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Leaky what?!!ย 

Leaky Gut. This is what I was diagnosed with back in August 2016. Leaky what??? I was a Registered Nurse and then got my masters degree to become a Nurse Practitioner and I had never ever heard of such a thing! Leaky gut?? 

The Naturopath I was working with at the time did not spend much time explaining to me what this new diagnosis was. I was told to stay away from my food sensitivities for 3 months and that was basically it. So….. Research Freak to the rescue!!! 

Research Freak!

I researched to figure out what exactly this was and what all I needed to do in order to get this resolved. I have always been the type of person who is willing to do whatever is needed in order to resolve an issue. 

Leaky gut, or “intestinal permeability,” is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, causing undigested food particles, toxic waste products, and bacteria to “leak” through the intestines and flood the blood stream. Doesn’t sound very good, right?! 

The causes of leaky gut include long term oral contraceptive pill, chronic NSAID use, gluten, excess sugar and alcohol intake, and toxins (breast implants as one example). 


The symptoms of leaky gut include bloating, poor immune system, diarrhea and/or constipation, gas, brain fog, memory issues, skin issues, headaches, excessive fatigue, and nutritional deficiencies. Once you have Leaky Gut Syndrome then you become easily susceptible to candida overgrowth, bacterial infections, and other GI disorders. 

The only thing my Naturopath told me to do regarding my Leaky Gut was to stay away from my food sensitivies, but what I learned was it was much more complex. It was no wonder why after 3 months of staying away from those “bad for me” foods that my gut symptoms did not resolve and in fact I continued to decline. 

In order to heal your gut you must first Remove all inflammatory and harmful foods to your body. You then need to Replenish with healing foods. Examples are bone broth, organic meats, vegetables, and coconut oil. You then need to Repair with supplements. Supplements include Glutamine, Probiotics, Collagen, and possibly digestive enzymes. And then lastly you need Rebalance with Probiotics. 

This process of healing your gut can take years so be patient. I saw ZERO improvement with my Leaky Gut until I removed my breast implants. Breast implants can cause mold, fungus, and bacterial issues within your entire body. I am so happy to share that here I am 9 months post op and my gut issues are about 80-90% resolved! And my food sensitivies are completely gone. My gut has improved more with me enjoying pizza, tacos, ice cream with my implants out than with my implants in and me being on the most strict diet EVER!!! Anyone who dined out with me during that time frame knows exactly what I mean! “Um…. I will order the salad and hold everything other than the lettuce and make sure you put olive oil on the side.” Yes, can you imagine the looks I received from the wait staff. It was miserable but I prevailed! 

YUM Cold Stone!
Hi I’m Stacy and I’m a Pizza Addict
So happy. I have come so far in this journey and cannot wait to reach the finish line!
Leaky what? Leaky Gut. I hope this blog has educated you if you are experiencing any gut issues. Please advise a physician; particularly a naturopath if you are experiencing issues and think you may also be dealing with Leaky Gut. Contact me with any questions! I am here to help. 

GOD BLESS! 

Beautiful Scarsย 

I have scars. Both physical, mental, and emotional scars. Those will never go away. We all have scars, don’t we? Scars last a lifetime. 

You know what else we all have?… the big man up above. He is with us before the scars, during the scar formation, and for the lifetime of living with the scars. This blog post is not about my breast implant illness scars. Technically you could include those scars in what I am referring to, but those are not the scars I am really talking about. Sometimes I wish I could turn back the clock and prevent the scar from even occurring. I am sure as you are reading this you are thinking of a time in your life that you wish you could re-do. We all have those times. We are all human and as humans we are sinners. We hurt those that we love and we get hurt from the ones we love the most. 

Scars shape who you are. They mold you. After you are scarred you are no longer the same person you once were. 

Is that a bad thing? It certainly does not have to be AND I am telling you that no matter what has caused your scar you should not let that turn you into a bitter, angry, or resentful person. 

We are all children of GOD. Don’t we owe it to him to act like it even during our toughest days? I am far from perfect. I have given plenty of scars to others and I too live with scars that will never fade. 

This has been heavy on my heart and I wanted to share with you.

Scars are beautiful. Embrace your scars. Love hard. Have no fear. 

Giving All of the Glory to GODย 

It has been 2 1/2 years since our very publicized car accident. To this day we continue to encounter strangers who come up to us asking how we are doing. I do not talk about that day and the aftermath much anymore, but I wanted to update those of you who were interested. 

Britney: 

Britney is our emotional mother hen child. She does not talk much about the accident these days, but when it does get brought up the tears begin to flow. Because she was the least injured she is able to recall the events much more clear than Natalie and myself. She is now 14 years old and is driving with an adult. She is an extremely cautious driver but has no trouble getting behind the wheel. I think the accident has taught her to help a stranger when in need, never take life for granted, and that one should always be cautious behind the wheel. She is a very defensive driver, which I tend to like. She has also seen first hand how great our GOD is! 

