Health Notes

Its time to get this off my chest

By Nicole DeVaney

My explant story

I never really wanted implants. A fan of mother nature, I was a bit of a hippy really, and felt that her creations were better than any surgeon could fabricate. All that changed after having my daughter.

You see, I was an exotic dancer for seven years before she was born and after separating from her father, I knew that dancing would be one of the best ways for me to raise her with enough time, money and energy to be the kind of mom I always wanted to be. I had other options available to me for work, yet I knew of  the struggle for women on an hourly pay scale raising children alone. After witnessing my own mother work two jobs to support a family on her own, I knew that shaking my way to a better life was the path for me.

When the time neared to grace the stage for the first time after pregnancy, I exercised profusely and ate all the right foods—my body was in better shape than it had been before I got pregnant. Even with a flat stomach and plump tush, there always seemed to be something missing for the “strip club” crowd after taking my top off, and truthfully there was. I was never a large-breasted woman. But after breast-feeding for two-plus years, my perky little B’s were not quite the bouncy spirits they once had been.

Getting implants for me was a business decision, one that came with a lot of profit and some unexpected loss. I am sharing my story now in hopes of enlightening women and men to the dangers of breast implants. Also, to guide those considering this surgery to think more deeply about what they may be risking. It is important for you to know that I am not anti or pro plastic surgery. I am all for listening to your heart and making fully informed decisions when it comes to you.

To B or to double-D… That was the question

I will never forget my first Victoria’s Secret outing with my new double-D implants. As I said, I was always happy to be a beautiful B cup but when I tried on that first lacy double-D bra, I felt like a Disney princess! It was a whole new world. I called out to the store clerk, “Get me one of everything in every color, please!”

I easily recall the first day when I was healed enough to dance and the reactions I got on stage. A longtime customer came up and tipped me a $50. He said, “I am not sure what has changed but you are glowing.” I did not know that silicone could have that effect. This was the most I ever received from this customer in a single tip and my first thought was that my investment was already seeing some dividends. Later he returned to the stage with a $20 bill and an apology for not noticing that I had new breasts. We both had a good laugh.

My career in the stripping industry changed from that day forward.

I had always made good money before implants. Now I made even more and there was definitely something new about the crowd I was attracting post-augmentation.

In fact, a lot more than my income changed. The attention that I would receive outside of the strip club was different, too. Every shirt I put on felt like an altar that displayed my new, rather large, rack. At first it was a good time but after a while I realized that much of the attention I was getting led me to shallow connections and a lack of depth in some of my suitors. Was it the implants? I was doing a lot more weeding in the garden of available men.

After one year with my new breasts, my upper body muscles that I worked so hard for literally pushed the right silicone bag up into my armpit and I experienced what is called a capsule contracture. This is when the body forms a harder capsule of tissue around the implant. It can happen whether you have strong pec muscles or not. Capsular contracture is the most common complication following implant-based breast surgery and is one of the most common reasons for reoperation (15-45% of all augmentations have some degree of contracture). To fix it, I had to go under anesthesia and the knife again.

A year later, the left one did the same thing but this time, during the surgery, they found that it had ruptured. It was under warranty and I received a new one. I was given no warning to look out for symptoms of silicone poisoning or suggestions as to why it was damaged…just a fresh new bag of silicone because it was warrantied.

This is when my health declined drastically. I started to experience what I thought was adrenal fatigue and thyroid issues. I was chronically tired, cold and my body, which I took such good care of, hurt all the time. My diet was organic. I practiced yoga five times a week. At 29 years of age I should not have felt this sick. I was often found wearing snow pants in the middle of summer because my body was so cold. My hair fell out and became so thin it would not grow past my shoulders.

Worst of all my spine broke (spondyloisthesis) doing yoga, one thing I thought was keeping me healthy! Everything in my body was degrading and it sent me on a journey toward healing—one that I am grateful for because I believe my ill health and the cleanses, diet and lifestyle it led me to saved my life and kept me healthy for the remaining years I had my implants.

I never pinned my illness on the surgeries or breast implants until years later when I began to study information I needed to explant. The government keeps no record of illnesses believed to be connected to breast implants but women across the world are now coming together and speaking up about their symptoms and sharing their experiences of healing. Upon finding the Facebook group Breast Implant Illness by Nicole, I was able to read about thousands of women’s experiences that mirrored my own. Breast Implant Illness by Nicole’s Facebook group has grown from 30,000 when I joined just over a year ago to nearly 88,000 members currently.

