My Breast Implants Were Killing Me!
Hi, my name is Sarah; nice to meet you! I help women suffering from breast implant illness discover the hidden stressors caused by implants and teach them how to heal their bodies naturally. I will teach you how to take back your health and how to stay healthy for life! After you read my story, help me grow this community by joining our private Facebook support group: Link at the bottom of the page.
I was once quite happy and comfortable living the conventional life, but I began to look at things very differently when my body started failing me after getting breast implants and I had to take on the battle of figuring out what the heck was going on! I was really into fitness. It started with P90x, which lead into straight up body building. I hired a trainer who worked with bikini competitors to help me get into the best shape of my life at 30. I didn’t want to compete; I just wanted to look like some of those ladies and with that came my push for breast implants. I had actually always wanted bigger boobs, since I was a tween. I remember stuffing my bra in 6th grade…I wasn’t fooling anyone. So this fitness lifestyle lended itself to finally making the big decision I had always dreamed about.
About 6 months after getting them placed, I began to see my once “perfect health” (I say “perfect” because I had a terrible diet, but zero symptoms of any kind) steadily decline. I began to experience fatigue, irritability, anxiety, feeling cold when everyone else was hot or comfortable, easy weight gain, brain fog, inability to focus on I was reading, feeling drained after exercise, dry skin, loss in sex drive, and forgetfulness. I worked night shift as a nurse at a busy hospital and for some time thought, if I can just get on a day shift I will feel better. I would literally come home after working a few nights in a row, sleep until about 5, wake up for a few hours, then fall back asleep for the night. This was routine. I knew something was wrong because I was no longer myself.
I ended up doing a lot of my own research and knew I likely had Hashimoto’s. So I thought if I can just get that diagnosis and get some thyroid meds prescribed, I’d be okay. Several doctors later, I finally found one that would take me seriously and that’s where I began my journey. It wasn’t exactly the approach I needed, but it got the ball rolling. I got onto a day shift position at work and while it helped, it didn’t fix me. I began experiencing night sweats, horrific insomnia, mind racing, perioral dermatitis, headaches, food sensitivities, chemical sensitivity, heart palpitations, periods of tachycardia when at rest, and extreme anxiety to the point of not wanting to be in public. I couldn’t stand loud sounds or bright lights and being at work in a noisy environment with everyone chit-chatting around me was torture. I had chest tightness, shallow breathing, and a real fun one, mental awareness of every single breath I took. Now for those of you who don’t know, breathing is part of your autonomic nervous system. It just happens automatically and you are not supposed to be aware of it. I began having menstrual periods that started out with vomiting, explosive diarrhea, and excruciating pain…all at the same time. I had to take oxycodone just to get relief. I had to try to plan my work schedule around my menstrual cycle. I was a mess. And not to mention all the strain this put on my marriage. It is hard to deal with a spouse who suddenly from what seems like out of nowhere becomes this sick. I have a very loving and supportive husband, but it was still a strain on our relationship. There were times I was just not a nice person to be around.
It was around the time of my menstrual cycle going haywire that I started having IBS symptoms: bloating, gas, frequent stools, loose stools, and PAIN every evening. I felt my best after going to the bathroom in the morning and worse as the day went on and I ate more food. It was to the point of not wanting to do anything social because I was so uncomfortable. All I could do was lay on the couch and wait until the next morning when I felt a little better again. While my doctor was “treating” me for Hashimoto’s, I began to look for some real answers.
By this time I was heavily into the research, trying to figure out what was going on with my body. I learned that I probably had hormonal imbalance and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis dysfunction. I discovered information that lead me to believe I had SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) as well. So I hunted down a functional medicine doctor who I thought would be the best fit for me. I went into the appointment with a list of lab work I wanted ordered. She agreed, and we found the SIBO I had suspected. FINALLY, I thought. This is it. We’ll treat this and I’ll be good as new! Wrong. We did treat the SIBO with 2 month-long rounds of antibiotics and I made huge dietary changes, but I still had symptoms. There was more going on inside my body than I realized. Living in my body was so uncomfortable that there were times I literally just wanted to jump outside of my skin and hide under a rock. I couldn’t even work out any more. Lifting weights made me feel so weak and made me incredibly irritable. The stress of it felt like too much to handle…and it was. I couldn’t even tolerate any kind of conflict. The stress made me feel like I would explode. The discomfort was maddening. I started to wonder if I was just going to have to learn to live with all of the symptoms. I’m pretty sure everyone I knew thought I was crazy.
