• Lee Ann

Beyond the decline of your physical health, what else have you suffered due to BII?

Today I want you to think about what all you have suffered beyond your health due to Breast Implant Illness. Any form of chronic illness, can truly take its toll on our lives. Certainly our health has been affected, but the suffering goes so far beyond physical symptoms. BII can have an effect on our relationships, our ability to perform responsibilities, our self-worth, the ability to trust in ourselves, and our joy. Read on for more in depth discussion and some tips for dealing with the challenges in each of these areas.

Relationships -

Many of us have suffered a negative change in relationships with spouses, family members, and friends. BII can affect our moods making it harder to communicate and relate to others. We may be more irritable or more distanced. Often others will not understand our illness and may even not believe that we are sick, even putting pressure on us to “snap out of it.”

This is why it is so important that you find support from other women who are in similar situations. These women are going to GET IT. They are going to be your TRIBE. When you need to vent, when you need to cry, when you need to celebrate a success that to others on the outside might see as insignificant, THESE women are going to be there to listen, to show support, and to celebrate!

The Blessed by BII group on facebook is focused on cultivating your self-love while healing from BII, and is filled with some really amazing women that are sure to support and inspire you through this difficult process, AND there is beginning to be a decent variety of different BII groups on Facebook that all have a slightly different focus, so I’m confident you’ll be able to find one (or several) that really resonate well with you.

By finding support from women who truly can relate to your situation you’re taking the pressure off of your friends and family members by not expecting them to fill a role that they just don’t have the life-experience to adequately serve in. You’ll feel more supported and understood and your relationships won’t be affected by that added stress.

You can find my Blessed by BII closed group on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Responsibilities -

Many of us have suffered an inability to thoroughly fill our responsibilities. When you are chronically ill the ability to be the mother you want to be will suffer, the ability to keep up with housework and errands will suffer, the ability to wake up each day and get ready to head off to work will suffer, the ability to fill your roles and complete your duties at your job will suffer, the ability to meet your potential as a student will suffer, and the list goes on and on. This can bring about feelings of failure, but the truth is, the fact that we continue to force our way through fulfilling those roles despite how physically and emotionally drained we are only speaks to our strength.

This is why it is so important to begin taking steps to reclaim your health. Each small change you employ will give you a bit more energy to spend on the things that really matter to you. And there’s no need to wait until explant to begin making these small changes.

Before explanting you can ensure that you’re staying hydrated every day so that your body is able to function as effectively as possible. You can begin slowly incorporating more movement into your life - think setting a goal to take a 10 minute walk each afternoon so you can begin boosting your endorphin levels to naturally ease some of your pain and discomfort and also boost your moods. You can incorporate anti-inflammatory nutrition to help ease the autoimmune response that is occurring in your body in response to your implants. You can begin doing the soul-work of forgiving yourself for the choices that have led you to this point, and promising yourself that in each moment you will try to do better, love yourself more, and cherish your body as the gift it truly is.

The road to recovery is long, but the focus should always be on PROGRESS. Are you still heading in the right direction? Or have you completely stalled along the path? Each step, no matter how small or slow, is still progress. With each step you will grow stronger, and the walk to recovery will become less difficult. Need help getting started? Message me, follow my page, or join my group!

Self-worth -

When dealing with chronic illness it’s common for self-worth to begin to suffer. This is due to that feeling of failure we just talked about. When you feel like you’re failing at being a mom, failing at being a wife, maybe literally failing in school, or seriously dropping the ball at work, it takes a HUGE hit on our self-esteem. We begin to internalize this failure as, “I’m not good enough,” rather than, “I’m sick and because of that I can’t maintain these roles alone right now.”

Consider this though, if a close friend of yours was suffering from a chronic illness that is medically and generally recognized (we’ll use cancer for an example), NO ONE would say, “Theresa is a terrible mother, I can’t believe she forgot about snack day AGAIN! Leukemia is no excuse!” or “I can’t believe Justine is taking off work sick again! I think she’s exaggerating how bad her chemo is making her feel.” or “I can’t believe my cancer-ridden wife isn’t interested in my sexual advances and would rather sleep.” All of those statements are ABSURD, right? No one would ever dare speak those things.

But what if I say, “Theresa is a terrible mother. I can’t believe she forgot about snack day AGAIN! Breast Implant Illness isn’t even a real thing!” or “I can’t believe Justine is taking off work sick again! I think she’s making up all this stuff about being sick from her breast implants.” or “I can’t believe my wife isn’t interested in sex tonight, I think she is using BII as an excuse. Maybe I’m not attractive to her anymore, maybe she’s having an affair, or maybe she doesn’t love me anymore.”? Now you’re probably thinking, Yeh, I could definitely hear someone making THOSE statements.

The only difference is the first set of statements are centered around an illness that is widely understood by both the medical community and, as a result, the general population. The second set of statements centers around BII, which is still incredibly controversial within the medical community, and therefore almost unheard of by the general population. When people don’t know something they put their trust in others whom they deem experts, and when most of the medical community is saying “breast implants are safe” people are going to trust that without question until they’re forced to see otherwise. Unfortunately we’ve all been forced to see otherwise, but we can’t blame others who haven’t been. We can only plant the seeds of knowledge and leave them to grow on their own.

