My breast implant story goes way back to when I was a teen. I was never blessed with a bust that was in proportion with my body, I was more on the non-existent side of things. Growing up, my girlfriends had great boobs and being overweight for most of my childhood, not having boobs made me feel really unbalanced. All throughout high school, I told my parents that I was going to save up and get breast implants and I spent years researching surgeons, clinics, hospitals, silicone vs saline, under the muscle vs over the muscle and possible side effects so I definitely wasn’t making this decision based on some loose idea that popped into my head one day.

At just 19 years of age, I decided it was time so I booked in to see a stack of potential surgeons and happily went ahead with Dr. Lee Brown at Coastal Plastic Surgery. At the time, Dr. Browns clinic was located more than one hours drive from where I lived and further in this post, you’ll understand why the location of your surgeon is such an important part of the decision making process. Anyway, the day of my surgery arrived and all went well, I stayed at Kawana Private Hospital overnight and can’t fault the post-op care. I was treated like a Queen. I went home the next day and everything was great for the next 72 hours at least …

Three days into my recovery, I got a fever and one of my boobs became slightly red and inflamed. I went to a local GP for convenience sake who gave me some antibiotics to take as he suspected a minor infection starting to brew. A day or two later, I became very unwell, my temperature was soaring, one boob was now very red, swollen and inflamed and sore to touch so I phoned my surgeon who told me to come in immediately. He took one look at me and said that he’ll need to operate to see what’s going on and that if infection is to blame, that I’ll need to have the area flushed with an antibacterial solution and my implants removed for a few months until the infection was completely gone. I didn’t go home that day. After taking a closer look at my incisions and I’ll spare you the details of what and how much was squeezed out of my incisions, I was rushed back to Kawana Private Hospital and emergency surgery was booked in the following day.

I remember waking up from my second operation with my extended family by my side and I knew straight away that my implants were gone. My surgeon arrived and told me that I had developed  “golden staph” – a potentially fatal bacteria infection and that my implants had been removed due to the severity of the infection. It would be at least 6 months before I could decide if I’d like go ahead with a re-implant. I stayed in hospital for weeks on IV antibiotics. Simon and my parents made the trip to visit me every few days and my family were such an incredible support during all of this. I returned home with a chest that was now not only smaller than it was originally but it was battered, bruised and deflated as well – my confidence was shot. I remember being so thankful for the fact that it was Winter and that for the next few months, I’d be able to hide underneath jumpers and sweatshirts. I spent many days following simply crying on the floor of my bathroom.

After a lot of follow-up appointments with my surgeon, I was given the all clear 6 months on and he suggested that if I was to go ahead with the re-implant that I should visit an infectious disease specialist first. I booked in with Dr. Michael Whitby at Greenslopes Private Hospital and was put on a strict antibiotic protocol in the lead up to my next surgery date. At this point, I couldn’t imagine my chest looking any worse than it already did, so with Dr. Whitby’s advice, I went back into the operating room. This time, my post-op recovery was that of a normal patient. Naturally, I was an anxious wreck for days following the operation but I reached 72 hours with no signs of infection, 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 6 months and so on. You couldn’t wipe the smile from my face.

Fast forward, 6 years – I’d started to notice some strange auto-immune type symptoms such as fatigue, loss of energy and persistent cold & flus but to add to this, one of my implants was starting to harden, my skin surrounding the implant was darkening and it was becoming difficult for me to take a deep breath in. I could no longer lie on my stomach in bed or extend my arm above my head. So back to my surgeon I went. This time though, he told me that I had developed Capsular Contracture which is a response of the immune system to foreign materials in the human body. When you place a foreign object into the body (breast implants, pace makers, artificial joint prosthetic etc.) the body creates scar tissue around the object to protect the body from the object. Depending on how strong your auto-immune response is, depends on how intensely your body reacts. My body was trying so hard to get rid of my implants that it built a very thick and painful layer of scar tissue around the implants and as a result, this scar tissue was suffocating the implants which can lead to all sorts of problems including a rupture of the implant. Looking back now, I should have known my body would respond like this – I had my ears pierced several times as a child because they always got infected, I had my belly button pierced as a teen and this was always infected – I didn’t stop and tune in to what my body was trying to tell me!

As for the auto-immune symptoms, these were happening as a result of Breast Implant Illness – again another way in which my body was trying to deal with introduction of a foreign object. I could go into detail here about BIP (Breast Implant Illness) however one of the best videos I’ve ever watched on this topic (unfortunately for me, it was posted well and truly after all my breast implant journey) is by Karissa Pukas. Do yourself a favour and watch this if you’d like to know more –

So now after having to book yet another appointment with my surgeon, I knew this time that I was done. I had just had my first child and not only did I now need to consider my own health as a priority, I also had to consider the fact that I needed to be around for my daughters sake and going through all of this for the sake of having a more balanced physical body just wasn’t worth it. This probably explains though why I now do the work that I do and why I am so passionate about using clothes & accessories to balance the look of the bodys proportions as opposed to soul-destroying cosmetic surgery.

It has been 4 years since the final removal of my implants. I’m not going to lie, I locked myself in the bathroom a week after the final operation, knowing that I had to force myself to look at what I was now officially left with. When I removed the bandages, tears streamed down my face. Simon kept asking me to let him come in but I didn’t want him to see me like this. If I couldn’t stand the sight of my own body, how could anyone else?! It took a good year or two of consistent work on myself, self-love and a real awakening that their is more to me than just my looks and I can now confidently say that I’ve reached a place of true acceptance. If I can pass on any advice at all with regards to breast augmentation surgery, it would be to ask yourself why you are wanting breast implants in the first place then to consider the absolute worst outcome. Now ask yourself how you would feel if the absolute worst happened to you? How would it affect the rest of your life?

If after reading this, you decide to go ahead with breast augmentation surgery, I’d strongly suggest finding a reputable local surgeon, having friends & family nearby and perhaps getting your ears pierced first to see how your body responds to that!

Disclaimer – Dr. Lee Brown was absolutely AMAZING. He was a brilliant surgeon, he was understanding, he was extremely knowledgeable and he was very accommodating which I will be forever grateful for. Despite everything that I mention in this blog, he or his clinic are not at all at fault.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,