Photo courtesy of Sabrina Nelson

By Sabrina Nelson 

I was 21 when I got breast implants in 2002. My boyfriend at the time suggested I get them and even offered to pay for them if I lost 10 pounds and I was only 110 pounds at the time. He was 10 years older than me and had implanted an ideal image of what I should look like in my head. This was the Pamela Anderson/ Carmen Electra era when extremely skinny with large breasts were in. I was a 34aa. Yes smaller than an A cup. I was also waitressing in Las Vegas so small breasts were not attractive for the typical cocktail waitress. I went to a popular doctor in town, the only doctor I consulted with, and decided on him to do my procedure. Electing to have surgery was extremely scary and I didn’t realize it until I lying on the operating bed about to go in for surgery. Up until then the excitement overcame the fear.

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Photo courtesy of Sabrina

The surgery went as expected. The Doctor went as large as he could given my size. It came out a C cup. My boobs were at my chin in exaggeration, but I was told they would eventually drop. I loved them. My self-confidence grew. Shirts fit better. I felt sexy, womanly. I do remember my friends and family looking at me in shock that they were so big, but only few said anything. Eventually they dropped.


I went in for a second surgery because one of my breasts developed scar tissue so it was quite hard, which is common. Our bodies naturally create it as a barrier to anything foreign in our bodies to protect us from it. It happens with any and all implants. 10 years had gone by and the implants became a part of me. It was as if they were my own natural breasts. I still loved them. It wasn’t till about 3 years ago when odd things started to happen. Or so I noticed.

I started to have severe allergies that were uncontrollable with medication. I saw many allergy specialists, tried many options such as immunotherapy etc, however, nothing helped. Then I noticed extremely dry irritated eyes and temporary vision loss in one eye. Followed by mood swings of depression and anxiety. These were all common symptoms of society so I dealt with them.

A year after the initial symptoms, I started having swelling of my glands under my chin and in my jaw. At times they would swell to the size of a golf ball and would be very painful and sore. It became a weekly swelling then daily. I saw an ENT and they did an MRI thinking it was salivary stones, but nothing showed up but inflammation. I was lost. I had no idea what was going on with my body. I was so scared. My ENT suggested I see a rheumatologist suggesting in may be immune related such as Sjogrens disease. By now I’m googling everything, symptoms of every disease scaring myself even more.

My Rheumatologist ran several tests. My ANA titer came back positive, which meant a possible autoimmune disease. But everything else was negative. I was dumbfounded. By now more symptoms came. My energy level was so low, I would wake up some mornings and my wrists were so stiff, I was constantly fatigued. I became sensitive to light and sound, and was suffering from extreme brain fog. My memory was shot, I couldn’t have a simple conversation without forgetting simple words or completely losing my train of thought. I was spaced out and found myself completely confused doing simple tasks that I had done routinely. I felt so out of touch with reality that it scared me sometimes. People around me started noticing this and my spaced out demeanor. I started to confine myself to my home and preferred being alone all the time as that was where I was most comfortable. I started to recluse myself because I didn’t feel like myself and I didn’t know if I would ever get myself back.

I saw a psychologist who diagnosed me with bipolar disorder and started me on medication that made me feel worse. I also had low vitamin D levels and was iron deficient, which I never had before.

Sabrina & her Dad

Then A friend at work told me about her friend that just had her implants removed because she was feeling mysteriously sick for years. At first I brushed it off because I thought no that couldn’t be it. But then I started researching and came across BII (Breast Implant Illness) and this BII group. I see all these women with the similar symptoms and it opened up my eyes. This group was at 10k women and growing. I spoke with several women on the site and they were so supportive and helpful. I rushed to a plastic surgeon I found on the BII website and a few more I found just with a standard online search. I couldn’t get my implants out soon enough and within a month I had my explant on march 28, 2017. My Dad cared for me during and after the surgery and was extremely supportive and helpful.
I felt relieved, though I didn’t really care how I felt afterward I just wanted those unnatural toxic things out of me. Since the surgery, it took a lot of time for me to feel good again. I did detoxes, parasite cleanses, heavy metal cleanses, among other things. The implants did a lot of irreversible damage to my body so I had to be and will always have to be at my healthiest. Having something foreign in your body constantly battles with your immune system because our bodies are naturally and constantly fighting a battle with them because it looks at it as something it wants to push out of our body. Having implants irreversibly compromised my immune system.

Today, most my symptoms are gone. I no longer have problems with my eyes. My moods are stable, light and sound no longer bother me. My brain feels more clear. I still have some gland swelling but not as bad as before. I had implants for 10+ years so it will take time for my body to be at 100% but I have no regrets and I feel healthier without them.

Photo courtesy of Sabrina 

I am back to a 34aa which yes is smaller than a A cup. But I am happy with being 100% myself. It actually has boosted my confidence knowing that I could take them out and maybe not have the best looking breasts, but they are mine and this is me. I’m not going to lie it was hard being intimate with men at first but if they don’t like it then that’s fine because my health is way more important. I was single when I had them removed and was so worried about trying to find someone who would accept the scars and the shape because they look ok for what they have been through, but not great. I have definitely learned that being me is what is going to have to be and I love and accept that. Its ok to be yourself because that’s all you truly have. 

Photo courtesy of Sabrina 

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Also….
I would say to those with implants, be aware of your body. Symptoms can mimic other illnesses. They can be very mild too. Many women of the BII group had symptoms I didn’t experience and vice versa. If you go to a doctor or plastic surgeon they will tell you that implants are safe and you have nothing to worry about. Plastic surgery is a billion dollar industry. I have yet to meet a doctor that has told me other wise. But just speaking to the many women I have met that have gone through this it is a real thing. As of today, I wouldn’t change my decision for anything!

What are your thoughts?

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