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  • Jennifer Affronti

Breast Implant Illness

I was contemplating posting this, but everyone has been asking a lot of questions. Yes, I removed my breast implants. You ask why? They were making me and my body very sick. It all started with my saline implants in 2001 and escalated in 2007 with my silicone ones. I was dealing with various autoimmune issues that no doctor or specialist could figure out what was wrong with me. Then Sara X Mills reached out to me in April of 2016 (we both had talked about our various illnesses before) she sent me a link to www.healingbreastimplantillness.com and told me to read over it. She was taking hers out and thought maybe this is what was wrong with me. When I went to the website, I sobbed. I realized that it was true...and truly made sense. I loved my big fake boobs, hell I was known for them. I knew deep down. I spent the next 6 months doing research like crazy.

So here's my illness journey. I was dealing with severe exhaustion, brain fog, occasional bouts with my intestines (I am off of gluten since 2012 which has helped immensely), I have an odd rash down my leg that once was on the outside of my left boob (this was prior to silicone implants, I had saline at the time) I chalked that up to having "Celiacs". I get bouts of tingles in my legs but I am a cocktail waitress. I would also have pain in my left boob, but again cocktailing for all these years, it's my "tray arm". An odd thing was my silicone implants were always cold. I've lived in Las Vegas and even when it's 110 out, my chest is always cold.

I got my saline implants in June 2001. I have always had a bit of constipation prior but nothing serious. On Christmas of 2001, I was rushed to the ER, as my bladder had shut down. I couldn't urinate and hadn't in over 24 hours. The ER wasn't too sure what was wrong with me so, they stuck a catheter in me with a bag and sent me home. I went to a urologist a week later, and he told me I had the beginning signs of MS. I laughed in his face, took the portable catheter he gave me and left. I went and saw a holistic DR the next week (I had that scheduled prior to my incident as I remember I just didn't feel right) and he told me I had a severe bacterial infection in my uterus and put me on uva ursi. I could finally pee on my own the next day. I did start having more intestinal problems then. I started getting UTI's a bunch. In 2007, I had to go to a cardiologist. I started having these "attacks". My heart would start pounding out of my chest, I would get discombobulated as to where I was, dizziness, brain fog, and then my intestines would go crazy and I'd be in the bathroom getting everything out so to speak. I went to a cardiologist, was hooked up to a monitor for 24 hours. He determined that I had MVP (mitro valve prolapse). That only determined my heart pounding but not the rest. Later that year (2007), I switched from saline to silicone implants both are under my muscle. I kept having these "attacks". I then went to a gastroenterologist Dr. He said I had slight IBS. "Yeah, ok" I thought, but that didn't explain it all. I mean, when I had an attack....I wasn't leaving the bathroom so to speak and had the worst abdominal cramps and um, the shits. One day I had made an appointment to see my GP Dr, she got called away on an emergency. So I saw her nurse practitioner and he said he thought I needed prosac as he thought I was just depressed. I said you would be depressed too if you didn't know every time you went out if you would have an attack and shit yourself. I was exhausted all the time, so much I would sleep all day long, then go to work....and sometimes I'd have insomnia but still exhausted. Attacks would come and I couldn't make sense of when they would. I would get dizzy at times, but I had vertigo at 22 (before implants) so I chalked it up to that. I've had pain in my left upper boob area, but it's my tray arm for cocktailing ( I chalked it up to that). In December of 2010, I had seen a ENT Dr. My brother had surgery to correct his deviated septum he was born with. When I went to the ENT, he had told me my septum was worse than my brother's and I also had very small nasal holes. He would have to do a more extensive surgery. He thought that was maybe part of why I was dizzy and had brain fog. It still didn't explain the rest of my symptoms and to be honest, didn't change my breathing at all. After my stepdad died in '10....I swore I'd get to the bottom of what was making me sick. I went back to all the Dr's again, but again I got the same results. My general Dr said she was sending me to an endocrinologist and if that came back fine, she was taking me off of certain foods to rule out food allergies. Well, it came back fine. So I took myself off of gluten to shut up everyone that was saying I should do that. I truly thought that it was a fad diet. But I found out that I started to actually feel better. This was 2012. After 6 weeks of being strict on my "diet", I ate gluten by accident. I had on a steel boned corset and my tummy was so swollen, It pushed the corset out. I was so sick. I went back to the general dr. and told her everything...oh, btw, i have a strange rash down my left leg that no one knew what it was (and I had been to dermatologist. When I told the Dr...she said...well most likely you have Celiacs or a gluten intolerance. I asked her what would be the protocol for either one and she said, I'd have to take a biopsy to determine, but either way you just have to stay off of gluten....but with your other symptoms (exhaustion, brain fog, rash, heart palpitations) you most likely have Celiacs. So I stayed off of gluten and started to get better but never full recovered. I did fast and detoxes too. Some time in 2013 or 14, I found a lump in my left breast. I went to my general Dr. and my plastic surgeon. They both sent me to get a mammogram and I was also sent to a breast cancer Dr. for an ultrasound. I remember I went to the ER also during this time as my left arm was bothering me too. When I got my results back from the ultrasound, the Dr said it was just my implant poking out from my muscle. About four years ago, I noticed the brain fog and exhaustion were back severely again. And then, even after not eating gluten....occasionally I would have an "attack". I would chalk it up to being possibly " cross contamination" but then in August 2016, I had to go to urgent care. I had nausea worse than ever (I didn't really ever get that), dizziness, severe exhaustion, pain in my right abdomen and I couldn't walk from the pain. Spent all day in urgent care, assumed it was appendicitis, but my appendix was fine after my CT scan. It was my intestines that were "thick" and irritated. They put me on antibiotics and sent me home. I had a colonoscopy done a few weeks later with a new Gastroenterologist. I had to wait until the swelling in my intestines went down. In my follow up appointment, he told me again "I was fine". He said it could have been some kind of colitis attack. but he wasn't sure. I brought up to him "do you think my implants could make my system go out of whack and bring on various autoimmune issues?" He told "anything is possible and to definitely do my research."

