Marie Saavedra, WFAA: April 16, 2018
A North Texas woman says her implants were making her sick. Now, she’s lending her voice to the call for more information to be shared between the FDA, doctors and patients.
Jamee Cook was 21, engaged to be married and a paramedic when she made a decision that would shape the rest of her life.
“I was really active. Healthy, Young, skinny,” she said. “I was always really really flat chested and wanted to be more proportionate.”
At age 21, Cook chose to get breast implants. At 40, it is her biggest regret.
“I mean, I made this decision and I own it,” she said. “And I do feel guilty about it because it took a lot of things away from me.”
She says that included her health. Three years after surgery she developed an auto immune disease.
“Then it went downhill, just chronic fatigue, swollen lymph nodes all the time, chronic sinus infections,” Cook said. “I couldn’t get out of bed, I was having migraines two or three times a week, and I had three young kids at home!”
She says doctors had no more answers, which left her feeling helpless. Cook turned to the internet and researched, and she came to realize her implants could be the source. She was certain when she removed them after 17 years.
“I still battle fatigue off and on, but the majority of my other symptoms went away immediately,” she said.
Cook then gained new purpose. She created the group Breast Implant Victim Advocacy, a community of thousands women who say implants made them ill. She lobbied for implant safety in Washington. All of it, driven by a simple goal.
“I think that a lot of women don’t get the information they need to make a fully informed decision,” she said.
Last year, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery said surgeons performed 333,329 breast augmentations. We asked Dallas plastic surgeon Dr. Lawrence Weider about what warnings patients can currently expect to hear from their doctors.
“There’s a whole host of risks that we discuss,” said Dr. Weider. “We have a several page consent for that we go through with them.”
But Cook argues there’s more to be done. Right now, The FDA is researching the ties between a specific type of implant causing a rare lymphoma, and last month a woman suffering from that cancer sued an implant maker in California. […]
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