life. I've literally done everything, including being seen by a "psychic nutritionist" (there are plenty of ridiculous people in Los Angeles willing to "help" you for disgusting sums of money). This person charged me hundreds of dollars to tell me about my childhood struggles (REALLY!? I had no idea!) and put me on a stupidly restrictive diet. I explained to her that I didnt think it was enough food to keep me healthy as I was already small. She reassured me that it was fine. Sure enough... in a week I was down to 97 lbs, and there went my beautiful C cup with it. I was too thin, everyone was concerned for me, but I followed this idiots diet for a year in an attempt to "fix" my illness. Not only did it not fix me, but since I was a professional model, I now felt incredibly self conscience about my small A cup breasts. the funny thing was that I didnt get that many complaints from photographers, etc. I was even cast in a feature film during that time working with the star of the film, small breasts and all! The point is, that the problem with my small breasts was all mine, no one else cared, it was all in MY own head. So, I convinced myself that I needed larger breasts. when really, the only problem was that I needed to stop the idiotic diet, gain weight back, AND gain some sense, lol. I just simply cannot use the word "ridiculous" enough!
**A Terrible Decision**
I made the decision to get breast implants Jan 08' at age 27. One of my best friends even supported it (she thought I should have gone bigger!!!!). I thought that I had done plenty of research on the matter, and i'm a research fiend, I love to be well educated on things. But I remember that I quite purposefully avoided research on the possible downsides of implants... I guess ingnorance is bliss. I met with 3 different doctors, and chose one that I felt was well qualified named Dr. David Stoker. He had a good name for himself in LA. I told no one I was getting the procedure done, which was a red flag that I was not proud of my decision. I discussed with Dr. Stoker what I wanted and he agreed that I was making a good decision: A moderate plus smooth cohesive gel silicone Mentor implant of 325 cc's under the muscle.
After healing from the painful surgery I was immediately unsure as to whether I had made the right decision. They looked great except for a rather noticeable "divet" in my cleavage on the right breast. I noticed it immediately. When I saw him for my follow up and asked what it was he said it was "normal" and it would probably go away. In fact the longer I had the implants the larger that divet got. That right implant always caused me discomfort.
I never ended up telling any of my family or friends (besides the one) that I had gotten implants. I was embarrased. They were never really "me" or my personality. And they were huge and I felt awkward and ashamed. I was now a 32DD... that was definitely NOT what I had intended the size to be, and I felt like I looked (again) ridiculous. I was always hiding them, slouching so they didnt look so big, etc. People love to judge a book by its cover, and I had a LARGE cover. lol. I was doing more acting and losing roles because who takes someone with huge fake tits seriously? My agent was sending me out for roles like "the hooker, the stripper, the dumb bubbly playboy model" etc. and then comedy roles I was perfect for I was missing out on! I auditioned once for a great comedic role, and I had both the writers at the audition in stitches at my read through. afterwards their assistant chased me out into the hallway and pulled me aside and very uncomfortably said "they LOVE you, but I have to ask... are your breasts real?"
The only time the implants were acceptable was when I was doing a pinup or glamour shoot. Then I could push them up to the sky! lol. But the longer I had them the more I resented them. Let alone the fact that I missed coming home after a long day and ripping off my bra and letting them free! lol. Can't do that with big boobs. I had to wear a sports bra all the damn time. even to sleep. It hurt to have them unsupported, it hurt to lay on my stomach, it hurt to lay on my back with the weight of them pulling. And every month during my period they felt so sore and heavy it was unbelievable! It gave my boyfriend warm fuzzies to hear me say "OW!!" everytime he tried to touch me. lol
And my favorite part of all...
The greatest insult that I experience (and on a regular basis) is when someone (men) remarks to me after speaking to me for ten minutes that they "can't believe I'm so intelligent". Because i'm attractive and a Model (with fake boobs) I must be stupid? This I feel is the best example of what a sad state our society is in, and on so many levels. So, women that feel they arent attractive think they need to be attractive to have self worth, and women that are attractive think that thats ALL the worth that they possess. what ever happened to a womans intelligence or sense of humor being attractive!? Is that really all our society values in women now? How nice our tan is, how pretty our nails are, how short our skirt is, how hard we "party". Do women no longer have any substance (Thanks Jersey shore and Kardashians)!? Even in modeling... I HATE being hired for glamour shoots. I would much rather do art thats thought provoking, even disturbing, as long as it makes you think, forces you to see the world differently. to be raw, and unique, to have a voice. now, THATS sexy.