Britney now
My brave daughter who ran in the streets yelling for help

Natalie: 
Natalie is now 11 years old. She is our less emotional child who is more matter-of-fact. She does not remeber the impact much other than hearing me scream, however, she does recall her 2 week hospital stay quite well. When she talks about it she always talks about her “tubes”. She had multiple drains from her abdominal surgery as well as a nasogastric tube. She despised those things and hopes that nobody would ever have to go through what she went through. Her faith is stronger than ever. She is the most wise child I have ever met and has more faith in GOD’s timing and GOD’s plan than I can even begin to explain. 

Natalie has 5 permanent teeth capped and will eventually need veneers. When these were first placed she cried and cried about how her smile had forever changed. This made me sob as well. Since the initial change she has rarely spoken of her smile. It is more beautiful than ever and that smile melts my heart each and every day. 

Natalie now
My sweet strong baby girl
 

Me:

I am doing pretty well. I go through periods of back, elbow, and ankle discomfort. I am sure that is just something I will continue to deal with. I continue to feel very blessed that 4 broken bones was the extent of my injuries because it could have been much worse. 

When I drive I tend to hug the right side. When we were hit, the car came from my front left and I guess I am just fearful that I will get hit head on again. I do not like driving in the dark or the rain and snow. I do it every now and then and try to pretend it does not brother me so the girls don’t get worried. I remember after almost 3 months of me not driving I had to take my daughter to her CF appointment in KC. The drive there was a piece of cake, but on the way back it down poured the entire 3 hours we were on the road. I was holding on to that steering wheel as tight as I could and had to secretly wipe my tears without my girls seeing. I was petrified. I just cannot imagine going through what we had gone through again and it scares me. 

I prefer driving over being a passenger, and I prefer my small car over our SUV. Sounds strange, right?! I think it is a control thing. I feel as if I have more control over our smaller car then I do in a bigger car. I get flashbacks from time to time while driving and tear up. That is something that will likely never go away. 

I have not been able to get rid of the clothes we were wearing on that day. I am sure that is the most weird thing you have heard all day and I would agree. It is weird. With that being said I am going to take each article of clothing out of the bag one by one and throw it away right now. Why am I holding on to these clothes? I truly have no idea. Ok… LIES!! I cannot throw these clothes away quite yet. I get them out from time to time and just remember what we went through that day and the following months. 

The scars remain and they will for a life time. We are all very fortunate to be alive and well. We give ALL of the glory to GOD. We have met some incredible people and cannot thank everyone enough for the prayers, their time, their love, and their support. 

My second night back home after hospitalization. Pain med delirious. No shower. Keeping that smile and sending my Natalie a nightly pic.
Me now

I want to end with this…

GOD is miraculous. GOD is amazing. I do not know how people recover from traumas without the big man above. He is the one who never leaves my side. He is the one who never fails me. I long to make him proud. 

If you don’t know GOD and you want to know him please reach out to me. I am in a bible study, a new women’s group, attend church regularly, and have grown so strong and deep in my faith. I would love for you to experience the true joy of Christ. 

Our faith got us through

GOD BLESS! 

To Regret or Not Regret…ย 

This is something I really have not talked about. Do I regret getting my breast implants in the first place? That is really a complicated question to answer so here it is… 

Reasons I do regret implant surgery: 

1. The obvious…. I got sick and because I now know all that I know about the risks of breast implants of course I regret ever having them done. Having a chemical filled foreign object in my body did a number on me. The symptoms began mild and slowly and I had no idea they were breast implant related. I wish I could go back 11 years and decide that I did not need them.  I have reflected a lot on what I was thinking 11 years ago and have realized it is a waste of time to do so. Can I change the decision I made 11 years ago? No. So why dwell on the reasons why? 

2. We have paid thousands of dollars and for what??? A pair of boobs, really Stacy?! My initial implant surgery was around $4,500 I believe. My second surgery (9 years later) was around $5,000 for the silicone implants. Less than 1 year later my explant surgery with a breast lift was $15,000. So you do the math….. major regret. 

3. It is SURGERY! Why do we put our bodies through hours of surgery and then weeks and weeks of recovery? I remember after my first surgery not being able to go to the gym, to pick up my daughter, to run etc. All of these restrictions over a pair of boobs that you will have to replace and replace and replace again. And what about the restriction of clothing?! You are so swollen and have to wear a sports bra that you are stuck in sweat pants and oversized sweatshirts. I know that’s a dream wardrobe for some of you women, but it is not for me! ๐Ÿ˜‚

1 week after my 2nd implant insertion surgery. Sweatpants and sweatshirts each day for weeks

4. The FDA has now linked breast cancer to breast implants! Reason enough for me NOT to get those toxic bags placed into my body. I am lucky enough to have removed mine before something like cancer could plague me! 

Reasons why regret is something I am trying not to do: 

1. I know that regretting this decision is not going to do anything other than make me stress. Who needs another added mental stress when we have the daily stress of life! 

2. If I had never gone through this journey is it possible that other women would still be experiencing these horrible unknown symptoms and not know why?! Sharing my story has provided awareness like I never imagined. Women with implants, women who know women with implants, women with daughters… the list goes on for the types of women who have reached out to me wanting more information about this illness. 

3. Romans 8:28  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. GOD has my back. No matter the harm that comes my way I will be just fine…. so why worry, why regret? 

