Breast Implant Illness: A Letter From My Husband to Yours
Hi – I’m Adam, Sarah’s other half. So much about what my wife discusses on her website regarding breast implant illness is about what women go through once they come to the determination that their breast implants are literally destroying their health. I asked her if I could write about my experience as her husband over the last six plus years with hopes it could help you better-understand what your wife, girlfriend or loved one may be going through.
If you haven’t read Sarah’s story about her experience, I suggest you start THERE. You will likely find endless similarities about what she went through and what your partner is going through. I will give you a quick summary here. Sarah never had a single health issue in her life; she was a free-spirited, happy and energetic woman. She had wanted implants for years and despite me being impartial and nervous about an unnecessary surgery, I supported her in her endeavor. Over the next 6 years every aspect of Sarah’s health was negatively impacted by those implants and she became an entirely different person. She had anxiety issues, panic attacks, hormone imbalances, was sensitive to light and sound, had mild depression, always felt overwhelmed, had digestive issues, thyroid issues, adrenal fatigue, had brain fog and frequently got lost mid-sentence, was very irritable, and had zero energy. In short, she was a completely different person than the woman I fell in love with and married. Family and friends were also aware of the changes Sarah was experiencing. Social gatherings became difficult as we never knew if Sarah was having a good day or a bad day; and family walked on eggshells around her at times so not to make matters worse. Our loved ones were concerned – how did someone who was so friendly and loving become so on-edge and unhappy? It was tough on our marriage; I didn’t understand how she felt or what was causing all of her health issues but it consumed our entire lives. I felt like I was failing her as her husband because I am supposed to be the provider and the protector, but I didn’t know how to help her.
She became fixated on all of her ailments – can you blame her? This fixation though led to more stress and anxiety. She was a nurse; it was her job to take care of others and for a while she couldn’t even figure out how to take care of herself. She had no energy to be social even when she hadn’t worked in days and had been sleeping 12 hours a night. She frequently talked about feeling stressed and anxious even when she had nothing to get done that day. From the outside looking in our lives were wonderful, but she was at times sad and mildly depressed. She would have mild panic attacks going out into public or around crowds of people or loud noise. She had good days where she seemed almost normal and bad days where she felt so edgy and unhappy that I literally couldn’t interact with her.
As her husband; I was equally frustrated but also just sad. I felt so helpless in the situation. We were losing years off of our lives unable to live the life we wanted to live. We couldn’t make plans in advance because some days she literally couldn’t get out of bed yet others she seemed nearly normal. We couldn’t take vacations because her anxiety and digestive issues had gotten so bad she didn’t want to be away from home. We couldn’t start trying for children because she worried she wouldn’t be able to cope with taking care of kids and thought she wouldn’t make a good mom. This went on for YEARS.
All of this started about 6 months after her implants went in and we unfortunately didn’t make the connection between her implants and her health issues until much later. Over the next couple of years Sarah saw numerous doctors; some that were more Western Medicine based and others that were naturopathic. After spending thousands of dollars in co-pays, labs, supplements and getting nowhere, Sarah began doing hundreds of hours of research and course work in her free time. She was able to regain some of her health but she was still suffering from a root cause that she could not identify. This became a full-time job in itself for Sarah outside of her nursing position at the hospital. She was on a mission to figure out why her health had fallen apart and how she could get it back.
It wasn’t until about 5 years in that Sarah realized despite thousands of dollars in supplements and lab work that her health improvements had stalled and she couldn’t get over the final hurdle to a full recovery. She was so much better than she was when she started this journey, but labs indicated there were still problems that were not completely resolving and she worried how having breast implants might affect a growing baby when the time came. She had basically improved a lot of her health issues, but having implants was actually preventing her body from healing completely.
We later came to realize that she was clearly going about this in the wrong order. Getting the implants out should have been the first step and addressing all the downstream effects that we were seeing on the lab work should have been second. It took several years longer than it should have because of this. And the take home here is that the implants are the cause, but many times just removing the source doesn’t correct all the damage done. Extensive work goes into repairing the damage done and healing the body and that can look different for different people.
So after countless hours of research, Sarah had decided it was time to get her implants removed. I’ll be very honest in saying this; I was probably the reason we hadn’t looked into getting her implants removed sooner. I’m the finance person in our marriage. I had watched thousands of hard-earned dollars go out the window over the last 5 years in search of her health improving and quite honestly I was beginning to get to the end of my rope on the topic. After Sarah forced me to read story after story after story, I realized the only way we would be at peace with her health was to do the last remaining thing we could to get Sarah back to health and back to the woman I fell in love with: remove the implants.
We had no guarantee that this was going to solve her health issues; but given she had not had an issue in the world before getting implants, it was our last real shot at trying to get our lives and her health back. We had been in a fog of emotion over this for so long and were both ready to move on with our marriage and put this all behind us. Sarah found a wonderful doctor who specialized in explant surgery in Costa Rica and I was immediately defensive about the idea. The thought of flying to another country for a surgery we could get done 30 minutes from our home sounded absolutely crazy. Everyone we knew thought we were nuts but I knew the only way to satisfy the mental component of her ailments was to allow her to see the doctor she was confident in.
