BEST SELF, BREAST IMPLANT ILLNESS, GRATITUDE, HEALTH, LIFE CHANGES, MY TRUTH

A Confession of Sorts

09/22/2016

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Most of my close friends know this already, as it is less about being a secret and simply a topic that doesn’t naturally arise, but I have breast implants.  There I said it, it’s off my chest.  Get it, off my chest – ha ha ha – I crack myself up.  Truly, I am hoping the humor breaks up the crazy amount of anxiety I am feeling writing about this.

Although it is not something I necessarily hide, it is also something I’m not exactly proud of either.  Although I do not hold any judgements towards others who chose to get plastic surgery – their body, their choice – I am disappointed I made the decision for myself.  

Let me explain.

On one hand I can embrace the fact that this life decision was one that has shaped my life and taught me important lessons about myself, I am disappointed that I ever felt the need to surgically alter my body.  That I felt I had to change myself with surgery to better accept myself.  I also cringe when I think about the fact that there is a foreign substance in my body that I elected to put there.  As someone who currently strives to eat right and focus on health, this causes me sadness.  No matter what I do or how well I eat, I still have a potentially toxic substance in my body.

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When I think back to the stage of my life when I had the surgery, I realize how young and naive I was.  At the time, I was 25 and thought that I was old enough to make such a major life decision without it being rash.  But the reality is that my actions were just that and I have many pieces of evidence that corroborate this.  

First, I was struggling with an on and off again relationship that I was desperate to make work.  In the relationship I never felt desirable enough and I’m sure subconsciously I was hoping that this would be something that would rekindle the relationship and make me “good enough” to warrant a commitment – although at the time I would have wholeheartedly denied this.  

Second, the decision to have the surgery came almost out of the blue after I came into some money unexpectedly.  Rather than do what I normally do and save the cash or invest it, it created a burning desire in me to make a major (and quite atypical) life change.  I tossed around the idea of getting a boob job or buying a convertible(!!!), or perhaps figuring out a way to do both.  Can you say QUARTER LIFE CRISIS?!?!?  

To give you a  quick backstory…I have always been the responsible one.  I was nicknamed “mom” in college because I was often the designated driver and took care of everyone around me.  I was the one who overpacked in order to take care of other people’s needs and held more hair back in college than I’d like to remember while friends got sick after a night of binge drinking.  After graduating college (a semester early), I bought my first home at 22.  The job that I thought I had secured after graduating ended up falling through and I felt completely lost.  I think it hit me that in a way, I was “land-locked” and felt like a 40 year old woman trapped in a 25 year old body.  I felt unwanted in my relationship (if you could even call it that) and completely lost in the direction I was going.  

So there it was – the decision came down to a boob job or a convertible – and the boob job won.  And mainly because I had only a few months previously bought my car – a Chrysler Pacifica, a total soccer mom vehicle, and thought it would be like throwing money out of a window if I  traded it in for a new Mustang convertible as I was dreaming about.

Alright, I digress…

There were many other signs and signals that this was a completely irrational and short sited decision, but the biggest red flag that it was a rash decision was that I told almost no-one about the impending surgery.  I confided in my mother (and swore her to secrecy) and a few close friends – but that was it!  I did not discuss this with my father – a doctor – who could have helped me in my decision making, any of my siblings, or other very close friends who I knew would disapprove.  I did not want to be talked out of my decision or judged for it either.  Once it was done, what could they say?

So, I made a life changing, body altering decision, very quickly and without much forethought for the future.  And I had buyer’s remorse almost immediately.  Although my doctor did a wonderful job creating a very natural look and I tried to be excited about them – even showing them off at first – I never felt quite right with my decision.

In hindsight I should have spent that money on therapy and perhaps a personal trainer and/or nutritionist.  Ugh, all that money – then and now- it kills me!

I understand fully that this was part of MY own growing up process.  On my journey to finding balance and seeking a healthy lifestyle I have made numerous poor decisions along the way, but while I’ve left those other bad habits far behind, this one continues to haunt me.  The biggest disappointment is that this decision is a bit more permanent than the others and requires major surgery to fix.  It’s not an autocorrect where I can simply stop doing the negative action and replace it with a positive one and let my body heal itself.  I have to go under the knife again and then begin the healing process.  

I have been toying with the idea of removing the implants for some time now.  In fact, for about nine years.  Unfortunately, I’ve talked myself out of it many times and for many reasons (the cost, poor timing, fear, etc.), but this time I am no longer procrastinating.  This is something I have to do, for myself and my well-being.  I have been struggling with a slew of symptoms including chest pain, fatigue, thyroid issues, hair loss, bouts of depression…the list goes on…for some time and although I have been suspect that they may have to do with the implants, I’m continually talked out of this viewpoint by my doctors. Recently though, I found a supportive community of women who are struggling with very similar symptoms and discuss all facets of Breast Implant Illness.  The group has been a great resource and with the full support and encouragement of my husband (who lucky for me happens to be a leg guy…lol), I am in the process of finding a doctor for the explant surgery.

