“You can handle it,” he said.
I was dizzy from the anesthesia and trying to process the words coming out of my surgeon’s mouth.
“The nurse said I was going bigger than the size you asked for but I said, hell, she can handle it. Now, roll over and I’ll give you a shot of morphine to help calm your nausea.”
I did what the surgeon said.
I rolled over.
I had always rolled over.
Since childhood, I had rolled over my own thoughts and desires in order to please others. I rolled over the questions in my head about abandonment and adoption, ignoring the feelings that were real for me. I bulldozed my emotions into the soil of my spirit, burying them deep within myself.
I felt as unworthy and disposable as trash. Born in the UK, I became a ward of state after my first parents abandoned me. I was labeled “difficult to place” by my social worker. With my dark brown eyes, dark hair, and olive-toned skin, rather than be seen as beautiful, exotic, a treasure, I was judged as impure.
I grew to see myself as others inside of the system saw me: I was un-beautiful.
My desire was strong to change the only part of me that I could “see.” My body. It was the most available to me. Everything about my body reminded me that I was the physical opposite of my birthmother. And, perhaps, this is why she would not stay….
This deeply rooted lack of self-worth drove me to place my body on an operating table and give it over to a male surgeon who would ultimately violate my body and my trust.
He filled my chest with implants too large for my small frame. He filled my chest with what I never asked for. He molded my body into what he wanted it to be, with no respect for me.
On the fourth day after surgery, I removed the bandages and saw my balloon-like D’s for the first time. Tears fell down my cheeks as I stared at my reflection. Who am I?
Confusion and shame filled my mind…but, that was nothing new.
I became even further removed from the woman I saw in the mirror.
As time passed, my body launched a 24/7 war against the saline implants in my chest. I was diagnosed with a multitude of auto-immune diseases. I struggled with my emotional and mental wellbeing. When I would ask doctors if my implants might be the culprit of my declining health, I was met with medical gaslighting.
“It’s all in your head,” they’d tell me. “You’re just one of those people with a body that attacks itself.”
That messaging combined with my own story of abandonment and rejection sent me into a very dark place. I felt helpless and alone. There were days when I couldn’t get out of my bed.
I had no other choice but to finally listen to a wisdom that I had silenced for years. A knowing within that would lead me out of the darkness and direct me into the light. A voice inside of myself that would save me.
I began to research breast implant illness, also known as Bii. I saw myself within every article. I wasn’t alone in my symptoms or in my suffering. Thousands of women were experiencing an all-too similar journey of declining health after implant surgery.
I sought out the top explant surgeons in the country—those who also believe that breast implant illness is real. I flew to Cleveland Ohio, in early January of 2020, to take back my life and my health.
A team of women gently and compassionately prepped me for surgery. Over 4 1/2 hours, my female surgeon meticulously removed my saline implants, along with their silicone shells. I woke up in recovery not nauseated or dizzy from confusion, but clear-in-mind and filled with renewed energy.
I haven’t looked back.
Today, I am healthier than I’ve been in years. Symptoms of autoimmune disease have cleared. I love the body that I proudly claim as mine. I also honor my body’s ability to carry me through when I unknowingly made decisions to sabotage it. The renewal of my physical health has opened up pathways to deeper emotional and mental connection. I see all of me, now, and I like what I see.
I’ve asked my body for forgiveness and I’ve forgiven myself, which is an essential step along the road to healing Bii. I am free of confusion and shame.
My breasts are healthy and beautiful. I can say that without judging myself. My breasts are a miracle. Every woman’s breasts are miracles…no matter their size or shape.
I’m not here to tell another woman what to do with her body. Those decisions are for her to make. I am here to say that informed decisions are the right of every woman. Transparency is an essential component of becoming well-informed. There must be more transparency around the potential risks of breast implants.
Women must be heard. Survivors of Bii have much to share. Our stories are powerful. Our health matters, greatly. We won’t be silent. We won’t roll over anymore.
Don’t roll over your intuition. Don’t roll over your desires and needs. Be your greatest advocate!
I’ve become my own best and trusted advocate—in life, in health, in healing. I listen to my inner voice and I claim a worth that once seemed beyond my grasp. I share my journey of implant and explant, today, in order to help another woman along her own journey.
Listen to your wisdom within. If it’s saying that your implants might be causing your health issues then follow that wisdom. If your inner wisdom is nudging you to walk away from implant surgery then follow that directive. Do your research and then, in stillness, ask for guidance. Stop and be still.
The world wants us to believe, as women, that we’re not worthy as we are. It’s just not true! We don’t have to mold ourselves into someone we’re not just to be accepted. We are enough. That simply cannot be overstated.
You are enough.
You are worthy.
You are beautiful.
You are a treasure.
You are not alone.
I see you.
There is a large community of Bii survivors and explant warriors who see you.
And, we won’t roll over anymore.