I’m sharing this story in hopes that it saves someone from making the same mistakes and blind choices that I did. It's my most vulnerable share. Because...
My mistakes don’t need to be her mistakes.
I have a long history of hating my boobs right back to grade four when my development started. I was ashamed of them and to be honest, I didn’t really have any open discussions about them. Actually, I was only ever sexually harassed for them.
Sadly, that was a normal part of childhood for many girls.
And sadly, until now I never really spoke about it; for fear of being judged; for being victim shamed and treated as if it's my fault, or as if it’s damaged me in some way.
It likely for sure has damaged me in some ways. And that’s okay. It’s part of my story, part of my journey and part of what enables me to help and empower other girls and women.
BACK TO THE BEGINNING
As I grew, my boobs grew; they really started getting in the way, especially with sports.
They were always on the larger size for my frame and I found them extremely annoying and uncomfortable. I couldn’t not wear a bra, like ever.
I remember that time in high-school when I forgot to put a bra on and I had my dad deliver me one to second period.
PREGNANCY & POST PREGNANCY CHANGES
During my first pregnancy, my breasts grew quite large, likely to DDD34?? I don't even know honestly.
This photo I was 7 months pregnant with my first daughter.
Within days of delivering her, my boobs were massive. I don’t know what numbers and letters these things go to, but they were huge and stayed that way for a couple months before they settled with my milk supply.
After the birth of first daughter, I was pregnant with my second daughter within ten months. I breastfed two babies back-to-back and I gained weight and lost it, pretty quickly a few times over.
I know a lot of women go through this and many even nurse twins or tandem nurse.
Some women actually prefer their post-babies boobies.
All bodies are different
My boobs responded very badly to pregnancy and breastfeeding. Many other women experience the same thing as me. I know this because many women have shared photos and started talking about it.
This is the thing. It seems like I shouldn't have this issue based on how I look or with the lifestyle that I lead.
At the time of the first surgery, I was 26 years old. I had two kids. I worked out and took care of my body.
When I looked down, at my otherwise young and fit body, to two long hanging things; that resembled those empty 1-litre milk bags that my grandma used to find way to reuse.
It was literally to a point where they wouldn't keep put in anything but super restrictive and high neck bras or clothing.
Working out was annoying. Dressing up with annoying.
Let's just say that by 26 years old my boobs were pretty destroyed and they affected my physical lifestyle as well as my mental. They weren't like other women my age nor what I saw social media or in advertising.
THEY WERE IN PRETTY BAD SHAPE
My boobs grew with all pregnancies, became even more enormous with nursing then shrunk down after nursing. This happened two times, back-to-back. Then I lost a lot of weight, because fitness became a large part of my life and well, because I had two little kids. I was one of those people who got sucked dry from breastfeeding. I couldn’t keep weight on.
At 26, my breastfed boobs were destroyed. Destroyed. Let me say it again, destroyed.
Like national geographic. No offence to those who can relate - but it’s not entirely normal for a healthy and fit 26 year old to have boobs like that. They were heavy and flat and would wrinkle right out of my bras.
Again, I had to be careful and I had to be conscious of what I was wearing. Was I going to flop out? It was insanely hard to find bras that supported me.
IT WASN'T A DIFFICULT DECISION
I was DONE having children, my (then) husband had the big V and he was done too, although he wasn't actually the person having the babies.
I didn’t want to spend the rest of my adult life with my boobs in that condition.
Some women can, but I couldn’t. I didn’t want to. They wrinkled out of all my tops and the pros greatly outweighed the cons. I wouldn't have seconded guessed anything.
I needed a lift.
The photo above was taken right before my breast lift surgery. This is the official BEFORE photo.
This was one week post breast lift surgery in 2011. For size reference, they were a small C, large B. A lot of excess skin was removed.
My friends didn’t really believe that my boobs could have been as bad as they were; until one day they did. The day I showed them the before and after photo. This wasn’t until after my lift of course. I couldn’t show anyone. I couldn’t talk about it at all.
Finally, I showed them the ‘before’ photo that was ‘bad’ enough for my surgeon to use on his site, of course with my head was cut out.
I let the surgeon post it on his website because the job he did was unbelievable; I was grateful, and my head wasn’t shown so there wasn't much of a connection to me. The only way for anyone to know it was me was if I had told them where to find it.
I avoided telling anyone for a long time. I didn’t ‘need’ to. But as I am quite open in conversation, it had come up, and women wanted to know what it was really like. Was a lift worth it? Were the scars worth it? YES, they were!
SURGERY 2: IMPLANTS
A few months went by and I went for my follow-up appointment.
Somehow, in this conversation, I left with an appointment to get small implants put over the muscle to create more ‘upper-pole’. It wasn't my idea and I certainly wasn't complaining about the size because I loved them!
