(Note from Erin: I had my implants out seven years ago and wrote a book about it that’s been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. It’s a free download, click here if you’d like a copy.)
Brandi Pope, 38, a mother-of-three and former Mrs. Virginia had silicone implants a couple of years ago to replace saline implants she had gotten in 2009. However, after those replacements, her health spiraled. And it was this declining health that eventually led her to contemplate suicide.
Her symptoms, characteristic of “breast implant illness” began with shortness of breath and muscle pain and then nausea and chest pain. Over the course of years, she had some ovarian cysts removed (and doctors diagnosed her with gastroparesis and PCOS) colonoscopies, many blood tests, five endoscopies and carpal tunnel testing due to the constant numbness in her hands. And during this entire journey, doctors were misdiagnosing her; her pain and illness were all due to her implants.
Pope, a former swimsuit model, first underwent breast augmentation in 2004 after two pregnancies left her hating her breasts. Although she only wanted a breast lift, doctors insisted she get implants for volume.
“However, the saline implants caused persistent issues through the years and in 2009 Mrs Pope had them swapped for silicone implants instead after her third baby. Mrs Pope said: ‘I never liked my first set because I had issues with capsular contracture, rippling and the implants not settling. It was a mess and they never felt “real” – relatively speaking.
‘Initially I felt great and I was happy to have the girls where they used to be. But it didn’t take long before I became more self-conscious than before. I didn’t ever want them to bring attention to me. I never wanted people to question me about getting implants. After my revision in 2009 the doctor went with a bigger implant to fill out the loose skin from having my third baby and I went to a 34D.'”1
(I feel her pain and am so thankful I was also able to have my breast implants out 7 years ago. To read my story, click here. You can also watch my story below.)
Within a year, her health started to decline. Due to her constant pain and anxiety, she began to feel like a burden on her husband and children- especially once it got difficult to get out of bed to care for them.
“I had everything from shortness of breath, muscle and joint pain, chest pains and chronic reflux…I had anxiety, constant pain and nausea. I started to have suicidal thoughts because my health had gotten so bad.”2
And then, in 2017, a friend who had been watching her struggle, told her about someone she knew who’d had her implants removed and found out it was them that had been making her sick for years.
Now a 32B (down from a 34D), after having her implants removed on October 30th, 2017, she feels reborn:
“Not once did a doctor tell me it could be my implants causing me to be sick. None of them could give me answers as to why I was so young and living such a healthy lifestyle, yet my health continued to decline. Sharing my story on Instagram opened up a door of opportunity to help so many women. Just when I thought I was alone, I realized that there is an entire community of women suffering and they need hope from a survivor to keep them going. I want to prove to doctors that the sickness isn’t in our heads.”3
We stand with Pope and every other woman suffering from breast implant illness. And we are thrilled for her that she finally has her life back.