To regret or not regret…. I choose to NOT regret. If my story has helped even one person than my purpose has been served. I personally know of 7 women who have had their implants removed after hearing my story. That number does not include the hundreds who have removed their implants that I do not know personally. 

No regrets of the initial surgery and more importantly NO REGRETS to have those implants REMOVED once and for all! I am all smiles about getting them out! 

GOD BLESS! 

Change Is Not Easy

So most of my blogs have been about my breast implant illness and all of the positives that have resulted from getting my implants removed. They have been based on my facts, research I have done, and the great improvements I have seen in my health. Today I want to write about what I have not shared before… the grieving process. 

One month ago I decided I was going to try on my bikini tops that I currently have at home. I had gone crazy buying bikinis last summer so I have a ton of swimsuits. Because there is such a size difference I knew I had to try on each one to see how they fit.  Insert meltdown….


See, for over one decade I bought bikinis with no cups, no underwire, no padding. With breast implants who needs all of those things?! All I needed was a thin piece of material and I could call it good. No way in a million years would I have ever predicted my implants would ever be removed. I was going to be 100 years old all wrinkly with saggy skin but perky breasts! #goals ๐Ÿ˜‚


I tried on 4 tops and my eyes began to water. The first top gave me a uniboob. Second top was way too large. I was excited initially with the third top until I bent over and the top hung off of me. The fourth one actually fit as I could pull the strings tighter, but it sure didn’t look the same as it did last summer. I started asking myself why I took my implants out?! Why? Why? Why?!

I texted my husband immediately while I was crying. My husband has been more supportive than I could have ever imagined. He told me it was okay to be pissed off and it was okay to be sad. For every situation I have been presented with these past few years he has been right there. From being a caregiver to a chaeuffer, a shoulder to lean and cry on to a somewhat deprived husband during my recoveries (๐Ÿ˜ I say “somewhat” because I definitely get a gold star for being a trooper and getting creative… I’ll leave it at that!). He reminded me how poorly I was feeling prior to surgery and where I am at now. It is truly a night and day difference and apparently I needed to be reminded of that. 


I was still having a mild pity party when it was time for me to go to bed. I opened my nightly devotional and it talked about God having a plan for all things. I immediately felt relieved. I know this is all of a part of my life story and in time this huge change won’t be anything but a memory.



They’re just boobs. Isn’t this a perfect opportunity to be a role model to my daughters by showing them how to love your natural self?! BINGO– it hit me. I have now been given this opportunity to do great things. I don’t need implants and I never did. I am able to show women that even through adversity and trials that you can come out on top. Scars are not ugly. They tell a story. 

I am not saying there is anything wrong with plastic surgery, enhancements etc. I am not against it one bit. As for breast augmentation surgery, I do feel like the studies have been skewed tremendously and women are not being educated on the potential risks other than the short term surgical risks. The majority of studies done on breast implants are being done for the first 3-6 years after breast implant insertion. Shouldn’t there be long term studies?! I had mine for almost a decade before noticing any symptoms. I have spoken to women who have had the same breast implants in their body for over 20 years and continue to complain of weird symptoms that doctors cannot figure out. And now the FDA has linked cancer to implants! More and more women are taking a stand and choosing health over beauty.

Despite knowing I needed to take charge of my health and get those toxic bags out of my body I still have my moments of missing my implants. Will I experience this a couple of years from now? I am unsure. I would hope not. As my husband reminds me there is so much more to me then those implants. 

Bikini sadness….. it is my current reality, but I think it’s more because of the change and not the implants themselves. Although I may look quite different than last summer I am going to embrace my new look. The perks of having smaller boobs…

  • I no longer have to worry about falling out of my swimsuit tops. Fun Stacy fact: I was vacationing in Mexico a couple of years back with my husband and our friends. We were playing in the ocean and every wave that crashed against us took my top off. It was hilarious but also quite embarrassing. I finally was annoyed enough that I called it quits and got out of the water. 
  • Shirts look better and honestly some of the bikini tops I have found look better as well.
  • Less boob sweat during a workout! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ
  • Sports bras aren’t as difficult to get on and off. Man, that was always a challenge!! Any large breasted woman who sweats while wearing a sports bra knows exactly what I am talking about!! 

So if you are considering getting your breast implants removed and are scared of the aftermath I am here to tell you DO NOT BE!! I was petrified and I am MORE than pleased with my outcome!! 

Change is not easy but it is worth it. I am kissing those implants goodbye! ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹

Breast Implant Illnessย 

I have had an outpouring of women ask me about my journey with breast implant illness. I wanted to repost my original Facebook post here on my blog so people could refer back to this for information. 

December 21, 2016 

…….Tomorrow I am flying to Cleveland, Ohio for my pre-op appointment with the top breast implant explant surgeon in the world. Surgery is on the 23rd. Why the heck am I doing this you may ask?. Keep reading….

For 14 months now something has been off with me. I have seen doctor after doctor that tells me “well, a few abnormal labs but otherwise you look good”. I wasn’t “good”. I didn’t feel well. And why were these labs abnormal? I was tired and had this horrible brain fog. But as a mother and a wife I pushed through it. Then I got sick, sick again, and sick again. Something wasn’t right with my body. I tried to get my body fitness competition ready and it wasn’t responding the way it did the year prior nor the way it should. 