Apologies for my rant... however isnt this why we're all here? Walking down the winding road of life, coming to the realization (each in our own way) that these implants are toxic whether they made us physically ill or not.
However, I shall get back to the technical details of my story, as those are important...
**Implants Are Safe!!! Ha Ha Ha... sure.**
I eventually stopped the absurd diet and gained the weight back. I always knew from the moment I got the implants that when it was time to remove them I would not have them replaced. I assumed that they would last about 10-15 years. Boy was I wrong. I hadent planned on having them taken out anytime soon and dealing with the expense and the surgery. But sometimes life makes decisions for you. I started to feel badly again sometime last year (my vestibular disorder is like a rollercoaster ride. sometimes its not so bad, and sometimes I want to vomit all over myself). I started having new symptoms that I'd never experienced before: joint pain in random places on my body, depression with no motivation and fatigue. I was having a hard time getting out of bed, stomach issues, plenty of dizziness and vertigo (of course I can never tell if thats simply my vestibular disorder), terrible anxiety, chest pain, etc... I ended up in the ER hooked up to an EKG because the chest pain got so bad one day. then about 2 months ago my right breast started to hurt, then I was getting shooting pains down my right arm with burning, itching, and numbness. And I knew... It was the implants. What had I done to myself...
I immediately started doing research. Sure enough, the problems I was having were all common with implant poisening. And sure, they're approved by the FDA (so is Aspartame which was initially denied by the FDA in the 70's because in its studies 95% of the lab rats they were testing it on developed cancer. But the FDA magically decided to approve it on day, hmmm... and TA DA!! One of my best friends almost dies from drinking diet coke for years), but neither the FDA or any plastic surgeon is going to tell you breast implants are poison and ruin their trillion dollar business. However I have read plenty of test studies (done independently of the FDA or implant manufacturers) proving that they are in fact toxic. And these shiny new cohesive gel implants that they've convinced people are safer!? Yeah, they're not. what does any of this mean? Absolutely nothing... women are still going to get implants. and some will get sick, and some wont. In our current society vanity superceeds health. We know for a fact that sunbathing without sunscreen causes skin cancer. People still slop on that oil and lay in the sun. No one cares what COULD happen until it DOES happen.
I knew they had to come out. Right then and there. I made consultation appt's with a couple dr's near my area, one who specialized in explants according to a couple different sites, and another doctor whom I actually learned of from reading someone else's review on this very site! I ended up picking him! Dr. Daniel Kim in Mission Viejo. Meanwhile I was feeling worse and worse. I was in excrutiating pain with my right breast and could barely move. I started to run a slight fever that went up and down, and felt like I had the flu. It was just terrible. I was close to going to the ER again. When Dr. Kim examined me he said that he thought I had nerves exposed that the implant was rubbing up against. He did a test on me and I just about dropped to my knee's in pain, at which point he told me that I needed to have them out ASAP. He did seem a bit confused as to what was causing so much intense pain though, and didnt think I had very much capsular contracture. He also didnt believe that I had a rupture because the implants were so young (I wasnt so sure). He (like any other plastic surgeon) will not admit to the fact that the implants could make anyone ill. I told him very clearly that I didnt care what his opinion on the subject was as long as he was willing to take the implants out as I asked (en bloc to decrease contamination). I was also aware that this might not be possible because 1) since my implants were under the muscle the capsule might have adhered to my muscle/chest, and 2) if I had exposed nerves he would have to leave the capsule covering them. I understood. He also had a concern that since my incision was done around the nipple that once the implants were removed and I would have empty space, and scar tissue pulling that it was common for the nipple to indent/dimple. We wanted to try and avoid that obviously, so he would have to rebuild each layer of tissue below my nipples. He also wanted to remove all my previous scar tissue as it was his opinion that I had not been sewn up very well. Ironic considering thats what I had thought when I had the implants put in... that the incision sight was a little sloppy. Dr. Kim actually wrote the words "unsightly" in my operation report when referring to my previous incision scar. haha! I found it humorous. Something that wasnt so humorous to me was when I asked him why I'd had that big divet in my right breast since the day I got them done, his response was simple... the implanting surgeon didnt make a big enough pocket to fit my implant. Really!? REALLY!? Awesome.
