An hour ago I was parked up at the supermarket eating a roll for lunch between doing the shopping and rushing to appointments when a pretty insane phone call interrupted my nibbling and may have just changed my life. I may be having my breast implants replaced on a television show about cosmetic surgeries that have gone wrong; It’s called Extreme Beauty Disasters and it’s a production for the Discovery Channel that will be shown worldwide. Wow. Let me just take a second for this to settle in whilst I tell you the lead-up to how I agreed to this outrageous situation.
I was severely shy as a child, growing up I was the ultimate tomboy as I only had an older brother to look up to who strangly enough didn’t like playing girly games with me. So I never had a feminine influence as such as the few friends that I had were also reserved and not overtly girlie. As a teenager I started to dress more delicate and changed my shapeless jeans and jumpers for skirts and crop-tops which were all the fashion in the nineties I’ll have you know! It makes my face ache from the cringe-factor of it all looking back but that’s the beauty of adolescence. Although I grew taller and looked older as the years trickled past, my breasts stayed the same as they were from the age of ten right the way through until eighteen; pancake flat and weirdly pointy. One breast was slightly higher than the other which is known as aysemmetrical, my nipples pointed outwards and my right breast was ever so slightly fuller, if you could even call it a breast, which at best was an A-cup at a push. I used to wear padded, push-up bras at the age of eighteen so that I was able to create a very small cleavage right in the middle and the amount of socks and tissues I ridiculously stuffed down my bra to achieve it no doubt made me highly flammable and in danger of dissolving in the rain. But I guess it’s a battle that every young girl faces as she changes from a child into a young woman, to some it comes naturally and to others, aka me, I was a clumsy, lanky ironing-board tomboy.
At the age of eighteen my eyes were suddenly opened to a new and exciting world; the ability to drive, vote and give my own consent when buying alcohol, tattoo’s and piercings, as well as surgery. Unfortunately I hadn’t been blessed with breasts, but surgery made it possible for even me to have them. Looking in the mirror at my size UK6 5ft8″ 8st4lb frame, I would stare at my wonky breasts and beg them to grow, willing them with all that I had. I tried everything to raise them even just a cup size to make them visible from my bony frame. Desipite having always been slim I started eating more in the hope that the extra weight would go to my breasts but my stomach, hips and thighs greedily took it all instead. I had my nipple pierced in the hope that it would stimulate the blood flow to encourage the tissue to grow, but it didn’t. And I switched my contraceptive pill to one that was know for increasing the bra size but it did precisely diddily-squat for my pointy bee-stings. My breasts were fruitless, I was heart broken and it was soon all that I could ever think about and recognise that I lacked, I felt empty and child like.
A handful of months after I considered having surgery in early 2006 at the age of 18, I booked for a consultation at a clinic in Harley Street, London through Bodylooks Cosmetic Surgery Ltd. I chose a reputable surgeon Mr Casan with many years experience in breast surgery as he had also been recommended by a friend of my mother’s who had just had the same procedure as I wanted; silicone implants. The £4,000 surgery fee seemed worth every penny the second I stepped into the surgeons office and slipped a wobbily silicone bag into my bra, assessing my profile in the mirror and grinning from ear to ear. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders so to speak, this is what I had been longing and searching for, the missing link to my feminity and the answer to my body confidence issues. My mother had accompanied me to the consultation, firstly to ensure it was all above board and secondly to keep my feet firmly on the ground should I attempt to ask for gynormous melons. And surprisingly with her seal of approval, I signed the paperwork for my surgery date just a few weeks ahead.
Nobody in my family has ever had cosmetic surgery, ever, so it was a huge gap to bridge and I came under fire from all angles from almost every relative for my descion to have the procedure carried out, as well as the surgeon. I was told to wait until I stopped growing at the age of twenty-one in the hope that my breasts might magically appear one day overnight, that I was voluntarily endangering my life by having an unnecessary procedure, that I was stupid and vain and small-minded, that there was more to life than the specifications of your cup size and questioned over where it would all stop, breast surgery today and lipo and nose-jobs tomorrow! And as I answered each question calmly and surprisingly maturely for my age it helped me to make up my mind that for me, at that time and stage in my life, breast surgery was my best option even if it wasn’t to the taste of others. And gradually the criticism and arguments died down and I became excited to finally count down the days until I would have the clevage that I’d always dreamed of.
The weeks passed by like years as I waited like a cat on a hot tin roof, finally springing through the swanky private hospital doors and into the reception foyer to check-in on the day of my surgery. I had never been so excited in all my life, I was filled with hope and longing that no part of what was about to happen fazed me at all. Speaking with my surgeon moments before I was due into theatre, he took a picture of my wonky little triangle-teets as I stood against the wall, trying my hardest not to spontaneously combust through sheer enthusiasm. Within minutes of me being wheeled through the double doors on my hospital bed into theatre I would be out like a light and the next thing I would see were my beautiful 30DD’s! How amazing!
The anethanitist smiled as I chatted feverishly away whilst I watched him insert a needle into my hand and connect the fluid to put me under. I vaguely remember a cold sensation crawling up my arm before what seemed like seconds later, I sleepily opened my eyes to find myself back in my private room, the proud afternoon sunlight pouring through the window and a glass of spring water on my bedside. As soon as I realised the reality of what had just happened my mouth fell open with shock as I looked down to my chest and was greeted by the tighlty bound bandages that concealed my new breats. My breasts. No tissue, no socks, just breasts! Ha! Would you believe it! 🙂
Despite the fact that they were bound flat to my chest to hold them in place to heal, they already looked a trillion times bigger than my pointy little lumps of yester-hour and I was totally estatic. It was the most amazing feeling to know that I now had the missing puzzle piece to my body, the bit that I had been born without and little did I know, it would be something that would undoubtedly go on to change my life forever. And the following few weeks were a bit of a blur as I healed; I didn’t stop smiling for a second, the hospital staff were amazed at my positivity and as I waved goodbye the following morning I headed onto the London underground to go shopping for huge beautiful bras instead of elasticated training tops! To start with my chest felt heavy and I found it slightly strange to breathe as it felt like I had to contend with a cat laying on my lungs but it was obviously the implants carrying weight and I soon got used to it. Once the bandages came off some weeks later I was gobsmacked at how huge my perfectly round and very fake looking breasts looked on my petite frame and I absolutely adored them. I literally didn’t stop smiling from sun up to sun down every single day that I woke up and realised that I had them, and I often pinched myself for just how lucky I felt to have found my cure for the self esteem that I had lacked for so long. I even had potential new patients from the clinic calling me at work to ask questions about my procedure as I was the surgeon’s recommended ‘success story’ for how fast I had healed and how unfazed I had been by the whole process. To start with my breasts were swollen and numb and looked extremely fake, but after a few months the sensation came back in my nipples and they settled down to a DD cup size, despite looking like two perfect fake doughnuts on my chest which was exactly what I wanted. And some months after I went on to become a model for which I was signed to a daily newspaper which led to magazine and television work and a lavish and thrilling lifestyle. My breasts were something that I had longed for for so long and they completed me in every way possible so instantly my feet hardly had time to touch the ground.
