54 Years Old, Silicone Implants Since I Was 22 - Its Time for a Big Change in my Life! - Winter Park, FL

Thank you to all who have come before me and...

Thank you to all who have come before me and shared so vulnerably and honestly about your implant and then explant journeys. Having volunteered for the past 4 years with newly bereaved Mom’s who have lost their baby, I know how it can seem you are all alone…and then you find others like you and it’s not quite as overwhelming. I know this from personal experience. The same has happened for me in finding this site and reading so many personal stories and seeing so many photos…I am not alone and I feel encouraged and supported in my explant journey. Short story: After 32 years, (pretty much my entire adult life) I am choosing to have my implants removed. I have a consultation scheduled on July 5, 2016 with Dr. Rotatori in Winter Park, FL. My hopes are that after Labor Day, I will have my explant surgery. My plan is to document my journey along the way, sharing to support myself and hopefully those who come to read this after me. I am very open to feedback, suggestion, questions and encouragement, so please feel free. Longer Story: In January 2016, I had a Mammogram and the woman administering it casually mentioned that my implants were kind of hard. I started thinking about this in the weeks following and realized that I had some choices - I could either do nothing, get them replaced or get them removed. My mom had expressed concern in the previous years - which motivated me to send a mammogram to my plastic surgeon in 2009/10 and he said he thought they looked ok, but to keep having them checked. My first implants I received when I was 22, my second when I was 29. I have had the current implants for 25 years. Recently, I have been in a place where I’ve chosen some quiet time and to work on deeper healing – something I have done lots of over the years. Given that, I decided to really take on diving deep in to looking at my implants. In a short amount of time I was clear that I wanted to have my implants removed and then proceeded to work on understanding more deeply and healing the “why” behind them. I could write many pages on my realizations and healing work I have done in the past 3 – 4 months, no doubt similar to many who have shared here – influenced by my Dad leaving my mom for a younger woman and seeing my mom suffer, thinking I needed to look differently on the outside to attract men, therefore finding women as my competition. I am feeling sad as I write these words as so much of my healing work over the years has been about loving, honoring, valuing and appreciating who I am on the inside and reconnecting and creating deep and wonderful friendships with women and seeing them as my support, my tribe, my family. My wonderful husband has only known me with implants and he has definitely been on my mind with this decision. We have talked and shared and no doubt will do more. I know he loves me deeply and will be there for me…and still, there is a little nervousness in my belly when I think of him looking at me post surgery. I have created a long list of questions for my consultation – most of which I have collected from many of you. Happy to share if anyone is interested. Questions I do have: I would appreciate hearing about diet/nutrition to support surgery, healing your gut after antibiotics, creams and massage for scarring, and bra suggestions. Thank you.

Consultation Complete - lots of details and surgery date set!

I had my consultation on July 5th with Dr. Rotatori (who I had done a lot of research on – and others) who is located in Winter Park, FL. My husband came with me for support – being there for and with me, taking notes, asking additional questions and also recording the session. I had a huge list of questions and felt as prepared as I could be – thanks to all the research and months of reading and conversing with so many beautiful women on Real Self!
The office was lovely, the staff was friendly and warm. All in all, I felt comfortable and liked the Doctor. He has a very calm and even-keeled voice/nature and seemed gentle. I went ahead and scheduled my surgery for September 9th and my Pre-op Appt is on August 26th – dates I had figured out ahead of time just in case!

Specifics: We talked for a while first, he examined me and then we talked more after. The entire time with the Doctor, we were in a small examining room. He does explants pretty regularly, I think he said every couple of weeks. He does take out the scar tissue capsule and implant together = capsulectomy. I asked if he could take a photo of it and if I could have the implants back. He said yes, I would need to remind him and that if they were ruptured, he couldn’t give it back to me.
One of the questions I had for him was if he thought I needed a lift. After examining me he said I didn’t – that my nipples were positioned in the center of the breast and that the breast has a nice shape. He said I may end up being a full A when I’m done, now the breast is ¾ implant…which was not a surprise given how I started. I asked about feeling/sensation in the breast/nipple area and he said that pulling out the capsule would cause a “stretch injury” and that the nipple and breast sensation would go through a period of healing where I could lose feeling and then have it come back. I lost feeling in the bottom part of my breast when I had BA…so will be curious what happens after. We talked about the surgery process, aftercare and the healing process. He said it’s a pretty quick recovery. My original scars are at the bottom of my areolas and the surgery will be under my breasts in the crease. My implants are on top of the muscle. I brought my two most recent mammo reports and there is a bulge in one implant (which I am aware of) and he said it could just be a crease or a possible small rupture. I will have drains, which will come out in a week or sooner and I will have gauze pads and a bra that they will put me in after surgery. I will wear this bra for 2 -3 weeks and then can wear a soft bra for another month. Then I am free to do whatever. I come back to be checked a week later, 2 weeks after that and then a month later.