So I made the date for my surgery the very soonest they could get me in which was less than two weeks after I saw him. I was very happy to be rushed along! The date was set for the 10th of June (I'm about 3 weeks post as I'm writing this).
Now, I had called my previous surgeon about a consultation, however I never went in because when I asked his nurse on the phone if he performed en bloc she told me that she had never heard of it. When I asked her if she could see if he was familiar with the technique (I was not going to pay $100 for a consultation if he was unable to perform the surgery the way it needed to be attempted) she became irritated and rude with me and practically hung up on me after stating that yeah, she'd ask and get back to me. then the line went dead. lol. Excellent bedside manner.
So! I had a week and a half to suffer while I waited for my surgery! lol. I didnt do much, was unable to. My poor boyfriend has been dealing with me this whole time. The man deserves some sort of medal. Or a cookie. I figure if he can survive war (Marine Veteran) he can deal with my whining. Though, you'd be surprised... I think he'd rather be back in Iraq. haha! Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and I've been one pissy woman lately.
**The Day Has Arrived!!! Hooray!!**
My surgery Date arrived, and I was both nervous and excited! I was very much looking forward to having my little boobies back, although worried what they would look like after 6 1/2 years with implants.
I simply LOVED the surgery center! It was very nice, I was very comfortable, and the staff was lovely! It was newport beach surgery center. And I would absolutely recommend them!!! Dr. Kim came in and we discussed the surgery again, the staff prepped me, nothing really note worthy here that I can think of... pretty standard. when I was in the bathroom alone changing I said goodbye to my large breasts. For the couple weeks before I had been worried that I would miss them. I would think "awww, I cant wear a corset anymore". lol. But that was a small worry. Mostly I was concerned that my little boobies would be so ugly that I would miss the big ones.
The next thing I knew I was waking up from surgery! I wasnt terribly nauseated, but I was shaking violently. The nurse was very kind and attentive. she gave me some pain meds and nausea meds, and took care of me very sweetly. They let my boyfriend in and she showed him how to "drain" me, and document my drain contents. Having the drains was super important too! Then when I was really awake Dr. Kim came in to check on me and tell me how the surgery went. Everything went well... but this is where I get angry.
He had to leave 50% of my capsule in because I had nerves exposed on both sides of my chest. not his fault, I was just dissapointed that so much poisoned scar tissue had to be left in me. Oh well. Nothing I can do about it. Then he tells me that he had to do some reconstruction on my left breast because the previous doctor placed my implant incorrectly and my breast tissue was in the wrong place so he had to move it back to the right place. And my favorite part!!!! He removed 325 cc's moderate plus silicone cohesive gel TEXTURED implants. Thats right folks! I asked for smooth, we discussed smooth, and he even agreed with me that smooth implants are better!!! Then he put textured implants in me and lied about it!! Not just that. He put in the old style textured implants that have the big seam around the back. And when Dr kim flipped my right implant over, sure as shit... there was a hole on the seam of my right implant. The reason I picked smooth implants in the first place was because textured are more prone to capsular contracture, they adhere to the breast tissue preventing the implants from moving around as a natural breast would, and they have a shorter shelf life! not to mention that they're even MORE unhealthy than the other ones because the textured material is known to "flake off".
So let me say this plainly. I feel utterly violated, disrespected, and taken advantage of. and i'm COMPLETELY FURIOUS. Did the conversation in the operating room go like such?... "well, we've ordered all these textured implants and now nobody wants them, so lets save some money and go ahead and just throw them on in there. By the time they have an explant they wont even remember what kind they ordered". I'm willing to take responsibilty for the fact that I made the bad decision to have implants put into my body in the first place, however, I didnt think it was too much to ask for my surgeon to be ethical. Now I wonder how many women he's done that to, including all the ladies I referred to him myself.
So, thats that.
**Time To Heal**
Dr. Kim said everything looked good so I didnt need to come in the following day, which was great because I live in LA, over an hour from his office. I would have to keep the drains in for 6 days. I was fine with that, I figured the more crap that drained out the better! the Dr. didnt put anything but a regular bra on me that I had brought in. I had purchased a 32B which was too small so they took the wires out. My boyfriend lives 15 minutes from the dr's office, so he drove me back to his place. I was exhausted and felt like sleeping but couldnt because my heart was racing and I could feel it pounding in my chest. It stayed like that for a couple hours. Must have been the meds. I took more nausea meds when we got home, and didnt feel like eating anything until later that night. My mouth was incredibly dry though, and I was drinking water like it was going out of style, and ate saltine crackers cause it was all I could handle. The pain wasnt bad at all though. Later that evening I started to feel more achy.
