This is the follow up to my previous blog regarding self-image and my decision to have breast augmentation and all that followed…
The surgery for my implants was performed in the doctor’s office under a local anesthesia. This was somewhat comforting to me as general anesthesia had always made me sick. He had told me some of the side effects, but what he shared with me didn’t seem too bad, (lol), encapsulation (scar tissue forming a bag around the implant), loss of sensation, and the possibility of infection. Unfortunately for me, being naïve and trusting the doctor, he chose to do it the easiest way, on top of the muscle. I chose to have saline implants, thinking they were the safest as there had been talk of silicone causing problems in women. What I didn’t know, is the bag that holds the saline is made of silicone!
The first time I saw my breasts I was shocked! They looked so huge! Even after the swelling subsided, I wasn’t prepared for the size. Going from an A to a full C (possibly a D) was a big jump. I must admit, it was a great feeling to be able to go to the lingerie department and get pretty bras, and bathing suits weren’t such a drag to try to find. I finally could fill out tops and it did add to my confidence.
As stated in a previous blog, I never wanted the implants and chose to do it to make a man happy. I wasn’t prepared for what was going to happen. He and I broke up, I didn’t heed the doctor’s recommendation of self-massage (it felt weird to me to massage my own breasts) and it wasn’t long before my breasts got encapsulated. I have always been a touchy person, giving hugs to strangers that I met, friends and family. Suddenly, those hugs stopped because I didn’t want anyone to feel how hard my breasts had become. When I met people, mostly men, or when I passed someone walking by, instead of looking me in the eye, or maybe noticing my smile, those looks went straight to my chest and my face didn’t matter.
I had a couple of options, redo the surgery or let the doctor hand manipulate the implant to break up the scar tissue. Since money was a factor, I went it and had the doctor twist and manipulate the scar tissue till we felt it snap. It was a burning and painful experience and I went back many times to have it done. About a year and half into my new body and all the efforts to break up the scar tissue, my insurance company agreed to pay for a new surgery to have the scar tissue removed. By the time I had it done, I wasn’t able to raise my right arm all the way up, I couldn’t lie on my stomach, and the hugs were gone.
During the surgery the doctor found a pinhole leak on my right side so he replaced the implant. I assumed he replaced it with saline and he never mentioned it. Another year passed and suddenly, my worries came back, as did the encapsulation. That wasn’t the only symptoms I was experiencing. I started losing my hair, if I bent down to tie my shoe, I couldn’t get back up without holding onto something and my short term memory was greatly affected. I was scared!
This was in the late 80’s when the big Dow Corning lawsuits started. Women across the continents were having huge health problems, including contacting auto immune diseases. I wasn’t sure what was happening to my body so I sought out a support group. At the time, there was a doctor from Southern California traveling the states and educating women on the dangers concerning silicone implants. Event though I had saline implants, or so I thought, I went and listened.
After learning of the dangers of silicone and the symptoms women were having, I called my original plastic surgeon to make sure my new implant was saline. I found out he had replaced the right damaged implant with silicone without my permission or any discussion .Perhaps that is why I was having all these other things happening to my body.
The same traveling “high end” plastic surgeon that was educating women on silicone, boasted about how he removed all the capsulation, therefore clearing out any silicone that may have leaked into the tissue. He claimed most doctors merely took out the implant, leaving the scar tissue behind. Once again, I went to my insurance company. I now had the choice of having him redo the surgery, and by now silicone had been removed from the market except for women recovering from breast cancer. I could have had him go under the muscle and hope I didn’t have the encapsulation again, or I could have them completely removed and have reconstruction done. This would ensure any silicone left behind would be gone. I chose removal with reconstruction.