My Breast Implant Illness Story, by Farah Hawes

Let me begin by thanking all of you for supporting me on my healing journey. By sharing my story, I hope to shed some light on this topic and help others suffering from the same issue. If you are considering implants, please think twice and read this post thoroughly before making your decision. I wish someone had told me. There are thousands of women who are ill or have declining health due to Breast Implant Illness. This is the story of my breast implant illness.

It was suggested that I undergo a “mommy makeover” in 2007, and I felt pressured to do so. The physical demands of having two children had taken their toll on my body and my self-esteem. Often, we look at others and think, “If I just looked like them, I’d be happier, or my partner and society would value me more.” I’m here to tell you that waiting for perfection will make your life miserable, especially when it costs you your health.

In January of 2008, I went for a consult with a popular surgeon in Houston, TX. It was explained to me during my breast augmentation consultation that there might be leaking, breast deformity, and a chance of a capsulectomy. What’s more, there was a chance I may have to have them replaced in the future. I was not told about the possibility of debilitating illnesses, autoimmune diseases, blood pressure issues, and inflammation in my body. Just a few months after the consult I underwent breast augmentation surgery. Despite my “perfect “looking breasts, I started feeling off right after surgery. On top of that, my breasts felt heavy, and it was hard to take deep breaths. Initially, I just thought it was a part of the healing process. However, it didn’t take long for my health to deteriorate. My health issues started gradually so subtly that I didn’t even think to connect them to my implants at first. Because my story happens over the course of several years, I am listing my symptoms and issues. During that time, I suffered from the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Insomnia
  • Brain fog
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Limb numbness / tingling
  • Vertigo
  • Fever / chills
  • Muscle weakness
  • Temperature intolerance
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hair loss
  • Dry skin / hair
  • Sinus infections
  • Recurrent illness
  • Skin rashes / lesions
  • Visual disturbance
  • Choking feeling
  • Ringing in ears
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Decreased libido
  • Mood swings
  • Sharp pains in the breasts
  • Weight gain/unable to lose weight
  • Food intolerance
  • Swollen / tender lymph nodes
  • Autoimmune symptoms or diagnosis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms
  • Fibromyalgia symptoms
  • Inflammation
  • Heart palpitations
  • Irritable bowel or bladder
  • Shortness of breath
  • Night sweats
  • Chronic UTI’s/Urine incontinence

Over the course of 13 years, I visited doctors’ offices repeatedly trying to find answers to my declining health. Despite this, doctors were unable to explain why my health was deteriorating. Slowly, my body was shutting down. In 2020, I started experiencing more intense symptoms and health issues. I began to believe my life was over at that point. There was no doubt in my mind that I was dying. All I wanted was for it to end. There was such an awful feeling of depression and sadness in me. No energy and not much hope remained in me. My primary care physician and none of the many specialists I saw recognized breast implant illness. Instead, they all said the opposite: “your implants can’t harm you,” “I have never heard of such a thing happening,” “implants are safe”.

Surprisingly, my answer came in the form of a miracle one day while I was mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed. An influencer I follow had shared several stories about her battle with breast implant illness. I had my light-bulb moment! I was experiencing many of the same symptoms as she listed. Shortly after being diagnosed with POTS, she discovered Breast Implant Illness. I found a Facebook support group of thousands of women experiencing Breast Implant Illness through her. Once I made the connection between my illnesses and my implants, I had a newfound hope, and I immediately started making plans to have an explant surgery. Since insurance doesn’t cover the cost of removal, I had to find a way to come up with the money to have the surgery. By some miracle, a mortgage insurance refund check showed up in almost the exact amount I needed for the surgery. I took that as a sign, and I scheduled to have my implants removed the following week.

My surgeon did an excellent job with my explant. He is truly wonderful, and I am so grateful for him. At the time, I was so sick that I didn’t even care about how my breasts would look after surgery, I just wanted them out. The surgery went well, and my implants were returned to me after they were removed. There were no leaks or mold found. Several symptoms cleared up almost immediately. My eyes were no longer yellow tinted, I could take full breaths again, the urine incontinence was gone, the feeling of “doom” had disappeared.

I have been free of those toxic bags for almost two years and almost all my symptoms are gone. and I have experienced many emotions during that time. My first feeling was relief. After finding the answers I was seeking, I was relieved to be on the road to recovery. That was followed by disappointment. I was so disappointed in myself because I should have known better than to put something foreign in my body. It was at that point that I felt thankful. Being healthy and alive again was the happiest feeling, and I was on the road to recovery. My past two years have been devoted to self-love and healing. Since having my implants removed, I feel more confident about my body and love it more than I ever have. Feeling healthy and alive again makes me so grateful.

Written by Farah Hawes

Click here to hear Farah Hawes’ Beyond Picket Fences podcast episode 

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