I asked for the Consent Form ahead of time (which I received) so I could take it home and read it slowly and carefully. His office also gave me a booklet with lots of information - about risks, instructions, reactions, descriptions of what happens in the operating room and recovery room and common reactions from friends and family.
At my pre-op appointment (2 weeks before), I will receive the prescriptions - so that I can have them filled out already – for the pain meds and antibiotics. The cost for the capsulectomy with explantation is $5,165.00. That includes the operating room and Anesthesia. I paid a $500 non-refundable deposit when I scheduled the surgery.

I had a very busy day after the appointment and the next morning after it setting in for a bit, I felt emotional. I have done so much inner work in my life and then a bunch this year…some of it specific to my implants…I am really feeling ready. Still, I have had them 32 years of my 54 years of life. Yesterday, I started saying to my breasts/implants “thank you” and sending them lots of love and gratitude. I am wanting to create a ceremony for me for this transition in my life.
Again, I thank all the women who have gone before me and shared here. You are making a difference and have helped me.

My Pre-op Appointment

Yesterday I had my Pre-op appt which is 2 weeks before my surgery - Friday September 9th at 7:30am. It was pretty straight forward for me…lots of papers to sign, a packet of information for me and lots of information shared. I had a list of questions (some of which was covered) that I asked about when the nurse was finished. I did have a bit of an emotional down after the appointment in the afternoon – feeling very vulnerable and needing support and understanding. I was able to share this with my husband and trusted my knowledge that feelings come and go and this morning woke up feeling great.
Some of the specifics from my appt. - not in any particular order were:
I was told that my bilateral capsulectomy with explantation will take about 2 hours and then about 1 hour of recovery before I can go home.
Use frozen peas (not directly on skin) on breasts for the first 2 – 3 days, 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off – as comfortable.
Sleep on back slightly propped up till drains are out and it feels comfortable for me to move to my side (my favorite way to sleep).
She suggested (my question) a dinner with protein and carbs the night before and said that sometimes when people eat a lot and late prior to the midnight cutoff, they actually end up being hungrier.
Eating after surgery – soft, mild, broth, soup, protein. Eggs sounded good to me.
After 2 days I can take a shower – dressing/gauze off, wear a lanyard or shoestring so I can clip drains and I don’t need to replace the dressing after.
Surgery bra – wear 24/7 for 3 weeks except when showering or washing it.
Steri strips remain on for 2 weeks.
Take Arnica (I asked her and she suggested it…I was already planning on it, just wondering what she would say).
I have requested photos of my implants/capsules and also to receive my implants back.
Movement after surgery – gentle neck rolls, shoulder rolls and gentle movement with arms to see what feels ok with range of motion – no overhead.
She suggested a stool softener and prune juice and extra vitamin C because of the antibiotic.
I was given my 2 prescriptions to fill ahead of time – one for pain and one antibiotic.
I will have my post op appt 1 week later.
My husband was instructed on the drains. I had this job this past spring with my sister who had breast cancer surgery, so I am already familiar.
The nurse said once the output in each drain is 20ml or less per drain for 2 days in a row, I can come in and get the drains taken out.
In addition to my chiropractor who studies Functional Medicine, I have been working with an Acupuncture Physician, Chinese Herbalist (AP, DOM) in addition to doing my own research about diet prior to surgery.
This is some of what I am choosing to do:
To give my liver (detox) a break, I stopped the following 3 weeks before surgery and will go at least one week after surgery:
Gluten, corn, sugar, alcohol, soy and dairy.
I have purchased (with my DOM’s support), the Vitamedica program to help recovery after surgery – should receive it a few days.
I am having a super green shake for dinner 2x a week in addition to my morning healthy smoothie.
I have a list of foods to make sure and eat at least 1 week prior to surgery to help with recovery and after effects of anaesthesia.
I will change my pro-biotic (that I take daily) to a recommended one to take while you are on antibiotics - once I start my anti-biotic.
I also continue to work on my emotional well-being and support. I am receiving acupuncture, will see my therapist (who I go to on an as-needed basis) once more before surgery and then again after.
I have been journal writing and sharing deeply with my husband, close friends and family about my journey.
My little Sis (who I mentioned earlier) sent me her super cool shirt to wear that was made specifically for breast surgery with drains – a little pocket for them and easy step in and out. I am touched that I will be wearing the same shirt she wore.
I am feeling confident about the surgery, my intentions and my outcome. I am awed by the opportunities for learning in life. This is a big one for me and I have been working on it for a long time. I knew that when I started the journey in January of deciding to explant, my deep emotional healing needed to come first. I have been committed to this for months and am proud of the work I have done. As I have so intimately learned (personally and educationally) from grief, you are never “over it”, yet you can come to a beautiful place “being with it”.
The journey continues and the next step will be September 9th – my explant surgery.

