I was a teenager in the 90s when the idea of a sex symbol was a Pamela Anderson type: tanned, big fake boobs and bleach blonde hair. I was less than an A cup and always wanted big boobs. To me large breasts represented femininity and without them it left me feeling less than. I remember being told how pretty I was, raised with an emphasis on the importance of my prettiness and the fleeting value of youth. In my teenage brain they were going to solve all my insecurities, cure my body dysmorphia,and make some prince charming “pick me.” In hindsight therapy should have been recommended but I feel like my Mom had the same ideology as me so it didn’t help and even if everyone in the world had told me I was great the way I was I wouldn’t have listened anyways. Jump forward a few years and I found myself a single mom at 22. I gained 76 pounds in my pregnancy and grew to a C/D cup and breastfed exclusively for a year. By the time my milk was gone I had deflated boobs that resembled fried eggs with inverted nipples. That combined with stretch marks and new cellulite was the push I needed to get the implants that I wanted for as long as I could remember. 


Someone had recommended the UBC Plastic Surgery Program. I wouldn’t have to pay for the implants, only the surgical space and anesthesia. I paid $4300. From my first consultation to the surgical date it was only 3 weeks. I remember being told about the risks of surgery and that there could be issues with the scar tissue around the implants but never the actual risks of breast implants. I had previously had a c-section so recovery from implants was nothing compared to that. I had a relatively easy recovery. I remember having an aunt tell me that my life was made now and that I would be set now that I had big boobs. I ended up getting 600cc of silicone gel implants inserted behind the muscle. I loved them but as anyone could have seen but me they didn’t fix all of my insecurities or body dysmorphia. They may have helped guys become more interested but I also wasn’t really looking so the implants never led to Prince Charming. I definitely mourned the way my daughter didn’t fit as closely as she did before and that the nook in my arm where she used to fit perfectly no longer existed. As an A-cupper I didn’t factor in things like back pain, boob sweat and them overall getting in the way, in ways they didn’t before. I did absolutely love how clothing fit and I did feel more confident with them. 


I am not sure when my symptoms of breast implant illness started because when I got them over a decade ago it was not commonly talked about. I had always gaslighted myself too and blamed symptoms of my period, stress and aging. It wasn’t until I had seen Denai Johnson talk about having her implants removed that I heard about BII. I started to do my research and was horrified. Pre-implants I had suffered with mild migraines and had a cartridge issue with my knees. BII symptoms can include joint and muscle pain, chronic fatigue, memory and concentration problems, breathing problems, sleep issues, rashes and skin problems, dry mouth and eyes, anxiety, depression, headaches, hair loss and gastrointestinal problems. There are cases of lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and scleroderma linked to breast implants. BII isn’t medically recognized but breast implants have a black box warning on them as of late 2020. I have personally had an increase in migraines, food sensitivities, skin issues, chronic dry eyes, difficulty losing weight, tingling in my hands and feet, brain fog, issues focusing, anxiety and more. 


As a mother, with everything I know now, I would have never gotten them. If I could do it over again I would have gotten a fat transfer. They have decreased my quality of life and I am sure I have taken years off my life by getting them. The only thing to cure the symptoms is removing them. Being that BII isn’t medically recognized as a medical issue, breast implant removal isn’t covered by MSP. I will have to pay double what it cost to put them in, to remove them. I am terrified to have another surgery and a bit nervous of what I will look like after but I have made the appointment with a local plastic surgeon to talk about removing them this Fall.