Fast forward a couple of years and I fell pregnant with my beautiful daughter. At several months into the pregnancy I was in the front passenger seat of my mothers car stationary at a junction when a car went into the back of us and pulled the seatbelt across my chest and bruised me. As my breasts were so large and swollen and the seat belt crossed to the right side, the pressure caused a small hole to appear in my right breast which began leaking clear fluid at a constant dripping pace. I feared my breast implant had ruptured and bandaged my chest with towels and jumpers until we arrived at the hospital where I had an ultrasound scan on my chest. If the implant had been damaged it would have to be removed immediately without anaesthetic as I was pregnant; but fortunately after several hours the doctors diagnosed the escaping fluid as hard tissue and white blood cells which had formed around the implant as a natural defence and being in the crash had disturbed the casing and caused it to lift away and leak, but the implant was intact. So the hole was closed and bandaged and nothing more came of it. When my daughter was born in 2007 I breastfed without a problem for six weeks before getting mastitis (from blocked milk ducts) which caused my milk to dry up. As my breasts had increased by four more cup sizes to a ‘H’ they held so much milk I had to breastfeed day and night to try to empty them, as well as expressing and soaking them in a warm bath to relieve the pressure which eventually came to an end when I couldn’t empty them quickly enough.
After having my daughter my breasts became more natural looking, they were no longer hard and ‘stuck on’ but squishy and bounced slightly when I worked out or ran up the stairs which made people think that they were real instead of obviously pointing them out as fake, so I didn’t mind that they had changed at the time and as I never had breasts of my own I presumed at the time that they were like women’s natural breasts. If I squeezed them tight enough I could just about feel the bulge of the implants deep inside, but to the touch they felt like any other part of my body and not tight and rubbery at all anymore.
Fast forward another four and a half years to 2012 and I gave birth to my second child, our son. My breasts again increased during pregnancy and felt heavy and loose. From as soon as I fell pregnant I had to wear a support bra day and night because they became so heavy and sore, and whilst breastfeeding I was in agony every day. My son had a tongue-tie which meant that he couldn’t pull my nipple deep enough into his mouth so rather than sucking it into his mouth like a dummy he would nibble down on the end instead which left my nipples bleeding and cracked after each hour long feed several times a day on each breast. But I stuck with it and dug my nails into my hands determined to see it through and hoping that my nipples would toughen and it would become easier. I booked in to see my midwife and discussing having his tongue-tie released when he was six days old, but after attending the clinic she confirmed that his tie had tore of it’s own accord after he had cried and opened his mouth wider than before so that feeding should get easier from now on. I was delighted and in high spirits to soldier on and stick with breast feeding, but upon my journey home I had a car door opened onto my chest which hit me in the right breast again and left me in agony. Tears just fell from my eyes and I didn’t know whether to scream, fall to the floor or explode there and then on the spot. And that was sadly the last time that I was able to breastfeed, my right breast swelled instantly, turned dark red and blocked from the build up of milk. I wrapped my chest in warm towels to relieve the pressure and run down my milk and winced my way through the next week until all of my milk had dried up.
Afterwards my breasts were left loose, hanging and dented. I cannot stand to take my bra off from the weight and pain of them pulling inside of my chest. I’ve had a tightening on my left implant which feels like a stitch and stops me from breathing at times and there came a time when I lost circulation and my lips, fingers and toes turned blue. It feels as if the implants are hard melons inside a plastic carrier bag of skin, they have fallen a few inches from where they first started out and are different in height now. They no longer look round, fake or natural, just damaged and abnormal and it’s the complete opposite of what I set out to achieve when I finally decided to have surgery almost eight years ago. It’s hard to come to terms with a cosmetic surgery that you’ve punished yourself over, saved for and researched to then go on to cause so much pain and discomfort; and it’s my fault for having implants before having my two children. I wish I knew the outcome of life before having them done but sadly shoulda woulda coulda can’t and won’t ever bring my natural body back.
So this is something I have lived with for pretty much my entire adult life, which isn’t easy to share with the world but I know I’m not the only woman going through this and I want to share my experience with others, it was my choice and I now live with the consequences. I’m not blaming anyone, I’m not trying to make out that I’m a victim, I did what I did because I had low self esteem, it made me happy and brought me out of my shell and now life has taken its toll and I will be undergoing a second surgery to correct it.
I hope that in sharing my story with the world that I can show young girls, adults and teens that you really don’t need to change yourself to feel that you fit in with others. We are all born as unique, individual souls who learn and grow and change as time goes on. And if having surgery at a young age has taught me anything it’s that I never had to change my body to make myself happy as a young lady, instead I should have changed my perception of life. It doesn’t matter how tall you are, what your cup size is or you IQ, it’s what’s inside that counts; the way you handle life, the way you treat others and the ability to accept your body for what it is, be grateful and make the most of life because there are so many others who are far worse off and would move mountains just to have a healthy body and limbs.
So as incredibly difficult, exposing and raw that my account of the corrective procedure of my surgery is going to be, I am sharing this experience with you all and hope that it will benefit others.
UPDATE: Filming My Breasts At Home
Today a film crew came to my home to capture an insight into my life and how I live with my breasts on a daily basis with them being in the condition that they’re in. I couldn’t sleep a wink the night before and my stomach churned as the clock ticked tocked a deafening rhythm that echoed through the ceiling of the kitchen below.
I got out of bed at 7am, had a shower and tried to numbly eat my way through a slice of toast as my mind whirled with the possible events that would follow. Would I come across as shallow? Selfish? Unstable? It’s a horrible position to be in having a part of your body that disgusts you, and showing it to others strips away your defences and leaves you open and vulnerable, but sharing it with strangers and the entire world, well that’s just one million times harder. What have I got myself in for!?
The director and assistant arrived at my front door shortly after 9am and I tried my best to relax, breathe slowly and think about what I said before blurting out a load of waffle and scaring them away. I’m normally a fairly calm and logical person, but I guess when you speak to people you don’t know about something so personal and painful it’s a funny subject to breach. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as I took my top off to show the cameras my breasts. But as the day wore on and we talked more and more I began to relax and soon realised that I felt fine and was completely at ease with the situation.
Even though I knew what my breasts looked like since having my second child, I’d avoided them for so long and kept them in a bra 24/7, that when I came face-to-face with them in the bedroom mirror during filming I was shocked at how awful they looked. I’d almost pushed all knowledge of them to the back of my mind up until now, thinking if I can’t see them and I don’t touch them then they won’t be as bad as they actually are. But being confronted by them in the bedroom mirror during filming was a blow and I stared in shock as it felt like I had been hit and didn’t know what to do. I can’t run away from them, I can’t take them off, they’re a part of me that I was born without, something I always lacked and so desperately wanted and finally went to such a great length to get by having surgery, and now they’re inside of me, invading me almost and putting me in danger and an awful physical position where my self-esteem is lower than before I ever had them. I wish I’d have stayed natural as a teenager, I wish I could have loved myself for who I was; but now I live with the consequences.
I strongly believe that this generation is so much more fortunate than mine was. Back when I was a teenager everything was so false, everybody was categorised as either beautiful, ugly, a geek, a goth, a tomboy etc. you couldn’t just be who you were without falling into a box. The media was rife with perfect unrealistic people who made everyone else seem goofy and disfigured in comparison, but in reality it was all airbrushing and makeup. Nowadays the media has been shown to cheat body images and create unreal photos of men and women that don’t exist, people are celebrated for being unique, being natural and loving your body no matter your shape, size, colour or creed. And although it’s too late for me to have been raised with the knowledge of natural beauty, it’s not too late for my daughter. I would never wish for her to have surgery on any part of her body because I want her to understand that we are who we are and you shouldn’t try changing what makes you you.