The simple way he explained his own theory on breast implant illness made it much easier for me to understand so I’ll provide it here. ”Three people are in a park and all get stung by a bee. The first one feels the sting and it hurts for a few minutes but that’s about it. The second person feels the sting, it hurts for hours and leaves a welt for several days. The third person however has a violent reaction to the sting and has to be rushed to the hospital as they’ve gone into shock. Why? Every person’s immune system responds differently to external threats. Unfortunately for some women, any foreign body (implants) creates a panic situation for the immune system and it shifts to working 24-7 on fighting that foreign body. The result? The immune system ceases to do what it SHOULD be doing and that’s when organs and other systems within the body start to fail. There are no tests to determine how a woman will respond to implants so unfortunately if your loved one is having all of these symptoms, they are like my wife Sarah and the implants HAVE TO GO. Furthermore implants leak CHEMICALS into surrounding tissues even if they are completely sealed and un-ruptured! We have Sarah’s implants to prove it; they are in perfect condition yet chemicals only found in implants were found throughout her scar tissue. IMPLANT COMPANIES LIE ABOUT THIS.
We flew down and I was able to spend the surgery day and the next few days with Sarah but then had to return home because of work commitments. My mother fortunately was able to replace me for the second week while she recovered. This decision to remove them, was the best decision Sarah and I have made outside of saying “I do” to each other. Within days Sarah was an entirely different woman. Her free-spirited personality returned as did her smile. Her digestive issues began to clear up. Her anxiety went away. She had a new glow to her that was reminiscent of the woman I married 8 years before. Family and friends immediately noticed a difference in her; it was absolutely incredible. Granted, she likely recovered so quickly because of all the work she had previously done to restore her health. She had done the work to heal from Lyme disease, SIBO, and hashimotos, among other things prior to getting her implants out. If she hadn’t already done these things, they would have needed addressing after explant.
You’d think that we would both be disappointed in the change in her appearance physically as she obviously lost considerable size to her breasts but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality was that over the last 6 years I had grown to resent the implants going in. I couldn’t even enjoy how beautiful she was with them because I knew deep down they were literally killing her. With them removed a huge weight was lifted off of our shoulders; it was so gratifying!
Now I know this blog got very lengthy so I’ll try and wrap it up. Sarah and I went through HELL over the last 6 years. Our process is probably like yours has been although you may be earlier in the decision-making process or at the point of scheduling the explant surgery. Regardless of where you are currently at; you will hopefully come to the same conclusion we did: that breast implants are the root of the problem, removing them is the first step to getting your lives back, and working with someone who’s been in her shoes and knows what to do can expedite that process.
After getting explanted, the second step to regaining full health and function is doing an extensive program with someone who’s dedicated years to learning how to heal the body naturally after such a serious immune system shutdown. Lab work gives Sarah functional indications on what’s been affected by breast implant illness so she can individualize her approach to your loved one’s exact needs. I can’t stress enough how there is no “one size fits all” approach to healing the body after a woman suffers from this illness. Detoxifying the body of those chemicals and restoring function to those areas that have been negatively impacted takes months but with a proper plan and a support system in place, you can and will get there. We wasted so many years of our lives because Sarah didn’t want to admit that her implants were the cause of all of this and because I was unwilling to give in financially and allow her to do the things she needed to do to get back to the woman I married.
I get it; money is a sensitive subject and if you are like me; you have already spent a great deal of money trying to fix things, and probably without much improvement. The sooner you accept that the only way to eliminate these health issues is by having the explant surgery done and working with someone who’s lived it and knows how to restore function afterward, the better. Why lose more years and make those underlying issues even worse?
Everyone has different incomes, lifestyles, and financial situations but what in our lives is more important than our health, and our time together? Daily Starbucks or meals out, a new car, the next vacation? All pointless if you can’t enjoy your time together day-by-day. You can’t get time back; and I regret we lost so many years we could have been doing so much more because I wouldn’t give in financially to what needed to be done. Looking back; I should have had the attitude of “I’ll do anything to get this resolved” but instead I was more focused on dollars and cents when the reality is you can always make more money but you can’t go back in time and make new memories.
If any of you want to talk to me directly about my perspective of our experience with breast implant illness, don’t hesitate to reach out. I think as the partner to someone going through this you can either make or break the experience for your loved one. Sarah and I have grown SO MUCH CLOSER because of this experience and I’m happy to talk about any aspect of it that would help you in making a decision for yourselves. God bless and I hope you too find recovery and peace!
*Please feel free to join Sarah’s private Facebook support group of like-minded women and help her grow the group using the link at the bottom of the page under “Lets Connect”.