Before I begin this post, I just want to say how thankful I am for all of you that have helped me through this journey. I only share all of this because I hope that through it all, I can help shed some light on this “hid in the dark tunnel” topic and help others that may be going through the same situation. I know many of you have shared with me your stories as well and I’m so sorry that you have had a similar road to travel. If you are thinking about getting implants, please, please, please reconsider…and, please read this whole post before you make a decision. I wish someone would have told me.
9 years ago I made the decision to have breast augmentation. I have never hated my body but have always thought I was “disproportioned”…that God had forgotten about me when the boob creation department came around. I got my height from my dad and thought I must have gotten his chest too. Now, before you take offense to all of that, it’s mostly true. We all perceive ourselves in different ways, and back then, even when I would get to the “next level” of what I desired in my appearance, there would be something else that I wasn’t happy with. I think sometimes we look at others and think, “they really have it all together”, “if I could only look like them, THEN I would be content with my body”. I’m here to tell you, if “better” or perfection is what you are waiting on to be content, then you will be miserable when you look in the mirror for the rest of your life. There’s always just one more thing that gets in the way of our happiness. Every time I would meet one of my goals, I would be unhappy about something else. I’m not saying that I wasn’t happy in life, I’m referring to my physical appearance.
When I went for my consultation for breast augmentation, there was all kinds of information that they gave me about possible leaking, breast deformity, chances of capsulectomy, possibility of having to have them replaced years down the road, but nothing about the chance of debilitating illness, autoimmune diseases, nerve damage, blood pressure issues, inflammation in my body, etc. Breast implant illness was not recognized by any of the 6 specialist docs that I saw or my primary care physician. They actually all told me the opposite: “there’s no way your implants could be affecting you”, “I’ve never heard of this happening before”, “implants are safe”. I could go on and on with the things doctors would tell me.
I asked to have my implants back after I had them out. They weren’t leaking or moldy, I just wanted to make sure and wanted to see what they looked like. Now when I look at them, having these things (they are made with all kinds of chemicals) in my body, was one of my worst decisions ever.
To my dismay, I decided that I would like to have a breast augmentation without doing any research myself. I just believed my surgeon when she said they were safe. So many other women were getting them too and they were “fine”. I had never been told of the possibility of being ill. I had my surgery and had no problems at all for the first year and a half. I had them in for almost two years when I noticed I was having to take deep breaths every now and then. It didn’t happen often but seemed a little weird to me.
One evening after Travis (my husband and I) were driving home from meeting some friends at Starbucks, I told my husband, “I’m not feeling good at all, I feel like I might pass out”. It all came on quite abruptly. I had always been a super healthy person and ate very healthy as well, so this feeling was such a surprise to me. When I got home, my heart jumped to about 150 beats per minute. At this point, having never had this happen before, I thought I was dying. My heart was racing, I felt like I was going to pass out. and I had to go to the bathroom, which I refer to as “flushing” now. My husband called the ambulance as I sat on the toilet thinking I was going to die at any moment. The EMS rushed to our house and off to the hospital I went for one of the first of many trips. I was so thirsty and couldn’t breathe very well, but my oxygen levels were right where they were supposed to be. When I say I couldn’t breathe very well, I mean I had to take deep breaths every 30 seconds to a minute. I had what they call “oxygen hunger”. My oxygen levels were normal but I felt like I couldn’t “catch my breath”. That was the beginning of my breathing problems. I still have this issue today, just not as bad.
This was one of the only photos that we took on our many trips to ER…
While in the ER this first time, I had a CT scan, EKG, blood tests, and a urine test. The only thing that the doctor was able to say is that my potassium was low. I also had some “pulmonary nodules” on my lungs but they thought this was probably an issue from in the past from a bronchitis that I had when I was younger. I had to follow up for a year, having a CT scan every three months, to make sure that the nodules were not changing. They gave me some potassium tablets and sent me home. The next day my “breathing problem” continued. The ER doc had asked me to follow up with my primary doctor. I went in for that appointment and after she reviewed the tests from the ER, she decided to test me for Valley Fever. After waiting for a week and feeling left out in the dark on what was really happening, my doctor called with the news that my test came back negative for Valley Fever. She also went on to say that sometimes these types of tests can have a false negative as well as a false positive. She decided to go ahead and treat me for Valley Fever since she could not understand where else my breathing issue was coming from. I continued to have to take a deep breath every 1-2 minutes all day long, from the time I woke up until the time I went to sleep.
I was on these Valley Fever meds for about 4 weeks with no change in symptoms, I would have the occasional feeling that I was going to pass out, along with the breathing issues. Every time I ate, my body would fire up in these massive episodes of distress. It was like my body could not handle any outside stressors. After 4 weeks, my doctor decided that I probably didn’t have Valley Fever and so she had me stop the medication. She then started sending me to specialists.
