At 36 years of age, I was implanted with Mentor smooth saline breast implants with a sub-muscular placement. My belief was that they were completely safe, they would last a lifetime and I'd be lying in my coffin with perky breasts. These were the words told to me by my implanting surgeon. I had no reason to disbelieve him and I had thoroughly done my research. I found nothing to lead me to believe they were not safe. This is my story......
I was very happy with the results as my new breasts looked very natural. However, within a few months of that surgery, I gained 15 pounds. This was the very first side effect I encountered but I had no idea at the time that the weight gain was caused from my breast implants. At the time, the weight gain made me very happy since I had always felt too thin and could never gain weight. So, for the first time in my life, I had curves.
Everything went well for the first year or so and then I noticed that my memory was failing. I couldn't seem to remember what I had done a week ago. Prior to my augmentation I prided myself in that I had an excellent memory. My job was technical in nature so it was important for me to be able to remember and absorb information. I began to worry as I found myself becoming very forgetful and having a difficult time learning as quickly as I had just a year prior to that.
Shortly after that, I had noticed fatigue and achy joints and just attributed it to stress on the job or age. At the time I was just 38 years old and in the prime of my life. I was desperate to get the ‘old me back’ and accepted a job offer from another company. I felt that if I could get away from the stress in my current job, all these symptoms would go away. I was sadly mistaken and my conditioned continued to worsen.
I started my new job looking like death. I had no color, my eyes were glassy and I had dark circles. I looked very ill. I was very confused and couldn't retain any information at all. Each day was a struggle just to get to work and make it through the day without falling asleep. I was so weak; I had a difficult time walking from my car to my desk in the morning. My legs felt like rubber. I had a sinus headache everyday by this point. My emotions were changing as well. I would sit at my desk and not be able to hold the tears back as I felt a blackness engulfing me. I knew there was something very wrong but I had no idea what it could be.
On September 6, 2001, I got out of bed and felt my legs go numb and I fell onto my bedroom floor. I laid there for a few minutes and slowly the feeling came back. It was frightening but I knew I had to get through another day of work but I was in a panic wondering how I would make it through an entire day. I got in the shower and realized I was too weak to even stand. I knew at that moment I had no other choice but to call work and let them know I was ill. I had no idea at that time that I would never work again because of my ‘safe’ saline implants.
That is when the trips to the doctors began. A psychiatrist diagnosed me with severe depression and anxiety. I was on two different anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. My family doctor examined me and ran tests. Her diagnosis was Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Chronic Epstein-Barr Virus.
I began seeing many doctors for additional health issues I started to experience. In addition, I was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy and Raynaud’s disease. I couldn't imagine how I was so healthy just 5 years prior. I was told that I would just need to rest for a few months and I would start to feel better. I was sleeping 20 hours a day only to wake up and not feel as though I had slept at all. Daily life was a struggle, I was single and my family was in another state. I felt very alone and afraid as I was having a difficult time taking care of myself at this point.
Several more years passed and my health continued to decline. I lost my job and in turn was unable to pay any of my bills. I lost everything! I even had to sell my car and I moved in with my Mother. By this time, I was 100 pounds heavier than I had been prior to augmentation.
My darkest day came on October 19, 2004. I was severely depressed and in a lot of pain. I attempted to take my life that day but for the grace of God, I was unsuccessful. Thankfully I am here today to share my story and how all of this could have been different had I been given all the facts. I know now that breast implants are not safe and can cause a myriad of health problems. Rupture is more common than I was originally told by my surgeon. Also, over time the valves can leak saline which isn't normally as sterile as you might think.
I found the information I needed from a support group on the internet and had my implants removed in November 2004. I was amazed following removal that some of my symptoms were completely gone. In the days and months to come I soon was experiencing more and more of my health issues improving as well as the weight was starting to come off. Ten years later, I still deal with CFS, Fibromyalgia, peripheral neuropathy and Raynauds. I still struggle with these health issues but continue to see improvement. My 'safe' saline implants have left me with life long health issues.
After having my implants tested, I discovered that the valves were faulty. The saline inside my implants were filled with bacteria and fungi. I had the right to know that breast implants can cause autoimmune diseases and a slew of other health problems. I was 40 years old when I became disabled. I had so many hopes and dreams for my life. I believe I’m alive today for a reason. That reason is to share my story and the dangers of breast implants with as many women as I can. My hope is that women will one day be informed of all risks and tested for genetic markers prior to breast augmentation. Maybe women will decide that the risks aren’t worth it or opt for stem cell enriched fat grafting. This procedure is still relatively new. I hope further research will be done to give women safer options for breast enhancement. I share my story with as many women as I can to create awareness. I want nothing more than to help prevent other women from experiencing the same reality that turned my health and life upside down.
"Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." ~Margaret Mead
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This web site is dedicated to my beloved Stanley. You were there through it all.