Breast implants almost ruined my life

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CHRONIC fatigue, sinus infections, dry skin, chronic headaches, sudden food intolerance, allergies, fevers, intolerance

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Breast surgery Picture: Simone McKenzie Slaven

CHRONIC fatigue, sinus infections, dry skin, chronic headaches, sudden food intolerance, allergies, fevers, intolerance to cold, loss of vision, vertigo, choking, thyroid symptoms, anxiety, panic attacks, numb limbs, heart palpitations, dehydration and swollen lymph nodes.

These are just some of the severe symptoms Sydney resident Simone McKenzie Slaven, 39, has experienced over the past eight years.

But it wasn’t until the mum-of-three discovered this list of symptoms on a

website

that she concluded her breast implants most likely led to the profound decline in her health.

“How bad did it get? I remember being curled up on the kitchen floor, crying in agony with my three children standing over me not knowing what to do. I didn’t care about living because I was barely existing,” she told news.com.au.

Ms McKenzie Slaven’s health deteriorated to the point where she was forced to quit work as a retail assistant and part-time model and become a virtual recluse.

“The neurologist had no ideas for me. The cardiologist said my heart was fine. The ER doctors thought I was crazy. The pain got so bad I would crawl down the hallway in the morning to take my medication and wait for it to start working so I could stand up,” she said.

Eventually, she stumbled across a Facebook group of more than 20,000 women worldwide who attributed their auto-immune and systemic issues to having breast implants.

“When I found the website and Facebook page, I felt like I’d found 20,000 people [including Hugh Hefner’s wife Crystal Hefner] who validated my concerns,” she said.

She said her decision to remove the implants about two months ago has been life changing.

She’s now back at work as a sales concierge and feeling “almost normal”.

“Five weeks after I learned about Breast Implant Illness I was being wheeled in for surgery. Seven weeks after having the explant [removal of silicone breasts] 90 per cent of my symptoms have gone,” she said.

Her surgeon, Dr Louis Wessels, said a lot of implants can get contaminated when they are inserted because quite a large medical device is inserted through a small incision.

He explained inserting implants creates lots of resistance, which can force microorganisms into the breast pocket.

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Simone is a mother-of-three who says breast implants made her sick. Picture: Simone McKenzie Slaven Source: Supplied

Ms McKenzie Slaven underwent surgery to have her breasts enlarged on November 30, 2009. She went from an A-cup to a C-cup after the breast augmentation and recalls being thrilled with the results until, about six weeks after the procedure, she started to feel extremely unwell.

“My first symptoms were swelling in my feet. I also developed swelling and pain in my Achilles and hips, which progressed to my back, sternum and fingers,” she said.

She said when she consulted her GP she asked if it could be the implants making her ill, but she was told, “No. Silicone is an inert object in the body. It would not cause these issues”.

“The doctor ordered an MRI, detected inflammation in my joints and said it looked like arthritis. I also developed inflammation in my left eye resulting in vision loss and a severe case of Iritis, which I was told would lead to permanent loss of vision if not treated,” she said.

After visiting numerous doctors, she was prescribed various medications including a drug used to treat chemotherapy patients.

“The idea was my immune system was attacking itself and it needed to be settled down.

“The drugs I was on did nothing to stop my pain and instead ruined my gut health so I was then placed on TNF inhibitors, a self-injectable drug that suppresses the immune system. The results were pretty much instant. I stayed on these drugs for six years and my pain went away until 2016, when I became very unwell again,” she said.

Thinking it was an auto-immune issue, she went on a strict anti-inflammatory diet in the hope of healing her gut and regaining her strength.

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Simone felt like death in the lead-up to having her implants removed. Picture: Simone McKenzie Slaven Source: Supplied

“I tried everything — supplements, bone broths, juicing — and I would get better for a while and then go downhill again. I battled on in pain using a pram as a walking aid around the house and only wearing sneakers to support my feet,” she said.

“I began to battle with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts and when I went to the GP, I asked again, “Is it my implants?’. The answer was always ‘no’. They said it was most likely genetics and the stress of being a busy mum with young children,” she said.

Ms McKenzie Slaven was hit with a second more severe wave of symptoms last year including low-blood pressure, dizziness, fainting spells after exercise, heart palpitations, migraines, loss of eyesight, and a stabbing pain all over her body.

In addition, she said she experienced MS-like symptoms, Lupus-like symptoms, fibromyalgia, night sweats, brain fog, and extreme sensitivity to noise and crowds.

Over the past eight years, she has undergone chest X-rays, lung scans, brain scans, body scans for inflammation and MRIs on her feet.

She also had an ECG, a stress ECG, a 24-hour urine test for her adrenal glands, genetic testing, contrast dye tests, chest ultrasounds, foot ultrasounds, cortisone injections and blood work every three months for six years.

“With the second set of symptoms, the GP kept telling me it was all in my head as all my tests were coming back clear. Anti-depressants were suggested. My weight plummeted from 65kg to 56kg and I had to quit my job and couldn’t drive my car. I then devoted all my time to researching my illness,” she said.

“When I found out about Breast Implant Illness, I wanted them out immediately.”

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Before and after photos show the surgery made a world of difference. Picture: Simone McKenzie Slaven Source: Supplied

Dr Wessels had to remove a lot of scar tissue that formed around the implant.

“We did a bilateral complete capsulectomy and identified bacteria that usually leads to a low-grade subclinical staph infection that causes progressive capsular contracture [implant hardening],” he told news.com.au.

He said he had not heard of Breast Implant Illness before he met Ms McKenzie Slaven, and said it was difficult to prove a link to auto-immune diseases as there is no specific medical test or examination currently available.

“It could be that certain people have an inflammatory reaction to their implants. We have started a

website

, that lists doctors who are accredited because they use a 14-point plan to minimise implant contamination,” he said.

“If Simone did not go ahead with the explant, it’s possible that hard scar tissue would have formed around the breast. The number of women diagnosed with the deadly form of blood cancer from implants that led to ALCL lymphoma is related to contamination and the surface texture of the implant,” he said.

Dr Wessels advises women who are considering implants to go to an accredited plastic surgeon on the website.

Meanwhile, Ms McKenzie Slaven says she wants the medical system to acknowledge that a foreign object in the body can have serious health implications for some women.

“I bet that everyone knows someone who has implants who has some sort of health issue be it thyroid, candida, skin rashes, or brain fog,” she said.

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    Article Breast implants almost ruined my life compiled by www.news.com.au

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