My name is Yvette Melby and I am a Breast Implant Illness survivor.
I first got breast implants in May 2005. By the beginning of 2006, my symptoms were debilitating and incapacitating. I had chronic neck, shoulder and back pain. Other symptoms were joint and muscle pain, flu-like symptoms lasting only 24 hours at a time (weirdest feeling ever), brain fog, Raynaud’s disease, allergies (I had never been allergic to anything before), chronic fatigue, chronic migraines, numbness in my feet, very cold hands and feet, heart palpitations, severe chest pain going towards my back, metal taste, hair loss, body aches, and more. As a woman who focuses on eating healthy and exercising regularly, my friends and family said I was the sickest, healthiest person they knew.
In June 2016, I had surgery to replace my saline implants with silicone gel implants. Shortly after, I began to experience hardening of my right breast with severe pain behind my implant. At 8 weeks post-op, I had a Grade II/III capsular contracture and an array of other physical symptoms.
I went to several doctors, had many diagnostic tests, and failed various types of physical therapy. My doctors just kept referring me to other specialists because they could not give me a specific diagnosis and did not know why I was in so much pain. Having no answers from medical professionals made me feel depressed and weary. It knew it was NOT in my head. It was very real. My medical background and having medical professionals in my family led me to take matters into my OWN HANDS.
Immediately, I stopped researching my symptoms. Instead, I googled “breast implant removal” and what I discovered was a procedure called “Explant” and Breast Implant Illness. What was this all about? My journey continued.
I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders as I connected the dots of my symptoms to my implants. Next, I found a website called center4research.org which has extensive information about this illness and a list of symptoms associated with breast implant illness. Also, on another website called healingbreastimplantillness.com, I found a list of explant surgeons and after interviewing several of them, I booked my surgery with a surgeon that was skilled in performing proper Explant Surgery.
Before booking my surgery, I was very grateful to find several Breast Implant Illness Facebook groups that confirmed through other women’s stories that I had Breast Implant Illness. What a consolation this was during such a difficult time. This is real and I am not crazy if thousands of women from all over the country from all walks of life with similar symptoms/stories get explant and feel better. So, I realized there was more to it and that most Plastic Surgeons do not recognize it.
I was lucky to find a surgeon who is calming and eases away your fears, embraces this illness, and believes there is a connection between all implants and BII, provides information on how to “explant,” and has a designated knowledgeable, experienced & professional explant concierge that you can trust and talk to about explant surgery and learn about Breast Implant Illness.
Truth be told, if it wasn’t for the pain in my right breast due to capsular contracture (hardening of the scar tissue around the implant), I would not have connected the dots that my breast implants were the cause of my debilitating symptoms for 12 years. My pain was so severe and systemic, I was bedridden sometimes for days. I needed to learn more, so I began researching capsular contracture, and that’s when I found that the recurrence of getting it again is higher when you replace your implants. That information, in addition to being sick, made me decide to remove my implants. I choose my health over implants any day. Many women are very sick for years because they believe replacement is the answer or just don’t want to part with their implants.
Bottom line, I knew my implants had to come out. The pain I was experiencing was not normal and after months of being deathly ill and seeing multiple doctors without any real diagnosis or explanation for all my symptoms and pain…I was DONE.
Pain is your body telling you something is wrong. Pain is NOT a normal symptom. The warrior in me suggests that you do not give up until you find the answer to your pain.
Thank goodness for the internet and my persistent research which led me to discover Breast Implant Illness. I am especially grateful to the National Center for Health Research and their website and research on breast Implants. The knowledge I gained on this site was invaluable to what led me to my ultimate decision to explant. After much research, I went with my gut instinct that it was my breast implants that were making me sick. Unfortunately, the majority of the medical community do not believe that, due to lack of good safety data, and currently Breast Implant Illness is not recognized by the FDA.
I had Explant Surgery on April 13, 2017! What I call, a “life-changing” surgery. All those terrible, debilitating symptoms were gone almost instantly! I have not had one migraine since my explant surgery. I can now breathe deep and my joint pain is almost non-existent. Explant is the first step to regaining your health. It is life-changing and healing after explant surgery is possible. It can take months even years to heal so listen to your gut instinct and pay attention to your body.
My experience led me to educate women about Breast Implant Illness and healing post explant. There is life after explant. You can regain your health. I believe in myself again and have regained my health! I am so thankful that I trusted my instincts and listened to my body. Now, I am living my best life once again.
Thank you for reading my story.