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August 21, 2017

Life after Breast Implant Illness.

I got breast implants when I was 17 years old, and I had them removed seven months ago.

As a teen, I thought that breast implants would solve all of my problems. I thought that I would have a newfound confidence, that life was finally going to happen for me. My parents, of course, thought otherwise.

The whole idea upset them. My father would take me on walks, sharing horror stories of how too much sexiness can be damaging in hopes that I might see the light. My mother thought it was the worst idea in the world. She, an indigenous woman, believed that people should be guided by nature and what’s natural.

I remember sitting in the doctor’s chair. He pulled out the different sized implants, and there I was, looking at all the possibilities. I held one in my hand, looking at it like it was harmless. There I was going against every value that was ever taught to me.

I had my breast implants done twice. The first time when I had them inserted, I found that the the size was too extreme for my frame. I went back to my doctor asking for a smaller size.

The truth is, I had no idea what size my implants were. I was 17. It wasn’t until I actually had them removed that I discovered that they were 500cc saline implants. You see, I didn’t even discuss implant sizes with my doctor; I just assumed that he would know what was best for me. I gave all of my power to my doctor and believed everything he said—that my implants were 100 percent safe.

This is what people don’t know about breast implants.

They make you sick, and I was extremely ill for more than 10 years because of them. Breast implants gave me severe pain that left me confused and hopeless, and my symptoms only got worse:

Extreme chronic fatigue. I was exhausted, and despite taking all of the most expensive vitamins, minerals, and juices the doctors had recommended, I had no energy. I had to lay down—a lot.

Cognitive dysfunction. I had brain fog and so much difficulty concentrating. I couldn’t remember certain things, and I was devastated when I realized that I was experiencing memory loss.

Chronic inflammation. The doctors told me that no matter how much I shifted my diet, the inflammation would always be there. The only thing he could offer me was meds. They didn’t help.

Extreme insomnia. I’d lay in bed wired, jittery, and awake. I couldn’t sleep. This got progressively worse, and once I visited the doctor to seek help, he just told me that my cortisol was fired up and that my hormones were off.

Bloodshot eyes and vision impairment. My eyes were always red. I was doing modeling at the time, and they would always have to retouch my eyes. My vision also became blurry, and everything I looked at would begin to shake. My eyes couldn’t focus, and eyeglasses didn’t help.

Choking. I would wake up during the night, literally choking. I couldn’t breathe properly. Most times, I felt that I had to concentrate really hard just to swallow. I always had to keep a glass of water beside my bed just in case. My saliva even tasted like metal, and, to no surprise, there’s a lot of metal found in breast implants.

Heart palpitations. I dreaded these more than anything. My heart hurt, and I would always experience irregular heartbeats. My heart rate would accelerate to an extreme, and there wasn’t anything I could do to stop it. I honestly felt like I was going to die.

Numbness. My body felt dead. My arms and feet would tingle from the lack of blood flow. Most days, I would even wake up to my arms feeling completely dead. When this happened, I would take deep breaths and try to move my chest to get some blood flow going. Once one of my arms moved, I would use it to wake the other arm up. All of it hurt.

Constant anxiety. Everything in my body tightened up and contracted. I’d feel aches on every inch of my body. I didn’t know how to express myself, and I was in a constant state of fight or flight. Despite this, I was still able to do my energy healing work. It was the only thing that was helping me.

You can find the rest of the symptoms here.

It seemed that no matter how I tried to heal, I couldn’t get rid of the unbearable pain that I was experiencing. It wasn’t until last year that everything changed for me. I came across this article about a successful implant removal story. You know when you pull on the handle on a slot machine, and all the cherries suddenly line up? The alarms go off and the money cha-chings? That’s what I felt when I read this article. She revealed that her breast implants were the cause of her mysterious illness, known today as Breast Implant Illness. That’s when everything clicked.

This discovery led me down the rabbit hole of information that was not prevalent yet in the mainstream. I was fortunate enough to find an online community of women who suffered from the same illness. I found my doctor in this group. He’s based in Costa Rica.

I chose my doctor carefully, as not all doctors are qualified to remove implants properly. The reason for this is because your body creates this capsule around your implants, as an attempt to protect you from what is toxic. The capsule has to be removed along with the implant. Because the implants are placed over our most vital organs—the heart and the lungs—the implants, along with the capsule, often get stuck to the ribcage.

It is important to choose the right surgeon who is committed and experienced at total capsulectomy and en bloc. Finding the right surgeon is crucial, as it avoids having multiple surgeries to get it all out. Luckily, I only had one.

My surgery took six hours, but most take two to three. I stayed in Costa Rica for for nine days in order to fully recover. People always ask me if my surgery hurt. I always say it’s nothing compared to all the pain I experienced during my years with my implants.

I’m grateful for the doctor who saved my life, and since my surgery, I feel like I got my life back. The change is night and day. I went from not being able to tie my shoes to having amazing energy that now lasts me the entire day. My mind is much clearer, and rarely do I have the severe pains that I’ve felt before. I still have to take it easy, but I find myself bouncing back in ways that I never thought possible.

My journey with Breast Implant Illness has taught me so much. I’ve grown a lot since then. I feel like a totally different person, and I am. I know now that implants do not make your life better, they make everything worse. During my illness I learned to love myself through the pain that so many other women go through. One thing I am most grateful for is my opportunity to share my story with other women who might be going through the same struggle that I did. Restructuring your body and beliefs is quite the task, but worth every effort.

Our society focuses so much on looks. Whether it be through magazines, television shows, or the photos you see online, everything advertises artificial beauty—the kind that no one can live up to. An article was recently published linking implants—artificial beauty—to cancer. This is a cost that can’t be justified. It is my personal mission to help women heal their trauma through deep inner work—work that is crucial for our growth.

As long as I can wake one woman up, all of it will be worth it.

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Author: Radhaa Nilia
Image: Pixabay/Foundry
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
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Radhaa Nilia