In my experience, breast implants are not simply two large foreign bodies composed of 40-plus chemicals, they are devices made of semi-permeable shells that leak “gel bleed”—silicone, heavy metals and chemicals—from the day they are implanted, sometimes causing profound illnesses. I believe that these abrasive substances are toxic and inflammatory to our cells and body processes, such as the immune and endocrine systems. The “new and improved” cohesive silicone breast implants also release gel bleed and contain aggressive chemicals and heavy metals. Many scientific studies show that low molecular weight siloxanes are extremely toxic. Although saline implants may seem the safer of the two, they are also encased in silicone shells. Many of them have valve manufacturing defects that cause a leakage and “backwash” effect. Mold can thrive inside saline implants for years, creating biotoxicity, with detrimental health effects.

With the sharing of my explant story, I am amazed by all the women who have come forth  asking for information because they, too, are ready to remove their implants. I believe the health industry will soon begin to identify BII and we will see more and more awareness of what is happening. There will be waves of women needing to cleanse and clear their bodies of the toxic soup that has been created by boob jobs and other medical implant devices. They will possibly learn through this process that the autoimmune and other health issues they are experiencing are not hereditary and are reversible. It all starts with the removal of the implants but must also include reversing the damage the toxins have done.

Why explant?

Even though I no longer experienced symptoms of BII, after 10 years I wanted my breast implants removed. There were lots of reasons for my desire to explant:

  1. Plastic is an endocrine disruptor and does a number on your hormones. Most contain xenoestrogens that mimic our body’s estrogen and in some cases have been linked to men growing breasts and women developing breast cancer.
  2. I have not been able to do a proper push up in almost 10 years, not without my breasts parting like the Red Sea, anyway, due to the implants under my pec muscles.
  3. I want to give people hugs without having to concave my chest in to bring my body close to theirs.
  4. I am a medical intuitive and read people with my body. The plastic bags in my chest prevented me from fulling feeling with my heart chakra. It was like a cloudy lens over my heart camera.
  5. Mostly, I don’t need them anymore. My career no longer is reliant upon the size and shape of my breasts.

The final straw for me came one day as I was stirring soup at a pot luck. Someone had set out a plastic spoon that I did not want to put into the hot liquid. I’d already removed all plastic utensils and storage containers from my own kitchen. As I searched for a wooden spoon I glanced down at my “plastic” chest. Light dawned. What difference would it make for me to change my plastic kitchenware when I was living with two bags of plastic in my warm chest?!

One of the most powerful experiences in this journey was when I shared my wish to explant with my husband. He looked me in the eye and said, “I cannot wait to hug you chest to chest.” Everything in my body melted in love and I felt so safe and supported. It was the nudge of confidence I subconsciously desired to be able to let go of these four pounds of toxic weight.

The Female Brain, by Louann Brizendine, M.D. is an eye-opening look into a woman’s quest to look good. It comes down to a primal instinct to attract a mate and procreate. It is a cellular, subconscious need to feel and look our best so we can make babies! After reading this book I spent less time telling my daughter that it did not matter what she wore and more time helping her to pick out the best outfit that made her feel beautiful from the inside out. But the question I have to pose here, would be…Is beauty worth dying for? Many women have died due to complications of BII. When you sign on the dotted line for this surgery, the small print says you are willing to take that risk.

The artificial, photoshopped experience of sexual beauty is everywhere, particularly online. For the last three years I’ve co-hosted a woman’s moon circle where we sometimes talk about the issues women face regarding beauty standards. One of my favorite questions we addressed is: “How do you love yourself and feel beautiful when it comes to societal pressure to look a certain way?”

For me, the way to becoming conscious was to turn it all off. I stopped participating in any media that reinforced those standards. I spent my newfound extra time doing things that made me feel sexy and loved. This, to me, was a way to grow out of second chakra immaturity into the expression of heart chakra love.

I do think plastic surgery is a modern miracle and there are some beautiful things that it has done to help many people. People suffering from extreme weight loss, cancer and birth deformities no longer have to live with emotional and painful body image issues, thanks to advancements made. Sometimes one simple surgery can change a person’s life for the better and I commend the advancements that make this possible.

As for me, my life only got better after surgery. I have regained a level of energy and strength that I did not even remember was missing. I have shared my story and this information through several interviews and podcasts and have heard from women all over the world how it has changed their lives for the better.

It was not easy, somewhat painful and a bit toxic due to anesthesia. The good news is that I never have to do it again. When you have implants, it is recommended you change them every 10 years or so. That is a lot of surgeries in one’s lifetime. I’m going to use the $25,000 I might have spent on augmentations to invest in all things that make me feel good and that enable me to help others feel healthier, too.