For me it’s too late, I already have a surgery that had deteriorated with life and having children and I hope that something can be done. I hope that my story will reach girls and women alike in the world and show them that just because you go to a reputable surgeon and pay good money, it doesn’t mean you’ll get the body of your dreams, and surgery isn’t singular, there is always upkeep and deterioration so you’ll be going under the knife for the rest of your days.
By 6pm as the cameras filmed me playing with my fiance (of almost six years) Luca and the children, Millie who is now five and Gabriele coming up for one, I had the biggest feeling of hope in my heart. I hope that they can fix me, and I hope that in doing so I can fix my heart for the confidence that I have lost because of my surgery.
UPDATE: In Birmingham The Night Before Meeting My Surgeon
It’s 9:30pm and I’m sitting in my hotel room the night before meeting my surgeon, looking out over the lights of central Birmingham from my floor to ceiling window I’m staring blankly as my mind whirls whilst waiting for my Humous and Salad Ciabatta from the 24hr room service.
I have very mixed emotions right now. I’m praying that they can do something to help me, to give me back just an inch of the normality that I once had. I feel as though my heart is in my stomach right now as I count down the seconds of the several hours left, separating me from the verdict that I long for; to know that I can be fixed or even just helped in some way. To think that I will stand before studio cameras first thing in the morning, showing the weakest most insecure part of my womanhood to the entire world, for their scrutiny, perusal, and criticism is petrifying, but I am ready for it. If one million people throw up their nose and tut in disgust over my having surgery on television, maybe just one person will recognise that they too are not suffering the same condition alone and find hope and comfort in my journey. I am literally laying myself bare, no defences, no mask or safety blanket, just my story and a plea for help. Please let everything be ok.
The Day Of Filming My Consultation With The Surgeon
Today I have been at the studio for eight and a half hours and I am absolutely exhausted after the drive back home from Birmingham to Buckinghamshire. Today has been a roller coaster of emotion, nerves and hope. Feeling self conscious about your body is difficult at the best of times, having a disfigurement is worse and standing in a stark white studio topless with an entire film crew, director and team documenting your every move, every angle and the worst and most intimate part of your body to show to the entire world is a challenge to say the least. But one that I am glad to have done.
I held my head high, took a deep breath and stepped into the studio in my robe into the lights and lenses, shook my surgeons hand and dropped my robe in front of the mirror. A strange sense of liberation and calmness washed over me as I looked at my desiccated breasts in the mirror. This is me, at my worst, at my weakest and ready for change. The surgeon assessed my breasts, lifted, moved and measured their placement before giving me his verdict. He informed me that my silicone implants were in front of my muscle and not behind as I had been told by my previous surgeon. All of my natural breast tissue had completely disappeared after having children, my skin had stretched and loosened, my right implant had misshapen into an oblong and turned its edges under and my left implant was hanging in a bag of skin known medically as a ‘snooker ball in a sock’. Teamed with the fact that my implants were most likely PIP (made of non-surgical grade silicone and potentially cancer inducing) it’s going to be a pretty complex case to try to correct. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, to stand or fall to my knees in despair. The only thing that kept my heart beating at that moment was the the sound of his voice echoing “let me see what I can do.” I clung to his words like a lifeboat in an ocean of pain and emotion, and as I replaced my gown, shook his hand and walked back out past the studio cameras and into the world again and I felt like a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
I received a call this afternoon informing me that my surgery can be corrected and will take place in seventeen days time. Seventeen days! It’s close enough to make me panic at how much I have to do beforehand in order to leave the children, but also far enough away still to allow my nerves to build as the countdown begins. In seventeen days I will be in an operating theatre with a film crew watching me being cut open for the entire world to see and I’m both excited and petrified at the same time.
I hope that in sharing my journey with the world others can see the dangers of cosmetic surgery, the fact that as time passes your body changes, you age and things deteriorate so surgeries have to be constantly maintained, there is no quick fix in life other than leaving your body alone and staying natural, accepting who you are and how you were made. And if you’re thinking about having cosmetic surgery please see my story first, think about it and know that you can live with the outcome and upkeep, and please look deep inside of yourself and try to accept your body before wanting to change it. There are so many more important things in life than how certain parts of your body look, and we all must age and change as we grow; there really is no such thing as perfection so don’t beat yourself up about your body, love your natural self and everything that makes you an individual because the world would be an incredibly boring and sad place if we all looked the same. Please learn from my mistakes and save yourself the heartache and suffering that I’ve gone through, take my journey as a warning of what can and most likely will happen to surgery patients. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much money it costs you, you can’t ever turn back time and your body will never stay young forever.
UPDATE: 12/04/13 – 10 Days Before Surgery
I’ve had a call from the hospital where I will be having my surgery which is the Nuffield Group based in Hereford, Wales and two and a half hours from my home. The staff talked me through my health history over the phone, things that I may be allergic to, risks of anaesthesia and general information for the night before; they confirmed that I was at low risk and did not have to attend a pre-op at the hospital before my surgery as I had already met my surgeon and am not on any medication. I now know that I cannot eat after midnight prior to my surgery at 07:30am the following morning, but I can have small sips of water up until 06:00am and also brush my teeth. As my surgery is on Monday first thing, my fiance Luca and I will be travelling to Wales by train on Sunday and following my discharge from the hospital on Tuesday we will return home by train also.
As the days creep by it’s feeling ever more real and I’m nervous and excited at the same time. It feels a bit strange knowing that a film crew will capture me being cut open and repaired but I’m curious to see how it’s done and I guess this is a rare glimpse into surgical procedures. I’ve also always wondered what medical staff do to you whilst you’re unconscious as I have a sneaky suspicion they pull out a pair of comical Dame Edna glasses and take pictures of you wearing them unconscious with your tongue out! Not that I’m suggesting hospital staff are anything but professional, but it’s kind of strange to see yourself unconscious being cut open on television because you’d normally have no knowledge of it at all until you come round in the recovery room hours later.
My new cup size is expected to be around a 30F or 30G depending on the swelling so I will be shopping for a new sports bra which I will wear following the surgery to keep the stitches held tight so that they can heal. I’m looking at my breasts as I’m sat writing this and I hope that my journey can help others to see that surgery is not straightforward, there are hurdles every so many years and potentially life threatening results so it should never be taken lightly.
I desperately want to know if my current implants are PIP, if I’ve carried around these poisonous and dangerous objects in my chest since my teenage years. It’s disgusting to think that a company that was once approved for human use decided to change their materials, lie, cheat and endanger so many lives. I want to raise awareness of the reality of breast implants and help others to make an informed decision through the information that I have shared. I’m not against surgery, but it should always be safe and carefully considered. I wish I could have loved my natural self as a teenager and now I live with the consequences. And if sharing my faults and flaws with the world, exposing my worse insecurity and the damage that surgery has done to me means that just one person will benefit from seeing the real truth, then my suffering has not been in vain. And one day when my daughter is old enough, I will share this with her and hope that it will help her to love her natural body.
UPDATE: 17/04/13 5 Days Before Surgery
Today my support bras arrived by post. I visited every store in our area to try and find a 32F and 32G support sports bra but nowhere had the sizes I needed. There were 38F size bras which would have hung off of me, or 32B sizes which would have popped me to try and squeeze into them, so I took to the internet to source my unnatural 32F & 32G cupsize which is very obviously for women who have had surgery as it’s not very often a natural body type to be stick thin with huge breasts so shops simply do not stock ranges to cover this size.
