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This post is the third article relating to Breast Implant Illness.
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It has been 7 months since my Breast Implant removal with Dr. Testa. I feel so lucky that I found the cause to a lot of the problems I was having. Here is the details relating to removing my breast implants and how I’m doing now!
Morning of Surgery
November 4th, 2016 I woke up suuuuper early. I scheduled a Nanny to come watch Gentry with College Nannies + Tutors. She was here on time and ready to go prepared for watching our little guy all day for the next couple of days. Just as my first surgery, I had to take a shower the night before with special soap and in the morning. I wasn’t allowed to wear any kind of cosmetics or lotions or hair care products #HelloAfro. I headed over to the hospital around 4:30am.
Going into Surgery
I was a wreck. My nerves were shot and my anxiety was super high. I kept thinking that I felt so horrible so unhealthy to go into a surgery – what if I don’t make it. I have a son now so I think all those bad thoughts of him growing up without a Mama or the fact that I never got to experience another pregnancy. I was on Zoloft but my stress set me off so high that I couldn’t even tell. I was unable to take my Xanax before surgery so I was begging them to put it in my IV when I arrived. After all of the normal chit chat with my nurses, I was wheeled into surgery, crying. I remember asking them to please make me feel better (with drugs) and then I blacked out.
Surgery began around 7:30am and lasted until 9:00am.
I woke up to seeing my husbands face and I immediately felt the fog I was in pre-surgery GONE. The way I described my brain fog was having “Mom Brain” x 53423 or like constantly being on allergy medication. Groggy, tired, unmotivated, forgetful. And constantly feeling like that. The non existence of brain fog was the first feeling I felt when I was coming out of anesthesia. I felt my chest and thought well here is MY body. I felt my breaths were different I didn’t feel like I had the weight on my chest. I also didn’t feel like my shoulders had to compensate to hold up my large, heavy breasts. After recovery I headed home.
Recovery at Home
I remember taking this picture above and thinking: this looks SO WEIRD! I started to chronicle the next couple of days in my #FreeBresBoobies Facebook group which I will share below.
Update for those that would like to know:
I’m now able to walk better.
Pain is pretty bad. I assume he had to scrape my ribs pretty good. The dilaudid (which is supposed to be the highest pain med) isn’t working at all. So I’m piggybacking Advil 600mg.
Implants I have already. I don’t see anything concerning yet. They did swab my chest cavity and set it to pathology. The valves look a bit dirty so I’m not sure if it’s mold or blood. I would have loved to send them in for testing but since my insurance isn’t covering this, I can’t afford it
Positives to note:
It’s an unexplainable feeling but I feel like I’m back in my body. I’ve felt so “disconnected” from my body to my soul(?) / who I am as a person this year. That’s the only way I can describe it.
My face isn’t as red now which I’m thrilled about. Hoping it continues to dissipate.
I don’t feel as swollen/puffy/bloated as I normally do every day.
My chest is lighter – literally. I feel I can breathe easier.
I still have quite a bit of breast tissue so I don’t have a gap where the implant was SO FAR. Could change. I’m anxious to see how my breasts settle and “fluff” into shape. I didn’t have a lift because I’m not done have kids (probably one more…) but when I glanced down when they were changing the dressing, it looks like he kinda gave me a mini lift when he sewed me shut.
Overall I’m good and my body feels relieved.
Gentry has been so sweet to me. He had an absolutely MELT DOWN when the nanny was helping me stand up because “I wanna help mamaaaaaaaaa” so now anytime he sees me attempting to stand he runs over to help. He is also showering me in kisses which I’m obviously loving. He has respected the new rules of not climbing all over Mama so that is also great
Mitchell has also been wonderful and trying to do as much as he can all the while, he is struggling with some food illness and dealing with Gentry.
(Please excuse any bad grammar and spelling errors )
Early in the morning between day 1 and 2 I woke up with a huge energy boost as other explanting girls have also reported.
HELLO energy boost 😳 and BUH BYE fatigue. Holy crap this feels crazy. 2am ready to take on the world. In extreme pain and all. I knew this was one of the first positives other explants receive but my word I didn’t expect having it for a couple days post explant.