I would soon realize that I was looking in the wrong places, for the wrong things. If I wanted to fix my broken body, I had to stop looking for a treatment for my symptoms; I had to start looking for a cause. Because I come from a medical background, and have seen a multitude of patients get sick and stay sick, combined with my lackluster experience as a patient thus far, I knew that continuing to seek care from a conventional standpoint (or even a naturopathic standpoint) would fail to get me on the road to healing. And so began the realization that figuring this thing out was going to be all up to me. It was time to take my health into my own hands and find my own answers.
I had done my research changed a lot of things about my lifestyle. Although I had made changes, there was a missing link and I knew it. So I began my “root cause” search. The problem was I didn’t have access to the kinds of functional lab work I needed in order to discover these underlying causes.
Then I found FDN (Functional Diagnostic Nutrition), which was my saving grace. A holistic coaching program that could teach me how to do exactly what I was looking for in a medical doctor all along. I strongly believe that our experiences are never chance. There is always a greater purpose and I believed that purpose was so I could learn how to heal my body and then help others do the same.
So, I went through this holistic health program. As I went through the program I practiced on myself and learned I had SIBO (still), gut dysbiosis (imbalance of good and bad bacteria), hormonal imbalance, HPA-axis dysfunction, and lots of inflammation to go along with my improperly functioning thyroid and immune system. On top of that I found out I had Chronic Lyme Disease and neurotransmitter imbalances. No wonder I felt like crap! I took this as an opportunity to learn all I could about how what we eat, what we put on our bodies, what we use in our homes, and how we think affects us. I learned how to be a health detective and search for the underlying causes contributing to my symptoms and how to address them in order to get on a path to healing.
At one point during my course work, my mentor suggested I get my implants out. He suggested to me that this could be an underlying cause to my immune system going haywire and my body not fully recovering. I didn’t want to think about this possibility at the time, but I did do some research and found Dr. Susan Kolb’s book “The Naked Truth about Implants”. I had convinced myself that this was probably why I developed all this chronic illness. I didn’t just get chronic Lyme Disease one day. I had been exposed at least 10+ years prior based on what my neurotransmitter results looked like. My immune system just could no longer keep the pathogens that cause Lyme in check. Still, I wasn’t ready. I was going to give it all I had in order to avoid having to get them out. After all, I had wanted them for so long! And I spent all that money! This is what I told myself.
So, using the principles of FDN I actually was able to stop the yoyo dieting and over exercising and maintain my weight with moderate exercise, no cardio, and eating the food that nourished my body without counting calories. In fact, I even lost some weight without trying. I appropriately addressed the Lyme, neurotransmitter imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, as well as gut pathogens like citrobacter, yeast, and parasites over the next 6 months as I also worked on gut healing. I began regaining my health, sharing my story, and helping others do the same, arming them with the knowledge and skills they need regain their health. Most of my symptoms had either disappeared or greatly improved. I considered myself to be a work in progress, but was leaps and bounds from the debilitating state I was in. I was about 80% better.
So I went on with life for another 2 years before finally deciding to explant. Though I felt much better, I still had a few lingering symptoms. My period started to become abnormal. I would have what seemed like a normal bleed, then continued to spot for 8-9 days afterward. Periods were still painful, though not as bad as they were. It still had a mild case of IBS, but nothing I couldn’t handle. And that was it. Those were the symptoms I was left with.
It was around this time that my husband and I wanted to start trying to conceive. After 6 months of being unsuccessful I began doing some lab work. Hormones and general lab work appeared normal on paper. I was seeing a new midwife and I asked her if we could do an HSG, which is a procedure that uses dye and x-ray to look for abnormalities within the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. We did, and discovered a blocked tube. I had been suspecting endometriosis based on what my periods were like so I went to a fertility specialist for an ultrasound. She saw a couple of what she thought were endometriomas on my left tube. I knew IVF wasn’t what I truly wanted so next I went to an endometriosis specialist who diagnosed it as endometriosis based on exam and confirmed with MRI. So, here I am faced with a decision. Do I get a laparoscopy and risk all the complications? I have very little faith in conventional medicine unless it is needed to save my life. At doctor’s appointments, “how did you do it?” was a common question I was asked. They all wanted to know how I had restored so much of my health. Doctors don’t have time for research! So I always brought most of my own research with me to any appointments I had in order to back up my theories.
