Breast Implant Recall PTSD

with 2 Comments
PTSD The short version
Before, During and After

I have written about ptsd before If you want to read about it—or throw the term into the search bar on my blog to find more. But that is what this blog post is about. There will also be few pictures because …This is not light fare.

Yesterday was different. Yesterday was Friday and I am now writing this at LAX on Saturday. Forgive the time frame but it is important.

Thursday I became aware that Allergan implants were being recalled. I had heard things about textured implants and cancer hiding only to be found when women had issues. Mammograms do not show the cancer. For a year or so there have been grumblings about textured breast implants. Now they have officially recalled them. The cancer, I am told is easily remedied with surgery that takes the implant and the surrounding capsule out. This is major surgery as it is under general anesthesia. This seems to solve the issue. Further issues arise if you go in for an exchange/ removal of implants and the cancer is present but the surgeon doesn’t remove the capsule—I think that is the surrounding tissue. In a minute you will find out why I don’t know more yet.

My friend, Dr, Steven Teitlebaum has an explanation of this on his instagram but it may be more than you want to know. He is a terrific surgeon and educator and there are pictures.

The FDA and Allergan recalled the implants Wednesday or Thursday to make sure no more of them go into patients.

But what about people with those implants? First you have to find out if they are inside you by calling your surgeon. I have a card with my barcodes and the words Allergan Naturelle silicone implants style 45. It doesn’t say whether they are textured or smooth. It took me an hour or so to find the list on the fda website that listed the recalled implants(they may also come from more than one company I am simply not sure). Mine were not listed but many other Allergan Naturelle implants were.

My first reaction upon reading the recall was panic —I sat gasping for breath with an visceral reaction. I may have cried out I don’t know. Then I did the research only to come up with nothing. I walked away and when I tried again I found the list.

Okay so not on the list—awesome—I went to bed relieved but I also had sent an email to my plastic surgeon to double check.

I spoke with her assistant at 11:45 or so and she said I was safe. However, even she had to make a call to the company to make sure as the implants have all been renamed. If I had known that I don’t think I would have slept at all!

My daughter and I got to the gym—our last day as we have converted the garage to a really great workout space—and I got on the treadmill. After about 5 minutes my heart was beating erratically and I was only walking about 2.8 mph as I was warming up. I walked over to where my daughter was on the mat and sat beside her and put my head down between my knees. I couldn’t catch my breath. My pulse felt all odd but my smart watch readings didn’t back that up. It felt like it was erratic and beating out of my chest. I explained what was going on. “Can you have anxiety after the fact?” I asked then I realized, “Yes, it’s called ptsd.”

So my daughter being who she is grabbed me in a big hug and then said, “but you are here and you are fine.”

“Yes, I just didn’t realize how much the question was living in my body until Julie answered it. And now I am reacting.” So I lay there and focused on my breath. Still shaking I slowly stretched and did the ever present, I’m a writer, back exercises.

When we went out the door I said to her, My goodness it is hot!”

Her reply, “Isn’t it great that you are here and get to complain about it.”

I laughed and said, “I am alive and I get to complain about taxes, Nosy neighbors and all sorts of things. Mostly though I get to be here with you and your sister and your dad.”

“And you will be very old and very grey when you leave!”

“Yes I will, I will get to spoil your kids rotten and you will get to tell me about it.”

For the rest of the day anything frustrating was met with “And you get to be here to complain about it.”

So now I have to stop complaining. But it certainly puts it into perspective. There we are finding the gift in the given.

I hate that anyone has to go through the anxiety of not knowing or finding out they have them. The decision to remove them is going to be difficult. For people having issues there is no question. Some will be survivors, others previvors. At the moment insurance won’t cover the explant unless you have symptoms or need revision. But the surgery is still surgery and you need to prepare for recovery time.

For those of us who are survivors, we didn’t need the fear and panic. We didn’t need the doubt. We didn’t need to remember that period of time. As Kris Carr says, “Fear is the cancer.” Indeed it is. Mindset is equally important before during and after a cancer diagnosis. It is a life choice, a life style.

I am healthy and have no symptoms. I have different implants but that fear? It never leaves you entirely. Just a moment and it all comes flying back. The panic, anxiety is put to sleep for the time being until something wakes it. And then you are grabbing the handlebars, trying to steady your breath and your pulse hoping you are not having a heart attack.


Next week we will return to a writing life focus.

2 Responses

  1. Angelica Lynch
    | Reply

    I felt the same panic as you when I heard the news on Thur morning as I was sipping my first cup of coffee, after having oral surgery last Monday. I ran to my cardboard box of files to find my folder that contained my BA paperwork from when I had them June 2015. It only took a quick Google search to find that 3 digit style numbers are textured. I looked at my ID card and see it’s style number is 110. 😔 I called my durfelns office and they confirmed my worst fear. I have spent nearly every waking moment online researching this recall, the symptoms, and being totally terrified. I’m a single mom. A special education teacher. I dont even take ibuprofen, how did this happen to me? On Friday I called a new plastic surgeon and scheduled an enbloc full capsulectomy explant on Aug 29th. Now I have to come up with $6000-9000 for the procedure and get ready to have a fight with my insurance company. It should be covered as a preventative procedure. It should be considered anti-cosmetic because I will be more scared after than before. But I just pray that when they send the tissue/capsule, or whatever off for testing that it is negative. 🙏

    • Angelique L’Amour
      | Reply

      I will keep you in my prayers. I hope the company will stand up for all of us(or get in a class action lawsuit) so that anyone affected can get reimbursed.
      Hang in there

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.