I’m not participating in my energy though. Must rest. But I just thought I’d share… I mean it hasn’t even been 24 hours… and I’m not on narcotics so I know that’s not what’s doing it 😳 Just feels so crazy to me. 🤗
My sweet friend and her little even brought me some food. Thought this was adorable and SO kind!
2nd Update for November 5th:
Just took a shower for the first time so I got to see my girls. Lots of breast tissue there but nipple and areola are pretty shrunk up. nothing concerning though. Once the swelling goes down, I get some fluff they should be pretty. Shower hurt like hell. Ibuprofen isn’t working any more. Not sure if the Zoloft is counteracting my pain medicine? I dunno. So I’m pretty much feeling everything. Just a couple more days of this so I think I can manage. The pain is different from when I got the implants. It just feels like he scraped my ribs and my incision sites hurt/burn. Nothing I can’t handle though. My csection was waaaayyyy worse lol
Also noticed my smell has changed. I smelled my shampoo for the first time and I was like wow this smells AMAZING. Lol I could smell it before but it has intensified now. 😳
So I caved in last night and took a Percocet I still had from my wisdom teeth removal. Percocets don’t work well with me as it makes me delusional. It’s almost like I’m beyond drunk and unable to care for myself. It also makes me anxious. But I was pretty desperate for relief last night. It allowed me to finally sleep really hard. Woke up around 4am and made myself go back to sleep. (4am has been my normal wake up time even before surgery)
Woke up in more pain obviously (the Percocet wore off). Emptied my drains. The blood is starting to be thinner and lighter as others have expressed would happen. And I’m not getting chunks 🙈 of stuff coming out of my left.
My right drain has always been giving more liquid which is the same breast I had the capsular contracture a year after my implants. Doctor said that it was only about 85% under the muscle (should have been at least 50%) so it still had issues even after the second surgery I just never knew.
So I’m not sure if the more liquid is just more crap coming out because of the issues that breast had.
Picture just for me to look back on… the first bruise is where they had to insert my IV since my veins were crooked in my hand. Next two are where they had to staple the curtain to me during surgery.
Cheers to day 3 hoping for more relief. 💪🏼 this has been the best decision I’ve ever made.
Day 4 & 5
Both today and yesterday has been more of the same. I’m walking a bit better but still feel like I walk like a grandma.
I will be seeing the doctor tomorrow at 10:30a to check out my drains. My waterproof bandage that was supposed to cover the entrance to the drains fell off. So I have jimmy rigged some half-ass gauze with first aid tape. It looks preeeety silly. And these drains hurt like hell. They are still giving a lot of liquid so they should stay in. We will have to chat about it tomorrow with the doc.
I was able to work today for a couple hours at home. The clarity I feel in order to do my job is also unreal. I didn’t realize how crappy my mind was until now. I don’t know how I was functioning.
My back has been my biggest pain other than my drains. I’m sure the grandma walk isn’t helping. I really can’t wait till I’m released to be able to go to the chiropractor.
My biggest changes with my body I have noticed over the past two days is:
• My inflammation is dropping significantly. I feel like I’ve lost weight but the scale doesn’t show a major change. (And that’s okay)
•Because of my inflammation going down, I’m not having any difficulty with my wedding ring. Some days it would fit, other days it wouldn’t. Some mornings it would and some nights it wouldn’t. It fluctuated. But ever since I put it on the day after surgery, it’s like my hands have shrunk and there’s no difficulty at any time of the day and it’s been like that! 🙌🏼
•My skin is better in regards to my eczema especially on my hands. It’s really unreal. Anyone of you that have known me for 10+ years know my struggle with my eczema on my hands.
•My scalp hasn’t been giving me issues. I’m hoping this means candida symptoms are vacating my body.
•My super weird eye issues are now gone. I don’t feel like my eye ball is popping out like it did. And I have had no double vision or random headaches.