Meanwhile, the implants were constantly in the back of my mind. I prayed about it often. I made subtle suggestions to my husband with regards to getting them out many times in order to prepare him mentally for the day when I decided to do it. I went back and forth a lot about it. But at the end of the day I just kept thinking “what if this is preventing my body from completely healing and becoming pregnant?” And “what if I have a child with developmental or other health complications?” I would never be able to forgive myself because I would always wonder if it was the toxic implants inside my body. So I decided to just get them out. I had been doing a lot of research on BII and surgeons within the past 2 years. I knew Dr. Urzola in Costa Rica was the right surgeon for me and I am a strong believer in going to the best specialist for what you need, wherever that may be. So we booked it and I got my implants out on October 11th, exactly 6 years after I got them placed.
I feel very good about my decision and I am very happy with my results. Dr. Urzola is very kind and compassionate and makes every effort to give you the best outcome possible. My implants were 350cc silicone, sub-pectoral. He did an enbloc resection with lipo at 5 sites (back of arms, low back, inner thighs, outer thighs, under buttocks) and fat transfer (240cc each side), no lift. My skin has tightened up nicely and I have found a new love for my small breasts. I feel that I retained about 70% of my fat transfer. I am really happy with the outcome and results. I think they are pretty! I have healed from surgery very nicely. By the 30 day mark almost all swelling was gone. I have regained quite a bit of sensation at the lipo sites. My scars look excellent! I have no dimpling or scar tissue build-up from the lipo. I did not continue lymphatic massages after the 30 day mark; I simply included dry brushing into my morning routine and that’s it! I started exercising on day 30, doing lower body weight lifting, which Dr. Urzola said was okay. I was a small 30c (barely) prior to my implants and after explant and fat transfer, so far I am measuring a full 30d. It sounds large, but it really isn’t. They don’t really project outward like implants, but I have a decent amount of tissue. I think I much prefer the way they look and feel now to how they were with implants.
My friends and family say they can already see a difference in me. They say I seem softer/more relaxed, yet energetic, mentally sharper, happier, and brighter! You know, I always tell clients of mine that most people just don’t know how good their bodies can and should feel until they restore their health. It is then that they realize just how miserable they were before. Misery becomes the new normal. And in a way, that explains my situation. I didn’t realize I was tense, unenergetic, mentally sluggish and dull (lol). As for what I have noticed: the first two periods I had after explant were completely painless. They came and went with ease. That hasn’t been the case in 4+ years! The bleeding is beginning to normalize. The perioral dermatitis that I had for 6 years has finally vanished. I have more energy, more vitality, and more passion for life. I still have a little bit more gut work to do and I have been working on slowly and gently detoxing for the past year and a half prior to getting explanted so I will continue working on that as well. I have ramped up the detox work a bit now that my implants are out. Oh, and I got my thyroid antibodies down to 25 from 550 prior to getting explanted so I’m hoping the next test shows 0!
The other blessing that came from this experience was what transpired between my husband and I while at Costa Rica. We had two nights before my surgery together, much of which was spent connecting on a mental/emotional level over everything we had gone through in the past 6 years. It was all culminating to this one moment, of which relief was what we were anticipating. All the stress, all the emotion, was coming to an end as we did what God was telling us to do. We connected on a completely different level than ever before and I left Costa Rica feeling more hopeful, more loved, and more cherished than ever. My point in sharing this and the rest of my story for that matter is that I feel blessed to have gone through this struggle and I thank God for it because of what it has brought me: A level of health that I had never reached, a level of emotional intimacy that I never knew was possible, and the experience and expertise to be able to help others who are struggling like I was. God pursued me in my struggle and for that I am thankful.
God gets all the glory for how far I have come. He has blessed me with the answers I needed and the right people in His perfect time. Victory has a name, and it’s Jesus. Healing has a name, and it’s Jesus. And now we are praying and believing for a pregnancy! And I can rest assured, knowing that I have done everything I can with what very little power I have to regain my health in order to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy child. It’s in God’s hands now. I hope to have good news in the near future. I hope my story helps anyone who is on the fence about getting explanted. I hope it gives you assurance that there is hope!
