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Since many of you asked me to write an update on my health after the explant surgery, I am happy to do it. I am not one who usually likes to talk about myself, but if it helps others, I am all for it.
There will be some good news so keep reading and please let me know in the comments what you’d like to learn more about or what your thoughts are.
As some of you know, in January of this year I had explant surgery to remove breast implants that I dearly regretted having done in the first place, 9 years ago. To read more about why decided to explant, visit here.
The decision to augment my breasts in the first place was emotional, and I relied on the cosmetic surgeon to inform me of any possible risks. The surgeon said that saline breast implants were much safer because, if they ruptured (which never happened, according to him), the saline water would simply get absorbed by the body. Problem solved.
However, now cosmetic surgeons recommend replacing saline breast implants every 8-10 years because saline water may grow harmful bacteria, so if they rupture (or leak without rupturing), the bacteria may make a woman very sick, to say the least.
What the cosmetic surgeon did not tell me is that the explant surgery is more complicated, much more involved, and more expensive than implanting. When they implant, they inflate the capsules after they have put them into the body so they need to make only tiny incisions in the hidden areas of the body. When they take breast implants out, big incisions have to be made under the breasts to have enough room to take out inflated implants along with their capsules.
Over the years, tissue grows around the breast implants. This tissue is called capsules, and the capsules may make it challenging to take out implants. The surgeon has to be able to help you make a decision whether to leave the capsules in or take them out. Both options do not seem to be ideal.
In my case, the capsules were taken out to remove tissue that might have been contaminated with silicone. This type of surgery is called En Bloc. The problem is that since extra tissue is taken out, the breasts may end up smaller than if the tissue was left in.
My left breast looks almost normal with a small indentation on the bottom but my right breast is smaller (before the implants my breasts were of equal size). Unfortunately, it has a visible indentation across the bottom part of the breast. Coincidently this is where my explant surgeon placed a bandage after the surgery.
My sweet husband, by the way, says that the indentation is not a big deal, but I’m a little self-conscious about it.
I was unable to receive any answers as to why I have these indentations and whether over time the shape of my breasts will get back to normal. Every time I asked my plastic surgeon these questions, she said that this could be easily corrected with fat transfer/grafting.
I also asked other breast surgeons about why I have these indentations. One of them suggested a fat transfer and the other said that she recommended waiting a year before doing any surgery.
Nowadays, fat transfer/grafting has become a popular alternative to breast implants. While it might seem to be a natural way to make breasts bigger, I’d like to share with you what I have learned. Now I know better – always do your own research!
First of all, in order to inject fat into the breast area, liposuction has to be performed, which is a surgery under general anesthesia. (My husband offered to be a fat donor!)
Second, since fat grafting has been available only since 2009, there are no large clinical studies with long-term follow-ups.
Some doctors are concerned that fat injected into the breast area may stimulate the growth of cancer cells. (source) Moreover, in this study, 16.7% of patients developed cysts where the injected fat calcified. On the mammogram, it would be hard to tell if the cysts are benign or cancerous and biopsy would be needed to make this decision.
To me, all this sounds like a nightmare. And most importantly, why should I go through all this? And I need to mention that the injected fat may get absorbed by the body over time, making further surgeries a very expensive hobby.
With this said, let’s talk about the good news now.
Despite the fact that my breasts do not look as good as before the breast augmentation surgery, I am happy to have my natural body back. Now I understand that beauty comes in different shapes and forms and I don’t have to look for the beauty industry to dictate their ideals. By the way, with some techniques I have been implementing, there have been some improvements. And I believe over time my body will settle into its natural forms soon.
As you might remember from my previous posts, I had been diagnosed with two autoimmune conditions after I had had breast augmentation: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Addison’s. With the help of a very skilled physician, Dr. Myrto Ashe, MD, I was able to heal Hashimoto’s and a recent appointment in April to my endocrinologist confirmed that my thyroid works as intended. (Doctors had previously told me that there s no cure for Hashimoto’s.)
I am also determined to heal Addison’s. There is only one documented case of spontaneous recovery from Addison’s though, without any explanation why that happened. And if you have adrenal insufficiency of any type and are reading this, please don’t try it at home as going off medication can result in coma or death.
The approach of functional medicine is to find the root cause(s) of chronic illness. The thinking is that once the cause is eliminated, the body will heal itself. The common root causes of autoimmunity include infections, harmful bacteria, allergic foods, toxic chemicals, and stress. (source)
Two months after the explant surgery, I re-tested 4 markers that are associated with mold illness, inflammation, and autoimmunity. The great news is that 3 of them are way down, with one improving by 50%. And that’s in the context that I have been grieving because my mom passed away in February.
I definitely have more energy now than after the explant surgery. And I am able to work long hours helping people reduce exposure to toxic chemicals while performing the duties of a stay-at–home mom.
But wait, there’s more! Back when I started working with Dr. Ashe, I took the Nutreval test, which provides insight into one’s overall biological profile: mineral and vitamin deficiencies, gut health, ongoing exposure to heavy metals, digestion, and ability to convert food into energy, to name a few. This test includes a marker for oxidative DNA damage (which itself can indicate a predisposition to cancer. Three years ago, this marker was high for me. I am happy to report that it is normal now!
It was also handy to find out that I am unable to convert fat from foods into energy, and my body relies on carbs for energy. No wonder I was fatigued when I tried a low carb diet awhile ago. Now I am taking a supplement for that.
Some other steps I’ve been taking or am planning to take in the near future to achieve optimum health include:
- Heavy metals chelation therapy (after 5 months of this therapy, my stored lead and mercury went down)
- A fast-mimicking diet (studies show that this diet has great anti-aging, anti-autoimmune, and anti-cancer properties)
- Finding and eliminating sources of an ongoing exposure to antimony, a heavy metal
- Continue with mold detox until I am tested negative for mold
- Strategically provide my body with minerals, vitamins and amino acids it needs to heal
- Continue to eliminate exposure to heavy metals and other potentially harmful substances in my environment.
In conclusion, I am happy that I explanted. And I am also grateful that I discovered the world of functional medicine where taking control of your health is encouraged and healing is possible. I am looking forward to the time where I am not dependent on any medication to live and when I feel sustainably vibrant – even with age.
If you’ve read this far, stop stalking me! No, I’m kidding. Thank you for your prayers, energy, and support. I hope others thinking about implants or explant surgery might learn from my mistakes and experience. Thanks for reading!
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