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My Journey With Breast Implant & Explant Surgeries

Let’s talk body image…. I grew up a shy and scrawny, flat-chested teenager who still had that same bean-pole shape through my college years and beyond. Some girls in my elementary school started developing boobs at an early age and mine never budded into anything beyond an A cup, if that. I was always envious of voluptuous curvy girls. While we didn’t have social media back in the seventies and eighties, big-busted celebrities were always glamorized in the magazines and movies. Curvy was celebrated. Flat chests were not.


When I was young, I tried to gain curves by consuming more calories and working out with the hopes of increasing my weight and muscle tone. I was skinny, my metabolism was crazy high, and I ate like a professional male athlete. As much as I tried to gain weight by eating about 3000-4000 calories a day, the weight and curves never came. My bedtime snack was a protein shake and Frito pie. My dad even bribed to pay me if I packed on ten pounds because he thought I was unhealthy looking. I tried but couldn’t put the weight on.


I know this is a different side of typical body image discussions and I should have loved being thin but the insensitive comments I received about being underweight, combined with snarky remarks assuming I had an eating disorder, really hurt to the core and made me withdraw even more than my usual shy self. Remarks included calling me broom stick legs; ski feet; noodle arms; skinny-mini and questions like, “How do those skinny feet and legs hold you up?”. I even heard comments about my “cute little boobs”. Ugh. I felt so awkward and invisible. Self-esteem about my body had hit rock bottom.


By the time I reached my late twenties I decided to consult with a plastic surgeon about breast augmentation. At our initial meeting, we discussed the procedure and desired size. Since I didn’t have much chest to start with, we settled for a B cup using silicone implants. I don’t think there were other options back in 1988 and this era was long before the internet so I didn’t have the opportunity to do as much research as one can do today.


The surgery was scheduled, and I was so excited about all the new clothes, swimsuits, and bras I was going to buy! I would even be able to wear a strapless dress without it falling off! When I woke up from surgery my chest was a little sore and tightly wrapped in bandages. I can’t remember exactly but I think I had to wait a day or two for the big reveal. It felt like Christmas when I was finally able to unwrap the bandages to see my new breasts! Ta-da! They were just the right size for my frame! I was elated! When I went to the follow up appointment, I mentioned that my back was kind of tight and the doctor explained that my skin was stretched because it was like operating on a “boy’s chest”, as he put it. Thanks, doc. However, I finally had a “girl’s chest”!


After all the press back in the late eighties about silicone leaks and health issues, I started getting mammograms around thirty years old to make sure there were no problems. Fortunately, I never experienced any health issues associated with having silicone implants. Fast forward about 15 years to 2003… About six months after our second baby was born it was about time to replace the silicone implants because I was told they should be replaced every 15 years. I didn’t know there were serious health issues associated with leaks or maintenance when I signed on to having implants but that would not have changed my mind set at that time. I even explored the option of replacing my old implants with saline ones but decided to go with silicone again. Another decision was to go a little bit larger. 


For this surgery, I went from a size B to a very full C. Post-op, I developed a hematoma and had to go back under the knife about a week later. I was not as happy with the results of these implants. They seemed too large for my frame, and I actually did not feel comfortable wearing some of the same styles I wore as an A or B cup. If I put on anything low cut or tight, I felt very self-conscious. There is a fine line of looking sexy vs inappropriate and it was now more challenging for me to figure out what to wear, especially as a mother of two young children.


This set of C’s also stayed with me for about 15 years, until my late fifties. After hitting menopause, I started gaining that weight I wanted back in my teens and twenties, but I don’t want it NOW! And it was showing up in weird places! Arrrggggh! And now my breasts were getting larger, too, and the shape was changing. Thankfully, at this point social influencers of all shapes and sizes were finally making all body types more accepting and inclusive. THANK YOU! Celebrities and other women look fabulous with their smaller chests like nature had originally given me.


Since it had been another fifteen years since the latest set of implants, I decided to have them removed (explant surgery) instead of replacing them. I didn’t want to continue to worry about long-term health issues, more surgeries, or complications with the implants. My doctor was very supportive and encouraging. His team said that many women are deciding to remove their implants without replacing them. Maybe it’s my age, but as I have matured, I have gained more acceptance of myself, confidence and self-esteem, and I wanted return to the natural attributes God gave me. Throughout the years, I have grown to appreciate my own unique physical qualities. Explant surgery was the best decision for me and I’m so happy with my A-B size. While I have some scars from the surgeries, I’m very pleased with the results and feel so much more confident in my clothes and body.


If I were to talk to my younger self today, I would discourage her from having the breast augmentation but that’s where my head was at that time in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to surgery or cosmetic procedures at all! If that’s what helps correct something that is bothering you or it gives you more confidence, then go for it! Everyone has a different perspective. Cosmetic procedures and surgeries involve very personal and individual decisions. Just think long and hard about the short-term as well as long-term effects, do your research, and consult with a reputable surgeon or other licensed healthcare professional.


The Silver Lining: Improved self-confidence, reduced risk of health complications, and the opportunity to wear a broader range of clothing choices!  




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My blogs touch on a variety of topics such as aging, health, fitness, beauty, fashion, life transitions, hobbies, travel, staying social, purging, organizing, and more. Subscribe to my blog to receive more articles! Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube! 

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