My name is Julie
I am 48 yrs of age and am from Quebec, Canada.
I got breast implants in December 2007 at 37 yrs old. I was thin, feminine and in the best shape of my life. I was an athlete practicing many sports, many hours every day.
At that time I worked in the fashion industry with lingerie models and liked their full breasts. I decided to get them for myself.
I decided on smooth saline but my surgeon told me that since I had not much fat, the new generation of smooth silicone cohesive implants would look better on me, would never rupture and feel much more natural. He also wanted to put them sub glandular instead of sub muscular. He then told me that implants lasted about 10 yrs.
I had a hard time recuperating from my implant surgery. I thought the anesthesia was hard on me. I was sleeping most of the day and was in excruciating pain. After 3 weeks I started having strong night sweats with a weird, chemical smell to it, terrible brain fog and I could not shake off the fatigue. I also packed on 20 pounds literally overnight while eating a clean and mostly plant based diet. I had to prolong my sick leave from work because the fatigue was totally debilitating.
After 6 months it became evident that I could not function in a full time corporate job. I became a freelance worker to accommodate my state. At month 8, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease which was supposed to explain all my symptoms. But it did not.
Between the first and 8th yrs with Implants, my health deteriorated constantly. I went from an athlete with a full time job to a full time patient. I developed severe gastro intestinal issues of all kinds, a myriad of rare and unusual food allergies and intolerances, allergies to pain killers and antibiotics as well as shoulder and neck issues. And at night, I became so thirsty and hot, I felt like I had a burning fire in my chest and legs. I could not sleep with a blanket or pajama and drank up to one liter of water per night. I also developed asthma which baffled my doctors.
Recurrent throat, bladder, nails, skin infections were also part of the picture and only a few of my very long list of issues.
In 2016 a friend mentioned a Facebook group she was part of for women dealing with breast implant related issues. That was my ha-ha moment! I identified immediately with those women and their journey with health problems.
I immediately decided that removing my implants was the only solution for me in order to maybe get better. Since I had capsular contracture, the provincial public health care insurance was paying for my explant and I waited over a year for my surgery to happen.
Within 48 hours of explanting my implants, some of the major symptoms that poisoned my life for 10 yrs disappeared and never came back.
I decided to have my implants and scar capsule tissue analysed by a world renowned chemist. The report was devastating: the capsule tissue was covered with granulomas and one of my implants had a micro rupture of longstanding origin that leaked silicone oil into my body for many years.
A few months after my explant surgery I decided to create a Facebook support group for women negatively affected by breast implants for the French Canadian community. Since very little information about breast implants illness and BIA ALCL in available in French, this was the opportunity for me to pass on the knowledge I acquired in the Anglophone Bii/BIA ALCL community and make it available to the French speaking Canadian ladies.
Recovering from the issues breast implants created in my body is not always an easy journey; the silicone oil altered my normal bodily functions and I suffer frequent inflammation flare-ups. But advocating helps me keep the focus on recovery and I work on this project with the intention of making sure future generations of women won't be harmed by those medical devices they way previous generations were and that those who will choose to get implants will be able to do it fully informed.