All of that being said, just because the medical community, Sally from the PTA, or Bill in HR don’t believe in BII it doesn’t mean you aren’t sick. Your self-worth does not need to suffer because you don’t have a well-known medical diagnosis. SIS, YOU DO NOT NEED THE VALIDATION OF OTHERS TO TREAT YOURSELF WITH GRACE AND COMPASSION. You do not need “them” to confirm you are sick. Your body has been SCREAMING at you with this list of symptoms you’ve been suffering. Your intuition IS ENOUGH.

So let go of the GUILT and FAILURE you’ve been feeling, and instead start treating yourself with the same love, grace, and compassion you would treat your best friend who’s battling cancer and still attempting to fill her role of wife, mother, employee, student, friend, etc. Seek help where you need it, seek support, and seek answers from WITHIN.

Trust in ourselves -

As we briefly touched on in the last section, when people we view with authority (aka doctors, scientists, colleagues) and people we love and respect (friends, family) don’t believe in our illness it can make us doubt ourselves. We begin questioning if what we’re feeling could be due to other factors. When test after test comes back with no answers we begin wondering if all of this is just in our heads. Instead of leaning on our intuition, we begin doubting our sanity.

Let me just tell you now, if you didn’t truly feel sick, you wouldn’t be acting sick. You’d be out playing with your kids and doing the things that light your soul on fire! Your body isn’t lying to you. The symptoms you are experiencing are very real. They are a message SCREAMING to you that something is not right. This is your body telling you something is throwing it out of balance.

Aging is a natural process, menopause is a natural process. Pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding are natural processes. They SHOULD NOT result in debilitating symptoms unless something else is having an effect on your hormones or other bodily systems.

Does that mean it’s definitely your implants? Nope. But often times the most obvious answer is correct, and although I do not have a medical degree, I would say having two giant toxin filled foreign objects surgically implanted into your body, increasing the likelihood of compromise through introduction of bacteria, development of biofilms, or development of mold or fungal colonies, seems like a pretty obvious contributor to musculoskeletal, autoimmune, hormonal, digestive, and neurological symptoms.

If you’re doubting whether or not your implants are the cause of your problems, my response is this:

If you are having debilitating symptoms YOUR IMPLANTS ARE NOT HELPING YOUR BODY ANY. Maybe they aren’t the direct cause of what you’re experiencing, but they certainly may be making it HARDER for you body to try to heal whatever is the cause. So, no, there is no guarantee that removing your implants will make you better, but this is not the time to doubt your intuition and the messages your body is sending you.

Joy -

Finally, BII has a huge affect on our ability to experience JOY. When you’re in pain or chronically fatigued it’s really, really F-ing hard to be joyful.

Think about the last time you had the flu, did anyone expect you to be joyful? Did you expect yourself to be joyful? Yeh, didn’t think so. You were probably more like, “Everyone just let me sleep, and sweat, and shiver in my feverish delirium...and also could you please bring me some chicken noodle soup?”

But that doesn’t change the fact that we WANT to experience joy. When you have the flu, you sort-of trust that it’s only going to last a week, but when you have a chronic illness sometimes you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Gratefulness is your headlamp to see you through the long dark tunnel. By that I mean, when you can't see the light, your saving grace is going to be practicing gratefulness.

At first gratefulness can be a little challenging, especially when you're facing pain and illness each day. However, as you begin seeking out small moments that you feel grateful for, you'll realize there's plenty in life that still sparks your joy. It's just been drowned out and pushed out of your focus by your BII struggle.

By bringing those things that give you joy back into focus you're actually helping your body to relax which allows the healing response to activate and your symptoms to settle down a bit.

So start this very moment, is there anything about this moment or this day that you're grateful for? Can you hear the song of a bird? Did you feel the warmth of the sun on your skin? Did you turn your head to the sky and let a few raindrops dance across your face? Did you nourish your body with some tasty fresh local produce? Did you bury your hands in the soft fur of a pet? Did you share a smile with someone you love? Did you accomplish a small goal? Did you treat yourself with love rather than criticism?

THESE are the types of things that will compound your joy. Focus on them, expand on them, and eventually if all of your focus is directed towards gratefulness and positivity, there won't be as much left of it to be directed toward your pain and struggles.

BII can take so much, but it's also an opportunity for us to GAIN.

When we let go of our expectations of who we think we are and what we think our life should look like, then we can begin listening to our Inner Wisdom. We can lean into our authentic selves, and we can trust that where we are now is where we're meant to be.

BII is a chance for us to love ourselves wholly, lose ourselves completely, but gain the WHOLE WORLD.

Transformations can be rough, so If you're not there yet, that's OK, but someday you're going to wearily emerge from this smothering chrysalis of chronic illness and realize that BII has painted you the most brilliant, beautiful wings. So promise me you'll use them to FLY sister!


If you liked this article check out my post: Break Away From Chronic Illness for some tips to change your perspective to one of healing. Find it by clicking here.

Find Blessed by BII on Facebook by clicking here.

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© 2019 by Lee Ann Coldsmith, Self Love and Soul Shine. 

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