Holding the bras up against me is a real reality check to just how big my breasts will be and suddenly it seems that the minutes are flying by on the countdown to my surgery. I realise that once my body shape has changed, so too will my wardrobe, and as a UK8 I am lucky to be able to fit my 32DD breasts into my clothes; but once my cup size is potentially three sizes larger my dress size will change and hardly any of my clothes will fit me. Despite loving the prospect of replacing my entire wardrobe to fit my new chest size, I also have to think of the financial cost of replacing all of the clothes that I have invested in over the years and mourn for the beautiful items I have that I will never be able to wear again.
The reality of having the children to find care for is also an eye-opener as I will be unable to lift my son for four weeks following surgery. It will be his first birthday just eight days after my surgery and I won’t be able to hold, cuddle or pick him up which breaks my heart. I will also be unable to lift my arms, wash or dress myself, drive or do housework so I am arranging for friends and family to take shifts and babysit me, the children, our pets and our home for an entire month.
Having surgery isn’t easy, it isn’t a quick fix and like the ripples of a pond it directly affects everybody around you. It’s emotionally and financially draining and that is before the pain and discomfort of being cut open and healing. I desperately hope that this next month will be over quickly, that my surgery and healing goes to plan and that I have my life back again. With only five days before the big day I am hugging my children day and night, making lists of clothes needed, nappy stocks for relatives, meals for the freezer and information for the school run. I want this time to go quickly, but I’m clinging onto the days that I have left with the children. Argh!
UPDATE: 22/04/13 Surgery Day!
We travelled up yesterday and stayed at a local hotel overnight in preparation for being at the hospital at 10:30am this morning. As my surgery was booked for lunchtime I was unable to eat anything after midnight but had a small sip of water at the breakfast table whilst watching Luca devour his full-English. Hours before leaving for the hospital I felt butterflies battling in my stomach, I visited the toilet a million times and I checked the clock on my phone every few seconds as we agonisingly waited for the taxi to arrive. Despite the hotel stay the night before I slept incredibly soundly. I have my-bed syndrome whereby sleeping in a different bed to my own makes me toss and turn and I can never get comfortable because it isn’t the same firmness, warmth or size. But I had such a fantastic night’s sleep and went to bed just after 9pm, slept through until morning and felt refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
As the taxi pulled up before us in front of the hotel foyer my feet suddenly became heavy and my mind started whirling, this is it, it’s time to have surgery because it’s really going to happen. The taxi ride only took several minutes through the leafy streets and wide open countryside but all I could do was stare mindlessly lost in though out of the rear window. I was so happy, but so sad at the same time. It was a relief to know that in a few hours time I would be fixed and have my femininity back again, but I couldn’t help but wonder what if it all went wrong again. What if, another ten years down the line my breasts end up looking exactly the same as they do now and I’ve unknowingly signed myself up for a routine butchering for the rest of my life? How could something that had completed me and made me so happy destroy me so quickly, yet here I am repeating those fateful actions once more.
The taxi door slid closed behind me and the engine rumbled away into the distance as I stood stock still frozen outside the hospital entrance gripping the handle of my travel case containing the contents I had packed for my overnight stay. Everything seemed to move in slow motion around me, but my mind was going a million miles an hour, I’d already accepted and understood my fate several weeks ago yet I couldn’t get my mind around the concept of walking through the doors into the public eye. The film crew came to greet Luca and I and after checking in at reception and speaking to the staff we headed up to my room.
I was shown to the second floor where room five displayed the name plaque of “Tracy Kiss” and I swallowed hard as my eyes absorbed the familiar letters of my name. Stepping through the wide wooden doors I was greeted by an immaculately white adjustable railed hospital bed, a wardrobe, side chest to stow my belongings and emergency pull cords, nurse alert buttons, switches, lights and machinery. I was asked to change into my hospital gown which was a long blue paper-textured sheet that delightfully exposed my backside much to Luca’s amusement. I was weighed, measured for height, BMI, my urine tested and fitted for surgical stockings before returning to the room. The camera crew had set up their tripods and caught Luca and my reaction as I lay on the bed holding his hand moments before I would be due in theatre.
It’s one thing to know that you’re about to have a serious operation, but getting the words to spill out and make sense on camera is so hard. I was relived and happy to see the television staff that I had come to know so well, and in a way it was like talking to an old friend. It’s strange to think that my feelings and emotions were being shared with the world, completely open for criticism and dissection over every last syllable. Is it ok to admit to being worried when you know you’re in the best hands possible? Will I seem ungrateful for asking them to lessen the pain and finish it quickly? And will I look shallow for having a cosmetic procedure on television when so many have lost their limbs through illness and fighting wars and can’t afford to have a reconstruction? My surgery problems seem like a tiny pebble in an ocean to the rest of the world, but to me they’re a tsunami affecting my entire life and I so desperately want the pain and suffering to end, to live like a normal woman and not hate myself for the disfigurement I unknowingly agreed to as a teenager.
Moments later I was greeted by my surgeon Vik who had been reading through my medical notes. He sat me on the bed with my gown off of my shoulders to mark up where the implants would be. He perched on a chair in front of me drawing purple marker pen lines to show the height, width and roundness of my current and soon to be new implants. He reiterated the faults of my breasts as they were, the deep creases, the bagginess, the rippling, the lack of volume, the 2cm height difference and the hardening and distorted shape on the right side. Seeing the scale and marking of my breasts drawn onto my skin only served to strengthen my hatred for what my body had become as a result of my implants. I felt disgusted, unworthy and disfigured as I watched him drawing all over my heartache. Vik talked me through the paperwork and contract, to ensure that I had a realistic view of what could and may still go wrong, the issues he had to correct that may not even be correctable and the fact that he really couldn’t be sure of what he would find inside of me until he cut me open. I had no paperwork from my previous surgery, I had no comeback, no expert on the end of the telephone, just a bankrupt company who had possibly given me PIP implants and destroyed my body.
I kissed Luca goodbye and squeezed his hand in my clammy palm before being wheeled on the bed down the corridor to theatre with the cameras following my every move. I could feel my heart beating in my eardrum and all I could think of was making it through the surgery without crying or shouting or begging for help and embarrassing myself and my family on worldwide television. As the doors to theatre swung open my eyes scanned the room, checking every detail, every instrument, every person that surrounded me. Lights were everywhere, from giant blinding bulbs in the ring above me on the operating table, to the cameras floating around and the screens of the machinery. The air was alive with the droning beep of machines, instructions fired between staff, delegation to the crew, details from the surgeon, questions from the anaesthetist. It was all happened so fast before my eyes, yet everything I did was in slow motion.
I rolled my head toward the window to the peacefulness of the gardens outside and felt a slight scratch in my right hand. The needle had numbed my vein ready for the valve that was fitted for the anaesthetic. I closed my eyes as I felt the tugging and twisting of my skin, trying desperately to take myself away from the reality of what was and would happen, and as I looked up at the director standing over me I smiled as I heard somebody counting down from ten to one and everything slipped peacefully away.
