If you’ve seen Lauryn’s Instagram Stories over the last few days you know that she recently had her breast implants removed. She’s going to do a whole blog post on it soon so stay tuned.
In the meantime, today we have Candice Barley (you may know her from Fear The Walking Dead) on the blog to share her experience with breast implants. In this post she’s going to tell us why she got breast implants, how they affected her and why she decided to get them removed.
It’s important for us to say: we have no judgement on fake titties! You do you, whatever makes you feel your best. Candice is here to share HER journey and story in the hopes that it could help someone feeling the same way she did.
With that, let’s welcome Candice to the blog.
HOW IT STARTED
My journey to the implant table began long before I was a woman. It started as a young girl in middle school. My father is a commercial photographer and I grew up with photography books throughout our home. These books were filled with black and white images of women in their all-natural, small-chested glory.
I was a dedicated ballerina from the age of five and surrounded with sleek, flat-chested bodies. My mom was happily an A cup and my grandmother, who had larger breasts, was constantly going to the chiropractor for neck and back pain. The world I lived in never modeled to me that larger breasts were “better.” It wasn’t even on my radar.
Then middle school happened.
All of the sudden my lack of breasts (I had zero) was a main source of entertainment for my peers. Especially girls! WTF? My pivotal moment of emotional trauma was in the girl’s locker room in the 6th grade. A true Mean Girls movie moment. A gang of ample-breasted girls all silently gathered behind me as I took off my shirt, exposing my training bra. I suddenly became aware of the sound of laughter and snickering behind me.
As I turned around, the “Regina” of the group loudly asked, “if you didn’t have feet would you wear socks?”
Cut to my totally confused, deer in headlights expression.
I stammered, “Uhhh no?”
There was a slight pause before she delivered the punchline.
“Then why are you wearing a bra?!”
As they all laughed and pointed, I slowly looked down at my chest and spun back to my locker to hide my face before the tears streamed down my red cheeks flushed with embarrassment.
That would signal the beginning of the torment I would endure over the next five years as a result of my flat chest. I was a late bloomer, didn’t get my period until I was 16 and the breasts, although small, didn’t arrive until I was 17.
So where do the implants come in? Well, after breastfeeding two kids, I was once again as flat at 24 years old as I had been in that 6th grade locker room. The messed up idea that I was somehow inferior without breasts came rushing back.
I got my first set of implants at 24. They were a small set of 275cc saline implants that transformed me into a full B cup. I loved them and even though they literally looked like someone bolted grapefruits onto my chest, I felt feminine in clothes. However, within six months, I was going to my primary care doctor trying to figure out why I was so freaking exhausted. Like SO TIRED that I was sure something was wrong with me. Maybe I had a thyroid issue, anemia, narcolepsy? But nope! Blood work all looked fine and I was assured it was simply because I had two kids under four.
So at barely the age of 24 years old, I just accepted that chronic fatigue was a normal part of motherhood. If only I’d realized that my body warning me of what was to come.
SEVENTEEN YEARS WITH IMPLANTS
Happily, but chronically exhausted, I carried on my life with my small (but obvious) breast implants. Until one night about two years after I’d first implanted, as I was undressing to get into the shower, I looked down and to my absolute horror, I had only ONE BOOB! The other one was totally flat. I felt sick. For no apparent reason, one of them had completely deflated. After I got over the initial shock, I remembered that I’d bought the Mentor Implant Insurance plan. I had both implants replaced in a second breast surgery. A new set of saline filled to 325cc.
Two years later, while riding a rollercoaster with my son on his 8th birthday, another fucking ruptured implant. Surgery number three: replaced with another set of saline implants filled up even more to 375cc. Every time, the implants got bigger and the symptoms got worse.
I was plagued with chronic fatigue. Out of nowhere, it seemed, I’d also developed severe gut issues, restless leg syndrome and my skin had become a constant battle of melasma and acne. Of course, I had none of these issues prior to getting implants. But that didn’t occur to me. Not even once. I just tried to manage being present for my three active boys when really all I felt like doing was laying down and putting a pillow over my head.
A few years later I found out about the “gummy bear implants.” I consulted a reputable surgeon and he assured me that the new cohesive implants were a perfect option for me since I was prone to saline ruptures. So back to surgery I went. Yep! Surgery number FOUR. I was confident this would be the final solution.
When I woke up, I was informed that based on my skin laxity the surgeon had picked, what he determined, was the best size for me. Life had really come full circle as I stared at my huge, new, 425cc gummy bear boobs. I was now a reluctant 34DD and adjusting to a body I never wanted when I got my first set of implants. Oh and the debilitating symptoms I’d been experiencing, well, they were about to get a hell of a lot worse.