That next month, March of 2016 I decided to switch my almost 10 year old saline breast implants out to the newer FDA approved silicone gel implants. Little did I know my body was already showing signs of rejecting my saline implants and putting the silicone ones in just worsened my reaction. 

I recovered from surgery like a boss, but I still didn’t feel well. I started developing these debilitating headaches, body aches, my hair was thinning, random swelling of multiple areas on the body, and the brain fog worsened. I decided to see a naturopath, who diagnosed me with hypothyroidism (low T3, which is NOT primary hypothyroidism btw), estrogen dominance, low progesterone, multiple food sensitivities (chicken, cinnamon, dairy, grains, turkey… the list goes on), and multiple vitamin deficiencies (Extremely weird as healthy as I eat). Finally-Answers! No wonder I did not feel well! I was on the road to recovery, right?! 

Over 4 months of cutting out all of those foods, pretty much only eating meats and veggies and all organic, gluten free, dairy free (BORING yes but I was going to feel better, right?! #determined) I still did not feel well. “But you look so great Stacy” is all I kept hearing.
I started researching more on breast implant illness. Anyone who knows me well knows I am a research freak and I get very obsessive about topics I want to learn more on……. hey knowledge is power! This illness had been in the back of my mind for several months. I had heard about Crystal Heffner’s implant poisoning in the past. I initially didn’t think this was possible. Denial maybe? “I’ve had implants since I was 25 years old. It just couldn’t be. Why would I have issues years later?” is what I kept telling myself.

Now, after thorough research and talking to sooo many women around the country with similar issues I am certain this is what is going on. 

I called multiple surgeons nationwide and decided on the Feng clinic in Ohio. The earliest surgery date they had open was not until June. I decided to schedule as this surgeon is the best in the world and my gut feeling was this surgeon is the one for me. I want the best and want to have this specific surgery done properly (there is much more involved then just removing the implants). I wasn’t thrilled with waiting 6 months with as bad as I have been feeling. Persistently my husband calls the clinic in attempt to get me in sooner. He finally got through and persuaded them to get me in on Dec 23rd. After hearing my story she gave me the cancellation they had just received that morning-despite the hundreds of women who have been waiting longer than I have. We were hoping with me being on the cancellation list that maybe I would get in around March. But December?! 

Coincidence or a sign it’s meant to be?…. Adam gets me in 6 months sooner (and not having to miss the girls sports functions but yes I’m missing Christmas) AND there is a Whole Foods right by the surgery center and my hotel?! I’m a huge Whole Foods fan and what better way to heal than to fuel your body with the most nutritious foods?! 
Some of my family and friends have questioned my openness on this subject. Yes, I know some will say “well she chose to get the implants”, and they would be correct. I did. No denying that. I have one purpose as to why I share my story…. if I can help even one person realize their breast implants are slowly poisoning them or prevent one woman from getting implants then goal achieved. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you want to learn more about this or to know the full list of my symptoms. 
I have zero regrets. If I knew what I know now back when I was 25 years old of course I would have not gotten breast implants. But I did not. 

This is the best Christmas gift I could have ever dreamed of. So…. the next time you all see me I will look quite different and in time will feel quite differently! 
My breast implants never defined me. Just as they don’t define anyone. 
**Feel free to share this post to reach more women.** ALL implants shells are made of the same chemicals-no matter what is inside of them. Mine are still intact. No leak. No rupture. Breast implants can be a huge endocrine, hormonal, and immune system disruptor. They are made up of over 40 chemicals and over time my body has said it’s had enough of it. 
I am the strongest woman I know and I have zero doubt that this is just another mild hurdle in my amazing life. 

Cheers to smaller perky ta-ta’s and great health!

#breastimplantillness

No More Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

It was July 2016 and I decided to see a functional medicine doctor here in Wichita, Kansas. Something was wrong with me and nobody could figure out what was going on. I am a strong, determined woman and I was not going to just settle for hypothetical possibilities. I wanted an answer and I wanted it yesterday.

July 2016– I wasn’t messing around anymore. I wanted answers. Do these guns look like they are joking?! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

I saw a naturopath who spent almost two hours with me. I was ecstatic! I remember thinking how awesome it was that she gave me so much time to listen to what had been going on with me. I felt like we were going to get to the bottom of this. Finally!!

Before I left the appointment she recommended I begin a probiotic daily and she ordered several blood tests. It was going to be around three weeks before I would get the results of those tests. Ugh-three weeks is a long time to wait when you are not feeling well to begin with!