I honestly can’t tell you HOW THE HECK THIS HAPPENED.
Hindsight, wounds to wisdom type stuff, that’s where I should have stopped. Seriously. It would have changed the whole course of events.
I didn’t need them. I didn’t desire them. I didn’t want them to affect my workouts. I was told they were safe, life-long devices; that they don’t leak or rupture. They’re not like the old (saline) ones.
So just a few months after the lift, I took the surgeons suggestion and added a silicone implant for more 'upper poll'. I was done having kids so I wasn’t worried about further deformation and I was told they were okay are perfectly safe.
I got a divorce and met someone new, fell in love, got engaged and I got pregnant. Never say never, right.
I wasn’t expecting that at all. The pregnancy wasn’t even a mistake, it was planned! So you really never know where life will take you.
THIRD PREGNANCY: THIS TIME WITH IMPLANTS
During my third pregnancy my boobs grew quite large, even larger than before as I now had these implants in my body. Once Ava was born, within hours, my boobs grew to porn star size. No joke, they did every time but this time was worse because of the implants. It was gross and so uncomfortable.
Once I was done nursing, my boobs had shrunk; because of all the dramatic changes the implants shifted and it seemed like they had detached from my tissue.
They looked terrible, again...
I wanted them fixed. I needed them fixed. I couldn’t live with these foreign objects hanging off of me. They needed to be fixed. I thought it was easy. Things could just be fixed if there was a problem. It's not like that.
Having them ‘fixed’ was my solution. That just meant fixing the problem. It didn’t mean exploring possible solutions and avenues.
It had never occurred to me to remove them. I was having them ‘reconstructed’; that meant I took the doctors recommendations. They were in pretty bad shape and I was clueless.
So ya, I was able to nurse Ava and I didn’t have any issues with supply. I was told it was safe. My boobs were getting super deformed fast and it was like the implants were totally out of position. This likely wouldn't have been so bad had if I had not nursed her.
His recommendation: breast reconstruction - a breast lift with new silicone implants put in under the muscle this time because he couldn’t put them over due to previous surgeries. The implant size was the same.
After an implant removal, they can't use the same pocket as with the previous one. So that means that after the first surgery, the surgeons are a lot more limited in what they can do. That means, after your first implant surgery, expect the have the second one not look or feel as good. Replacing (or removing) these life-long devices is necessary.
So he did a lift and put silicone implants in under the muscle; he performed both procedures at the same time. Exactly what the other surgeon wouldn't do or ever recommend. Like I mentioned above, this isn’t a recommended practice although tons of surgeons do it. It puts a lot of pressure on the t-incision. Although my first doctor told me this, I wanted to believe it when the second doctor said it was okay.
The mind is powerful.
If you're wondering why I didn’t go back to my first doctor, the reason is because he didn’t have availability. I later discovered he had actually retired and closed down his practice.
At this point, I had had 4 surgeries.
- Reconstruction: Breast lift & Implants
REGRET AFTER FOURTH SURGERY
After my breast reconstruction surgery, as soon as I took the bandages off, I had regret. Big time regret. I hated them. I hated this nasty hamster wheel I was stuck on. I had to keep fixing all the issues. They still had issues.
I believe these implants are making me sick. They're slowing me down. Setting me back; I hate it and I hate them.
The recovery from the reconstruction wasn’t great. They didn’t settle or look as nice and natural as they did the first time. Things were going wrong. The wounds were opening, even 4 months later.
It’s recommended to not have a lift and implants done at the same time for this reason. Don’t do it. Wound opening because of pressure on the wounds is common. Super common. Lots of doctors perform surgeries this way and ignore these risks.
Shortly after my breast reconstruction surgery, like a day or so. I was sitting in bed recovering and I read about breast implant illness aka #BII from a mom I know. She just explanted and was on her way to recovering from years of feeling like shit, from having toxic silicone bags keeping warm in her body, right over her heart, releasing god knows what, I think over 100 chemicals, into her body. Her post totally opened my eyes and it all freaken clicked.
Once I heard about explanting and all the illnesses associated with implants, I started researching.
These things had to get out of my body. I hated them. I hated everything about them. I honestly can't say it enough.
I disliked my boobs now just as much as I did before. It’s just different.
I realized that sometimes it’s the lesser or two evils. Perfection and improvement doesn’t always exist. I learned that I can’t trust what a plastic surgeon says about the dangers of implants. I realized that a lot of things that I think will make me happy, won’t actually make me happy.
Sometimes happier. Sometimes not.
I can’t have another lift. I can only get the implants out and they will likely leave me with a lot less tissue and a lot more skin.