The first specialist was the pulmonologist, since I was having breathing issues. They ruled out asthma, pulmonary disease, sleep apnea, and all of the other lung issues that they could. They also had me do a sleep study…everything came back “normal”. At my follow up with the pulmonologist, I had another one of my episodes that I had when this all began…my heart started racing, I felt dizzy, headache, very thirsty, my system “flushed” everything. I ate, and my blood pressure was all over the place. My pulmonologist sat on his chair beside me and read me the results to my testing, “this test was normal”, “this test was normal”, “this test was normal” was what he continued to say as I went through this episode that I was having. I asked him if it could be my implants and he said no. He then went on to say, “oh, a lot of patients get nervous when they go to the doctor, that’s probably what this is”. Just a little side note here…I am the least nervous/ anxious person on the planet and my husband agrees. My husband and I were so upset and discouraged when I left his office. I felt like no one could help me. I continued to pray for God to just give me answers. I just wanted answers at this point.
In the meantime I had another 2 visits to the ER, thinking I was dying. I would have racing heart, breathing problems, blood pressure issues, flushing, migraines, feeling of passing out. Once again, all tests would come back “normal”. The ER doctor told me that he thought I was having anxiety attacks and kept asking me is I was nervous? Stressed? I would go through the same story every time. “I’m not nervous, I’m not stressed”.
Since I knew that the only thing that I had done differently to my body to possibly be causing this was having breast augmentation, I decided to start googling things to try to figure out if anyone else with implants was experiencing the same symptoms. I started learning that a lot of others with implants were having the same issues, similar issues, or other illness issues too. They also had similar stories that all of their tests were “normal”.
My symptoms and attacks were starting to happen more frequently and not subsiding. I would have nights that I couldn’t sleep at all, other nights I would fall asleep and wake up in the middle of the night not knowing what my name was, I would have nightmares a lot, get “jolted” awake at night when my body felt as though it was fading away. When I was out at the store with my preschooler at the time, I would teach her how to dial 911 and tell her, “if something happens to mommy, just dial these numbers.”, I would be leaning over my cart in the store thinking I was going to die, walking down the isle and would forget where I was. It was the scariest time I’ve ever been through. I could hardly drive and when I was driving I had to stop on the side of the road many times because I would get really dizzy and feel like I was going to pass out. I had migraines almost every day, breathing problems from the moment I woke up till I went to sleep, right eye pain, heightened sensitivity to light, smells, movement, blood pressure problems (mostly low), flushing, sometimes I would get a low grade fever for no reason, I seriously felt like I was going to die…every day.
My primary doc then sent me to the endocrinologist, all of my tests came back normal. Then to the cardiologist, once again…all tests normal. Neurologist…normal, The neurologist wouldn’t answer any of my questions, just kept telling me my brain scan was normal except for the fact that I had sensitivities on my white matter and that they didn’t know where they were coming from and he offered me meds for my headaches (I wouldn’t take them. I didn’t need a bandaid, I needed to figure out what the cause was. Gynecologist…all tests normal. Rheumatologist…normal. Every doctor and specialist doc told me it’s not my implants and all my tests were NORMAL!!!! I was happy that I wasn’t having a horrible diagnosis, but I just wanted answers! I felt pitiful every day! I felt like my quality of life was being flushed down the sewage pipes. My primary doctor then started to tell me that she thought maybe I was depressed and had anxiety. She would tell me this every time I had a check up or if would call her about something. I would explain to her, I’m not anxious, I’m not depressed…months went by and my doctor would continue to offer me meds for anxiety and depression, I wouldn’t take them.
One day my daughter came home with an assignment that she had in school that day. It said “all day long my mom _________.” And, she filled in the blank with “lays in bed”. This hit me hard, I cried a lot, and it made me realize that I wanted to try anything I could to get better, no matter what the docs were telling me. I then decided, on my own, to get my implants out. It was about a year and 11 months after I had gotten them in. There really was no other option for me. My husband stood behind me on my decision. He desperately wanted me well again too.
After I had them removed, I slowly started to see improvement. My migraines that I previously had almost daily went completely away within two weeks. That was the first symptom to leave. The episodes I had before started to become more infrequent. I used to have them 3-4x a week and some weeks they were happening daily. Within the three weeks, they were completely gone. I was super excited about this! After about 3 months, all of symptoms were gone except the very rare and occasional episode. My body was healing itself. I felt like God had been leading me to this point all along and I just wasn’t putting all of that together. He was healing me, in His timing.
I started to get discouraged again when my breathing problem wouldn’t go away. It was the first symptom that I had and it just wouldn’t leave. I started to get sick again and wondered what was going on. I was not eating healthy and drinking alcohol at times, sometimes to try to mask what was going on and the fact I had no control in my health. I knew that wasn’t the answer, but was so discouraged.
