I felt the time has come for me to share more details about my health, as today marks my one year anniversary of having my Bilateral Periprosthetic Capsulectomy via en bloc method with my incredibly skilled, life-saving surgeon, Dr. Lu Jean Feng in Cleveland, Ohio. Along with the tireless amount of love, patience, and dedication that my daughter, Alexandra, gave to me as she took a week off to drive me to Cleveland and care for me while I was there; feeding me, cleaning my drains, helping me take showers, combing my hair, brushing my teeth, getting me dressed, basically doing everything for me as my arms needed to be tied down by my side because I was unable to move them for many weeks to prevent any tearing or damage to the extensive surgical area. This has been the longest year of my life, but I have learned SO much and thanking God for hearing my prayers, and having an amazing team of doctors by my side, as my health is slowly being restored. The toxins from the implants are finally leaving my body and my white blood cells are starting to reproduce. Many of the symptoms from the Breast Implant Illness (BII) that I was experiencing have subsided or are completely gone. Dr. Feng told me that it may take one to two years for my body to flush out the toxins and to begin to feel my health improving. My Hematology/Oncology doctor was astounded when she saw at my last appointment, that my white blood cells were finally at the same level that they were ten years ago. She said that it is evident that it took my body a year to remove the toxins from the implants and that Breast Implant Illness does in fact exist. Lab work doesn't lie!
I'll continue to write blogs and post on the Facebook Page giving more details about this journey that I've been on and share the many lessons that I've learned over the course of my 58 years of life. And, I will continue to share what I learn with each day that God blesses me with. We are all works in progress, and I believe our goal is to continually to improve and strive to be the best that we can possibly be in all areas of life.
I thought many of you may be asking what exactly is this en bloc procedure and why is it needed? Here is a brief explanation along with details of my surgery. Please feel free to ask me questions in the comments or message me. My goal is to ALWAYS help others learn from my successes and my failures, in hopes that others won't need to suffer terrible consequences from being human and making poor choices or from the massive misinformation that is presented on Social Media each day.
Dr. Feng decided that the Bilateral Periprosthetic Capsulectomy via en bloc method was needed because my breast implants formed a significant capsule around the implants. This more complex and skilled procedure is believed to be the best method of completely removing all possible toxins that may have penetrated into the surrounding tissues. A true en bloc will keep the implant and all contents within one piece throughout the removal without violating the capsule and opening it up during the procedure, thus causing further leakage of the contents from the implants.
In an attempt to protect my body from these foreign objects and the toxins that were flaking off each day, the protective capsule that my immune system was creating around the implants continued to spread throughout my chest wall, rib cage, and into my arm pits. I wondered why my health was failing over the ten years of having the implants in my body. I couldn't breathe, joint and muscles pain, brain fog, tremendous fatigue, white blood cell production was decreasing with each year, etc. With this significant capsule formation, a full capsule removal is warranted with drains in order to completely remove all of the tissue and allow better adherence of the breast back to its normal anatomic position down on the chest wall. The en bloc procedure will remove both the implants and capsule, however, this operation may require a larger incision and longer surgery and recovery time, and is more expensive. For me, this was vital in order to restore my health.
During my three hour pre-op consultation with Dr. Feng, she voiced her her concerns about my lab work and my weight. At that time, I weighed about 108 pounds at 5' 8" tall, which was normal for me, as I've weighed that for most of my adult life. She noted that my lab work indicated anemia along with low red and white blood counts, and a host of other low levels. She said that she felt my tests indicated that I had Celiac Disease and suggested that I have DNA testing done when I returned home. It took my surgeon to realize that I had Celiac Disease, after asking one doctor after another since I was a child, why I had so many health issues! She said she was apprehensive in doing surgery on me as I may not be able to clot and my tiny body may make it more difficult to scrape any part of the capsule that my body might have formed; not knowing how severe it may be once she opened me up. I begged her to PLEASE remove the toxic bags from my body and I believed that she was the one and only surgeon in the world who could save my life. AND, I knew that God was watching over us and all would be OK ! SO, she agreed!
Honestly, I had an uneasy feeling about what would happen during the surgery and prior to leaving for Cleveland, I met with my attorney and had my Will updated and had everything in order for my daughters, just in case....
As mentioned earlier, Dr. Feng found tremendous spreading of the capsule and she needed to do extensive scraping to remove any part of the capsule that had taken on a life of its own in my body. While doing the scraping, unknowingly, arteries were severed. While in recovery, my drains began to fill quickly with blood, along with my chest cavity. Dr. Feng, along with her skilled staff hooked me back up to the monitors and began to work hard to remove the blood that kept filling up in my chest while they waited for a new surgical team to arrive. As Dr. Feng worked tirelessly pushing on my chest for about 45 minutes, I lost about half of my blood. The nurses kept telling Dr. Feng my status and how much blood I was losing. Dr. Feng spoke into my ear, "You may be the tiniest person I've ever done surgery on, but you are the strongest woman I've ever known. I'm not going to lose you! Stay with me!"
