Hero Spotlight: Cindy "I have my youth back and I feel beautiful, and that's the most empowering thing"

I developed large breasts at a young age. By the time I was 17, I was a 34D. Around my mid 20's, I got very into working out. There were fitness models that had become role models of mine. I thought they were just beautiful and I set a goal for myself to tone my physique.

Several years after I started working out, I noticed my breasts started sagging and I could tell they'd lost some of their volume.

After a while, I decided I wanted to get breast implants. I remember telling the plastic surgeon I just wanted to fill out the skin so they wouldn't be sagging anymore. I hadn't done any research about the different implants, their placement or any of the risks involved. No serious risks were discussed with me. I felt good about what I was doing and got saline implants above the muscle.

For the first several years, I was really happy with them and the way I looked. Over time, I slowly began to realize how out of proportion I looked.  I'm short and felt they were entirely too big for me. I became so self-conscious, I began dressing differently to downplay their size. I love the warmer summer weather and beaches but I felt I looked hideous in a bathing suit because of the implants.

Slowly, through the years, I started getting different health issues. I started getting migraine headaches and they came on more frequently. I felt like I had some type of anxiety because I would feel heart palpitations at times. My doctor gave me a prescription to treat my "anxiety" that came out of nowhere.  I was having trouble sleeping through the night. I started to get dry eyes, which was hard because I wear contacts.  I was having joint pain that I thought was from a previous back injury. I would get all kinds of strange and different rashes. Sometimes they were fungal infections and sometimes they were other types of rashes. The rashes would appear in different areas -- sometimes on my arms and legs, other times my torso, and sometimes on my face.  I had them several times on my face so badly that I had to stay home from work. They would come and go randomly.  Every doctor, dermatologist and the emergency room doctor I saw told me something different about what they thought might be causing them, but none of them knew for sure. I was told things like I was all of a sudden allergic to the sun, I had bed bugs in my apartment, and I could have an auto-immune disorder. Not one of those things panned out in tests. The rashes continued and became worse over time. A few years later, I became chronically fatigued. I'm not that old, but going up the three flights of stairs to my apartment had me breathing hard now. In some strange way, I chalked it up to the normal aging process, despite being the absolute picture of health for so many years before that. I would have difficulty swallowing, find it hard to concentrate or remember things at times, my sex drive became practically non-existent, I had more doctors tell me it looked like I had an autoimmune disorder, but one was never found via testing. I had digestive problems, was losing hair at the crown of my head and recurrent systemic candida. The whites of my eyes were gray and my face and torso were puffy.

Not one time during all of that, did I ever think those things were all related.

About a year and a half ago, I started seeing ads on social media for legal representation if you had certain implants that caused many women to get a breast cancer.  I contacted the company who made my implants and found out mine were those same types of implants. I freaked a little and then made it my mission to learn everything I could, and make a plan to have them removed. Through the course of getting included in the class action lawsuit, an assistant at the lawyer's office asked me if I had symptoms of Breast Implant Illness (BII). I had no idea what she was talking about. She turned me onto a couple of private groups on social media, and by the end of that day, I knew for certain all the symptoms I had were the result of my implants.

I spent the next few days researching everything I could about Breast Implant Illness.  I located a world renowned surgeon in Newport Beach, CA (Dr. Jae Chun) that only performs explant surgeries.  I explanted one month ago and it's THE BEST thing I've ever done!!!!! My health is back!!!! Immediately after surgery, all my symptoms went away. I feel so good!!! I wish I would've known about BII before I ever got implants. I'm on a mission now to let women know about the huge health risks of getting implants.

Since explant, I feel a renewed me emerging that's so full of life, vibrant and joyful. I never would have thought all that would come out of having the surgery. 

I LOVE my natural breasts!!!! They feel so good! I LOVE the way I look and how clothes fit.  I feel beautiful in a bathing suit!!!!!! There's nothing like not having foreign implants in my body. 

I'm so HAPPY now! I have my youth back and I feel beautiful, and that's the most empowering thing there is.