My journey to breast implants began long before I was a woman. It started as a young girl in middle school. My father is a commercial photographer and I grew up with photography books throughout our home. These books were filled with black and white images of women in their all-natural, small-chested glory.
I was a dedicated ballerina from the age of five and surrounded with sleek, flat-chested bodies. My mom was happily an A cup and my grandmother, who had larger breasts, was constantly going to the chiropractor for neck and back pain. The world I lived in never suggested to me that larger breasts were “better.”
Then middle school happened.
All of the sudden my lack of breasts was a main source of entertainment for my peers. Especially girls!
So where do the implants come in? Well, after breastfeeding two kids, I was once again as flat at 24 years old as I had been at 13 years old. The idea that I was somehow inferior without breasts came rushing back. So, I got my first set of implants at 24.
They were a small set of 275cc saline implants that transformed me into a full B cup. I loved them and even though they literally looked like someone bolted grapefruits onto my chest, I felt feminine in clothes and that felt wonderful. However, within six months, I was freaking exhausted, like so tired that I was sure something was wrong with me. But my blood work all “looked fine” and I was reassured by my doctor that it was probably because I had two little boys and it was normal for moms to be tired all the time.
So at barely the age of 24 years old, I accepted that chronic fatigue was a normal part of motherhood. If only I’d realized that my body was warning me of what was to come.
SEVENTEEN YEARS WITH IMPLANTS
Happily, but chronically exhausted, I carried on my life with my small (but obvious) breast implants. Then two years later, out of nowhere, one of my saline implant completely deflated. After I got over the initial shock, I remembered that I’d bought the Mentor Implant Insurance plan. I had both implants replaced in a second breast surgery. A new set of saline filled to 325cc.
Two years later, while riding a rollercoaster with my son on his 8th birthday, another rupture! Surgery number three: replaced with another set of saline implants filled up even more to 375cc. Every time, the implants got bigger and my symptoms intensified.
I was plagued with chronic fatigue. I’d also developed severe gut issues, restless leg syndrome and my skin had become a constant battle of melasma and acne. Of course, I had none of these issues prior to getting implants. But that didn’t occur to me. Not even once.
A few years later I heard about the new “gummy bear implants.” I consulted a reputable surgeon and he assured me that the new cohesive implants were a perfect option for me since I was prone to saline ruptures. So back to surgery I went, surgery number FOUR. When I woke up, I was informed that based on my skin laxity the surgeon had picked, what he determined, was the best size for me. As I stared at my huge, new, 425cc gummy bear boobs. I was now a reluctant 34DD and adjusting to a body I never wanted when I got my first set of implants. Oh and the debilitating symptoms I’d been experiencing were about to get a lot worse.
I developed heart palpitations and anxiety. My hormones went insane. I started suffering from dry eyes, constant whole body inflammation, weight gain, hair loss and even worse skin rashes and acne. I tried everything! Master Cleanse, detoxes, keto, vegan, and supplements that cost more than my monthly grocery bill.
Eventually, in 2018, I was bedridden with full body tremors and a failing liver. My liver enzymes were doubling every four weeks and I was told to schedule a liver biopsy. Simple things, like my job as an actor or taking care of my sons, had become impossible.
In a moment of complete desperation, as I cried alone in my bedroom, I screamed out from the depths of my soul, “what’s wrong with me?”
What happened next is something I still can’t explain. I heard a VERY clear voice in my right ear say just two words: “BREAST IMPLANTS.”
Still, to this day, it sounds insane, even to me. Mind you, I was 41 and I’d never heard “a voice” in my entire life. I grabbed my laptop and googled “can breast implants make you sick?”
That’s the moment everything changed.
I read through thousands of women’s stories, as they described a laundry list of symptoms of which I had almost EVERY single one.
For the first time I saw a term that both terrified me and comforted me: “Breast Implant Illness,” also known as BII. Suddenly, it all became CRYSTAL clear to me. Armed with this information, I went back to my doctors feeling empowered and hopeful. Unfortunately, that’s when the medical gaslighting began. They actually laughed at me and suggested I “stay off of Google.”
I didn’t care, I had the evidence I needed, shared by other women suffering with BII, and I decided to follow my gut. I refocused my energy towards getting my implants removed. Six weeks later on June 28th, 2018, I had my explant surgery.
As I woke up from surgery, I could immediately tell something was different. To my complete surprise, I could breath better than I had in the last 17 years but my ailing liver struggled to process the general anesthesia and meds. I got an infection from my drains and I was once again flat. Strangely though, I didn’t care. I intuitively knew I’d made the right decision and was determined to get my life back. I began deep diving into functional medicine and started seeing a naturopathic doctor.
When I finally went back to my hepatologist to determine a date for my liver biopsy, they performed one last blood test and miraculously my liver enzymes had reduced by HALF. I knew I was on my way to recovery. Though they were still elevated, the doctor was shocked and agreed to let me wait another month for the biopsy. One month later and my liver enzymes and other labs came back PERFECT.
The only thing I had done was remove my breast implants.
Since then it’s been a wild but beautiful ride. I have dedicated my time to educating myself on detoxing protocols, non-toxic beauty and the best healing modalities. I began sharing on my Instagram page @olisticolife. I decided to put my acting career on hold and help women learn how to advocate for themselves through their explant journey. Ultimately, I began working as a patient advocate for explant surgeon, Dr. Robert Whitfield, who’s known as the Breast Implant Illness expert.
Every day I work with women as they navigate women on their own healing journeys. I know exactly what they’re going through.
I don’t regret any of my story.
Through this very painful process, I found my purpose. Pain can turn to purpose, it’s all connected to something much bigger.
MY EXPLANT STORY.
HOW IT REALLY BEGAN.
Below you can see me on the Red Carpet. It was recorded just a few days before my explant surgery. I was struggling to remember cast names and doing my best to not look as sick as I felt. This is also when I decided, on the spur of the moment, to share about breast implant illness and to tell the truth publicly for the first time.