Hero Spotlight: Lisa "I'm So Grateful to Be Alive"
From a young age, I believed that you could always be better and do more. I wasn't necessarily critical of myself, but I always looked for things I could improve in all areas of my life. When I was a teenager, society viewed Kate Moss as the physical ideal, then Pamela Anderson was the ideal, and this became my ideal. I know now that these are ridiculous extremes of unattainable female physiques. I grew up in Long Island and breast implants were very common there.
I got my first breast implants at 19 years old, they were saline. They quickly mutated in shape due to capsular contracture and became painful. Two years later in 2001, my plastic surgeon offered to exchange them for silicone gel implants and enroll me in a study. The way he presented it, it sounded like I was lucky to have the option so I scheduled the surgery. I didn't understand the study and I didn't understand the risks. After the silicone gel implants, I was chronically ill for many years and went to every kind of doctor over and over again. In 2015, I had the implants removed and one of them had ruptured, unbeknownst to me. There was silicone gel spillage on explant and my doctor told me he "cleaned it up." I went from a large D to a small A cup. Some of my symptoms lessened but I never got better. I now understand that it was due to the silicone gel leakage, which I will talk about more below.
I loved the way I looked with the new implants, I looked like "me" again. Then the illness came on fast. I used to be good at pushing myself (not a good thing) and didn't let it interfere with my life until I couldn't do it anymore--it started to shut me down. Most of my hair had fallen out and it had completely stopped growing on my crown and on the front and sides of my head. I started wearing full wigs in 2017. In October 2019, I was diagnosed with Lichen Planopilaris by scalp biopsy and told my hair would never grow back. By January 2020 I couldn't stand up without seeing stars and had to sit down to cut vegetables and prep meals because I was always very faint and worried about falling.
Cellulitis infections in my face
Rough, chronically dry, and red face
Strange welts behind my ears
Eczema on my ears
Chronic dry eyes
Sebum overproduction-scalp and face
Chronic swollen glands in my neck
Visual migraines followed by temporary vision loss
Chronic bursitis in both shoulders
Wrist pain and weakness
Insomnia the last few months before explant
Pitted nails covered in calcium spots