By Alyce Collins
THIS woman’s breast implants made her SUICIDAL after doctors didn’t realise her chest pain and PCOS was caused by her SILICONE IMPLANTS.
Freelance hair and makeup artist Brandi Pope (38) from Virginia, USA, underwent a breast augmentation back in 2004 after two pregnancies and gaining seven stone left her hating her breasts.
Despite originally only wanting a breast lift, doctors insisted on Brandi having implants for volume, so she had saline implants put in too. However, the saline implants caused persistent issues through the years and in 2009 Brandi had them swapped for silicone implants instead.
After her breast enhancement, Brandi was glad to have them looking how they had done years prior, but her health went in a downward spiral, starting with shortness of breath and muscle pain, soon leading to nausea and chest pain.
Brandi saw numerous different specialists about the strange symptoms she was experiencing, but throughout the many procedures, not a single doctor told her that the issue might have been her breast implants.
In 2011 Brandi was diagnosed with gastroparesis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in 2016, but still had no reason for why her body was in such decline. The countless unexplained symptoms crippled Brandi who began having suicidal thoughts due to her ill health.
Brandi convinced herself that her husband and three children would be better off without her as a burden upon them. However, in 2017 a friend told Brandi about someone she knew who’d had her implants removed and found out they had been making her sick for years.
On October 30, 2017 Brandi had her implants removed in a decision which she believes saved her life. Since her explant, Brandi feels reborn as her life has returned to healthy and normal.
“I was a fit 24-year-old who just wanted that area to look ‘normal’ again,” said Brandi.
“Two pregnancies with a combined weight gain of over 7st 14lb left me with, what I call, empty tube socks.
“I originally wanted a lift and the doctor told me I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t get implants for volume. I trusted him and went through with it.
“I had multiple issues and had to go back in a year later for a revision. I continued having issues and ended up having them switched out from saline to silicone in 2009 after having my third baby.
“I never liked my first set because I had issues with capsular contracture, rippling and the implants not settling. It was a mess and they never felt ‘real’ – relatively speaking.
“Initially I felt great and I was happy to have the girls where they used to be. But it didn’t take long before I became more self-conscious than before. I didn’t ever want them to bring attention to me. I never wanted people to question me about getting implants.
“Before implants I was a 34C, and after implants I was a 34C also. The reason for that is I lost so much volume after having children, but I had so much loose skin. When I had my augmentation, they did a lift to remove the skin and put implants in, so I ended up with the same size.
“After my revision in 2009 the doctor went with a bigger implant to fill out the loose skin from having my third baby and I went to a 34D.
“Looking back, I had side effects right away, but my health didn’t take a huge hit until after having my implants switched.
“In 2010, a year after the switch, is when things really started going south. I had everything from shortness of breath, muscle and joint pain, chest pains and chronic reflux to being diagnosed with gastroparesis and PCOS.
“I had colonoscopies, ovarian cyst removal, many blood tests, five endoscopies and carpal tunnel testing due to constant numbness in my hands, all because of the implants.
“I had anxiety, constant pain and nausea. I started to have suicidal thoughts because my health had gotten so bad.
“The hardest part of breast implant illness was not being able to care for my own kids when I was in the deepest darkest moments of my illness.
“Those times when I was convinced that my husband and kids would be so much better off without the burden of my health will be etched in my mind forever.”
The illness caused by the foreign implants took a toll on Brandi’s physical and mental health, but as breast implant illness isn’t widely known, it can often go undetected.
Since her explant in 2017, Brandi, who is now a 32B, has shared her personal story with many others to educate other women on the condition.
“I was seeing so many specialists that I lost count. I had so many procedures and surgeries that I felt like a human pin cushion,” said Brandi.
“Not once did a doctor tell me it could be my implants causing me to be sick. None of them could give me answers as to why I was so young and living such a healthy lifestyle, yet my health continued to decline.
“Breast implant illness doesn’t just affect the person dealing with it. It affects everyone around that person too.
“There were times when I couldn’t even get out of bed because of the pain, so my oldest daughter would have to care for her siblings and fix dinner for them. I felt such guilt and shame for that.
“Every day I would wake up and pray that I could make it through another day for the sake of my family. The closer I got to my explant the more I could feel the life being sucked out of me. Every day was a struggle to get through.
“A friend reached out to me after watching me suffer with debilitating sickness and told me about her friend who had her implants removed because she was sick, and she got better. It planted a seed in me and I began to research.
“I knew then that I had to explant. I had such peace that this was going to be my path to healing after all these years.
“I had been so sick for so long, I was ready to do whatever it took to find relief. For me, explanting was a no brainer as it was a life or death decision.
“I had an explant with complete capsulectomy and a lift and now I feel like a new woman. I can’t believe the difference in my health. I feel like me again and I had forgotten what that felt like. Explanting was almost like a rebirth for me.
“I was very scared to put my story out there for fear that people would blame me for making the decision to have implants in the first place.
“Sharing my story on Instagram opened up a door of opportunity to help so many women. Just when I thought I was alone, I realised that there is an entire community of women suffering and they need hope from a survivor to keep them going.
“I want to prove to doctors that the sickness isn’t in our heads.”