I Thought I Was Dying
I'm Melanie from ONTARIO. I'm a wife and Mom to 5 wonderful kids. (3 before implants & 2 after, for which I was encouraged to breast feed, but due to milk duct damage from implants I couldn't breast feed for long.
I got MENTOR textured cohesive gel implants in 2003 and had NO idea of the consequences. I was NOT informed of all the possible health issues linked to breast implants. I was told they were the best, safest implant out there. Looking back, I see the first signs were during my 4th pregnancy in 2006. I became irrecognizable. My face bloated to the point of looking deformed, and I had an extreme case of chloasma/melasma which was very hard on me emotionally. Why was this pregnancy so different from my others where I was literally glowing?! The labor and delivery was also worrisome.
I then became pregnant with my 5th in 2008. Again more chloasma, it was faded but still there from my 4th pregnancy. Everything seemed fine, delivery etc. My daughter developed 2 strawberry nevus's (hemangioma) and 1 cavernous hemangioma. They had to ultra sound them to make sure they weren't attached to the brain or liver. (they weren't) They eventually faded after several years. At age 1 she had also developed a red bum (diaper area) that several doctors had no answers for, it really upset me and caused me to worry. (it has since gone away).
My 4th child now has possible gluten intolerance (we are working on it) and I truly believe now that they were effected somehow from the implants, causing their systems to not function properly. Over the years between 2006-2017 I developed over 30 symptoms. Some painful, some annoying, some debilitating. I spent years going to my doctor, having MRI's, bloodwork, CT scans, scopes, seeing multiple specialists, surgeries only to NEVER get answers. I often told my husband I felt I was poisoned, tainted, on drugs. I wasn't able to be there for my growing kids when they needed me physically or emotionally. Not being able to be the Mom I wanted to be has to be the worst symptom of all.
In FEBRUARY 2017, my husband and I went to my doctors appointment to discuss barely being able to drive a car. I was in SO much pain in my back, ribs, chest I could hardly move my arms to steer a car. My left breast had also started to 'pucker', so we asked the doctor again (because I had asked several times over the years) if my symptoms could be attributed to my breast implants. His response was NO MELANIE, GET THAT THOUGHT OUT OF YOUR HEAD. He was referring me to a rheumatologist, and that appointment was 10 months away!
I left that office that day both COMPLETELY BROKEN, but also a woman on a mission! After all the years of this I was DONE listening to the 'professionals'. I intuitively KNEW that my symptoms had something to do with my implants but I needed to find out more! I went home and feverishly searched GOOGLE with my very specific symptoms. I came across a website called HEALING BREAST IMPLANT ILLNESS. I read through the literature and almost fell off my chair! I had a complete and utter breakdown. I realized I was suffering from BREAST IMPLANT ILLNESS!!
I joined the affiliated facebook group and read through post after post from women that seemed to be living MY LIFE! I spent the next week reading and crying and sharing as much as I could with my husband. It was now MARCH 2017 and we knew what we had to do, EXPLANT! I managed to talk my doctor into making a referral to remove the implants but it was going to be 3-4 months for a consultation and then possibly 7-8 more months for a booked surgery. I felt defeated. By that point I was experiencing unfathomable symptoms. I had lost my sense of smell, was periodically losing bladder control and was scared to sleep, I thought I was going to pass away while I slept so I would try to stay awake.
I had been to the ER several times by ambulance as I feared dying. At one ER visit I told my husband to bring me a pen and paper and I would quickly write up a last minute will and letter to the ones I loved, told him to go home and get the kids because I wasn't going to be leaving the hospital, I was sure I was passing soon, as a Mom of 5, I can never put into words what that did to me that day, how much fear I had and how much it ripped my heart out because I was just sent home. What do you mean you're sending me home?! I'm NOT dying?!?!
So because of my health, physical and emotional state and how it was effecting the whole household there was NO way I could wait possibly 10 months to explant with OHIP coverage. We visited the office of a surgeon in Toronto that did 'enbloc' explant, which is the best removal for textured silicone gel implants and any implants for that matter. From my understanding that type of removal is NOT covered by OHIP but it absolutely should be!!! We took out a $10,000 loan and I had EXPLANT surgery on MAY 09, 2017. It saved my life!!
By 6 weeks the inflammation was down and I felt I had a new lease on LIFE! The horrible list of symptoms seemed to disappear or decrease substantially and by 6 months later I was feeling like a totally different woman!! This experience was life changing and I am now a member of multiple breast implant groups, but take special interest in the Canadian sites like this one! I cannot express in words how much appreciation I have for the women, the other Implant Survivors who advocate for others and to make change in this broken health care system.
MUCH LOVE, Melanie
Here is a list of my symptoms while having implants 1. EXTREME pain in ribcage & upper back-was referred to rheumatologist but didn't need to see him after explant pain went away. 2. EXTREME periodic pain in left groin and down left leg-saw specialist-no answers 3. Extreme pain & burning sensation left breast 4. Loss of bladder control-no answers 5. Loss of sense of smell-tests and specialists-no answers - went away after explant 6. Cognitive dysfunction(memory loss, loss of concentration & brain fog) 7. Visual disturbances, blurred, ocular migraines
8. Vertigo 9. Chest pain & pressure 10. sudden changes in heart rate/palpitations 11. adrenal symptoms (fight or flight) 12. anxiety/depression 13. panic attacks 14. chronic headaches 15. extreme pain back of head 16. back of neck pain issues
17. sleep disturbances
18. gastrointestinal issues-diagnosed IBS
19. muscle & joint pain
20. chronic fatigue
21. hair loss
22. dark blotches on face (hormone disruption)
23. low libido
24. extreme cramping & excessive bleeding during cycle-had endometrial ablation & tubal ligation surgery
25. foot cramping
26. excessive bruising & slow healing cuts
27. difficulty swallowing-lump in throat
28.acid reflux-had several scopes, prescribed meds
29 .ear ringing
30. tmj-saw specialist
31. night sweats
32. Numbness in extremities
33. feeling of being poisoned