Explant is finally just 2 weeks away and I am a mix of excitement and shear terror at the thought of my original mastectomy scars being opened up for the 4th time. The excited part of me cannot wait to get these toxic goo bags out of my chest and start healing from their effects. The panicked part of me remembers the physical and emotional trauma inflicted not only by multiple surgeries, but by that little voice in my head that was judging and sizing up every part of my scarred and changed body.
I have been fairly quiet on social media since I discovered breast implant illness back in February and I haven’t blogged since then either. I realize now, that I needed the time to gather my thoughts and sanity for my impending surgery. In that silence, I also came to the conclusion that there needs to be a sequel to Bittersweet: A Vulnerable Photographic Breast Cancer Journey©, because that book ended with a new set of dream boobs and gorgeous tattoos to cover my scars. The reality is that the dream boobs after breast cancer have become a total nightmare. There are multiple new chapters that continue that story and I am living and writing them as we speak. I am already on chapter two of my second book, Bye, Bye Boobs: Breast Implant Illness and Explant.
I didn’t know that I would be forced to remove my breast implants and go completely flat as a result of the autoimmune symptoms I am living with and to regain my health. I had decided that I would have these implants for the 8-10 years that they were considered safe and then I would either replace them with a new set or I would remove them and go flat. The choice would be mine and mine alone at that time, but after only two years and nine months the plan has changed and it no longer feels like a choice.
After discussions with my primary care physician, oncologist, a general surgeon, and a plastic surgeon, the decision to explant was considered the best option to reverse the breast implant illness symptoms (BII). As the general surgeon said, “You are definitely having a reaction to the implants and they need to come out.” He and the plastic surgeon both recommended not putting in another set of implants, because the reaction would probably be faster and greater due to my bodies distress over the toxic foreign objects.
I turned 50 the first week in April and feeling thrilled to have survived my forties. They were extremely challenging since I had both a heart drama and then breast cancer. I am oddly excited for this new change as it will remove the cause of over 40+ symptoms and give me my body back. As beautiful as the implants originally were, they never really felt like they were a part of me and they no longer look like the beautiful photos in the final chapter of Bittersweet©. My breasts have been squeezed and deformed by capsular contracture which is causing me daily pain and discomfort. I am going totally flat and my plastic surgeon is motivated to save my beautiful cherry blossom tattoos during explant and second reconstruction to remove the remaining breast tissue, so I am not lumpy and bumpy.
I have no illusions about the seriousness of this surgery, but welcome my true self and my whole body back with open arms. I know I will shed many tears from pain and frustration, but this life is worth all of it. My husband of 25 years and best friend, Wiley, and our eighteen year old son, Vance, are worth all of the heartache. Being able to wake up every morning with them in my life is all the motivation I need to continue pushing forward.
I have pledged once again to stand up and continue to speak out to bring awareness to those with breast cancer, but also to those with breast implant illness. I am grateful to have my life and voice and need to continue to use it to educate and support women.
My explant surgery is set for May 17th, 2019, so hold me in your thoughts. Prayers are warmly welcomed. Follow my explant journey on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hollykthrasher or on my Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/hollykthrasher/
I will see you on the lighter side…