My Explant Story -- by Jane Choe Killian
If you were to look at me and hear me speak for a few minutes, you would think that I’m a fairly low maintenance woman. That while I do love clothes, aesthetics, reality TV, and celebrity gossip (sorry!), I’m not one to spend my entire paycheck on clothes or spend mornings laboring over makeup and hair. Having said that... there are so many things that no one ever tells you when you decide to have kids and become pregnant. No one tells you about the state of your wrecked body after giving birth, bleeding and bloated, hair falling out, and still very pregnant looking. Another thing that no one tells you is that while breastfeeding is best for the baby, way cheaper than formula, and helps you burn a ton of calories, the final condition of your breasts are... not the same as pre-baby. I never thought about how my breasts would change once I stopped breastfeeding. I probably had the thought in the back of my mind that they might droop a little, but I don't think it even made its way to the front of my consciousness. When I stopped breastfeeding my second child, I discovered that my breasts were nowhere to be found. Literally. I was skin n' nips. Glass half full thinking was that at least there wasn't saggy, droopy skin, but I was flat. So flat that whatever bra I wore would ride up when I lifted my arms in the air. So flat that now my tummy pooch was much more prominent and people (namely a supremely rude coworker) would accidentally say to me "wow, I didn't know you were pregnant!" - which I was NOT thank you very much!
It's embarrassing to be so self conscious and vain when I had managed to lose most of my baby weight and for the most part looked pretty good. But I felt I lost a huge part of myself, my femininity, my attractiveness, my self esteem. No amount of working out or diet would bring them back, and it wrecked me. When my daughter turned 2 (and I had waited the appropriate time post-breastfeeding), I saw a plastic surgeon and got myself a pair of fake boobs in July 2009. I asked for the largest pair allowable, knowing that it would not really be THAT large as the lack of breast tissue and skin would restrict the size anyway. I ended up going up to a size 34C. I loved that I had boobs again (and larger than my pre-baby ones which were 34B). I did, however, hate how fake they felt. You could feel them on the sides due to my lack of breast tissue. They were not very soft and did not budge at all. I could run with no bra and they stayed put!
Once I hit the 7-ish year mark, thoughts started invading my mind. The “10 year mark” when implants are supposed to be replaced was coming up, and I dreaded having to go under again, along with the constant fear of them rupturing, and the sadness that I had gotten them in the first place. The biggest cloud weighing heavily in my mind was that the one solution that would never work was taking them out and not replacing them, because my skin would be stretched out from 10 years of housing the implants, and I’d be back to being flat as a flapjack. Fast forward to February 2019 and I came across a post in a local mommy Facebook group about implants. The post quickly ballooned to almost 100 comments, with many of them being women who were like me and didn’t know what to do, but more importantly, there were women who claimed implants caused something called Breast Implant Illness or BII. BII comprised of a laundry list of ailments from thyroid problems to anxiety to fibromyalgia. Someone posted a link to the BII group which I joined, and found 76K+ members all having issues and either wanting to explant or already having done so.
I read and read and knew that was what I needed to do. I was scared (so scared!) to bring it up to my husband because men like boobs! And I wanted my husband to be attracted to me! When I brought it up, he was so extremely supportive of my decision and became my biggest supporter. I explanted on 4/19/19, and my boobs are surprisingly great looking. Still an A, but I have a tiny bit of fluff, which I took as further confirmation that I did the right thing. I don’t regret getting the implants because it made me feel good about myself, and I did like how I looked. While I had some BII symptoms, I don’t know how much to attribute to the implants vs genetics/age. What I do know is that I am so, so happy that I got them removed, that the surgery went smoothly, that my boobs look pretty good (and my nipples don’t look as traumatized as they did the first few days post op), and most of all, I am so thankful that my husband loves them and thinks they look so much sexier now that they are natural. I will be 42 years old in June, and I am pretty proud of myself to have come to a point where I can appreciate my body for what it has done and to truly learn to age gracefully.