6 days to go...a bit of my inner world

I have been preparing for surgery - supplements, support, foods, etc. I am also continuing my journey of emotional healing and readiness. I knew I was needing to write and after a walk on the beach this morning, I wrote the following. Blessings to you all.
Yesterday I felt like I was quietly and inwardly nesting. I went through my bras and put all but 2 in a bag to go to the hospice resale store. I did the same with my bathing suit tops. I washed my new bras and placed them in the drawer. I looked online at Coobie bras – suggested by a friend who loves them and is small breasted. I am excited about ordering some.
So many thoughts going through my head – I am in preparation mode for something I have never experienced. It feels similar to getting ready to bring home a new baby, or doing something new and different for my external body – hair color or cut or even something more drastic – plastic surgery to make me “look better” with the hopes and plans of feeling good and looking good. This is different though. I will look different and be making a big change and yet I am choosing to do something to my body that in my opinion and in many people’s opinion will be less attractive. Wow, that was an eye opener to write that…says who? My breasts are a part of my physical body that has helped me be here on this earth and experience many amazing and wonder things. I nursed my son. Tears. I wish I had a photo. I gave life-sustaining nourishment to my son through my breasts. I did this with breast implants.
I thank you breast implants for all you have done to contribute to my life. I have learned so much from having you, starting with outer confidence and then giving me the opportunity to really dig deep in to my childhood, understand what happened and how I interpreted it all, the feelings that arose from those interpretations and beliefs and then getting to a point of healing and releasing those deeply imbedded beliefs. Thank you my breast implants.
Now is the time for me to say thank you from the bottom of my heart and to say farewell and good-bye. I have received the gift you came to give me and now it is time to go. This reminds me of my precious baby girl, my daughter who came so briefly in to my life to give me a precious gift and then she left.
I am ready to have my breasts contain only what I was born with. I am ready to love them without implants. I am ready to love them in whatever shape they are or will be, now and after my surgery. I love you my breasts. Thank you for being part of me.
I am beautiful, all of me. I know this deep down. As I age and my body changes, I am grateful for all it can do to keep me healthy and experiencing so many wonderful things. I am ready.

Tomorrow is the day!