I developed heart palpitations and anxiety. My hormones went insane. I started suffering from dry eyes, constant whole body inflammation, weight gain, hair loss and even worse skin rashes and acne. I tried everything! Master Cleanse, detoxes, keto, vegan, and supplements that cost more than my monthly grocery bill.
Eventually, in 2018, I was bedridden with full body tremors and a failing liver. My liver enzymes were doubling every four weeks and I was told to schedule a liver biopsy. Simple things, like my job as an actor or taking care of my sons, had become impossible. My life screeched to a halt. In a moment of complete desperation, as I cried alone in my bedroom, I screamed out from the depths of my soul, “what’s wrong with me?”
What happened next is something I still can’t explain. I heard a VERY clear voice in my right ear say just two words: “BREAST IMPLANTS.”
Still, to this day, it sounds insane, even to me. Mind you, I was 41 and I’d never heard “a voice” in my entire life. After I stopped shaking, calmed down and tried to determine if I had lost my mind, I grabbed my laptop and googled “can breast implants make you sick?”
That’s the moment everything changed.
NOTHING IS FOR NOTHING
As I read through thousands of women’s stories, it was as if I had written them myself. Women described a laundry list of symptoms of which I had almost EVERY single one.
For the first time I saw a medical term that simultaneously terrified me and comforted me: “Breast Implant Illness,” also known as BII. Suddenly, it all became CRYSTAL clear to me. I needed these implants out of my body NOW!
Armed with this revolutionary information, I went back to my doctors feeling empowered and hopeful. Unfortunately, that’s when the medical gaslighting began. They actually laughed at me and suggested I “stay off of Google.” They patted my hand, smirked and told me that there was no peer-reviewed proof that implants had any side effects as they broke the news to me that I should schedule the biopsy because my enzymes had doubled. Yet again.
I had the evidence I needed, shared by other women suffering with BII, and I decided to follow my gut. I refocused my energy towards getting my implants removed.
First, I joined several BII Facebook groups with a combined community of over a hundred thousand women with stories just like mine. Then I spent weeks finding a qualified surgeon (that’s a whole story in itself) who performed explant surgery that included the complete removal of the scar capsule that forms around the implant.
Six weeks later on June 28th, 2018, I had my explant surgery.
As I woke up from surgery, I could immediately tell something was different. To my complete surprise, I could breath better than I had in the last 17 years. My body just felt free and my spirit liberated.
My ailing liver struggled to process the general anesthesia and meds. I got an infection from my drains and I was once again flat. Strangely though, I didn’t care. I intuitively knew I’d made the right decision and was determined to get my life back. I began deep diving into functional medicine and started seeing a naturopathic doctor.
When I finally went back to my hepatologist to determine a date for my liver biopsy, they performed one last blood test. Nervously, I waited the four long days for the results. When the doctor called and reported that my liver enzymes had reduced by HALF I knew I was on my way to recovery. Though they were still elevated, the doctor was shocked and agreed to let me wait another month for the biopsy. One month later and my liver enzymes and other labs came back PERFECT.
The only thing I had done was remove my breast implants.
Since then it’s been a wild but beautiful ride. I have dedicated my time to educating myself on detoxing protocols, non-toxic beauty and the best healing modalities. I began sharing my BII story and how I restored my health on my IG channel @olisticolife and my life transformed yet again. I was inundated with stories in my DM’s from women who were just like me. I put my acting career on hold to help women learn how to advocate for themselves through their explant journey. Ultimately, I began working as a patient advocate for explant surgeon, Dr. Robert Whitfield, who’s known as the Breast Implant Illness expert.
Every day I work with women as they navigate the realization that their implants may very well be the root cause of many of the symptoms they have struggled with for years. I know exactly what they’re going through.
I am them and they are me.
I don’t regret any of my story.
Through this very painful process, I found my purpose. It’s how met Lauryn and how I am here sharing today.
Pain can turn to purpose, it’s all connected to something much bigger or as my friend, Angi Fletcher, says “nothing is for nothing.”
As we mentioned Lauryn will be doing a blog post about her implant removal experience, but in the meantime you can listen to Dr. Whitfield on The Skinny Confidential HIM & HER Show to hear more about the removals he does.
We hope you found value in this post and if you or someone you know is experiencing some of these symptoms (and has implants), forward this post to them.
Stay tuned for blog posts from Candice in the coming months.
x, The Skinny Confidential team
+ stalk these self-care tips for busy moms.
++ for more surgery realness, check out this post from Arielle Lorre.