Farewell Implants.... hello recovery and healing

21 October 2019

Its 13 days since my explant on October 8th 2019...although it actually feels longer. It has taken me weeks (well 13 days) to actually feel a little like myself... my mind has been fogged... and my body felt battered (mainly from the fat transfer)....and even when my mind felt willing.... my body just wasn't up to it. So here are a few dot points from my explant experience...

  • I can not speak highly enough of the staff and my surgical team at Flinders Medical Centre.... from the moment I presented at the desk the morning of surgery.... until I was discharged 4 days later...I felt well cared for.
  • Waking from surgery ...I realised I hadn't really given thought to how I would look afterwards. My entire focus had been on 'get it done' and not on what I would look like post surgery. I wont lie.... it was like having my initial mastectomy all over again....it took a few days to recognise the new me.
  • I had both implants and all of accessible capsule removed (I believe that there were some small areas embedded into my rib area that could not be safely removed) ... and my trust and faith in my surgeon has to be my reassurance here because I have read a lot about the need for a complete capsule removal.My surgeon has assured me they removed all they safely could.
  • My results came back negative  for BIA - ALCL in the fluid and capsule tested....so that was a big relief. 
  • I always said "I don't get nauseous" ... Umm....yes I do....I was nauseous for a week. It bothered me more than the pain.
  • I had forgotten how frustrating life with drains can be. Nothing is simple with drains...however they do their job well...and I was actually anxious about getting them removed. (I had vivid memories of the seromas I developed post mastectomy and I didn't want that happening again.) Little did I know then....it would.
  • I had opted for fat transfer to fill some of the space post implant removal. I really didn't know much about this ...but I have since learned that the fat transferred cant have pressure on it or it dies.... so they can only transfer a small amount at a time. I also wasn't prepared for the pain and bruising the fat collection caused. One leg felt OK despite the bruising.... the other leg  has been incredibly painful since....and is still giving me grief today.
  • I am so grateful that my body heals well. However it took me over a week to feel OK.... I felt flat... exhausted... nauseous....foggy... and sore. I began to wonder if I would ever improve... however I am now 13 days Post Op... and other than my gammy leg I can feel my Mardi energy returning...and the brain fog lifting.
  • This is probably a good point to mention ... DO NOT COMPARE.  In the lead up to my surgery I joined a Facebook Support Group...it really opened my eyes to the issues that breast implants could cause....the support and care shown in this group has been wonderful. However.... I need to remind myself that every situation is different... and implant removal post mastectomy is not the same as implant removal post augmentation.... so my recovery may not be as swift.
  • When your post-op orders are rest and 'don't drive' ... its for a reason! I over did it at home and drove my car over to work to fill in time sheets.... and paid the penalty. It resulted in swelling... pain and a trip back to Adelaide to get all the fluid drained. They drained 250mls in the clinic from bilateral seromas... and was instructed to switch to compression bras to try and resolve the seromas... despite the fact my transferred fat dies under compression. Its a double edged sword. Thankfully.... the last few days of total couch rest and compression seems to be doing the trick.
  • I have felt emotionally and mentally OK ...I realise this is just another hiccup in my timeline...and doesn't define my future ... hell...2019 has thrown me some obstacles.. and I'm still strong. What I have really struggled with (other than impatience) is the limited movement...energy and the fact I am not to lift ..drive...or move my arms.... I feel hog tied and reliant on others...and I hate that. I have also struggled with this bloody leg....and I think it deserves its own investigation which I will get onto soon.
  • As far as Breast Implant Illness...and the symptoms I had pre-surgery.... its early days... but once thing I noticed immediately was my eyes.... they are no longer blurry..dry and unfocused.... they feel clear and are the best they have in a long time. I think it will be some time down the track before I can really comment objectively on this.
  • Things I hadn't considered - 
  1. many of my clothes are no longer appropriate.... once I am up to it I will need to cull out quite a lot. 
  2. I wish I had shopped for a compression sports bra pre surgery.... walking the shopping centre....trying to find one when you are tired..sore and completely over it....is not ideal. 
  3. Not being able to drive is a bugger! 
  4. Having a manual car and a gammy left leg is also a bugger! 
  5. Not being able to sleep on my stomach is a bugger! 

Finally.... in the support group I am in ts common to share a comparison photo of 'before and after' explant.... honestly...some of the differences are crazy... some women seriously look 10 years younger post explant. I really wanted to compare mine too.... and although I don't see a huge difference.... I do feel like my eyes changed...and the inflammation has reduced.... whats your thoughts?

Related Posts -
Explant its getting closer
Breast Implant Illness - What do you know about it?
Bloody Hell ....Here we go again!

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