So many pokes
In those three weeks I decided I was going to go gluten free as I figured it would not do me any harm and maybe I was just experiencing a gluten sensitivity?! A very good friend of mine who a couple of us refer to as “Dr. Trudy” was certain I had gluten sensitivity or possible celiac disease. Dr. Trudy (who really has no medical background at all) is known to have great insight, but I will have to say when it came to my diagnosis she could not have been more wrong! Right or wrong though that girl was by my side every step of the way and you know how much I love you! ๐Ÿ˜˜

Dr. Trudy!!! Do you get to take bathroom selfies with your doctor??
We traveled to Colorado a few days after my appointment and everywhere we ate I ordered off of the gluten free menu. I continued to eat dairy as I did not think I had an issue with dairy. Overall I did not feel like I was missing out on many foods. Prior to my car accident I had trained for a fitness competition and my desire for breads decreased, so I was okay with the sudden diet change. Colorado was a blast but the majority of the days I was putting my “game face” on for my family. I really was not feeling well. I was fatigued, had headaches, and my muscles and joints ached. I was not about to ruin our family vacation so I pushed through.

Lunch at Pie Five. I opted for the gluten free crust.
Car selfie fun
 

The Royal Gorge
Three weeks later I had my follow up appointment with my doctor to discuss my test results. I found out I had multiple vitamin and mineral deficiencies (weird since I eat so healthy), had a sluggish thyroid, and had many “food sensitivities”. This explained some of my symptoms, while other symptoms were chalked up to be both “peculiar” and “likely hormonal”. At that appointment I heard the word “peculiar” around 8-10 times. Peculiar as in you have never seen this before?! Fine.. but just tell me that!! Let’s not just keep saying that word and move on to the next symptom. 

And I will do a whole entire blog on the “likely hormonal” diagnosis because this gets tossed around way too damn much. What does that even mean?! I have encountered 50 plus women who say they were told this as well and I am tired of it! That is not a diagnosis and it is NOT normal! (Sorry for the tangent!)

Back to the appointment….. So what exactly is a food sensitivity? A food sensitivity, also known as a delayed food allergy, manifests in many different ways as they can affect any organ system in the body and can take from 45 minutes to several days for symptoms to become apparent. The delayed onset of symptoms involved in food sensitivities make them a difficult puzzle to try to solve. Multiple times food sensitivities go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Food allergies cause an IgE immunologic response, while food sensitivities cause a response via white blood cells, IgG and IgM antibodies, and in C3 and C4 levels.

The immune system identifies foods and food substances as foreign objects and initiates an immune response triggering immune cells to attack. Chemicals such as histamine are released from immune cells to destroy invaders and then tissues become inflamed and damage occurs leading to symptoms.
How does one develop these is still being researched. Currently we know poor digestion, an imbalance of gut flora, chronic stress, genetics, overexposure to chemicals, and immune system overload play a part in developing food sensitivities. So did my breast implants alone cause this?… likely not, but they did cause issues with my immune system as well as the obvious toxin overload, so they were a contributing factor for sure.

In attempt to correct food sensitivies one must eliminate the offending foods for 3 months. They can then re-introduce the foods one by one. You then have to wait a minimum of 3 days before eating that same food again or another offending food. This way if symptoms develop you can pinpoint the trigger. Okay, pretty simple. I can easily cut out a handful of foods. 

I then received my list of food sensitivies. ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ My beloved chicken. Dairy?! Asparagus and broccoli?! I remeber thinking… Oh boy-this may be a bit more difficult than I imagined. On average I was eating chicken once a day but sometimes I was eating it 2-3 times! Chicken was such an easy food to prepare and I LOVED it. I cooked it overnight in a crock pot and in the morning I would have 8-10 servings of chicken ready for the week. Some have said food sensitivities can be caused by overconsumption… I am not quite convinced about that. I was sensitive to several foods that I NEVER consume, so I am still researching this topic. #researchfreak

My food sensitivity list
Winner winner no more chicken dinner…..

I survived going actually longer than 3 months without eating chicken. After the first couple of weeks I was okay with it. I have learned to love salmon, sushi, bison, and other sources of protein. Currently I am not 100% back to my normal so I have not added chicken back into my diet quite yet. Healing does not occur overnight and unfortunately likely due to long term oral birth control pill use, NSAIDS (due to my ankle injuries), my breast implants causing immunity issues, and offer factors my gut and immune system is still a work in progress. It has improved tremendously though! I am hoping by the end of the year I will be able to eat any and all foods without any issue. Will I ever go back to eating chicken multiple times a day?… the answer is no.

I am unsure if my outlook on life has always been this way or if the past couple of years has intensified my outlook. “YOLO” is my new motto that goes along with my signature duck lip/peace sign look. Don’t ask me why I take pictures this way… I really don’t know other than I just don’t take life too seriously. I enjoy life! I enjoy being goofy, silly, laughing etc. And you should too! I laugh at myself on a daily basis. Whether it’s because of the jokes I make (I am pretty hilarious ๐Ÿ˜‚), the silly faces I make, if I stumble while walking (I can be clumsy), or if I make a mistake…. laughter is the best medicine.

The below photos are a representation of my summer 2016. Enjoying the ride!

img_5733img_8106img_7771

GOD BLESS!

“But Breast Implants are FDA Approved”ย 

It was June 2016 and I was still not feeling very well. It had been eight months of odd things happening to my body with lack of answers. I was still fatigued, lacked focus, and was experiencing brain fog and inflammation. My labs kept coming back overall okay. There were a few labs that would come back a little off, but nothing that would warrant further follow up from my doctors…. however I was not okay with it. Why would my CRP (C-Reactive Protein) be anything but normal? Why would my cholesterol continue to be rising? These were just a few of the questions that led me to do more research on my own #researchfreak. I tried my hardest to keep a smile on my face and to stay positive but it was tough. 