My body was shaking all over and my teeth chattered uncontrollably as I darted my eyes around unfamiliar surroundings. I was awake, it was all over and I couldn’t stop my body from quivering. A nurse inside the recovery room slipped an oxygen mask over my face and told me to breathe slowly before covering me with an electric blanket and watching my pulse on the machine beside me. My blood pressure had fallen and I was ice cold, for some reason I took this moment to ask the nurse if she would like me to cook her some cheese rolls now as it’d only take me twenty minutes if I popped them in the oven! I was more than delirious, I was away with the fairies, but as my body regained its warmth I was cleared to return to my room and see Luca, smiling uncontrollably every trolley-wheel-squeaking inch of the journey across the hospital.
They parked my bed up in the centre of the room, connected an IV to my hand, a blood pressure monitor to my arm and a canister of oxygen by my bedside. Oh my word I have breasts! I hadn’t even realised they were there and I grinned from ear to ear as I asked the room full of people if I could take a peek. Expecting to see bandages, fabric dressing and surgical tape beneath my gown I was dumbfounded to be greeted by two perfectly round pert bare breasts standing proudly before me. I had drains in my chest which are long flexible tubes inserted under the skin to take fluid away from the breast and into plastic pouches, so until they would be removed the following morning my breasts were unbound. I was astonished that merely minutes after having surgery I didn’t need a bra and the stitches remained strong and unfazed by their freedom.
A member of the television crew asked me how I thought the experience had been and for some unknown reason I answered him with “There aint no party like an S-Club party!” and then fell asleep on my bed. So I’m a little bit nervous as to what will be included in the final edit from the days filming. I know that they covered the surgery and when I came to again I was informed that my previous implants were in fact PIP – made from non-surgical grade silicone. But at that time I was extremely tired, hadn’t eaten for thirty-three hours and was highly medicated so it’s safe to say the finer details didn’t sink in. I woke only a handful of times to go to the toilet which was first attempted on a bedpan but it felt too strange trying to wee whilst laying in bed, so we moved to a commode and then finally the en-suite toilet. Every time I needed the loo I had to ring my buzzer to call for the nurse, unhook my IV bag and hold it between my teeth, whilst carrying my two blood-filled bags for my drains in each hand trying not to flash my bare backside to the staff as I perched on the toilet before hobbling back to bed.
In all my surgery took three and three quarter hours to complete and Vik told me the following morning that my previous surgeon had butchered me. The PIP implants were in such a terrible condition they had caused my misshapen breasts, the crevasses and unevenness and not the fact of me having children as was first thought.
I was informed that in the early millennium a salesperson from PIP approached all of the surgeries in the UK with a case of non-medical grade silicone implants (PIP), they came with no paperwork and were visually a poor quality sold at a cheap price yet the clinics and hospitals all sampled and willingly stocked them. They knowingly cheated and endangered the lives of every patient that had breast implants simply for a higher profit. To the patient in the consultation room they showed a perfect silicone implant, but when under anaesthetic they put the PIP implants in instead. And it makes me sick to my stomach to know how hard I’d researched the procedure as a teenager, chosen a reputable and expensive clinic in London, saved up and dreamed of completing my body to turn me into the female I never felt I was. And they took it all away from me, they broke me and disfigured me for eight years of my life all for their own greedy profit which in the end forced them into bankruptcy.
The implants had been 2cm different in height which he corrected, my right implant had been a 350cc in volume and my left a 330cc which he replaced with 470cc’s instead. The implants were not a matching pair and one had formed a hard capsule around it as a result, in short everything that could be wrong was wrong, and it was down to the PIP’s, not mother nature. In under four hours Vik had given me my life back, taken away the stress and worry and daily mental torture and given me the chance to feel happy in my own skin again. And once the drains and needles and monitors were removed I put on my bra and took the train home seventeen hours after my surgery.
I’ve got a bag of painkillers, antibiotics and paracetamol; medical notes, information and booklets that I’ve returned home with. I’m surprised at how mobile I am, even though I can’t raise my arms or lift anything, I’m able to sit up and walk around. I guess a lot of it is to do with how you deal with a situation mentally, and I’m both relieved and happy with the results so it’s helped me to deal with the pain and get on with my life. I only wish the same had happened eight years ago and this never had to happen to me.
UPDATE: 26/04/13 4 Days After Surgery
I’m healing well and have changed the bandages over the holes where my drains were, so there’s no longer any blood or bleeding which is great. I opted for the lay-on-the-floor position just incase I felt faint and gave my wonderful mother the task of opening up my bra and replacing the padding that had become soaked with blood after my drains were removed and the hole left open. I’ve since had a wash in the bath which was a little difficult to manoeuvre, and finally managed to shave my legs and armpits and shampoo my hair with the help of Luca. I feel so much more human now and it’s helped me to carry on and get out and about.
My antibiotics will last me until Monday and I have to take them twice a day until then. I’m not sure if it’s the pain killers, my heavy period or the antibiotics/anaesthetic that has made me feel so sick, but I have a constant headache and just want to sleep all of the time. My body is becoming more comfortable and my movement has improved greatly, but my head won’t stop hurting and I really want to get outside and dig the garden ready for the summer or do some housework but I can’t and it’s very frustrating but relaxing at the same time.
I have my next hospital appointment on Monday which will be one week since my surgery and I will be travelling back to Hereford to have my dressings changed and see how I’m healing. Fingers crossed all goes well and I don’t think my stitches come out, it’s just the steri-strips over them that need changing.
It’s been so hard for me not to pick up or cuddle the children, and it’s quite possibly the worst part of all of this. The pain and lack of movement is nothing in comparison to not being able to hug my babies and pick them up in my arms. But I’m almost one week into my healing and the days seem to have flown by so fast, possibly as I’ve been unconscious for most of them, but if the next three weeks go just as fast then I’ll be happy. I’m literally counting down the minutes until I can hold my babies again!
UPDATE: 29/04/13 Hospital Check One Week After Surgery
Today I took the nine hour round-trip on the train back to Hereford to have my dressings changed. The dry-bloodied steristrips were removed, cleaned and replaced which made my scars feel a lot less itchy. I no longer need any padding along my bra line to stop the stitches from rubbing, the swelling in my breasts is gradually reducing and the holes from my drains have healed over nicely.
It’s incredible to see how my breasts now sit so round on my chest even when I’m laying down, as before they fell sideways and almost sank inwards and buckled. Sensation hasn’t returned to my skin yet so when I touch my implants they feel like natural breasts but because they’re numb and I can’t feel it, it’s a really strange rubbery sensation. I still have to sleep on my back so I don’t crush my chest, and I cannot drive for another week nor pick up the children for another three weeks.
I also had a mole on my right breast cut level to my skin which has a small bandage on it, the nurse was unable to remove the dressing today as it had bled and dried into the tissue so I have to wait for it to scab over and drop off. I’m so excited to see what my mole looks like now that is has been cut flat as it’s been raised and very obvious my whole life, so not only do I have new breasts but also a new chest!
After having my dressings changed I was greeted by a nurse who delivered my old implants to me in a box with each one kept in sealed containers. The implants had been cleaned from surgery but in order to avoid the possible transmission of bodily fluids we had to wear blue gloves to handle the implants. The first implant I held felt completely normal, it looked like silicone, moved like silicone and was very similar to what I had been shown by my original surgeon in the consultation room. On the back of the implant the letters PIP were stamped into the casing of the implant in bold letters which identified them as being at risk implants. I was expecting the implant to look a lot worse than it did after knowing it had been in my chest for almost eight years and was made from unsuitable content. But when they opened the second container and handed me my other implant as soon as I saw it I gasped.
