How has it already been six months? Actually, it’s been over 6 months, by about a week.
If you are new to coming to my page, or if it’s the first time hearing about this, I’ll share a summary. In late May 2020, I had a breast explant surgery – yep, I voluntarily got rid of some toxic bags that I now know factually were making me sick. So, so very sick. I won’t lie and say I’m miraculously completely healed, and to be clear, that was never my expectation. I wanted to feel ANY amount, even 10% better, and know for certain that I had done everything in my power to feel better. I have an autoimmune disease aside from what I now know to be Breast Implant Illness, so I think I went in to surgery with realistic expectations.
If you’re wondering why I’d share this on a photography page, well, it’s really just somewhat cathartic for me to share! Also, it’s that this has the most reach of people who may be affected by #BII. I want people to know my story. I want women and men alike to understand the possible consequences of breast implants. I want women to know that they are NOT alone! If you have breast implants, saline or silicone, and you are having issues with fatigue, joint pain, brain fog…it might be worth looking in to. Please don’t misunderstand and think that you WILL get #BII or that I think all implants cause this in everyone. I know plenty of women who have implants (I almost used to think I was a rare unicorn amongst my friends, but alas, lots of us have or have had them). I know plenty who don’t have any of these issues. I also know plenty who don’t think some of their similar issues could be related to #BII. But…it might be. And even if those types of issues aren’t something you are experiencing, know that my particular body is now and will be permanently “deformed” from the implants. Yes, you read that correctly. Permanently deformed. My ribs, like the individual ribs that were under the weight of the implants, are now concave. My ribs are misshapen. Maybe that’s why it was hard to get a full breath of air for so long. In any case, I did ask my surgeon if this thought was accurate (that my ribs are now concave) and he said that it was in fact true that the weight can alter the ribs. Again, not something I expect happens to everyone, but be aware of it. And just so we are all clear, I did not have abnormally large implants! I went from a “barely A” cup to a B, and through pregnancy and aging, went to a full B/small C. So about 300 cc of fluid, I believe. Maybe a pound of implants? But over 17+ years, the damage was still done. Anyways, here’s the 6 month post op update on my symptoms (very similar to the 3 month update):
Inflammation – Improved 30+%
Joint Pain – Improved 30+%
Anxiety – Improved (not sure on %, because this was a particularly stressful month)
Difficulty Concentrating – Slight improvement – 15%
Memory Loss – This one I’m not sure on. Still not great, but that’s been the same since I was about 18
Brain Fog – Improved!! 50%
Hair Loss – Improved – Hair growth visible, looks healthier — I’ve had some additional hair loss since the third month, but not like it was a year ago)
Depression – Definitely an improvement.
Mood Swings – Not sure, but I feel confident it’s improved.
Shortness of Breath – BETTER!! Improved 80% or more! I had no idea that my breaths had become so, so shallow. Just days after surgery, I could FEEL myself breathing deeper. Even if nothing else changed, this would have been worth it!!!
Weight Gain – Not sure. Some weight loss since surgery, but I also did a juice cleanse for five days about a month ago. Unfortunately, I followed that up with a month of Starbucks and eating out. Sooo…between that and the stress, I did lose weight, but it fluctuates, and though less weight than before surgery, I’m not sure how much is from just that.
Chronic Fatigue – SO MUCH BETTER!! Probably 50%. Yes, I still get tired doing menial daily tasks, but what I haven’t done is lay in bed all day pretty much since maybe a week after surgery. Are there days I want/need a nap? Yes. But it’s not daily anymore, and even better, I’m able to exercise and walk without becoming short of breath and tired. I already know that my quality of life has been forever changed.
And here’s what I really wanted to share below. Pictures of what my Move, Exercise and Stand rings (Apple Watch app) used to look like compared to the last few months. I’m hardly the same person. It’s AMAZING what I’ve been able to accomplish while NOT spending 4-6 hours in bed, daily. I don’t care what anyone says. I know those toxic bags were NOT good for me. The data speaks for itself. Before those things were out, I could barely move, let alone exercise for 5 minutes, much less over 30 minutes. They are just some random screen shots from my phone, but almost any month before May 2020 will look similar to the November 2019/January 2020 shots. I actually did work out quite a bit in July, and then took some time off with the infamous move that didn’t happen since I was concentrating on … packing for that same move! Ha! And while I’m thinking about it – my pain. I don’t have post surgery breast pain. I DID have pain prior to the surgery (although was assured from my general physician it wasn’t my implants). But really, everything is back to normal for the most part (very rarely some tenderness, but that may be hormonal or something…it doesn’t feel like it’s a post-surgical pain at all).
I still fear that I’ll regress somehow and maybe that this is all temporary, and my body will reset it’s immune system. I dread the day I ruin my streak of working out daily, knowing that it’ll make me feel like I failed. I know that isn’t true, but I still worry. I’m so very sad for the “me” that I was for so long, but so thankful for the me that I’ve discovered since the surgery. The difference has been life changing. I’ll also mention that of course I have bad days! I don’t necessarily like my body’s new appearance in the way that I probably should. But, I’m accepting it. Some days are harder than others, and I expect that’ll always be the case. I still know I made the right choice, for me.
If you have any questions about #BII, please contact me. I’ve had numerous friends or friends of friends (or even some strangers!) contact me in regards to their health issues. I’m no expert, but I’m a completely open book and can walk you through what I went through, and how I found my explant surgeon, Dr. Derek Shadid. You can also see previous posts regarding #BII here: One Week Post Op 2 Month Post Op, 3 Month Post Op and Journey to Wellness – Pre-Op
I may or may not have thrown in the last picture to gloat to my friend, Shelby, just a little.
I was proud of myself though for doing a competition and it just happened to be that I beat him!
Oh yes…I updated my headshots!!
Taken on October 31st, so about 5 months post op. Feeling AND looking healthy!
Tags: #BII, #BreastImplantIllnessandHealing, #OntheLighterSide, Birth Photographer, Birth Photographer Alabama, Childrens Photographer, Family Photographer Alabama, Metro Area OKC Photographer, Military Family Photographer, Norman Oklahoma Photographer, OKC Photographer, Oklahoma City Maternity Photographer, Shelby Leigh Photography