I don’t even care at this point. I hate the way they feel. The way they look. The way they fit in swimsuits. They way they fall out of swimsuits. They way they hurt when I use my muscles. The way they contract and separate when I pick my toddler up. The way they feel like they're going to fall out.
I hate them. You get the point right?
These implants get in the way of everything. Depending on my position depends on how they look. They often feel like their going to fall out. I can't do many upper body exercises because of them. Yoga and planks aren't fun either.
THE 5TH SURGERY: EXPLANT
I officially decided to have them removed back in March 2019, about 8 weeks ago.
When I met with the doctor to inquire about removing the implants, of course he was kinda looking at me like WTF. Likely thinking, you just had them put in less than 5 months ago. His response to my concerns and issues; he claimed they’re fine. They’ll settle and they’re safe.
Looking into his eyes, I felt like there was something he wasn't telling me. Like he could see exactly what I was saying even if he didn't want to admit it.
I wasn’t leaving there without a solution and an appointment. I took care of both.
My explant date is today, May 24, 2019. When I initially booked, it was 8 weeks out. In order for me to get them removed for free through OHIP, I have to go to the same doctor who did the surgery and have it done at the hospital as opposed to his clinic. When some women remove the implants they opt for a lift and some an enbloc. This is when they remove the entire capsule ensuring to leave behind nothing that could keep you sick.
My original implants were in for 8 years. They were out for about 20 minutes then new ones were put right back in.
I have no idea what the original implants looked like and I didn't even know you could request to see them, take photos and then have them sent away to tested for pathogens. I only heard about the issue with implants days after my surgery. Had I heard earlier, I would have had the implants removed and a lift to remove all the excess skin.
Hopefully when I wake from my surgery, I finally learn to love myself for where my body is at right now. After 3 kids and a few unnecessary surgeries. If I can’t then, I know I will in time. Because I’m evolving. I'm growing. Explanting is proof.
I’ve spent my whole life hating these life-giving parts of my body. I'm sharing what I know now and my experiences because I truly hope that girls and women learn this sooner than I did and spare themselves the surgeries, the complications, the money, the pain, the permanent damage.
Why did I do this? No freaken clue. Truthfully, because I didn't know. I made a blind uneducated mistake. I was trying to chase happiness in fixing things.
I don’t know exactly what to expect. I don’t know what they’ll look like or if I’ll hate them more than I hate them now. I don’t care. The negatives and the annoyances and the toxic shit storm make this a super easy decision for me.
One thing I do know, is that I’m clearly learning to love myself more, because I’m taking this risk and getting them out before any larger issues develop and so I can start the healing process; physically, mentally and emotionally.
Sharing this story is so important. Not only are the unnecessary repeat surgeries bound to happen, the complications gets worse when they do. The boobs never look the same again. If you plan to have kids, they won't look the same, and depending on the augmentation you had, you may have difficulty breastfeeding.
So aside from all of the above, I also have a SHIT ton of symptoms that I always wondered about but never understood.
At this point, I just don't care about any of the fear associated with my body or my boobs anymore.
My desire to help others and speak my truth outweighs all of my personal fears.
This photo was taken on Mother's Day weekend just two weeks ago. Two weeks before my explant surgery. The implants are still in here.
It's the rawest photo I've ever shared to go along with my most vulnerable story.
It's for all the girls, all the women, all the brave warriors, and my daughters.
So they know the truth. They grow up knowing me, accepting me and loving me.
So they hopefully don't need to make the same blind mistakes I did.
I'm still trying to find the words to explain to them why two days ago I had larger boobs and why soon they will see me with a flat bandaged chest with drains. It certainly won't be an easy conversation, but it's going to be an important one. Maybe one of the most important.
I hope this story helps you, or inspires you, or changes your way of thinking about implants. I am still a supporter of a breast lift, or for many women a breast reduction. They can be life changing without permanent damage. It's a surgery with risks, but it's a far ways from inserting a silicone object in your warm chest right over your heart.
All bodies and all situations are different. But common sense tells me that a silicone implant in a hot 98 degree body probably isn't a good thing.
There is a lot more to talk about on this topic, this was just my personal journey with 5 reconstruction surgeries over the course of 9 years.
I will be sharing more about the improvements in my health. I will also be sharing a protocol for healing and safe detoxification that I'm working on with my ND and personal trainer.
I truly hope my personal journey and story reaches those who could use it.
Please feel free to share as I'm sure there are a handful of women who could benefit. If you've been through this, I'd love to hear your story.
Hi, I'm Jules; a multi-passion business woman, entrepreneur, independent and mindful mom to 3 girls, luxury travel and fitness lover, planner, organizer and occasional lifestyle blogger. I live mid-town Toronto with my three daughters. Any chance I can, I'm booking a vacation. I appreciate quality, truth and vulnerability, and love natural products