Getting drains out at 1:30p. I’m pretty scared. When they were just “milking” the lines in the office it hurt like hell. Now they will have to remove a suture and then pull the drain out my breasts. Mitchell is unable to drive me so I’m doing this solo. 😥 thankfully I have someone to watch Gentry at home while I’m gone.
I have my first official post op follow up on Tuesday where I get to ask all the questions I want about what happened during surgery and see images of my capsules. I will be writing up a post op blog post at that time. 💕
Drains are OUT and I haven’t even taken a Percocet yet feels amazing not tied down because of those things!
As far as my healing, I am doing a lot better. I drove today to Phoenix and I didn’t have any issues. I was able to finally start to clean the house today so all good things. I have been trying to avoid picking up Gentry but tonight I picked him up for the first time and felt some awkward popping in my left breast I hope I didn’t screw something up. Also, I can’t wait for this damn tape to come off where my incision site is. It itches allll day.
I’ve also been getting quite a few messages from girls that they were on the verge of getting implants and now they aren’t so sure. I also plan on writing a post for you girls too. Don’t worry, no judgment or shame if you end up choosing to get implants from me. But going into it with all your bases covered sounds like the perfect solution. 🙌🏼 I’ll go more into that in the future post.
Almost a month post-op:
SO I don’t know what is WRONG with me or should I say what is RIGHT. I am now on day 4 of 4-5 hours of sleep per night just because I have been so busy with my blog, cleaning the house, getting ready for Christmas etc. if I did this a month ago, I would be a full blown short tempered non functioning zombie.
But I feel AMAZING and still full of energy.
This alone is solidification that my surgery was a success to my body.
Additionally, I am continuously shocked at my sense of smell. You know when you’re in the mall and you walk by someone with a familiar smell and takes you back to where you know that smell? Well imagine that every.single.day for me. Things that were normal in my life I am smelling again and it’s nostalgic.
Lastly, tomorrow starts my first day back at the gym. I hope my energy continues to assist me during my workouts
I’m still waiting on my images from the doctor to complete my blog post about surgery and post surgery. I’ll keep you guys updated but I just thought I’d jump in real quick to share more good news.
- Do you regret getting implants in the first place? Short answer: no. Long answer: I was in my early 20s when I got my breast implants. I would not have known or even understood what all that I have went through meant. I was young and knew everything 🙂 If the current day “me” were to go back in time and tell the 20 something year old Bre. what would go down if I got them, I wouldn’t have listened. Because of that, I don’t force anyone to not get them. It is your body. I can just share my experience in hopes that it would cultivate a change within those that are contemplating getting them.
- When you had your painful post op days, were you hating life? I legit got asked this many times by other ladies. I think its because post op for IMPLANTS is horribly painful. Your skin is stretched your muscles are stretched and then you have a foreign object and your body is going WTF are you doing to me?! So the answer to the pain question for EXPLANT is yes its painful but not the same kind of pain I had for my implant. The pain came from my drains (where they entered my body) and the chest wall as they have to scrape your muscles and pry the capsule off. Its a different kind of pain all together.
- How did your breasts look after surgery? Shriveled lol… No but seriously they were. Pre implants I had very disproportionate breasts – one larger than the other but more so than average boobs. Post op for my explant they were even MORE disproportionate. My right side had the issues during my implant and that has been my larger breast. So because of the issues (I believe) of the implant not being properly behind the muscle, the swelling was even more than normal from the doctor having to get that sucker out. I do have to say, 7 months later, my breasts have officially “fluffed” and are almost the same size as I had with implants… almost. The unevenness has also changed and they are more proportionate now.
- What are some things now that you enjoy now that you don’t have implants? Sleeping on my stomach!!! Ahhhh that has been the BEST. After I was fully healed, I woke up a couple of times on my tummy and snuggled in and fell back to sleep… it was heavenly. 🙂 I also like not having the sensation of the implants floating around in my breasts. That was always a strange feeling. I also like being able to purchase bras at normal stores now.
- What are some frustrations now that you don’t have implants? And speaking of bras… my biggest frustration is finding bras that fit properly now. I’m still not set with my size so I usually have to try on a wide range of sizes in order to find one that fits right.