By this time tomorrow, I should be back home from my breast explantation. I am as prepared as I can possibly be after doing months of internal work, months of research, reading post after post of the incredibly brave and beautiful women who have gone before me and finally coming to a place of being ready. Ready...what does that mean to me? A sense of feeling deeply grounded in who I am and the work I have done to be sitting here right now. Ready because of the deep understanding I have of why I chose implants - the beliefs I had and the fear I had. Ready because I have come to a place of deep love for myself with or without implants. Ready because I don't see my implants as "bad" or "wrong" or "I shouldn't have" - I made the choice and some needs were met in that choice. Now, I can release my implants with gratitude and know that I am truly ready for a new direction. Ready because of all the photos Ive seen here and the vulnerable sharing along with incredibly informative suggestions - which have all supported me in preparing and also not feeling alone. Ready because I have shared with those in my intimate circle about my implant journey. Ready because I've asked for support and prayers from those close to me. Ready because today, I truly feel in all ways, ready!
I thank the women who have gone before me and shared so intimately and hope that I too can be a light of inspiration for others who are contemplating breast explant.
I ask for your prayers, light, well-wishes to experience the next part of my journey in a healthy, easeful, comfortable, loving way. I will check back in when I feel ready. Blessings.

The day after

It's been almost exactly 24 hours since the end of my surgery. I knew I wanted to post here about my experience as so many other wonderful women have - which truly supported and served me by doing that - and I also needed to care for myself first and write when I truly felt ready. That is now.
I will give a bit of a recap of my 24 hours and am open to questions if anyone has them :)

Yesterday, we got up early, 4:50am for a 6:30am check-in, I showered and cleaned the surgical area, my husband packed a cooler filled with ice, an ice pack, Bromelain pills, arnica, pineapple juice mixed with water, raw cashews and a hard boiled egg. I got in to my comfy super cool outfit (including my sister's vest that has a pocket for drains after surgery - she used it earlier this year for breast cancer surgery), and headed out.

We arrived at the surgery center, signed in and were led in to a room where I changed in to a gown and pretty "hat" hairnet ;)
I met with the attending nurse who chatted with me for a bit and brought me warm blankets, the anesthesiologist who asked me about any questions and inserted the iv in the top of my hand. I did have a question about nausea and she said there was a medication in the IV that would help. I also wore an anti-nausea wristband on each wrist that I got at CVS. Then Dr. Rotatori came in, we chatted a bit and asked if I had any questions. I reminded him (which he had in his notes) that I wanted a photo of the implants and capsules and also to receive the implants back if possible. He then drew on me. The nurse came back in with the doctor and injected something in to my IV. I asks if it was happy juice and he said no, antibiotic. I took a quick trip to the restroom holding my IV bag, kissed my Beloved husband and then followed the nurse and walked in to the operating room. I climbed up on the bed and got a pillow under my knees. They got my IV in place and started chatting with me about where I was from…I remember chatting about where I had lived, they gave me a little oxygen and then next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery...which is exactly what they said would happen.

The nurses were chatting, gave me some ginger ale - which tasted like a gift from above - and then I remember chiming in on their conversation about husbands, relationship, etc. I don't remember much else. My husband came back, I got dressed, got into a wheelchair and out I went to the car.

The news we got from the doctor was that the timing was good - the implants had started getting small holes and leakage had started. He got both the implants and the capsules surrounding them out and I’m hopeful that any residual silicone was in the capsule. I am pretty amazed at how much scar tissue/capsule there was.

Once in the car I had my bromelain tablets, juice, and nuts and then some arnica. Then we made a few phone calls.
Arriving home we got set with the antibiotics and meds and some food. I rested lots. I felt nauseous a few time yesterday and we figured out by last night that it was the heavy duty meds that made me feel that way. Pretty sure I am done with them now - only extra strength tylenol today.
We emptied the drains last night - lots of fluid. Once I have 20ml or less from each breast for 2 days, I can go in and get the drains taken out.

I took my last heavy duty pill (I only ever took one and could have taken two) around 8pm then went to bed around 8:30 last night and slept pretty darn well. We have an awesome bed that adjusts - so I raised the head and even the foot a bit to hold me in a great "on my back" position. I woke up for about 1/2 hour only because my mind got busy. No pain meds after my 8pm one. This morning I am feeling good, happy, delighted and loving myself - all of me. I’ve been sending love to myself and my breasts.
My husband has been absolutely wonderful and amazing - so caring and so attentive. I am SO blessed.
I have my implants here at home and will take time in the near future to create a thank you and good-by ceremony for them.
I have placed my hands on my breasts (gently of course) a few times and love my new way. The first time was strange because of what I had been used to...now, its my new normal! I invited my husband to do the same. I will take my compression bra off for a shower in the next few days and will post a photo then. I know that I am swollen a bit (from all I have learned from you all!) and regardless I am absolutely loving the new me!
I feel like my whole being is beaming. I am happy, grateful and so blessed.
Thank you all for your prayers, well-wishes and encouragement.