Nicole DeVaney is an instructor for the CHEK Institute as well as a medical intuitive, writer, speaker and self-proclaimed “how-to” healer. She runs a private holistic practice out of Cutting Edge Physical Therapy in Murray, Utah.; FB TheChekGoddess; IG @Nicolethechekgoddess

Breast Implants: a history

Breast implants came into use around the 1960s. At the time, breast reconstruction surgery was considered an essential surgery for women, so essential that the new technology, of surgically inserting silicone under the skin, was green-lighted without any studies into the effects or potential hazards.

The FDA did not have the authority to regulate medical devices until 1976 when the “Medical Devices” law was passed. Even then, breast implants were grandfathered in. The FDA did not act to request any scientific evidence from implant manufacturers that would demonstrate product safety.

During the decades between 1960 and 1990, women often came forward with complaints about pain or other symptoms associated with their implants with little to no response from manufacturers, the medical establishment or the government. Later, it was found that implant manufacturer Dow Corning was aware of problems with their product. It was later found that, over the course of these same decades, numerous memoranda were circulated internally within the company complaining of the product’s tendency to “leak” silicone from the implant into the surrounding body tissues.

By 1988, the FDA Advisory Panel was starting to pay attention to complaints about implants. Dr. Nirmal Mishra spoke to the Panel about possible risks associated with breast implants including: capsular contracture (the painful tightening of the scar tissue around the implant), breakage, micro-leakage (sweating or bleeding of silicone outside the shell), evidence of silicone accumulation in the lymphatic system, interference with the accuracy of mammography, immune disorders and cancer. Despite the gravity of these concerns it still took another four years before the FDA issued their first official requirement of manufacturers of silicone gel-filled implants to submit information regarding their safety and effectiveness. The initial studies conducted in response to this request were highly inadequate, poorly designed and conducted not by an independent research group but by the companies themselves. In one particular study two out of three patients were followed for less than three months after their surgery.

Today, more than 1.5 million American women have silicone breast implants, yet the condition which some patients are calling Breast Implant Illness BII is still little understood, under studied, and frequently dismissed by both the medical establishment and implant manufacturers. Breast implants are a controversial subject that are still advertised as safe by plastic surgeons, doctors and the medical community. When you hear about breast implants, doctors generally focus on the look and local complications.

By now, implant manufacturers and surgeons acknowledge that there are common complications associated with breast implants that may require removal. These issues include implant ruptures that leak silicone gel into neighboring tissue and other parts of the body, capsular contraction which causes painful distortion of tissue around the implant, deflation of implants, pain caused by muscular spasms and severe capsular contraction. But talk with women suffering from BII and you may hear a range of complaints that are much more disturbing. In its mildest form, BII sufferers complain of fatigue, cognitive dysfunction (brain fog, memory loss) and muscle aches. But there are also even more concerning complaints of recurring infections, gastrointestinal and digestive issues, anxiety, and problems with thyroid and adrenals.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery dismisses most of these complaints, calling them “self-diagnosed” and thus unsubstantiated. They also point to the various Facebook support groups gaining traction and suggest that any rise in reporting of BII is simply a “symptom” of “social media.”

So far, the only organization that seems to be taking seriously the complains of BII is the National Center for Health Research. In November 2018, the Center began their own study of more than 300 women who had their implants removed. The NCHR reported that, when surveyed about why they wanted their implants removed (and not replaced), “fewer than one-third reported ruptured implants, approximately one half had breast pain, and 84% cited an array of other health issues that can be categorized as autoimmune or connective tissue symptoms, rather than diagnosed diseases. At the time that their implants were removed, approximately three out of five of the women had implants in their body for 10 years or more, and many had these symptoms for years.  After having their implants removed, 89% of the women reported that their symptoms improved.”

Silicone is derived from silicon, a semi-metallic element that, combined with oxygen, forms silica (think beach sand). Silicone can be a gel, liquid or rubbery substance. It is used in common household items such as sunscreen, hand lotion, soap, chewing gum and hairspray. Most medical sources will deny the toxicity of silicone. You can check out more here to know how these affects any building.

Breast implants are also more than just silicone. They have a mix of other potentially toxic chemicals and metals including tin and platinum. With the toxicity of implants still up for debate (for some), it is less then reassuring to know that implant leakage can lead to quantities of silicone and other substances to find their way into the body’s lymph nodes and then migrate to distant organs.

– Katherine Pioli

This article was originally published on July 31, 2019.