The free-flowing gel of the first implant was nothing like the second. It seemed as though the gel had thickened inside, as if the liquid had been boiled and reduced and had glooped together in a strange lump with the casing of the implant bagging up around it making it almost impossible to remain circular and breast shaped. I can’t identify why one implant reacted in the way it did and the other stayed fairly normal. I didn’t treat my breasts any differently, I didn’t injure the bad implant in any way, if anything the ‘good’ one if you can call it that had been knocked and caught by seat belts in the past and not the defaced one as you would expect by looking at it. And it begs the question of how long the implant would have lasted in the condition it was in before it may have ruptured, hardened further or even rotted away had I not had them removed and replaced. It goes to show the dangers of not knowing what is being put into our bodies, when we agree to medical procedures and pay for supposedly safe procedures but end up having non-medical-grade chemicals stitched into our bodies for years on end until something goes badly wrong and we discover the deceit. I feel sick and angry for seeing my PIP implants and it makes me feel ever more strongly about ensuring justice must be done. These people shouldn’t be allowed to get away with declaring bankruptcy and shirking all the blame and financial comeback, it isn’t right to take our money and then leave us with a dangerous ticking time-bomb that they know wouldn’t last.
UPDATE: 01/04/2013 Press Coverage
Following the discovery of my breast implants being PIP the Bucks Herald newspaper printed a statement today about the misuse of non-medical grade silicone implants and how I’d luckily had mine removed in time before more damage was caused.
It is now three weeks since my surgery and I am growing ever more capable and mobile by the day. Even though I’m still sleeping on my back at night which is uncomfortable, I’m now able to twist my hips to the side and sleep like a cheesestraw which is such a relief as I normally sleep face down in a running position. The tenderness of my breasts is gradually subsiding as I can now wear a seatbelt and drive without them feeling raw. I can hug people if I stand slightly back from them and lean in forwards keeping my chest away, and I have been cooking and cleaning around the house albeit slightly slower and less intensively than I normally would. But it’s a great start and I’m loving the normality of life returning once more and having the children at home with me.
I took my first shower yesterday with my bra off, as up until now I’d been sitting in the bath with my support bra on to wash whilst keeping my top half dry. Getting out and wetwiping my chest, then leaning over the bath to have my hair washed when I was dressed. So to take my bra off, step into the shower and get covered in hot steamy bubbles was absolutely devine. I so desperately wanted to feel fresh, to exfoliate every inch and lather up like a carwash and I feel so much better for it. Taking my bra off was nerve racking to say the least. I know that I didn’t wear a bra for the first night following my surgery and they didn’t fall off, so three weeks on they’re a lot more secure and stable than back then, but still they seem so new and I’ve had such very little contact with them as they hide away all day and night in my support bra.
I slowly unhooked my bra in the mirror to make sure there wasn’t any stitches caught or blood trickling from under the breast that I couldn’t see, and held my hands a few inches below where my new implants sit, so if for whatever reason they should fall then I could catch them immediately. I think I’ve conditioned my mind to be weary of my breasts for so many years now, that to have them finally safe and sound it just doesn’t sink in and I’m still trying to save them and minimise damage. But they sat perfectly, as they should, full and pert and all I could do was stare.
Amazingly I now have sensation in my nipples and my breasts are no longer numb. When I first had my PIP implants put in my entire chest stayed numb for several months and I knew the risk of possibly losing sensation forever, but as they healed the sensation came back over time. Since breastfeeding my two children and my implants moving and becoming painful my nipples literally gave up and were very unresponsive. But now just three weeks after surgery my breasts have complete feeling and if anything brushes past my chest or I change my top my nipples turn into rocks and stand to attention like proud soldiers. Whatever the reason is and however my surgeon managed this I have no idea, but he’s given me my femininity back and it’s so incredible and overwhelming that words simply cannot explain how much this has changed my life.
UPDATE: 17/05/2013 My New Breasts 4 Weeks After Surgery
After some lovely hot showers this week the steri-strips over my stitches began to lift up and lose their tac, so I decided to take them off. Some blood had crispened around the scars and it was a good time to clean it off and make sure that my skin was dried properly so as not to cause infection.
My breasts are no longer sore or tender, just new feeling really. It’s hard to explain but I’ll try my best! My body is slightly weary of my surgery still and won’t allow me to jump around or lay face down to sleep, sometimes if I move too quickly my chest will pull or feel like I have a stitch – which I guess I have a few. Even though my breasts no longer hurt and sensation has returned, I’m subconsciously aware of them which shows how they’re still healing as I wouldn’t think about my left foot during the day unless it was hurting me or exceptionally cold and drew attention to itself, but I’m aware of my breasts. To think that just four weeks after surgery I am 99% human is incredible and I’m so thankful that I was given the opportunity to have surgery on television.
I had a call from the hospital yesterday asking how my healing is coming along now that it has been a month since my surgery. I told them I am over the moon with how small my scars are, how the dried blood has lifted off and how I can lift my one year old son again.
The nurse advised that I could now wear an underwired bra again to support my breasts and I should build up the time that I have it on for gradually each day, starting with half an hour and increasing as and when it no longer feels tender. So I took a little trip into town and excitedly headed to the first clothes store I came across and into their lingerie department. As there were no bra fitters available I had to try on a handful of bras in the changing room in trial and error to see which one fit best. The only problem being that the largest size they stocked up to was a 34D! After having larger implants put in since my old DD’s I was expecting to be a size or two larger, but thought I’d try a D to rule it out and then visit a different store another day when I had more time. Trying on the 34D was quite a surprise as I loosened the shoulder straps to accommodate my new cleavage and my breasts sat very pert and roundly in the bra, the same size that I was before!
Now I have a feeling I am slightly larger than a 34D for the sheer size of my breasts in this bra, but it feels comfortable, gives me support and a killer cleavage so I’m more than happy to remain with this bra! 🙂
UPDATE: 04/06/13 My Check Up With Vik
Today I returned to Hereford to have my breasts checked by my surgeon Vik. I love how my new breasts look and they are by far a million times better than they were before the surgery; however Vik showed me how he could improve them even further and informed me of a second surgical procedure to complete my augmentation.
Vik told me about a process of removing fat from around my stomach, hips and legs and injecting it into my chest to replace the breast tissue that I lost when I breastfed my two children. This way as my body heals the fat knits into its new area and fills out the dips around my implants. It will mean having literally my entire body liposuctioned to find enough fat needed, and the reason it wasn’t done when I first had my implants was because I didn’t have enough body fat to take. But now that I’ve had over two months without exercise I have put on some weight and Vik is confident that he can create a more natural look for my chest.
It will mean another two to four week complete bed rest once again and me not being able to lift the children or drive as I cannot risk disrupting the fat once it has been replaced until it knits together safely and remains where it should. I am waiting to hear back from the hospital to see which date my second surgery will be on so that I can make childcare arrangements accordingly to suit and I’m nervous but looking forward to coming out of this all the other side knowing I am complete.
So for now I guess I have to watch this space, and not worry about what I eat as I need as much body fat as possible to ensure there is enough to complete the task in hand. I never thought I’d be asked to stuff my face so that it could be sucked out!