Sleeping was a pain in the ass. The Dr. said I didnt have to sleep propped up, but I did anyway because it was painful to sleep lying down. I'm a side sleeper so I havent slept well the last few weeks to say the least. The next morning I was in A LOT more pain. lol. my chest muscles hurt badly, and I could barely move. My boyfriend had to pull my pants up and down to use the bathroom (thankfully he didnt have to whipe me, haha). I was to leave the bra on till the drains came out, and I wasnt allowed to shower. We had decided to let me recover at my place where I was more comfortable and had A/C. lol. so we made the drive (an hour and a half) back to my place. It was NOT fun. I could feel every bump in the road and was thankful to be home.
For the next 5 days I pretty much lived on the couch. The first 2-3 days the pain was bad in my breasts and needed the pain killers. I was also (and still am) having severe headaches and migraines ever since surgery so have had to take some of the pain killers for that purpose too which sucks. I've felt a little worse since getting the implants taken out which is common because my body is detoxing. The day after surgery I was concerned because there was blood leaking out of the drain at the incision site (as you can see in the photos) I was told this was normal and not to be concerned. I had Dr. Kim's cell phone number and email, and was welcomed to call or text at any time day or night. I thought that was really wonderful, and had not been offered such comforting attention by either of the other two surgeons that have opperated on me. If I felt there was something wrong I could simply text him a photo and he could tell me everything looked fine! Ahhhh technology! ;)
So, the following day after surgery I took my bra off very briefly in order to take photos of what I looked like (as you can see). Don't do that. lol. I very nearly blacked out and threw up all over the place.
My boobs looked squished and weird, but I had expected that. They had fastened my drains to my bra, but I found that it was a lot more comfortable and they drained better by fastening them to my shorts. Also, you want to squeeze as much air out of the drains as possible for them to create the best suction and drain well. You absolutely must have drains for this type of explant! If a surgeon doesnt use drains, go to someone else! After all the research I had done, I made a checklist of things to discuss and ask each doctor I had a consultation with. It was very helpful.
**Drains Be Gone!!**
I couldnt pick anything up, I couldnt use my arms for much. I was glad to finally be getting the drains out 6 days later, but dreading how gross and painful it would be. lol. Fortunately they had me lie down which was awesome. I turned my head so I couldnt see anything going on, but it was relatively quick. A little painful, but not too bad. they just pull them right out and put gauze over the hole and the little holes close by themselves. My boyfriend watched, and said that the part that was inside me was really long like it was wound up inside my breast!! ha! She told me I could shower the next day.
I spoke with the dr and asked all kinds of questions about the procedure when I was there so I was sure I caught everything. He was sending the implants back to Mentor and theres a good chance i'll get $2,400 back because of the hole. Better than a sharp stick in the eye! He said I had made a really good decision, and I had gotten them out just in time before the silicone started seeping out of the hole into my chest. I will also tell you that during my first consultation with him he not ONCE said anything about that maybe I should have new implants put in. The other dr I saw was very... lets just say, not optimistic about the outcome, and mentioned that I probably wouldnt be happy with the way they looked unless I had new implants or a lift. Dr. Kim told me what could happen, what he was concerned about, and then offered ways in which to prevent it. He was optimistic, and warm and reassured me that I was making the right decision for myself. He cost $1,500 more than the other dr. But this time I went with my gut!! haha! ;)
Dr. Kim said that everything looked great and he was happy to see that my nipples werent showing any signs of dimpling! He also said that I could start massaging my breasts gently.
I felt much better with the drains out and the following day attempted my first shower! It hurt a bit but I took it slow. At that point it hurt to not have a bra on. As you can see from the photos They look a bit deflated but that was to be expected. The following day I had some depression upon looking at myself in the mirror. One looked saggy and empty and the other my nipple was pointing down and it seemed that the breast was not dropping properly like the other. I took photos of it. I tried to prepare myself beforehand concerning these types of things, but it can get a little difficult. lol. My boyfriend had to keep reassuring me that it was only a week post surgery and I needed to give them time! lol. I knew this, it was just depressing to look at, and I felt like shit, and in pain.
