Zeynep (BII after mastectomy)

In December 2014, at the age of 42, I had a sudden diagnosis of  a very early stage yet very aggressive breast cancer that ended up in an urgent bilateral mastectomy. Urgent because I was told I need to ove fast after the biopsy to prevent further spreading through my blood stream. I had to digest the news, find a surgeon and decide from many options within one week. Though my first instinct was to have a flap reconstruction or stay flat, I was convinced by the doctors that the best choice was immediate reconstruction with implants. I was told, as the flap involved a second surgery, I could always remove the implants and go for flap. Little did I know and having done with one surgery sounded so good so I ended up with a 12 hour surgery and pair of 420 cc Mentor silicone implants. 

I need to say that the plastic surgeon did a great job and my new “breasts” looked really good. The first 15 days after surgery was absolute hell but once I started feeling better I was pleased with my decision and results.

Few months in I started feeling funny symptoms; dizzy spells, vision problems, repeated colds, intestinal problems, etc.. They would come and go and no one found anything wrong. So I did not realize they could be related. And most of the time I was healthy so did not pay attention. 

A year later, in June 2016, I left home a completely healthy person, and in the afternoon, I had a migraine attack which I never had in my life along with severe intestinal pain. I felt like I was going to pass out any minute so I had to ask a friend to accompany me and my 4 year old daughter home. From that day on I was sick and in bed for 3 months, with over 25 symptoms including a never ending fever of around 37,5 – 38 degrees. My symptoms were so varied that no one could make any sense. I have been to 19 doctors in 3 months; GI specialists, endocrinologist, infectious disease doctors, I was even referred to a dentist to see if I had a hidden dental infection. They ran all possible tests and told me I was perfectly healthy. Except that my complexion had turned grey and I could not  eat anything without a huge intestinal reaction nor leave my bed. I was given 3 courses of heavy antibiotic treatments on guesses, after which my fever subdued and I thought I was “cured” from whatever it was. Well I was far from it. I started having a series of good days and bad days. It seemed like I had a mysterious autoimmune disease but no diagnosis. I had many ER visits, day and night, with new and strange symptoms surfacing. I did not recognize my body anymore. The debilitating fatique and other symptoms took over my life. First it was reduced to just work and rest, than to pretty much working from bed and getting out when I absolutely had to. 

Summer 2017, I had a positive band for Lyme, just one. So a new round of antibiotics started. It did not help much. I started researching and found some alternative approach to Lyme treatment and started something called Neural Therapy. It helped managing my symptoms. The doctor who did it was clear from the beginning. He said “I am not treating your disease, I am treating and regulating your immune system, because only that can take care of whatever you may have” 

Sounded logical and my symptoms started reducing at times but it took a long time. Meanwhile I dealt with frequent and severe viral infections and even ended up 5 days in hospital with the flu.

Slowly my immune system got better and I was mostly back on my feet, as long as a) I did not miss my weekly treatments b) took around 15 supplements a day, regulated by my doctor c) did not drink, stayed up later than 9pm or eat one of the many foods I was now intolerant to.

I kept on researching and stumbles upon BII. I started talking to doctors to find an en-block explant surgeon in Istanbul, where I live, with no result. I got told off by many doctors, was called crazy to think it could be implant related or at best, ignored. I decided I need to go abroad and find a surgeon that believes in BII and is experienced in en-block. Took me another year to actually decide the country, choose a surgeon and arrange the logistics.

 Meanwhile my health kept declining. I have spent most of 2019 in bed. I got very sick and could not fly to my first consult. I waited for 4 months for my surgery which had to be postponed another week because I was very ill with flu, again. I finally explanted with enblock capsulectomy in May 16, with the amazing David Floyd. I went flat because I could not put my poor exhausted body under more trauma. One I heal, I will think about it if I am not feeling good about it but honestly, so far I am positively surprised in how I feel and how I look flat.

I found out after explant that my implants were actually textured and not smooth as I was told.

60% of my symptoms disappeared instantly after explant, though some of them pay an occasional visit since week 2. But the “attacks” are much lighter and shorter. Since the explant, my skin has not been ash color like it was for the past 3 years and the moisture is back.

I do regret deeply that the times with family and friends, especially with my daughter nor the business opportunities I missed this past three years will not come back. Still, I do appreciate that this has been a somehow enriching experience. I am so happy that I am finally in the course of getting back to my healthy self. . I am so grateful to all the women who shared their story and the support groups that put together all the information and spread awareness. I would not be here today without them. 

Here is a list of the symptom I experienced the past 3 years:

MY GENERAL HEALTH

I have low immunity, get very ill with  common viral infections and have frequent colds & Flu

Also developped allergies / sensitivities I did not have before

-Respiratory allergies

SYMPTOMS

Breast pain

Fatigue

Weakness 

Vertigo

Ear aches / repated ear infections

Allergies & Sensitivities (Mostly Respiratory Symptoms)

Muscle aches and spasms

Also lost muscle tone past two years but may be due to inactivity.

Neck and back aches 

Numbness, Tingling in arms, hands, head and face

Sharp Head-aches

Joint aches and swelling that looks like trauma without trauma

Intestinal issues

Digestive issues

Diharrea/ constipation

Abdominal pain

Occasional Neausia

Light headed feeling

Light sensitivity 

Stuffed Sinuses

Dry Eyes

Blurred Vision

Dry Mouth

Shortness of breath 

Very Dry skin

Brain Fog

Metallic Taste in mouth 

Heart palpitations

Low & constant fever

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