My episodes started to come back full throttle. Back in the ER I went. I was so dumbfounded! How did I get better and how was getting worse again? I lost almost 25 pounds in a month, my body couldn’t even tolerate me eating. It felt like my digestive system was failing. And, every time I tried to eat, my body would throw itself into one of the episodes I used to have back when I had implants.
At this point my doctor decided to send me to an autoimmune cardiologist. She said that maybe I could have something that they call POTS: Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. It’s basically something you can have from trauma to your system, car accidents, bad illness, physical trauma…which explains how I got it from my breast implants. POTS is a syndrome, not a disease. I developed it from having my implants but there was something causing it to rage again and it wasn’t my implants this time.
I went to have the “tilt table test” completed (the test they use to diagnose POTS). After the test I could barely stand up, I couldn’t even walk out of the office. I had to sit for almost an hour and then have husband half drag me out to the car. It was awful!! The doctor’s assistant said he had never seen anyone respond that way to the tilt table testing before. When I went back for my follow up, the autoimmune cardiologist told me that he didn’t think that I had POTS because my heart rate was a few beats under what it should have been if I had it. I was beyond myself! I didn’t know where to go from here. I asked the doctor why I would have responded the way I did. He then re-evaluated the testing report and said he thought I did have POTS. I was super confused! He prescribed me some medicine and sent me away…and that’s exactly what it felt like leaving his office. I refused to take the meds for something that I didn’t even really know if I believed that I had AND once again, they were using the bandaid technique of treatment. What was really going on with me?! I don’t need the bandaid!! I like to do things the natural way, rather than taking meds of which I know can cause even more inflammation.
I started researching POTS and learned that things such as alcohol and stimulants such as caffeine can elevate the syndrome. I knew I shouldn’t be drinking alcohol, but at the time it was the only thing that would mask what I was going through. Little did I know that it was just making me much worse. After much research and months of being super sick again, I started seeing an internal medicine doc. He gave me a natural treatment of oils and fish oil supplements for my POTS. He also had me start a electric nerve stimulator for my damaged vagus nerve. I did the protocol for about a 15 months and it didn’t help much. When I was consistently taking the oils, some of my symptoms improved, but not for long. I would have ups and downs and didn’t see full relief from symptoms. I’m back to my body being hypersensitive to so much. I have learned how to eat better, I stay away from alcohol, processed foods, and the “bad oils”, gluten, dairy, and grains. I’m going to keep searching and trying to find what will help me and try to find answers.
I hope that if you have implants and are experiencing any type of illness or abnormal health symptoms, that you will do your research. The docs will not tell you that it could be your implants but I’m a walking testimony that these large foreign objects aren’t meant for our bodies. I was the healthiest person before I had implants.
Thank you so much for listening. I’ve had so many of you already tell me that you have gotten your implants out, telling me that you didn’t know that’s why you could be sick, after I shared about this on IG. Praise God that you are on your way to healing!! If God can speak through my story to even just one woman that is struggling, then it’s all worth sharing to me. And, I can honestly say that I am more confident and love my body (including my breasts) more than I ever have in my life, since I had my implants removed. I’m thankful for life and all of the blessings that God chooses to bestow upon me daily!
I also hope that this post helps with the hundreds of questions that I get every month about my health and breast implant illness. I love that I can share my journey with you to help those that maybe don’t know or haven’t heard of this. I wish so bad that someone would have begged me to never get implants. And, also, please know that I’m not trying to scare you if you do have implants. I’m just sharing my story in hopes that it will help someone else that is struggling, as I was. Even if full healing never comes for me, I still want to use my situation to help others.
Since writing this post, I have discovered other health issue concerns. I truly feel like my implants were a huge issue for me, as so many of my symptoms improved or went away after I got them out, such as my migraines, etc. But, I have recently learned that my right sided 3 root canaled teeth have been infected for who knows how long. I’ve had them for over 15 years. I got them out a couple of months ago, and my health has improved 10 fold. I no longer have “attacks” or BP problems, or digestive issues. That all went away immediately after getting them removed. I still struggle with nerve damage and a slow working system, as well as the “oxygen hunger”, but I no longer feel ill every day! I can do projects again, and don’t feel like I’m dying on the daily. I will write a blog post about it soon, but just wanted to update here. I removed all of the Nemecheck info, as I didn’t feel that was getting me anywhere, and now it all makes sense. I wish the docs would have brought this up to me in the last 6 years while I have been sick! No one had ever said a word. If you have root canals and feel this could be an issue for you, please see a biological dentist and have a serious chat about it. I did talk about this on my Instagram saved stories @vintageporch. I can’t wait to tell you all about it in a post soon.
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