Six months post EXPLANT

22 April 2020

Six months...

Six months since I was rid of my toxic implants and 'most' of the ruptured silicone.

Last month I went back in for what I hoped was my final surgery to remove some rogue silicone deposits from my right armpit and to have some scar revision on my original mastectomy scar.
I cant say it often enough.... my surgeon and the staff at Flinders Medical Centre are wonderful! ... but this time it was such a surreal experience for a few reasons.

So over the months that followed my explant I had been so disappointed by my healing.... my health hadn't 'improved drastically' as so many people described. My initial huge improvement with my eyes was pretty much the only significant change I noticed.... and I was disheartened further by comparing myself to others in forums and groups.

I eventually 'silenced' the groups because I was tired of hearing about miraculous recoveries. I didn't want to know how 'ahhhmazing' everyone was feeling ...when I just wasn't.
My energy had been slow to return.... I'd had constant swollen nodes in my neck and  a persistent pain under my arm from the silicone deposits ... in fact that pain had been there for so long I couldn't imagine life before that pain.

I returned for more consults... ultrasounds... and MRI...  and finally it was revealed that the silicone deposits under my arm (from my right side ruptured implant) were significant enough to warrant removal.... and my surgeon booked some dates.
In the interim I had ultrasound guided carbon making done so that these 'silicone filled nodes' could be found in surgery.
My date was set.... and then Covid-19 hit..and everything was unsure.

I honestly felt like 'the universe had my back' when my surgeon called and asked if I would mind moving my date forward so that it was definitely done before the non-urgent surgery lists closed. I couldn't agree to that fast enough.

So I had my surgery on the 24th March ... I had silicone filled nodes removed on the right... a
Z-plasty  scar revision on the left... and some further fat transfer from my stomach.
From the moment I arrived the morning of my surgery I could feel the 'anxiety' of the coronavirus in the air....  the additional precautions everywhere were obvious and real. The surgery went without a hitch ... and I was never so relieved as to leave and get home to my safety bubble.

On returning home I isolated... it felt the right thing to do having been in the medical system....  and I was slowly healing and doing all the right things.... until I began feeling unwell... the first think I noticed was persistent nausea.... and then my temperature spiked.... and before I knew it I had developed a wound infection. Unfortunately so I have learned... having lymph nodes removed from an axilla (especially when I have had axilla clearance on the left) ..makes the potential for infection higher. The fluid had built up in that area...and with nowhere to go...and no filtration system... an infection developed. I began some oral antibiotics locally... and then was referred back to Adelaide on a Sunday afternoon..... I arrived there at 5pm... and was back in surgery by 6pm ... I had the wound re-opened and cleaned...and a drain inserted. I then spent another 5 days in Flinders with the drain in...on IV antibiotics. Pre-covid 19 our plans had been to take our 'long awaited trip to Cambodia' ... obviously that was cancelled for the second year running.... so instead.... Ian and I were both sitting in the hospital trying to keep safe... what a contrast to our plans that was.

So....I was relieved to arrive home ... and another few weeks of pressure dressings..oral antibiotics and minimal usage has me at this point where I am feeling OK.... I now need to work on getting the 'stretch' back in my arm and full usage.

So what have I learned from all of this so far....
  1. Comparison is a trap....  everyone heals differently... and their story isn't your story.
  2. Silence the stories that make you feel bad... keep it positive
  3. Do not get implants
  4. Hiccups in recovery happen.... deal with it and get on with it.
  5. It could always be a lot worse.
I posted about Breast Implant Illness Here 
My explant story Here

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