top of page
  • Writer's pictureStephanie Clark

A weight off my chest - literally

8 days post op with tape marks that will not come off! But so happy and healthy!

I vividly remember the day I decided to get implants. It was 2 years after I stopped playing softball competitively, and had waited to see if my body would fill in naturally – since both my mother and sister were naturally endowed up top, while I had been blessed on the bottom Here is my story about breast implant illness.

Now, I was bullied for the majority of my life, and yet I had an inner confidence that was never shaken. My sense of self and worth only grew as I did and by senior year in high school, I owned my curves and wild hair.

Fast forward to age 22 – having been in fashion for several years at this point, meeting and speaking with models who all looked natural, but were far from it, I decided to meet with the surgeon so many raved about in Birmingham, AL. At my consult visit, I learned that my breast tissue had grown into my pectoral muscles somewhere along the way, and being told by Dr. Hedden, “You have the widest chest – for a woman – I have ever operated on.” after he measured me. What I thought was a comfy small B cup, he corrected that I was an AA in actuality. More incentive to have the procedure!

The day of the surgery arrived, I was given something in my IV for my nervousness, and taken back to the OR. It was a smooth procedure, one that takes on average 40 minutes, and mine lasted 80 minutes. Once coming-to after the anaesthesia wore off, I immediately looked down to my larger than life chest and proceeded to vomit…for hours.

We made the trip back home after dosing up on meds to help with pain and nausea, and my recovery and happiness began… or so I thought.

What started as strange symptoms I continued to ignore and dismiss with excuses, started to add up. I never in all my life had acne, rarely even when Aunt Flo visited did I have a breakout, but within just weeks of my breast augmentation I had cystic acne. Next my heart started to have very irregular and strange rhythm, sometimes for seconds at a time that caused panic in me, which only made the palpitations worse.

I was raised very holistically, mostly on homiopathic medicines or small town doctor remedies growing up, and have never had any illness or disease. Never had the flu, never had chicken pox or measles, never had anything outside of the common cold – so you could easily say I am a pretty healthy person. But when the vertigo and dizziness began, I started to wonder what was wrong. I could not turn around just to see something behind me, without feeling like I would fall over. This was just within the first year.

By year 3 I had red, dry, itchy eyes with constant disturbances.

Year 5 I had a baby, and began writing everything off as becoming a mother: chronic fatigue, brain fog (literally losing my complete train of thought mid sentence and not being able to speak for a moment), chronic inflammation in joints, constant migraines and headaches.

This went on for years! YEARS! I don’t even remember how I heard of Breast Implant Illness, maybe a story on social media someone shared, but in the fall of 2019 within moments of reading the article, I knew what was going on in my body: my body had been rejecting the breast implants.

Did you know that the FDA knew about breast implant illness in the 90’s and actually stopped breast augmentation surgery for several years until a study founded by the FDA, showed there was not enough evidence to support claims of BII? But in 2020, with hundreds of thousands of women coming forward, the FDA mandated that all implants come with warning label and surgeons are to advise on the possibility of illness?

When I first reached out to my surgeon to have these removed, he told me I would be better off with a new pair of implants. I just wanted them out, nothing else, and it was going to cost me twice as much as having them put in. I found this incredibly informative and supportive group of women who all were going through BII and explant, or about to be, on facebook called Breast Implant Illness & Healing . It includes lists of approved surgeons, insurance information, detox tips, support, before & afters…the list is endless!

I visited several local surgeons in Louisville, KY and none would recognize my symptoms as a result of the implants! Then I found Dr. Tiwari at Midwest Breast & Aesthetic Surgery in Columbus, OH and my life changed. He agreed with me, shared some studies about BII, and explained the procedure of an en bloc capsulectomy which is the removal of not just the implant, but the surrounding capsule your body creates to protect itself from a foreign object. In many cases, the capsule has sealed in a ruptured implant, preventing some of the silicone to leak into the body.

Dr Tiwari went to bat for me as the previous surgeons would not, ensuring my insurance recogniszed this was a medically necessary procedure and I got the call in July 2020 that the surgery would be covered by my insurance!

So here I am, 8 days post op, full of energy from 4:30AM until the kiddos go to bed…and I have only time to heal on my hands while recovering. I learned that my implants actually damaged and tore my pectoral muscles somewhere along the way which caused displacement.

I took a photo the morning of surgery as soon as I was settled in, and a photo immediately after and I could really see the inflammation around my eyes, the redness, all of it was gone within hours. This is the same light, same everything…and yet even my skin tone is different (this is very common in BII cases)

I have to give the BIGGEST shoutout to the team at both Midwest Breast & the surgical suites I went to for the surgery, Onyx & Pearl Surgical Suites. From the kindness of the nurses while being absolutely hands-on from the start, to the anaesthesiologist Clay playing Ying Yang Twins in the OR as I was rolled in, because that was the only music I could think of when asked – LOL. Going out to Sweat drip down these balls… will forever be in my mind.

While I have many friends who have had or are going to have breast augmentation surgery, this is just my experience and in no way am I trying to add fear to an already stressful decision…but If I could go back I would hands-down be doing a fat transfer or fat grafting vs. breast implants.

The silicone and saline implants both have silicone, carcinogens, and other toxic chemicals inside and within the envelope of the implant. Your body will naturally try to protect you from it, and I wish someone had at least relayed their fears and shared the facts on this topic so I could have asked my surgeon prior to surgery.

If you have Breast Implant Illness, or are suspicious of it, be sure to check out the symptoms, find a support group to ask questions, and find a surgeon who will support you! Happy healing, and God bless!

Adding here that if you would have questions or would like to see photos of before and after, before implants, with and after… I a happy to share my results with you.

Breast Implant Illness Symptoms

1 comment
bottom of page