My 20 year old self impulsively decided to get breast implants. I remember thinking that my life would be better, I would be happier, and my insecurities would vanish. Oh, to be 20! I searched for local surgeons and went in for a consultation. There was no discussion or warning from the doc of potential risks, breast implant illness, or needing replacement surgery every 10 years. I was living in the present, seeking instant gratification, and knew I wanted them now, not thinking about the downstream consequences.
Low and behold some years later, I found myself experiencing unusual health issues. It started with low energy, dizziness, weakness…and evolved into panic, anxiety, and feeling unsafe in my own mind and body. I was able to manage things with diet (thank you animal-based), however the naturopathic doctors did not once link or question my dis-ease to my implants. Eventually, I found myself at a community acupuncture clinic to manage symptoms, and I was praying for some understanding and guidance. I fell asleep after my needles were placed and as soon as I woke up, I knew in my heart that it was my implants. Initially I felt scared and highly emotional with this sudden realization. Shortly thereafter I felt relieved that there might be a clear path ahead. As the journey progressed, I hopped back into that 20 year old girl's thought processes, thinking that my worth was tied to my physical appearance, and was now mortified with what my body would look like after getting them removed. I was kicking myself, steeped in shame and regret, knowing I had to deal with the decision I had made.
Tips that helped me prepare for removal
Joining “Breast Implant Illness and Healing by Nicole” on Facebook with over 171K members. This community helped so much with support and answering questions. It became so undeniable that BII was real and thousands of women were getting their health and lives back. Reading women's stories and seeing their “before and after” photos really helped me build up the courage and strength to mentally prepare for what was ahead of me.
I connected one-on-one with a sister who has already gotten to the other side. I was able to share my fears with someone who had been in the same place as me, and who was also able to speak from an evolved perspective. She reassured me that my body would heal and be beautiful and I can say that only 9 months post op, she was absolutely correct.
Finding the right surgeon…this was an important one for me. I wanted someone that believed in BII and would be sure to remove all of the scar tissue surrounding the implant, also known as capsulectomy or en bloc (in one complete piece). I did my research for questions to ask (the fb group has great resources) and felt comfortable and confident with his answers. It’s always important as women that we listen to our gut intuition when it comes to things like this.
Another piece of the puzzle is to surround ourselves with a strong support team (think girlfriends, sisters, aunts, mothers, as well as romantic partners or spouses). My husband was my rock. He held space for me before, during, and after. He went to all my pre and post appointments. He comforted me while I cried so many tears…so many tears. He walked alongside me every step of the way and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him. My sister-in-law was also a huge support, she prepared meals, checked in on me, and was present the night after I took off my bandages, when I was struggling with my new body. My best friend flew into town 5 days post op and really helped lighten my mood, to get me outside into nature, and process the whole experience. My family really came together for me and I am so grateful.
This was a time to remember to rest. A time to go easy with oneself and allow healing. To allow the body to fully recover before going back to work, working out, or taking on too much. The body does the most regenerative work while resting. It’s important to listen to what the body needs…
Reflections 9 months implant free
There’s a general understanding that however many years you had the implants for, is however many months it takes to return back to optimal health and body recovery. I can say my breasts looked different day after day, week after week, month after month. Today, nine months post, hitting that rule-of-thumb mark, I am loving the way my body looks and feels.
My heart is open again. To myself, to the world, to my husband. For so long I had energetic and physical blocks over my heart center. Now, when I hug people, I really feel them and they feel me. Heart to heart connection.
I feel like me again. The implants weren’t me, and they certainly were no longer in alignment with the person I was becoming. Although I wouldn’t make that same decision today, it is a piece of my story and I have so much more compassion, understanding, and love towards others because of it.
Our bodies are so intelligent and are designed for us to thrive. I felt a sigh of relief, a weight literally lifted off my chest, and my body saying “thank you”. Removing the blockages is the only thing we have to do…we are always complete and whole underneath. My body feels healthy again, like the pure natural state that is our birthright.