2 days after explant surgery

I started reading ‘Love Warrior’ by Glennon Doyle Melton yesterday afternoon. I was needing something to do for a little distraction, as I was feeling a bit sore in my upper body, a little grouchy and a bit uncomfortable around my bra line from the compression on my sutures. I was grateful to have had a phone call from my Doctor checking up on me who said I could undo a few of the hooks on the bra to release the pressure and he said, “and remember, you can take a shower tomorrow.”

I started reading the book and remember thinking when I went to bed last night, maybe that wasn’t the right book for me to be reading right now – though I hadn’t really thought why other than it was hard stuff to read.

This morning, day 2, as I usually do in the morning, I felt really good. Had my coffee, a hard-boiled egg, and my antibiotic. I then asked my husband if he would take me for a quick trip to the beach. We live very close and I needed to connect with Mother Nature and wanted to get my toes in the sand and in the ocean for a few minutes. We left around 8:30am and I ran in to one of my dearest friends there who we “just happened” to park next to without knowing it. Wonderful.

After we came back, I had my healthy smoothie and my vitamins, we turned on the TV and I asked my husband to put it on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah, which he did. Well guess whom she was interviewing? Glennon Doyle Melton! As I listened to the interview, I “got” the synchronicity or “meant to be” very quickly around the timing of me seeing this. She shares in her book how from a young age she was “taught” from society about who “they” want you to be and she knew on the inside, she was a completely different person. She called this exterior part, her 'representative'…the part that said the “right” things, looked the “right” way, etc. As I watched the interview, I said to my husband, “this is so fu...ing perfect in the timing of all I’ve been going through with my healing…and I just had my surgery on Friday and now I’m watching this!”
I have been working on releasing my “representative” little by little for a long time. Lots of deep healing work, some of it very painful. I finally know, deep down in my heart and soul that I don’t have to look and be a certain way to: be loved, to have/get a husband, be liked by others, be seen as special, etc, etc, - this is most relevant at this time when I have made the commitment to have my breast implants removed, really do deep healing work around them first, and come to a beautiful place (which I have) of loving me, all of me, the light parts, the dark parts, my aging parts, my wise parts, all of me! Whew!

I was looking forward to my shower today and taking my bra off for the first time. I had some worry about it for a bit yesterday and then chose to let it go. I have been pretty regularly sending love to my breasts and thanking them. I told my husband I was ready for my shower and he put a lanyard around my neck and helped me pin the drains to the lanyard. I told him I wanted to be by myself to take the bra off. I took a deep breath, sent some more love, and then slowly took off my bra. I took a look. I felt pleased and grateful. I slowly took off the gauze and tape over the steri-strips (which I had been told I could take off) and took a look. I again felt good and happy about how I looked. I then invited my husband in to see and shared with him my thoughts. He agreed they looked good – definitely some swelling, yet darn good for day 2. I had my shower, which felt awesome and just as I was drying off (with my husband’s help) my closest girlfriend came over and I got to show her too. She was amazed and pleased too. She has been gifting me each day since my surgery with a Reiki session, which she did again today.

My drains have really reduced to almost no fluid, so I am hoping to go in early, maybe day after tomorrow, to have them taken out. I know it will be easier and a bit more comfortable without them.

I made sure to take photos to share here, mostly because of all the wonderful women who have done this before me. I have looked at so many photos and I truly believe it helped me have a sense of what I might look like, and that has been really supportive and reassuring. You can see on my photos the outline in-between my breasts of the bra – kind of like a fan. There is some indentation from the scar under the areola where I had my implants put in originally. There is definitely swelling on the sides and probably all over my breasts.

When I was watching the interview on Oprah she said that her purpose in starting Oprah was to let people know they are not alone. That is what this site has done for me. I am so incredibly grateful to have been the recipient of the vulnerable sharing of so many women who have shared and had their explant surgery before me. Now, with the sharing I have done and am doing, my wish is to offer those who come after me - hope, understanding and encouragement. I am honored to be sharing this journey with you all.