- I want to get implants. How do I know it won’t happen to me what happened to you? You don’t know which is the scary part! I would recommend ordering genetic testing like I did through 23andme.com (Referral link) This way you can find out if you have a gene mutation that will affect how your body handles foreign objects, autoimmune disorders and what your genes make you predisposition to certain disorders. Also reach up on resources on this website: Healing Breast Implant Illness – Resources
- Do you know other ladies that have had them explanted? MANY. I have even been told by more than a handful of ladies that I personally know that they are no longer getting implants or they have now scheduled their explant because of my story – which is my reason for being so vulnerable with you all on this post!
- I want to get mine out, what do I do? First, join the Breast Implant Illness Facebook group. There is thousands of other girls feeling JUST like you and probably in your area too. Search the group for key words like the city where you live, “recovery”, “Pre-Op” and any other keywords relating to your questions you still have. Next step would find a great surgeon that understands BII and is willing to put in a request for insurance to cover your surgery. WARNING about that though, it is very very difficult to get it approved so don’t bank on it. Some BII friendly surgeons that have been found already are on the BII website: http://healingbreastimplantillness.com/explant-surgeons/
- Any tips for me during my explant recovery? First, Buy a neck pillow. Here is the one I purchased (referral link): Essence of Bamboo Travel Neck Pillow If you want to see what other products you can purchase that will fit your lifestyle, searching on Amazon for “Breast Cancer Surgery” comes up with more results than “Breast Implant Illness”. BII is still so “new” that there aren’t a lot of products that specifically cater to BII. But Breast Cancer, there is. Second, my drains were the most aggravating thing. If I had to do it again (which will never happen but just follow me) I would purchase a drain holder. The surgeon (or nurse) used safety pins and those were so annoying. This is one I was eyeballing that I would have gotten (Referral Link): Shower Pockets And third, you will need help. Just as your implant post op, what you can and can’t do will be similar. It will be difficult to do normal things and you definitely won’t be able to take care of kids if you have them.
- What are some things you have done for detoxing? I have taken a liking to Kombucha which has some amazing probiotics within them. My favorite flavor has been Synergy brand “Trilogy” flavor. I have also went on a Naturopath hunt and finally found one I love. If you are in the East Valley of Phoenix, I highly recommend Stone Pointe Institute with Dr. Stouk (and she understands BII!) My liver has been affected and so I am currently on a liver cleanse. I also am taking a new “vitamin” that makes me feel a lot better daily. Its called (referral link) Greens First. I have only tried the “original” flavor which is minty. When you’re ready to drink it, I recommend taking about a cup of COLD water, mixing in one scoop of greens and chugging it. Apple juice is my favorite chaser. As soon as my life slows down a bit after we get to Reno, I will still be working with Dr. Stouk and getting off of Zoloft. I also am slowly removing metals from my home such as using aluminum foil and deodorant – I use (referral link) PiperWai now. I also have been incorporating oils into our home which I’m still learning how to do. Silicone baking mats have been tossed out and I have been avoiding cooking with the microwave as much as possible. In the shower, I am totally loving my natural body wash I purchased awhile ago: Puracy Body Wash. To save you some dough like I did, purchase one set of the bottles and then purchase the refill bag. CHA CHING! And as far as cleanses go, there are a few more that I will probably end up doing this year which I will go into more detail as they happen here on my blog.
- Where did you get your silicone free necklace from? Happy to be… silicone free! I reached out to Brittany with B. Stamped before my surgery and told her about what was about to go down. She was so on board with creating this special necklace that I could wear proudly after surgery. She makes all of these necklaces herself which I love the sentiment behind that. This is the link where you can find them: B. Stamped. And use code “smama” for a 20% discount!
Since my surgery in November, my major symptoms I had are gone. I definitely do NOT regret getting them removed. It took a bit to get used to my “new” girls again but it was nothing I had to discuss in therapy about. I am looking forward continuing my postpartum health journey and sharing it with you all here.
Have you explanted? How do you feel now? What are some great tips you can give to someone else who is? Comment below and let me know.