 
I decided to go see my plastic surgeon about a possible allergic or chemical reaction to my recently placed silicone gel implants. Maybe one was leaking and was causing me to be ill?! (Although my symptoms began well over 1 year before my silicone implants were placed, I thought maybe this was exacerbating whatever was going on). I had been noticing that my right breast had an indentation when I flexed my chest muscles so surely it was ruptured and that was why I was continuing to decline.

I saw my local plastic surgeon and first addressed the illness issue. He reassured me that there had been studies done in Europe where they followed some women for “years” and they all continued to be healthy. No adverse effects were found following breast implant surgery is what I was told.

—– months later after all of my research, I found that the majority of these studies in Europe followed women for only 3 years. Wow.. a whopping 3 years. Are you kidding me?! Let me remind you of who I am. I am an educated, intelligent woman with a Masters degree in Science of Nursing. I am a Nurse Practitioner so I have a medical background. I have incredible street smarts with admittedly some intermittent dumb blonde moments-lol. My point is I am able to conduct thorough, accurate research. I do not just google something and believe it is true. This was me researching breast implants for a good 6-9 months just hoping that my research would not point to my breast implants causing my health issues. The last thing I wanted throughout this journey was to have another surgery. 


Back to the plastic surgeon appointment…. Whew! I was relieved. I truly believed exactly what he told me. 

We then moved on to the indentation matter. He told me that the indentation was my anatomy and that the only way to tell if there was a rupture would be a MRI and that even if I did indeed have a rupture I would not be sick from it. He said he highly doubted I had a rupture, but even from a physical exam standpoint one could not be 100% certain unless I got a MRI.

—– months later I was told the indentation was not an anatomical issue. The indentation was present because he did not repair my chest wall muscle during surgery.

Back to the appointment… I left the office feeling a bit conflicted. I believe what people tell me. Maybe I am foolish, but I do not see the reason to lie or mislead someone. I believed what the surgeon had told me, but at the same time it was difficult to wrap my head around why my indentation was present now and was not present with my saline implants I had for 9 years. It was something that would not leave my mind. I could not find much info on this on my own so I decided I should start with a mammogram.

I was really 50/50 on whether my implants were leaking or not. I went in for my mammogram thinking I would be in and out in under one hour… boy was I wrong. After about 20-30 minutes of a cold, hard machine squashing my boobs the technician asked me to take a seat while the radiologist reviewed my images. About 15 minutes later she said they needed more angles. Score! More squashing (insert eye roll). The squashing did not hurt by any means but I was fearful it was going to cause a rupture of my implants. Another 10 minutes worth of pictures and then another 15 minutes of waiting.

“The radiologist is requesting an ultrasound to be done”.

Fabulous. Just what I was hoping to do all morning. At this point I was not worried I had a rupture, because that would have been apparent to the radiologist. I began to worry about something more significant. The ultrasound took a good 30 minutes and then the radiologist came in. He was not happy with the imaging so he wanted to repeat the ultrasound himself. He was quick… took about a 5-10 minute look and then was finished. He stated he saw some “lesions/spots” on the initial mammograms but could not see them on the ultrasound, so I was to follow up with repeat studies in 3 months.

I left the appointment in tears. I did not have a rupture, they found some abnormal spots, and now I have to wait 3 months to get answers. Part of me was hoping I had a leak and that would be the answer to my health concerns. I would get my implants replaced and I would be better, right?!

I ended up not having to wait the 3 months for a follow up as my health declined rapidly and my primary care doctor who is awesome wanted a MRI ASAP. Who all has gotten a breast MRI done before? If you have not I hope you never have to. You are lying face down, topless on a cold hard machine. Your breasts are hannging out of this contraption for an entire hour and you cannot move the slightest. How somebody who is obese or elderly and frail does this I don’t know?

A few days later I received the results…. completely normal. I was relieved that they did not see any masses, tumors etc, but at the same time I guess I was hoping for an answer. Just a simple rupture I guess. There I was with no diagnosis once again. Frustrating beyond words.

Throughout this entire journey there have been multiple “possible” diagnoses for me, but nothing concrete. I was searching relentlessly for answers and continued to come up with nothing for why I was feeling so poorly and it was extremely difficult. After each blood draw I would get my hopes up that this was the time I was going to have an answer, but nope, no answers were found. There were moments of sadness. There were moments I felt so alone in this journey, because no matter the support system I had, nobody could understand what I was actually going through. There were periods where I would begin to feel better and I would get so optimistic, only to get ill a few weeks later. Rashes, hair loss, fatigue, brain fog, sudden food sensitivities, inflammation, sleepiness…… the list goes on. THIS IS NOT NORMAL!


Although the FDA continues to state that breast implants are safe I have personally encountered multiple women with severe reactions to implants. I have followed thousands of women across the country with debilitating symptoms secondary to breast implants. I have personally spoken to close to 60 women who suffered from breast implant illness. These things are not safe long term. 

