Not too long ago, I was a very active mom of a kindergartener. I was also a hiking guide for a high-end fitness resort in beautiful, beachy Malibu, California, and I loved every second of it. I loved being outside, running trails, hugging trees, and chasing mountains. It’s hard to believe how much of a distant memory these things would become in such a short amount of time.
How I felt when I could no longer chase the mountain peaks
Hiking was not just a job to me, I’m fairly certain that I had a spiritual experience almost every time I set my feet on the rugged earth of whichever mountain I happened to find myself on that day. I craved the wind, the climb, and even the dirt that piled up on the edges of my hiking boots. Do you know that feeling? If you do, then you can imagine how I felt when I could no longer chase those mountain peaks due to fatigue and the slew of other health conditions I acquired after getting breast augmentation.
Sounds crazy right?
You see, I had a breast deformity that I always felt uncomfortable about, and I was finally in a place in my life when surgery was possible. I was at an all time high in my life when I decided to get the surgery I had been wanting since my teens. We’re told that implants are safe and we believe them. In hindsight, I’m not sure what I was hoping for. However, I do know this: I got a whole slew of things that I wasn’t expecting.
My health declined…
My health declined immediately, but it took me four years to realize what the cause of my mysterious symptoms was. I was in and out of doctors’ offices constantly. It seems that my only problems were stress and weight gain to most of them. Eventually, I stopped trying to fix my issues and just got used to my “new normal.”
Four years had passed after getting implants and my health had declined so much that I spent most of my time in bed. I was riddled with terrifying neurological symptoms, and doctors were testing me for every condition under the sun. It took a concerned phone call from a friend after her sister had her implants taken out (explant surgery) to clue me in.
The explant surgery theory
After my friend called telling me about her sister’s explant surgery, I spent hours on the internet researching this crazy thing called “breast implant illness”. Eventually, I stumbled across literally hundreds of Facebook groups where tens of thousands of women were talking about how they were becoming healthier after removing their implants. I was in complete shock. I found out I related deeply to these women.
But I was even more shocked to hear about all of the women who had explanted and had their symptoms begin to improve. I felt envious of them. By this point I had quit my job, I hired a caregiver to help me with daily tasks around the house, and I was beyond desperate to live a normal life again.
Finally, I realized that I had no choice but to get this surgery.
To be honest, I doubted whether this surgery was going to help at all. But I needed to have some hope. I was able to get my explant surgery on September 1st of last year and the journey since then has been absolutely incredible. Unfortunately, there’s no way to immediately repair four years worth of damage overnight. The improvements have been undeniable, but I still live with chronic pain and experience autoimmune like flares. Though I still experience a few remaining symptoms, my overall symptoms list has gone from 65 items to 34, and I know that my body is on the right track.
Living with an undiagnosed illness
So here I am, living with an undiagnosed illness that most people think I’m making up. Can you relate? I sometimes wonder if more people would believe me if I had a fancy diagnosis. Nonetheless, I have been able to find my tribe through social media.
I also created a website for women just like me and founded the ‘Life Since Explant Club’ for women needing resources and support post explant surgery. For now I feature a new woman’s explant story every single month and our resource website is set to launch early next year. Women everywhere now have a place where they can relate and find solace while the majority of outsiders continue to call them “crazy” or “dramatic.”
I am on now a journey not only towards health, but also towards a better understanding of my own body and how it works. I am so grateful for the women who have told their explant stories. If it weren’t for them and the information I gained from their stories, I would still be bedridden most of the time, and I wouldn’t have the life that I have today.
As of now, there are a bunch of reasons associated with why women get sick after getting implants. They include genetic makeup, environmental toxins, body chemistry, dormant autoimmune diseases, and others. Many I’m sure we’re not even aware of yet. If you are looking for more information on breast implant related health issues, I urge you to check out my website for resources and support!
Ms. Amber Rubye