My BII Story - Elaine Schwartz

I was in the hospital when I was 35 for a hysterectomy to remove a fallen uterus from carrying both babies to 10 months (in 1968 and 1971). I was plagued my entire teen years and adult life with very small breasts. I wore a 32 AAA and decided I didn’t want to shop for bras in the teen department when I was in my 40’s, so I talked to doctors about getting implants while I was at the hospital for the hysterectomy. It was all arranged and after losing my uterus I gained breasts while I was “under the knife”.

I remember the plastic surgeon telling me the implants would last my whole life time. I was implanted with Dow silicone breast implants in 1985. I had been running nursing homes from 1976-1986 and ran for Kansas State Representative and was elected in 1986. Early in 1989 I started having issues with the left breast and the plastic surgeon said there was nothing wrong. I believe my left breast was leaking and I became very sick in 1990 and was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue, after finding a swollen lymph node under my left arm, above my left breast. I was so sick, the surgeon told me I could file for disability since I hadn’t been able to work for four months and had a 100 degree fever every day during that time. The swollen lymph node was removed and tested for cancer, but I never saw any reports and believe it was also full of silicone.

From 1990 to 2012 I was afflicted with joint aches, headaches, and migraines and never once did any of my doctors questions the implants. I had issues with my colon, was diagnosed with diverticulitis, and had to be hospitalized for twenty days in 2011. I was also tested for allergies and found out I was allergic to 3 different types of mold.

Then in August of 2012 I was in an auto accident and the seat belt ruptured my 27-year-old silicone implants, but, this was not discovered until December when I had a breast MRI. The silicone was shown to be leaking around both implants. I had daily migraines from a week after the accident and my massage therapist suggested I get with one of her clients, Rebecca Allen, who had similar symptoms, to discuss Breast Implant Illness.

It was a tumultuous time of being so sick. And, after visiting with a few plastic surgeons in the area and finding out they didn’t believe it was the implants making me sick, I contacted Dr. Susan Kolb (Rebecca’s Doctor) in Atlanta and decided to go there for the explant in January 2013. It took Dr. Kolb, and another surgeon, five hours to remove the leaky implants and scrape the silicone from my ribcage. Immediately, within the next week, the headaches stopped, the joint aches, and mental fatigue faded. Rebecca and Dr. Kolb saved my life. Along with the moldy implants she removed, I had several lymph nodes that were precancerous and removed.

I followed Dr. Kolb’s protocol for de-tox and immediately began to heal, and go back to work. I was elected to the Topeka City Council 3 months after the explant. And, soon, all my issues except for the mold allergy were relieved. It has been a long journey, and luckily, I was not one of the victims that had lots of lingering issues.

I’m 67 now, and a very active Grandma! My annual physicals and all my lab tests are great except for inherited heart disease which both my parents died from. I’ve started a new business: where you can tell your life story. My Breast Implant Illness is part of my life story.

Being sick from breast implants robbed me of many happy moments in my life.

I would encourage “youngsters” to love your body enough and not want to not alter it with surgeries, or with foreign materials. I know most of my illnesses were caused by the silicone implants. And, although I maintained mind over matter to keep working, my life could have been cut short from them.

What I really don’t understand is how doctors can ignore all the complaining from well-educated women about their bodies after augmentation and not question the implants. I was a licensed professional health care administrator, a Legislator, then Director of Health programs for the State, to being the Executive Director of the State’s public health association. And, all during that time, not once did a physician ask me about my implants.

Another fact is that I learned that big government including the FDA does not really work to protect citizens, but rather protects Pharma and the medical professions. The lawsuits that ensued with Dow were a joke. They lost most of our information and those women that were compensated were compensated so little. Women continue to have implants and get really sick.

I really believe, as a former public health professional, that an “epidemic” is beginning to occur with thousands of women having Breast Implant Illness. Studies will be done and the truth will finally be known and then taught in medical schools. Maybe not all women get sick from implants, but why take a chance? I sure wish I hadn’t.

Elaine Schwartz

Topeka, KS

#BIIStory #March #BreastImplantAwarenessMonth

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