It has been a little over 3 months since my surgery and I am feeling so much better. My major debilitating symptoms have resolved. My symptoms that I did not think were implant related.. gone! Are all of my symptoms gone? No. Implants did not affect my health overnight and I was not expecting an overnight success. My doctor told me the rule of thumb is one month of healing per year of having breast implants. So for me, that is about 10-11 months of healing. 3 months post op and not a single moment of regret. 

I will leave you with this…. how many medications receive FDA approval, then years later get pulled from the market? What about the medications that are still on the market but we continue to see debilitating side effects from? How about the many processed foods that contain gasoline and other chemicals in them that are approved and we ingest daily? Sadly, just because something is FDA approved does not mean it safe.


GOD BLESS!

Heading Homeย 

It was the morning of December 27th, 2016 and I was officially 4 days post-op from my breast implant removal surgery. I was anxiously awaiting for Dr. Feng’s nurse to call me. We emptied all 4 drains and I was at exactly 30ml for the 24 hours. Dr. Feng requires you to have 30ml or less in order to pull the drains. Because I was right on the edge I was concerned I was not going to get them pulled. The drains were annoying and I wanted to get home. I was unable to fly home until the drains were removed. 

It was around 9am and Bryn (the nurse) called. She needed to discuss the amounts with Dr. Feng and then call me back. A couple of hours later I got the call to come in at 12:30pm for my post-op and drain removal appointment. Yippee!!!! I was so excited! I was ready to ditch that hotel and fly home! And of course I was ready for those annoying drains to be pulled!! We eagerly began packing our belongings. My mother, who can be a bit much at times was trying to pack up the entire hotel room. My plan was to leave the Hibiclens in the room as I should not have needed it any longer and she wanted me to pack it. I had to use the Hibiclens the morning of surgery to help cleanse the surgical area. Why would I need this again?… apparently mothers are always right… stay tuned….

2 thumbs up for drain removal.. T-Rex arm style!
We shuttled over to the clinic for a quick lunch. We opted for the tofu protein smoothie because we were pressed for time. YUM! So delicious! If you are ever in Ohio you need to try this!

Tofu Protein Smoothie
It was 12:30pm and I was called back to see the RN. She discussed everything that was going to happen at my appointment before she did anything. I sat in a chair and she reclined it back to where I was almost lying flat. She began unwrapping my ace wrap and then took my surgical bra off. I had imagined that this moment would have been glorious–like being free!…. but it was the opposite. I felt like I needed my breasts to be supported. It was just a foreign feeling to me and I did not like it. I did not look down. I was not sure I was quite ready to see what they looked like. The nurse then injected some lidocaine with sodium bicarbonate around the drains to numb the area. It stung just slightly. She proceeded to cut the sutures that were holding the tubing in place. Here are a few things I can tell you about my drain removal:

  • It was best to take a deep breath in and then exhale. Exhale as the drain is being pulled.
  • It was completely painless.
  • It was an odd sensation. It felt like something slithering inside of me.
  • It was definitely a weird feeling, but nothing someone should get too worked up about. The thought is worse than the actual removing of the drains. 

The nurse then continued to pull the remainder of the drains. The last drain, which was the most bothersome during my recovery had a couple of popping sensations as she pulled it. This drain was on my left side and I could feel the drain up by my collar bone. My left breast was the one I had intermittent pain in for the past 10 months or so. The left breast was also the one that the radiologist saw some “possible suspicious masses” per mammogram (later a MRI cleared any suspicious lesions). The left breast also had delayed healing after my silicone implant surgery. And of course, the left breast was the one that was found to have silicone fragments in it during my explant surgery per pathology. Left breast… AKA my problem breast.

After all drains were removed Dr. Feng came in to examine me. I was still lying down in the exam chair. She looked at my incisions briefly then we walked to her office together. I stood in front of those bright lights again and it was photo shoot time. This go around I was not quite feeling the need to strike a pose. She took several pictures then examined me once again. Overall she was very pleased with my healing and my outcome. My problem breast (left side) was more swollen than the right. She gave me a strap to begin wearing when I was 7 days post-op. The strap was to be placed underneath both breasts to help with the swelling and to keep the skin below the breasts lying flat. The strap was to be worn at all times and I was to communicate with the nurses on my swelling to determine when I could stop wearing it. I still would not allow myself to look down.

The miserable, dreaded strap for underneath both breasts. So happy to be done with this thing!
I went back to the nurses room where I then stood in front of a mirror topless for the first time since surgery. “Being squashed like pancakes is normal as you have been tightly compressed for 4 days now“. Omg she read my mind. I was wondering what the heck was going on! I am not going to lie… it was a bit scary looking! I took a few deep breaths and reminded myself that this was not my final outcome, and even if it was I was going to have to be okay with it because my health was more important. Pancakes. That is all I could think of. Squashed, squishy, thin pancakes and NOT the fluffy ones you see advertised on the IHOP commercials. “Fluffing” of the breasts occur after explant surgery. Everybody is different. Mine began fluffing around 3-4 weeks post-op. 