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I am praying that all will go well and that this will be the last time I have to elect surgery.  

So why am I sharing this?  Well, first of all,  I am sure that there are other people who are dealing with similar struggles and I believe that talking openly and honestly about these issues brings light and community to a topic often not spoken about.  But secondly, it is a major piece of who I am and my personal journey towards balance.  I want to be able to discuss the topic in more detail as I experience the different stages.  Furthermore, the explant surgery will certainly impact my daily life for a period of time as I heal and I want to be able to openly explore how this impacts me and my journey.  It may not be elective surgery that others are healing from, but we will all encounter roadblocks in our life which stand in our way of balance, and this will undoubtedly be one for me.

I am feeling a bit vulnerable with having shared so much personal information about myself in this post, but I have to be honest…it feels extremely freeing.

Thank you for reading.  

As always, I am open to questions and comments, but please make sure they come from a place of love and positive intention. As Thumper from the movie Bambi said “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”. 😉

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6 Comments

  • Reply Melissa 09/22/2016 at 2:16 pm

    I remember your mom curling my hair for our going away party and you and April joking that I had bigger boobs than you both. Then I remember seeing you later on one of our trips home and thinking, “That girl is crazy, she’s not that small…” Now I know! Lol.
    Honestly, I’ll tell you what I thought sitting on your mom’s bed with curling pins in my hair, I would kill to be small. I got teased for them since I was 9 years old. When we moved to Woodstock, I was known as the only 11 yr old with boobs. Shopping sucks. My bras are boring as shit. My back hurts… And Sean and I want kids! I don’t even want to know what they’ll do then!!
    My plan since I was a teen is to get a reduction. The thing is, this has been my identity since I was 9. Probably around the time you got yours, I was debating who I’d be without them. Would I still be me? And around my last year of college, I decided I would be me because my boobs don’t define my personality.
    I’m glad to hear you came to the same decision and even happier you’re going first. I’ll be calling for advice when I eventually join you in the Itty Bitty Titty club.

    • Reply Jess 09/22/2016 at 2:23 pm

      It is amazing the memories we have and how they shape us. It is also amazing what we let define or alter us. I am truly enjoying life in my 30s and life as a mom because it has changed my perspective in so many ways. Life is all about growing. We all have the “if I knew then, what I know now” moments – and this would be one for me, but I also know it has shaped me – as your experience will shape you too. I can’t imagine the struggles your own femininity brought about. Our world is not always a kind one. I know that you’ll make the decision that is right for you though – and I am here for support whenever you need it! Love you!

  • Reply Ginny 09/23/2016 at 10:39 am

    I am so sorry you felt the need to have the surgery when you are so young — our society does such a number on women. Honestly. I also felt inadequately endowed but weighing too much has solved that “problem.” I must eat better, exercise more. I so admire Kiera Knightley b/c she seems never to have given in to augmentation. Real itty bitties. You will be so much better able to advise Ellie if she ever wants to do the same thing. You are so naturally beautiful inside and out! We do things when we are young we think will help us; you now have the life experience to make better choices, and have a much clearer understanding of why you did it. This shows in your ability to reflect upon your life and what your choices mean to you, and your maturity. This is so wonderful! Still, decisions ARE hard. It is very interesting that the other implantees have similar health issues. Wow. You are such a bright, intelligent woman…keep up the good work. You seem to have your head screwed on really straight now (much straighter than I ever did or probably ever will) so more power to you, woman. I am woman, hear me roar! GRRROWWWLLLL!

    • Reply Jess 09/23/2016 at 8:29 pm

      Thank you so much Ginny. You are a beacon of light and you continue to shine in our lives even all the way up here! Miss seeing you each Thursday and Sunday.

  • Reply Kari Peterson 10/11/2016 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story, publicly! I haven’t made that leap entirely, but have made the jump from famiy & close friends sharing to acquaintances.
    I am glad that the input to my step daughter was effective in her not doing it. My niece and my bff of 35 years, not so much! At least they are aware of the illness, which is WAY ahead of where I was ’99-’04 debilitated and bedridden, Dr.’s, ER, surgeries. Beyond those years, basically cancer intensive protocols for autoimmune illness.
    My “mix” was similar. A growing small busines at 30; money laying around, a husband with an “appointment” at the local night club every weekend, breasts deflated from pregnancy with twins 7 years earlier. I talked to the doctor about lift only, oh no he said, the implants will do that. Hmm, well ok, saline ONLY. I found out at explant last month he put in silicone. Feeling totally violated. Don’t know if my hospital records search will be successful.

    • Reply Jess 10/11/2016 at 4:32 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing your own experience. I think it is so important to raise all sides of the issue when it comes to protecting our health. I know it doesn’t affect everyone the same way, but there are so many similarities. It is very encouraging to hear how many people had their symptoms reverse once they had theirs out. I cannot believe that your doctor went against your will without your knowledge. I hope you are able to find the paperwork that shows this violation 🙁 Good luck in your journey and keep us posted!

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