UPDATE: 01/07/13 My Reconstruction Surgery
Arriving at the hospital in Hereford at 11:30am this morning my stomach churned as moments before I had sat through breakfast with just a sip of iced water waiting for Luca to devour his full English breakfast. I was allowed one piece of toast at 6am for which the restaurant at the hotel had kindly opened an hour early for me and I savoured every last bite knowing that it would be a while before my next meal. Today was the day, hopefully my final surgery to put an end to the chaos caused by my life-threatening PIP implants almost eight years ago.
Whilst in the room I was visited by several members of staff, taking urine samples, height, weight, blood pressure, measuring me up for stockings, checking my medical history and my surgeon Dr Vik Vijh drawing all over me with his marker pen ready for the cut lines. It’s strange how accustomed I’ve become to standing in front of practical strangers in just a g-string and having my whole body examined, pricked and cleaned down. I guess it must feel like a dog going to the groomers, it’s pretty surreal but I know that I’m in good hands. Slipping into the lovely bum-skimming hospital gown and hoisting on my glamourous DVT stockings once more I perched on the bed and finished reading my third gossip magazine.
The hours soon ticked past as Luca and I waited in our private room, watching Millionaire Matchmaker on the TV before pulling his Xbox out of his travel case to play some fighting games on the flatscreen on the wall whilst I had a nap. By three o’clock I hadn’t eaten for nine hours and felt weak and tired, closing my eyes I sunk back into the plump soft pristine white pillow and drifted off into a beautiful daydream for what seemed like hours but in the end it was hardly even minutes.
Moments later I was wheeled in the bed down the long wide corridors and into the lift to theatre. There wasn’t a film crew this time, just me and the staff cracking jokes and talking about Coronation Street as you do on a Monday afternoon. As I entered theatre I felt a million times more relaxed than before, possibly because it had only been a couple of months since I was last in there, or maybe because the cameras and lights weren’t under my nose; but I smiled as I shimmied myself into position on the operating table, craning my neck like a curious ostrich to the instruments on the metal tray in front of me.
There they were, the long thick metal needles and glass container, tubes and devices ready in preparation for my procedure. In a matter of moments Dr. Vik would be harvesting my body fat in order to inject it into my chest and reconstruct my breast tissue. The wonder of modern medicine! I chatted away feverishly to the anaesthetist as I questioned how long it would take, what it would feel like and look like and how much they would be collecting. He said that fat cells come out of the body in a pale orange colour like baked beans and as soon as it’s removed it already begins to die so it’s important to get it into the new location as quickly as possible in order for the cells to fuse and take properly. As I was having reconstruction surgery I wouldn’t be wasting any body fat as everything that was taken out of me was put straight into my chest, despite it being initially a liposuction procedure, by the end of it I wouldn’t be any different in weight.
A needle and valve were fitted to the vein in the top of my hand as I stared google eyed around the room in awe and told the staff how excited I was to have wanted to watch it happen; and on that note, possibly wisely before I became too curious for my own good, the white liquid travelled down the syringe into my arm, cold and thick, with a kick of metallic hitting the back of my throat and my eyes rolled. Goodnight.
Two hours later I blinked my eyes in a confused haze, my whole body shaking uncontrollably and an oxygen mask over my face. Glancing around like a rabbit caught in headlights I could see the staff darting around me, checking my stats and the wires and machines, and adjusting the drip that had been connected to my hand. Very gradually the shaking subsided and they removed my oxygen mask as I regained my body temperature in time to be taken back up to my room where Luca was still playing his Xbox in his armchair that he’d positioned in the centre of the room.
After my bed was parked back in the room and a blood pressure monitor placed on my hand and arm along with my drip I closed my eyes and fell back into a beautiful slumber. I have no idea how long it was before my surgeon Vik came into the room and asked me how I was feeling. I had the most incredibly strong stabbing pain in the very middle of my chest, and if I hadn’t have looked down I would have thought that I had a knife stuck in between my ribs. Despite the pain relief I was so aware of the pain to my chest, but with time it got lesser and lesser. I couldn’t feel the lower half of my body at all, and when the nurse pulled my gown back I was completely naked with huge purple bruises across my body. In all I had just three incisions from the liposuction rods, one on the front of each hip and one inside my bellybutton, somehow Vik had managed to get around the back of my hips as well with such minimal holes. The needle holes in my chest will not leave any scars at all and I’m in complete awe of his amazing work.
Considering what had just happened, it seemed like such an easy procedure to recover from and I was shocked at how normal I felt compared to my breast surgery previously. After having fasted for thirteen hours I literally inhaled a bowl of soup, a glass of water and some roasted vegetable pasta from room service before the nurse helped to dress me and take out my tubes and wires. Luca cleaned away the majority of the iodine across my shoulders and chest with a wet wipe, and then I took my first shaky steps to the bathroom before walking out of the double doors into the car park ready to go home. Three hours later, just seven hours since my surgery I am now home, in my lovely fluffy pink dressing gown and DVT stockings having just taken my first pain relief ready for bed.
In all, my two breast surgeries have cost £11,000 so far and I now have a week of taking antibiotics and painkillers, so fingers crossed I don’t lose any dying chest fat and this should be my final surgery. Vik transplanted 130ml of stomach and hip fat into the chest, which is the equivalent of a glass of water and from just looking down at my chest now I can already see the huge difference. I have just two stitches on my hips and a scattering of needle holes across my chest. My torso is already bruised deep purple and I’m expecting over the coming days for it to blacken off before it begins to fade.
I cannot begin to explain how happy I am with how today went, it has been the most incredible experience and it really is life changing. In an ideal world I would never have had the initial surgery that led to this and the recovery it imposes and the disruption on all of our family. But I know that there is light at the end of the tunnel for me, fortunately I’m one step closer to safety and freedom from pain and suffering and it really does mean so much to me, to know that I can hug the children without pain, and do things that normal people can do without batting an eyelid. My painful PIP breasts had been a part of me for so long across the last eight years, so now I almost have to learn how to live again. I’m taking things one step at a time and hopefully resting up now for a week until I go back for my hospital check with Vik. I’m tired but cheerful and grateful for having had this chance to share my experience with the world. My heart goes out to those who are in the same situation and I pray that they too can find help and support. To think that my initial breast surgery cost £4,000, a top end price for England, and the cost of correcting and reconstruction is now at £11,000 is sickening. When hospitals shut down and companies go bankrupt, where does it leave the suffering and innocent patients and who do they turn to to pick up the pieces; financially, emotionally and physically. The justice system is flawed and lives are lost over surgeries that go wrong. I’m so very thankful that I have had this chance to repair the damage caused, but we must not forget those who continue to fight.
Today I am absolutely shattered, weak, drowsy from the pain killers and slow to move about. I ache as if I’ve been hit by a bus and my whole body is tender. But every second that passes is one step closer to being fixed and for that I’m truly thankful.
The painkillers have left me feeling weak and washed out today, the redness is leaving my chest and the bruising on my hips has almost gone. Hopefully later on I’ll be able to wash my hair but I have to keep my body dry for a week and continue to wear my DVT stockings until I am properly mobile.
I’m finding it hard to stay awake today from the medication, my head feels like it’s filled with heavy jelly and even thinking is a chore, I just can’t get my words out or make sense of anything. I’m really not with it today and I hate taking medication, I’d rather struggle without it than dope myself up with painkillers. When I woke up this morning the tablets had worn off overnight and I couldn’t move for the pain all over my body. It’s reminded me that I am human and that I do have to take this time to rest, the problem with being medicated is that you don’t feel it so much when you overdo things, and not having the painkillers when I was asleep just went to show how painful this surgery has been and I really can’t do without them. So I guess I’ll be a zombie for a few more days yet!
