I use to be 100 mile an hour kinda gal and then it just dramatically went down to 5 miles an hour if I was lucky. This as you can imagine made me incredibly frustrated. To add to my frustration was the lack of compassion from my consultant. I really struggled with this. I was brought up to believe that doctors are there to help you and make you feel better. But mine were making me feel trapped, scared and utterly confused. To be honest I think everyone needs a little understanding, it was hard enough dealing with the diagnoses of a condition that I desperately didn’t want, let alone having to deal with feeling like I was off my rocker by my consultant.
When I got home from my meeting with Dr X, I decided to throw myself into finding more out about breast implants and their ‘possible’ side effects. I say ‘possible’ purely because the seed of doubt had been planted in my very delicate and emotional head by Dr X. During my search I came across a lot of interesting articles. There were studies that had been completed back in 1990’s by scientists and rheumatologists stating that when silicone bleeds through the elastomer shell, it can then migrate around the body. The scavenger cells called macrophages then attack these foreign bodies but because they aren’t a virus that can be killed off, the macrophages mutate. Now these mutated macrophages have the same makeup as the silicone implants which the immune system has already got an antibody for.. thus the immune system attacks itself causing an auto immune issue. There were lists of what chemicals went into making up the silicone that are used in medical graded implants. There were countless stories from women who had gone through similar illness to me and explanted and come out the other side feeling near enough normal again. I found this all so fascinating, yet concerning that it wasn’t taken seriously. But the seeds of doubts would still creep in, surely if it was the case, there would be evidence and everyone would be shouting from the roof tops that there were risks involved in putting silicone into your body, maybe we were all just clutching at straws?! But the doubts would soon be squashed as I spent hours on end reading more documents and studies. When I decided to join the support group, which was a huge deal for me, I spoke to so many women with similar stories. This made me want to do something about it to raise awareness. I decided to email my cousin, Hannah, who is a freelance producer/director for documentaries in the UK to see what she thought. She like it and put my idea forward to the head of a production company that she had been working for to see what they made of it. The executive producer, Geoff, really liked it too and he then sent it over to ITV to see if there was any interest from them. Within half an hour, Geoff got an email back. ITV loved the idea.
We arranged a meeting for two weeks time as Geoff was shooting another programme and I wanted to be in that meeting having researched as much as I could and have it all in front of me. If they asked a question I wanted to make sure I knew the answer. I got the ladies on the BII Facebook support group on board and they sent me their stories.
My idea for the programme wasn’t to point the finger of blame at the silicone manuafacuteres , it wasn’t to get a whole load of law suits filed against them or plastic surgeons. It was purely to get the recognition and help that is so desperately needed for women suffering. To get their condition treated properly and have compassion from GPs or consultants when they tell them their illness maybe related to their implants. The documentary would follow my journery of explanting, to find out what implants were inside me, if they were ruptured, leaking.. what my scar tissue was like. It was also to speak to the manufacturers of medical graded silicone, find out the list of ingredients/chemicals they used, which seemed to be held so close to their chests. Get their views on breast implant illness and the studies that have been completed. Speak to other ladies with implants and find out their stories.
I had recently met a friend who had implants and I had no idea. She has allergen silicon gel and has never had one symptom. This is what I mean, some people may react and others won’t. It’s the same with taking a tablet, some people have allergic reactions and some don’t. All it takes is a list of possible side effects on the NHS webpage, the same as you would have on a bottle of pills. That way then BII would be taken seriously and women wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed because they are having to fight this on there own. Thats what causes the depression, the anxiety, the feeling of giving up, stopping the world and getting off.
The day arrived and I toddled up to London to meet up with Geoff and my cousin. The meeting went so well, and everyone was on board. We chatting for two hours, although I felt like I waffled like a crazy person, but I managed to get as much as I could out. All the seeds of doubt that my consultant had planted in my head were well and truly gone. I was so passionate about this now. My aim was to get as much information about breast implants out there, so that everyone would know about the risks.
All that was needed now was the green light from ITV.
Click here to read what happened next.. xx