My boyfriend brought me back up to my house and dropped me off, now I was on my own for a few days! I laid around, had a ton of migraines, and massaged my new little boobs with coconut oil once a day (using raw organic coconut oil). After one particular night of massaging I thought maybe I had massaged too hard because I was in a ton of pain in the right breast (the one thats always given me trouble and is now the weird one that wont drop). It was so bad I couldnt sleep till 5am. So that was kind of scary. The dr told me later that this was normal and i'll still experience pain like that on and off while the muscles are coming back together and healing.
**Two Weeks Post**
The dr saw me again at the two week mark and I expressed my concerns about my wonky breast. He said simply that one will heal faster than the other, and this one is just taking longer... to give it time, and it will drop (it has to, gravity will make it), and he showed me how to massage them. There are big hard lumps under my incision site, and I have to massage those every day even though it hurts. I also need to keep tape on my incisions 24/7 to try and help them heal nicely. one is buldging a little. I'm allowed to wear whatever I want now since my incisions arent under the breast. He said that he's still seeing little chance of me dimpling, and that they look great! Everyone was surprised by how much actual breast tissue I have. lol. I'm barely a 32C right now, but i'm a little under weight because I havent been feeling well through this whole thing (probably around 102 lbs right now?) once I put on a few more pounds (I'm healthy at around 105-108 lbs) I should be a full 32C. I'm still not allowed to lift anything heavy, or do push ups, etc. At the month mark he says all restrictions are off. And I dont have another appt with him till i'm 5 weeks post surgery (July 14th).
as I'm writing this now, I'm 2 1/2 weeks post surgery. I wear a bra at night because its more comfortable to sleep if they're supported. But during the day I "free boob" it alot. haha! you have no idea how much I'm loving not having to wear a bra anymore if I dont want to! Sooooo comfy! And the wonky breast is very slowly starting to straighten out, and stop acting like a crazy teenager trying to be all unique and shit ;). they are slowly starting to "fluff" and the extra skin is starting to retract already. I've been trying to drink LOTS of water to help with this. I have a whole list of things to help my boobs and skin heal. I may make a list for everyone here at some point!
**The Real Me**
The bottom line though... I LOVE my little boobies!! Not for a second do I regret getting them taken out. I look in the mirror and smile. I feel like "me" again. They look better and better every day. Today was the first day that I went grocery shopping by myself, and I felt confident. Before I always felt self conscience like everyone was looking at me thinking "that girl's got fake tits". I can't believe I was actually worried that I might miss them. Not even a little bit. Not at all! I feel like I can wear what I want and not have to worry about whether I look like a hooker or not. I would look at my friends with their little boobs and something cute they were wearing and think "if I wore that i'd look like a slut, where as she looks fashionable". I HATED that as I've always been seriously into fashion. To not feel comfortable in clothes was a nightmare. I was such a fool. SUCH a fool.
I know I have a long road of recovery ahead with detoxing and feeling like crap, but I'm hopeful the end of it will come in the next year and (minus my vestibular disorder) i'll feel great again. thats what I've heard from other ladies in similar situations... they usually get back to around 100% within a year of explant. I'm just so glad that they're out, and I can start the healing process. My manager is ecstatic! haha. I can finally, and confidently be sent out for great roles and be taken seriously. My boyfriend is really happy too, he loves my little boobies.
**To Health and Healing!!**
They feel better and better every day (besides yesterday when my cat rabbit kicked me in the nipple, yeah... that was awesome. lol). I'm starting to be able to sleep better, and be able to turn on my side a little more. Besides not being able to lift heavy things, I can pretty much do everything for myself now. I still have to be careful about how I use my muscles, they still hurt quite a bit at times. My nipples still hurt a bunch and are really sensitive. And when I flex my chest muscles my breasts distort like I still have implants. Thats common too, and just another price I paid for making a bad decision. It will probably be like that forever. oh well! I plan on starting to workout again in the next few days or so, we'll see how that goes!
Well, I suppose thats it for now! Thanks for listening to my very long story!! haha! Hopefully it's helped (or entertained) you in some way. I will be updating frequently with my progress and continuing to post photos! I shall also post info that I think might be helpful like things to ask your surgeon, things you should be doing diet or health wise (i'm big into organic eating and supplements to help heal). Some of the best advice from a nutritionist (not a psychic one, pah): the best way to get toxins out of your body is to not put any more in.
I am absolutely happy to answer any questions you might have, or help in any way that I can. I hope you are all keeping your spirits up while on your own journey's!! ;)