Explant surgeries are mentioned more and more across the news and among those struggling with breast cancer. Take a moment to hear the story of a survivor and learn what explant surgery is really like.
What is explant surgery?
So, that’s the removal of the implants that you have in place.
What’s happened in the last nine years where now you’re thinking about doing the explant surgery?
Yes. So, I actually had a reconstruction of my reconstruction in 2014 and had new implants put in.
Why was that?
Because they started to shift and pull on my nerves. I couldn’t sleep, and they were uncomfortable. It was mostly my left side the first time around. But now it’s both sides.
The silicone implants—it’s a certain brand and, I think, the textured kind—have more and more studies coming out saying that they’re toxic. They’re causing all kinds of issues. Auto-immune disorder issues, joint pain, brain fog—all kinds of stuff. There is a huge part of me that’s over it. I don’t care about breasts anymore. But there’s that small part of me that’s devastated, and I know it’s going to hit me really hard.
Pre-Explant Surgery (Video Diary)
I’ve been putting this off for a long time, but I’ve decided to explant. So, I’m deciding to have my implants removed. I’ve finally made my consultation to have them explanted, and the second I got off the phone, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I just started bawling my eyes out. There are so many factors that come into place with this. There’s survivor’s guilt, and then there’s just that fact of being really vulnerable.
How did you feel about what you saw?I had every mixed emotion you can possibly think of. No words can express, but I literally had every single emotion: happy, sad, angry, pissed, liberated, discouraged. Like, every emotion I could think of—it was so crazy.
Everybody has their own journey, and I think that there’s no right or wrong—no matter what you choose to do. But, I would say research as much as you can, every thought that you have, because I didn’t get the chance to do that in the beginning. I didn’t even know that this was an option—to actually go flat.
How do you like The Brobe and post-surgical drain belt?
The material is amazing because I actually can’t lift or move my arms very well. So, when I’m getting this robe on and off, it’s hard for me to pull my arms out. You can actually stretch the robe out far and get your arm in nicely.
I’m going to use [the drain belt] for just daily use. Like, if I have to go to the mailbox later or go for a walk. It’s really cool when I’m in the shower. When I had my first surgery, I had to have somebody hold my drains outside of the shower. Then, I’d have to safety pin them to my shirt and, because they would hang from my rib, it would be excruciatingly painful if I caught them on something. So, it saves me a lot of pain, and it saves me a lot of hard work.