5 days Post op and drains out!

Today, 5 days after my surgery, I got my drains out. My post op appt was scheduled in 2 more days and since I was there already, we covered them both. I had been told that once I had at least 2 days in a row of 20ml or less of fluid in each drain for a 24 hour period I could come in and have the drains taken out. Other than the first night, where I had a lot of fluid, my 24-hour fluid level has always been under 20.
The taking out of the drains was a non-event as I hardly felt anything, yeah! The nurse said I had the small drains. Once she snipped the stitch and took the drains out, she put gauze over the area and said to wait one day before taking a shower. I asked if I needed a bandaid on it then and she said no. She also agreed with me that my bra band was too tight and the cups in the bra were not really offering that much compression. I had thought ahead and brought 2 bras I had recently purchased and she gave me the ok to go home, try them on and pick the one that felt like it gave me the best fit with compression. Yeah! The most uncomfortable part of the whole surgery has been the tight bra band on my sutures and drain tubes.
The nurse said I could start taking walks and do gentle movement/stretching to a point of feeling some tension (no pain) and then backing off. I am glad for more movement as my mid back has gotten really tight. I made my next appointment to come back in 2 ½ weeks and that will be with the doctor.
I was SO happy leaving – doing the happy dance! I did it! I am on the road! I am more comfortable! Yeah for me!
I tried on the 2 bras - one felt too tight and the other felt just right! Plus, it is my favorite color, how cool is that? It will be my constant companion now for a few more weeks.
What I have noticed physically is that I seem to have swelling all around, including the side/under my arm. All in all, I am very happy with how I look and how I feel. I know (thanks to so many who have gone before me) that I will continue to change over the next few months and truthfully, I am not worried at all. I am happy and I am grateful.

2 weeks Post Op

A quick update at 2 weeks:
As of this morning, all the steri-strips are gone from my incisions now, yeah! I have all my energy back, have been experiencing itching on my incisions (healing!) and have slowly started working on getting back my range of motion.
I spoke with the nurse today to see if there is anything I could/should be doing now for my scars and she suggested Palmer's Coco butter w/E during the day and a thin layer of Vit E at night. She also said no lifting over 5 lbs. I have researched a lot and have read mixed reviews on so many treatments, including E...so for now, I am choosing to wait till I see my doctor (1 1/2 more weeks) before putting anything on the scars. I still don't feel comfortable sleeping completely on my side...working on it!
Emotionally - I am loving me! I am totally enjoying hugging people and really feeling them, not my implants. I love putting my hand on my breast and feeling them, not my implants. I said to my husband this morning (after putting on my new bra and a t-shirt w/shorts), "look how cute I am!" and I meant it! He loves seeing me happy and confident.
I miss yoga and am all about not taking it too fast, so doing small exercises at home, mostly with my lower body. A friend of mine, who has been my physical therapist for other issues (and some of who she works with are women who have had mastectomies, lumpectomies, etc.) suggested walking as its good for blood circulation and healing (not too much or too fast), shoulder rolls up, back, down and also deep breathing.
I am consciously changing my posture when I walk, not as collapsed in...before if I lifted my chest and put my shoulder blades down and back it felt like I was sticking my boobs out. No more! it feels like good posture and happy breasts! Yeah!
I am delighted to be on the other side of explantation and all that it took to get there. I am still getting to know the new me...and boy am I loving her! I know I will have at least another month or 2 to get my strength and flexibility back, and I am fine with that...little by little each day.
I am proud of my courageous choice to really dig deep to uncover the layers that led me to choosing implants and heal emotionally before the actual surgery. I love the little girl in me, the teenage girl in me and the wise woman I continue to become.
To all who have gone before me, thank you from the bottom of my heart. To all who are still contemplating or have their surgery dates coming up, I hold you in my heart with strength, compassion, care and love.
Dr. Rotatori

I have my consultation on July 5th and will make my final decision then whether or not to proceed with Dr. Rotatori. Right now, I am feeling confident with my choice after the research I have done.

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