So, I did my research for six months....and decided they needed to come out. My implants came out by my plastic surgeon that had put them in. I opted to take them out in his surgical office on site. I was shot up with a local anesthetic and he opened up my chest and pulled out my implants and left behind my capsules. Capsules are basically scar tissue that your body creates surrounding your implants. My PS told me he thought I'd be able to detox out the crap out of my capsules and would be fine. I did feel a bit better after the surgery....but not nearly to what I expected. I had seen on the BII (Breast Implant Illness) page a lot of women that had a hard time with detoxing had a gene called MTHFR. I lovingly refer to this as the MotherF*&ker gene. :) I took a DNA genetic test and of course, I have it. So I went to see a Functional Dr. I explained everything to Dr. Yamane at Valhalla Wellness Center in Las Vegas. He was shocked at all the research I had done, and believed me. So for a year straight, I was on his strict protocol. I was getting better but maybe by 30%. He was puzzled that after a solid year, I should've been in tip top shape. Then I started doing more research and kept seeing that women who had left behind their capsules continued to get sick. Reason being is that your capsules are scar tissue and you cannot detox them or the heavy metals left behind from your implants out of them. I was going to need another surgery to get my capsules out. I was so upset. Here I thought by doing it in office and not going under general anesthesia that still doing it the right way. Boy, was I wrong. I decided that if I was going back under and having to pay for another surgery, that I was going to have a fat transfer to my breast to fill in where I had so creases. (Many women on the BII sites do not condone fat transfer to the breast) I loved my smaller natural boobs and I had done my biggest show to date with Dita Von Teese for Viva Las Vegas 20th Weekender with them....but if I had to have another surgery, why not. So I spent another 6 months doing research on fat transfers to the breast. I found an amazing Dr. in Dallas that would not only scrap out my capsules (even if they were stuck to my rib cage) but would also do a fat transfer for me to even out my creases. Dr. John Burns in Dallas, TX did my capsuletomy and fat transfer on June 5, 2018. Yes, the lipo hurt...I expected it to. I will tell you that I have not started a detox yet. I have been using hyperbaric oxygen chambers and lymphatic drainage massages to help me recuperate. I went back to work after two weeks off and could work. I might have been a tad slow but I was back at it. With all of this, I can tell you for certain this, I no longer have the constant metallic taste in my mouth. My joints do not hurt anymore. Everything is much better, I can remember things and I'm not nearly as exhausted as I was. I am sure I will have to be away from gluten for the rest of my life...but I am ok with that. I know that healing will take time. I may never fully recover 100%, but again, I am living and feel alive. I do not feel like I am in a 90 year old body dying anymore.

I love me....and so happy with my decision to save my health and life. If you have implants and are suffering from odd or inexplainable illnesses, I urge you to research breast implant illness. For those of you thinking of getting them, research that also. They do fat transfers now and I am so happy with mine. I’m not telling you what to do with your body but we are not as informed when we choose to put them in. Thank you Bettina May for the pictures and to the countless ladies and their stories on the Healing Breast Implant Illness by Nicole Daruda page. Shout out to Dr. Yamane and his staff at Valhalla Wellness Center in Las Vegas, NV for believing in me and helping me with my detox. And a huge shout out to Dr. John Burns in Dallas, TX for my capsuletomy and fat transfer. I cannot forget my best friend, Anne for coming to Dallas to take me to surgery and to help me recover. To my Momma, thank you for taking care of me always and to being my biggest supporter. #breastimplantillness #breastimplantremoval #breastimplants #bii

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