The nurse then placed steri-strips on each incision, put my bra back on, and wrapped me back up in that awesome ace wrap (insert eye roll). She gave me my discharge instructions for restrictions and cleaning of the incisions. I was told no lifting, pulling, or pushing, and to keep my elbows by my sides for 2 weeks. I was to clean my incisions after they were scabbed with Hibiclens for 2 weeks. Of course my mother was right!!! Mothers are always right! So, when we got back to the hotel to get our luggage I grabbed that Hibiclens from the shower with an eye roll and a laugh.

Me admitting I was wrong about the Hibiclens. My mother felt the needed to document this moment.

My poor mother had to take care of all of the luggage as I could not lift anything for 2 weeks. It was already packed but needed to be loaded on a cart and transported downstairs. She gave me an incredible laugh as she was trying to maneuver the heavily loaded cart through the hotel out to the Uber.

She did it!
We headed to the airport, got on the plane, and immediately headed home. The flight was fairly speedy and I was pretty comfortable. I attempted to sleep but was unable to. We had to stop in Springfield, Missouri to fill up with gas, so overall was about a 4 hour flight if I remeber correctly. We landed in Wichita around 8pm and had a welcome crew meet us at the airport. My husband, my daughters, my father, my brother, and my best friend and her family came out to welcome me home. They are the best.

HOME. Boy I was happy to be back home.

That was my surgical experience. Minimal pain and really one of the longest yet easiest surgeries I have ever had. I will continue to write about my recovery period more in the future.

On a side note…. this was taken exactly 10 years ago today…. why did none of my family or friends think this required an intervention?! Clearly some dresses are not meant to be worn with a certain chest size. There are no words for this other than I am loving my smaller boobs! Clothes fit better. I feel better. It is a win-win!

Family date night. Dress gone wrong!
GOD BLESS!

CF Parenting Probs

Some days having a child with Cystic Fibrosis gets to me. Not the fact that my daughter has CF, but on how I am making an impact on Natalie’s life.

I often catch myself doing Natalie’s chores, picking up after her, giving her multiple chances after I have told her to do something and she refuses… the list goes on. Pretty much treating her as if she is a baby sometimes. Yes, apparently I am that mom. The thing is I am only “that mom” with my Natalie.

She is my “Peaches” and I am her “Purple Petunia”

When I stop and think about my parenting actions with her I become conflicted. Should I be irritated at myself or should I just keep on keeping on? I do think I should be preparing her for the future. Is her boss going to give her chance after chance? (Okay, so we all know Natalie will be the boss of herself. She has got her daddy’s blood and I see entrepreneur in her for sure, not to mention she likes to argue everything that she is told to do #stubborn). Am I setting her up for failure? One day she will be off to college and living without her mom and dad ๐Ÿ˜“ and will have to take care of things herself…. yes, the thought has crossed my mind just to move in with her ๐Ÿ˜œ.

Although folding the clean towels and putting them away only takes less than 20 minutes in a one week period I still struggle with making her do that one and only chore she has. She has Cystic Fibrosis. A disease that takes hours each day to fight. Isn’t that chore enough?!

I also get conflicted with is it fair to her sister that I help her out with her chore and not help her with hers?! Man, parenting can be tough! Luckily, Natalie’s big sister Britney has a soft spot for her sibling and understands how Natalie’s life is different. Usually Britney understands, however she is a teenager…. enough said ๐Ÿ™‚

Big sister Britney doing Natalie’s CPT before she was able to wear a vest

A sisters love
There are moments when I look at Natalie and all I am reminded of is the daily battle she faces. I am reminded of the countless hours in the hospital and the doctors offices, the many lab draws, testing, and therapies that have taken place over the years. I am reminded of everything she has had to go through these past 11 years and it breaks my heart. Each day revolves around her disease. She has to wake up early, stay up late, and rush after school to get her treatments in.

Hanging with Dad before getting her PICC line inserted

Darn PICC line lasted 2 days…. now have to stay in the hospital for 7 days. Dad working full time. Mom in graduate school and working full time–yikes!

So yes Natalie, let me clean your dinner plate

Sure Natalie go ahead and leave your backpack on the chair…. even though the mud room is a 5 second walk away 

Of course I will grab your dirty clothes and put them in the laundry room for you

Yes Natalie, I will stop what I am doing to get you whatever you need during your treatments

Oh and while I am at it.. let me just go ahead and set up and then clean up your nebulizer treatments 

—And let me just clarify: Natalie rarely asks me for help. These are all things that I pretty much offer to do for her.

To me, there is no right or wrong here. My goal as a parent is to raise independent, wise, kind, caring, hard working, christian daughters. So, if I am doing that then does the “babying” of my child really matter?! Babying her could hinder the independence, although she is already very independent at her 11 years of age. I definitely will keep this in mind as I continue to raise my children.

Parenting a child with CF is challenging.  I am sure this goes for any child with a disability, a disease etc. Whether Natalie grows up folding those towels or not I think she will be more than okay. I am so lucky to be this girls mother and I am going to continue to cherish every moment I get with her.

This girl lights up my life
I would love to hear from those who have children with chronic illnesses or disabilities and how this has changed your parenting style!

GOD BLESS