The pain I was experiencing right after surgery was the most intense pain I've ever experienced. I'm not one to take any medications or painkillers. I chose to go through recovery without any medications/painkillers. God was at work! One would think that the pain would be unbearable while Dr. Feng was pushing so hard on my chest to remove the pooling blood from the area that had just been operated on, but I could sense that Jesus was with me. The nurses kept saying, " How are you able to remain so calm? Even your blood pressure is remaining stable; this is unheard of." I responded with, "If Jesus could suffer so immensely and die for my sins on the cross, then I most certainly can go through this to return my body to the natural state that God designed me to have." They started asking me questions as they could see that the extreme blood loss was taking a toll on me. "What is your name? How old are you? How many children do you have? What are their names?" I quietly said, "It's OK, I have never felt such peace in my life. No pain, only joy...I'm so ready to go home to be with God. It's beautiful there!" It was evident that Jesus was holding me in His arms, comforting me. ..No fear of death as I imagined it might be when our time comes. I was in the most remarkable state of heavenly joy...no worries, no pain, no fear..I could feel myself slowly leaving my body. Dr. Feng reiterated, "I've never lost anyone, and I'm not going to lose you!" The next thing I knew, a mask was placed over my face and I was back in surgery.
I will never fear death again! Please know that when it is our time, God is there, holding you close to him. No matter what your circumstance is, He removes all pain and fear and puts you into the most glorious state of peace. Our journey home is a beautiful one, nothing to ever fear.
Having the second surgery did take a toll on my body. The entire left side of my chest was covered in black and blue marks from the long, intense pushing on my chest that Dr. Feng needed to do to keep the blood out of my chest cavity and to keep me alive. Losing so much blood, having two surgeries back to back within a span of a little over an hour, two rounds of anesthesia and antibiotics, and just being cut open twice, made the recovery much more difficult and took a greater amount of time to heal than most women who have the explant surgery. Dr. Feng wanted me to have a blood transfusion, but I had total faith and trust in God that He would allow my body to produce the blood I needed, rather than put blood from another person in my body. It did take several months, but my levels are getting much better with each passing day. I was unable to use my arms for many months and my daughters, family and friends were always here to help me out. Such gifts from God!
After my surgery, I weighed 98 pounds.
This photo was taken about a month after my explant. If you look closely at my upper arm and abdominal region, you can still see the black and blue marks left from the trauma of the aggressive pushing on my chest to remove the blood that was filling into my chest cavity after the first surgery.
I still struggle today to put weight on and keep it on. Having Celiac Disease along with MTHFR makes life a bit more challenging and I'm still learning what my body can tolerate and what I can't. I'll be sharing this journey with you as well! SO much that I'm learning with each day that God blesses me with! Each day that we are alive is such a gift! Never take life or loved ones for granted!
God wasn't ready for me...HE has other plans for my life! Perhaps it is to share HIS Word, and to help women realize that it isn't the size of our breasts that determines whether we are beautiful, but rather, it is the size of our heart and the love that we share with those around us each day. Please don't allow any person to make you feel ugly and unworthy of their love as my husband voiced to me on a regular basis during our marriage. Alcoholism took over the man I married, and the physical and emotional abuse was more than I could endure. He left us and we never heard from him or saw him again until shortly before God called him home. I believed that no man would ever want anything to do with me because if my husband found me to be so disgusting, then all men would. I've learned we should NEVER attempt to please other people, but please God. HE loves us unconditionally and we are all perfect in HIS eyes! HE doesn't make mistakes! If a man REALLY loves you, his love for you will grow each year. He will love you no matter what changes occur, just as you wouldn't stop loving him as his body ages and alters over time!
Knowing that the implants that I chose to have put in me was going against God's Word, that took such a toll on me each day. I asked God to forgive me every day over the ten year period that I had the implants. From the moment I woke up from the surgery to have the implants put in my body, I knew I had made a horrible decision. How could I have allowed my husband to destroy my self-esteem and allow me to feel the need to take such drastic measures just to be accepted by others? I had SO much to learn!
How I long for our world to see that true beauty isn't based on what our society dictates with all of the pictures of women, scantily clothed, showing as much skin as possible, endowed with enormous breasts, promoting that this is true beauty and perfection. For the men out there, please look at the woman in your life and don't judge her based on what you see in the media, but rather, look at her for the loving spirit that lives within her. Love her and see the glorious beauty that exudes from her as she displays her undying dedication to you and having your children, caring for your home and family, and the changes that take place in her body as she goes through childbirth and nursing your children. We all will see changes in our body as we age. It's a beautiful journey that we take together as a committed couple, bonding so deeply as we go through the good and bad times, hand-in-hand. Teach our children this message from the start! This REALLY matters!
I'll continue to share more of what I've learned in hopes of making your life better and I'm always here to answer your questions and be of help whenever possible! Thank you SO much for each and everyone of you who continue to follow me here at fountainofyouthtv! We are a true family and I love and appreciate you all more than you know! Your ongoing support has been such a blessing to me! Sending Huge Love and Hugs to you all! 💖