There is always a risk when putting your personal life on display for the world to see. The web makes it seamless for instantaneous judgment to occur before our very eyes. So, I hesitated for a moment before taking this opportunity to share my story. But, no risk, no reward… right? And, I’m especially passionate about sharing my story during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a happy coincidence that I get to share during a month where awareness on women’s health is heightened, confirming my choice to continue my pursuit of health.
So, here goes.
After eight years, I am removing my breast implants and not replacing them. Back to my au naturel state, knowing that I will not be the same as I was pre-implants because I’m eight years older and my body has changed. Thus, there is that element of surprise — and the uncertainty of the unknown that I bravely face with no guarantees.
Since we live in a culture so focused on body image and body shaming, I’m going through a mixed bag of emotions. I’m up against a society obsessed with more, bigger and bolder. And, as a fitness instructor, my physique is my business card. The pressure I put on myself to “look the part” is a burden that comes with the territory. Most days, when I look in the mirror, I see an attractive, sensitive, confident and accomplished woman. I also see two lady parts that do not serve me anymore, and the health risks are hitting me over the head to the extent that I can no longer ignore. I do not regret getting the implants in the first place. I was happy with them for a while… until I wasn’t. For me, there are much more cons than pros to keeping them in my body.
Loving the skin you were born in is a beautiful concept. However, what girls are taught is that a skinner figure will give us great love. A bigger bust will make us sexier. Toned legs will prove we are dedicated and workout hard. That kind of crap.
I was bullied for being too skinny. Into my 20’s and 30’s, I had natural breasts and implants were not even a topic on my mind. I loved my size and shape. It was not until I saw signs of aging that I decided to lift them in order to feel more feminine. I went to a doctor on a recommendation from a friend, and he sold me on additional size plus the lift. I bought into it. Large and fake was happening at the time. It’s funny looking back because I think women did not mind the phony appearance, I sure didn’t. In fact, I wore it proudly like a badge of courage. Then, after a couple of years, the whole “more is more” mentality felt like a joke and I began to feel the least sexy I have ever felt with unnaturally large ta-ta’s.
My breast implants make me uncomfortable, not only because of the added weight on my chest, but due to other challenges with my body, particularly my spine. I suffer with scoliosis, had a recent back fusion surgery and continue to deal with chronic back pain. So, for me, it’s a no-brainer to get rid of two things possibly working against my battle with gravity and structural imbalance.
It’s important to note that there is no proof that implants are a cause of cancer. I do, however, have breast cancer in my family; my maternal grandmother underwent two mastectomies within ten years. Thankfully, she was well into her 70’s and lived to tell about it, but it’s something I’m always aware of in regards to my health. I have good odds; however, having implants does make the breast cancer detection process more difficult.
I help coach clients to achieve wellness goals, and I’m a teacher who lives by example. I’m also a purist, so keeping silicone in my body has me in a constant state of flux, questioning my integrity because I know the toxicity has the potential of contributing to illness. Could they be causing me added pain and risk of disease? Yes, and even though there is no medically-backed proof, there are thousands of women experiencing similar symptoms of sickness to corroborate my concerns. I am confident I do not want to poison my body any further when I can take action now to stop it. It comes down to me taking charge of my health and taking hold of one thing I do have control over.
I miss hugs the most. I feel as though two rocks are between another human and me. It’s actually become an issue in how I interact and connect with people. One of the things I look forward to the most post-surgery is being freed from that emotional discomfort. This is just the beginning of my journey back to my natural state, the pre-surgery tale. Since any surgery is scary and that element of fear is present, I appreciate your positive vibes accompanying me on this journey.
To learn more about Breast Cancer Awareness Month and how you can get involved, check out my post from last October.