So what do you do if you are suffering with Breast Implant Illness, have gone through en block explant surgery and are still sick? There is a lot of information already out there about Breast Implant Illness, what it is, why it happens, and even things you can do to restore your health after explant. But what if learning all you can and going it alone fails? If I hadn’t addressed many of my health issues prior to implant, I would have been addressing them after. You have to address the downstream effects of having implants. Breast implants are endocrine disruptors and immune system disregulators that cause a state of metabolic chaos in which every system of the body begins to break down, resulting in symptoms. Given my experience and hearing countless people’s experiences in trying to heal their bodies alone, I always advise working with a holistic health expert who has experience in dealing with the aftermath. After-all, Sir William Osler said, “a physician who treats himself has a fool for a patient”, and I believe this to be true for anyone, doctor or not.
I believe our bodies were designed perfectly. The body, when given what it needs, and removing causal factors, has an innate intelligence to heal and return to a state of ease rather than dis-ease. If the causal factor (or root cause) of your chronic illness is your breast implants, then removing them and then addressing the downstream damage that has occurred while also giving your body the nutritional support it needs will resolve your symptoms and restore your health. Addressing the downstream damage means doing some functional lab work to discover what needs repairing. Since implants affect the immune system, it is important to look closely at the gut for pathogens that have been allowed to overgrow. While looking for pathogens, we also want to look at the integrity of the gut lining, the ability to produce digestive enzymes, and how much inflammation is in the gut. Since we are on the topic of the immune system and pathogens, we also want to screen for and possibly test for the pathogens that cause Lyme Disease, mold toxicity, and viruses like Epstein Barr, HSV, and Cytomegalovirus among others. Looking at hormones by doing a hormone panel called the DUTCH is, in my opinion, the best way to assess hormone imbalances and also tells us about methylation status, nutritional deficiencies, oxidative stress in the body, and neurotransmitters, all of which are affected by breast implants. The HTMA (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis) is a great way to test for heavy metal toxicities and mineral imbalances and a good detox program while supporting methylation is always imperative to restoring health after explant. Healing is not only going to include detoxing your body at the cellular level, but also detoxing your lifestyle. Chemicals in everything we are exposed to on a daily basis combined with heavy metals from implants and all the toxic waste produced by pathogens, creates a cumulative effect in the body.
Assessing all of these systems while also supporting the body with good nutrition is imperative. Nutrition is key in healing the body, but what is considered good for me might not be good for you. We are all unique individuals and should be treated as such. Because food sensitivities are likely a problem for those with Breast Implant Illness, I like to use food sensitivity testing to create a customized nutrition plan for healing. Then, of course, we need good quality sleep, hydration, and an appropriate type and amount of exercise to heal. The important thing to remember is our unique biochemistry. Working with a knowledgeable practitioner who can give you a non-cookie cutter approach that is tailored to your specific needs will get you well on your way to healing.
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Sarah has a passion for restoring health that has taken her along a path from RN, to fitness enthusiast, to becoming a certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner, True Cellular Detox™ Practitioner, and Metabolic Healing Practitioner. She has a passion for learning and then teaching her clients about health through nutrition and lifestyle, and guiding them through the sea of mis-information in hopes of finding their path to vibrant health.
Sarah’s belief is that we should settle for nothing less than vibrant health! And detoxing after en block explant is a foundation for that. She focuses on healing the body naturally at the cellular level with whole(real) foods, lifestyle changes, detoxing, and addressing the downstream conditions caused by breast implants. She believes that alternative therapies can be just as effective, if not more so, than conventional medical treatments because we are seeking to heal the body rather than merely mute a symptom with a pill. Sarah is an advocate for natural living and doing what she can to keep toxins out of the home and environment. She is also very passionate about eating real foods as she feels it’s the key to keeping our health and the future health of our children. The thought of diet and lifestyle changes can be overwhelming, so she is here to guide you through it. Sarah is super passionate about this work, as she truly believes there is a reason for her own struggles that is bigger than her. Sarah will show you how to reverse breast implant illness, take back your health, and live vibrantly!