BREAST IMPLANT ILLNESS WARRIOR
That got your attention right? I live in the Houston area & have my own consulting business I just started about 8 months ago with marketing/social media/local influencing; I’m a single mom of 4 and a BII survivor/fighter with new health complications as of recently. Basically something new each year but I’m known as SHE HULK in my community so I refuse to give up! Where did I get that name from, you might ask? Well, I hold 2 pro titles in the fitness industry - Figure and Physique! I have been passionate about fitness for 9 years (I’m 47 now). As you can imagine, I was well in tune with my body and just couldn’t believe I was sick repeatedly throughout that year.
Where to begin - it all started Feb. of 2019, I began with having 2 bouts of bronchitis back to back then ended up with pleurisy for about 2 months. Right after that I was having difficulty breathing when doing anything so went to the allergist and wham… diagnosed with asthma; with only about 40% lung capacity and from there I began living on inhalers. Next, I began having joint and muscle pain, light sensitivity, weird facial twitches, muscle spasms in my feet and even high blood pressure. I then was getting to where I had skin sensitivity on top of that. You can imagine how hard my gym life became.
Around September/October of 2019 I received a recall letter in the mail from the manufacturer of the implants I had. The letter stated they were being recalled for causing a rare lymphoma! I was told to get them checked out with an ultrasound; which resulted in discovering my right implant was ruptured and leaking - it was at that moment I wondered if that’s why I’ve been sick the entire year.
My next step was to see the plastic surgeon that put in the implants. The visit was very upsetting as he told me that breast implant illness was not an official diagnosis and even if we remove the implants there’s no guarantee my symptoms would go away. He also looked at the film and then told me he wasn’t convinced it was leaking and wanted an MRI done. By this time I was starting to get skin sensitivity and my eating had slowed. I wasn’t able to even get an MRI appointment until the following Monday evening - but a visit to a surgeon for a 2nd consult that following Monday morning changed everything. In just a week I had stopped eating and every breath I took my body hurt severely. They saw me and the film and scheduled me for emergency surgery the very next morning. After removing my implants, many of my symptoms were relieved but they did end up taking most of my own breasts and the damage was one of the worst my surgeons had ever seen. My entire chest cavity was smothered in silicone from the supposed “gummy bear” textured implant and they had to clean some out of my ribs. We now knew what caused the asthma among all the other issues. See… the surgeon that put them in told me during my consultation these implants would be best for what I do with my fitness competitions and that if they were to rupture they wouldn’t leak; showing me one cut in half - telling me they were safer these days.
Fast forward to a few months later - March of 2020 - I noticed a couple of large lumps on my thyroid that were painful; they only lasted about a week so I didn’t think too much of it. Then in June they re-appeared so I made an appointment with my gynecologist to have some bloodwork and ultrasound done. The bloodwork showed I was in pre-menopause and the lesion we were just to keep an eye on. Ugh…. one more thing added to my plate with extreme mood swings and all that fun stuff LOL. Then just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse….the end of Nov. my guy of 4 years walked out on me; he just couldn’t handle all of it anymore - so I lost most of my own breasts….then lost my man….my ovaries were now shutting down too….. What else could possibly go wrong - right?
Early March 2020 my hair started falling out in patches; rather quickly - it was painful and itching and the results came back with 2 diseases attacking my scalp - androgenic alopecia and lichen planopilaris - I will never have hair again basically; eventually all my hair follicles will die - I now rock the bald look embracing the journey God has me on to teach our younger girls and even other women my age that our outer, physical attributes are NOT what’s important - it’s the inner beauty we get from being daughter’s of God. Each day is a new challenge in some ways and now I’ll await my bloodwork to see what my body is fighting. Being known as SHE HULK means I WILL NEVER GIVE UP!
Hear Cindy's full story on The Killer Boobies podcast, interviewed by fellow breast implant illness sister, Leslie Smoot.
There are so many ties that bond us! Each of our stories blend into the next and you my friend are an inspiration to so many. What stands out to me most about you is your strong faith and the will you have to always continue fighting. You've had many recent twists in your journey but your story is far from over... may you continue to heal, be guided by your faith and always inspire others along the way!
You are a true warrior!
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