UPDATE: 08/07/13 Six Days After My Breast Reconstruction
I didn’t sleep a wink last night and I’ve cried so much my face is swollen; I’ve ran out of tears and my nose and throat are choked thick with snot. Last night Luca left me and today he moved his things out and now I’m a single parent to my two children who I can’t yet pick up let alone look after myself. Im still very weak, shaky and tired whilst inside I feel empty and confused. These past few months have been such a challenge for me emotionally to get through the worry, and physically the pain and healing of my corrective surgeries and the hidden obstacles it’s put in my path.
Not once have I complained or asked people to feel sorry for me, I do as much as I can and ask as little of others as possible. This whole process has made me so incredibly grateful and thankful of the help I have received that has saved me from the daily pain that I lived with from my PIP implants. Yet now my world has been turned upside down at a time when I needed Luca the most, and as I write this now I’m sitting tenderly at the table looking around my empty home that was once filled with our family pictures and beautiful memories and it breaks my heart. My body, mind and soul are tortured and I wish this could all be a bad dream. I am so close to having my life back yet at the same time it’s just been taken away from me without explanation. As I’m unable to lift the children yet my mother has come to stay with me and I’m literally a crying, delicate, bruised mess struggling to eat or sleep or concentrate on anything.
UPDATE: 12/07/13 Ten Days After My Breast Reconstruction: The TV Studio Reveal
Today was the day of my surgery reveal in the TV studio and I’m doing all that I can to take a deep breath, put the split to the back of my mind and keep a smile on my face so as not to burst into tears. I haven’t managed to eat more than a sandwich in four days and through laying awake all night thinking and in discomfort I look like the walking dead. Despite having a little bruising still left from the surgery just a week ago now I pulled myself together, held my head high and couldn’t wait to see Vik and show him the new me.
Having my hair and makeup done was lovely, it made me feel like my transformation was complete, that the pain and suffering had all been worth it in the end because The Last Chance Salon had given me back my life, I’m no longer in pain, I’m no longer in danger and my new chest is better than it has ever been. I feel like me, I feel feminine and happy in my own skin and the realisation that it’s all over and I can carry on with my life is amazing. I don’t have to hide away or distance myself from people because of the pain of hugging or avoid certain clothes that show craters in my chest. I am human again, at last.
And I wore a bikini for the first time in years and I feel fantastic, ecstatic, speechless and humbled that such kind-hearted people saw my case and helped me. I will never ever forget this moment, this journey and this feeling of relief. They have changed my life in so many ways and all I could do was smile and hug Vik for his incredible work.
I hope that you will watch my journey on television and see first hand the struggle that I went through. I hope that by doing this I have been able to help others, to make you all realise what is involved in surgery and the risk of what can go wrong. And I hope that you, and I, can all learn to love ourselves and accept our imperfections as character traits of who we are as individuals. Life is too short to suffer unnecessarily. Appreciate what you have and be thankful everyday.
UPDATE: 06/11/13 Five And A Half Months After It All Began
It has now been five and a half months since my PIP implant removal and four months since my reconstruction and liposuction and I finally have my life back at last. I am entirely healed, fit and well in every way possible. I can hold my children once more, play rough and tumble, do the housework, jump about and generally face life again, by myself as a single parent. I’ve been swimming for the first time ever, I do yoga to keep active and my heart has healed and I’m in such a great place now.
This experience has been both the best and worst time of my life and it all happened in such a short space of time. On one hand I was going about my daily family life living with the discomfort that I hid from the world, which all changed with a single unexpected phone call. I then faced the fear and healing of a breast implant replacement, reconstruction and liposuction over several weeks followed by the end of my six year engagement just days after and the shock of becoming a single parent to my two children shortly following my sons first birthday. So it’s safe to say that as far as life goes, it doesn’t get much more complex than this. It was the lowest point of my life for needing somebody there for me, to help, love and reassure me, but in having come through this alone it has made me a far stronger person and the children are my focus and drive that keep me going.
I have at last found the confidence I never had, the security in myself and my heart in my body, mind and soul. I have finally found myself as a person, a mother and a woman. I accept the world for what it is, for who I am and what I look like. I don’t see the need to change something to make it fit anymore, but to appreciate it for what it is and always has been. Life is so very short and unpredictable we must all make the most of what we have and be thankful for our blessings.
No human will ever be happy with their body, nobody will ever be perfect or feel that their life is ever complete. We must all learn to accept ourselves warts and all and be grateful for what we have. From this experience I have my health once more, I feel no pain and I can care for my children alone. Yes whilst battered and bandaged I lost my fiance, not directly because of the surgery but the realisation that he didn’t want to be with me and the children as a family man. But from the hurt and heartbreak of this all I am now far happier in myself, I stand alone and have the confidence in myself to do whatever I want. Everything happens in life for a reason, that one phone call started the ball rolling in me being the person that I am today and I shall be forever thankful.
I cannot simply say that I am for or against surgery as a whole as I have seen it from both sides, as a woman born without breasts and as a mother recovering from a reconstruction. Surgery had first destroyed me and then saved my life and there are both pro’s and con’s in it, like everything in life. If you are thinking of having surgery please think long and hard about it. See my journey and ask yourself if you’d be prepared to go through similar because there are risks involved in all procedures. I urge you to look inside yourself, into your heart and ask if you really need to change your body or if it’s your perception of life that is really at fault. And finally, if you need somebody to talk to then I am here. We all deserve to be happy, but seldom realise just how lucky we are to be here.
Extreme Beauty Disasters will be airing worldwide in 2014 and it will be the final step of my journey to see my surgery unfold on television. I plan to have friends and family over to watch it as a celebration and I realise that the show will include Luca as didn’t leave until after the filming. This is a chapter in my life that both broke me and then rebuilt me and a way for me to address what happened, accept it, and move on a stronger and far happier person.
To all of the many people who made this possible, I cannot thank you enough. And to all of the people who see and hear about my journey I hope that it may help you.
After receiving a telephone call the other day from the local press, they have printed a piece in the paper on my surgery being shown on TV this week.
I have just watched the show go out on Sky and it has put the biggest smile on my face. I thought that it might be a painful journey to relive, but it was so uplifting and heartfelt. It is the end of the path now, this door can be closed and I can move on with my life, rebuilt and starting a fresh. I was nervous about how it might come across today and the closer it got to going to air the worse I felt. I know that people will judge me regardless of what I do, and I know that some will find comfort in seeing my story. All I could ever have hoped for was to be healthy and out of danger and I have that now and so much more.
It was strange to see myself being cut open on the operating table, and to see my implants being taken out of my chest. I was utterly shocked to discover for the first time whilst watching the show that the PIP silicone implants had leaked into my chest as I wasn’t aware of it until just now. How dark and dangerous a routine surgery can become and the fatal consequences it can hold are shocking. Thankfully now I can hold, kiss and cuddle my children without being in pain, and the many people that made this possible will always be my heros. I’ll never get over how touched I am for what has happened and I have the most amazing enthusiasm and drive for life from this all.
You can watch my personal video diary here covering my surgery:
Or you can watch me on Extreme Beauty Disasters (18+) here: