Hi friends! It’s been 4 long months since I’ve updated you, which, considering this is a cancer blog, is a very good thing. I keep meaning to update you after each of my doctor’s appointments, but LIFE. Today marks 2 years since my breast cancer diagnosis, and I am happy to report I’m healthy and doing great. Praise the LORD!
Before I tell you why I’m here, can we all stop and appreciate that after I wrote this in my last post:
…THIS showed up on my doorstep? 😂
How great are my friends?
Which brings me to the reason I am writing today. My friend, Stephanie (aka my cancer buddy), called me on March 25th and asked if I’d watched the Today show that morning. I let her know I hadn’t and questioned why she asked. She proceeded to tell me about a story they aired about a link researchers have found between textured breast implants and Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma. The professionals refer to it as BIA-ALCL (Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma).
Upon hearing this, I immediately began to wonder what type of implants I had.
Common sense would tell you that if you have implants, you probably know what type they are. But after polling a few friends, I realized 99% of us have no clue. In fact, I remember being so happy to be cancer free at the time of my surgery that the doctor could have put stuffed animals in my chest and I wouldn’t have cared.
For those not in the know, there are basically two types of implants: smooth or textured. These can either be filled with saline or silicone, and are either round or tear drop in shape. In other words, it’s as straightforward as choosing the right shade of white paint for your walls and whether or not you are using an eggshell, satin or high gloss finish.
Upon having implant surgery, each patient is given 2 identification cards.
These cards, GET THIS, have serial numbers on the back for each ‘device’. Apparently, patients are supposed to keep the cards so they know what type of implant they have in case problems arise. I don’t know about you, but I can barely keep track of my car keys less, much less my serial numbers. Holy cow. By the grace of God, however, I found these in my desk drawer after talking to Stephanie. I also found an old mother’s day card, some Christmas stamps, an iPod shuffle and a Carrabba’s gift card (pasta, anyone?).
It might be time to clean out my drawers.
As it turns out, Natrelle is the name of the textured implants (made by Allergen) which are the ones in question. And they are the ones I have. Lucky me. This DOES NOT mean I have lymphoma. It only means I have a higher risk of developing it due to the type of implants I have.
Because of the correlation between the textured implants and lymphoma, the implants have just recently been banned in several European countries including France and the Netherlands.
And just last week Canada decided to suspend all sales.
In addition, experts in Australia met this week to determine if they would allow the implants, but stopped just short of a ban giving manufacturers Allergen and Mentor 10 days to supply new ‘evidence of safety’ regarding these devices. The FDA also met at the end of March and is considering whether or not to ban the products or suspend sales.
The risk of women with textured implants developing BIA-ALCL is between 1 and 1000 and 1 and 30,000. That’s not a risk I am willing to take. As a result, I’ve decided to have my textured implants removed and will swap them out for smooth ones this Monday, April 15th.
Which means I will now be dreading Tax Day just like millions of other Americans.
I will also add it to my growing list of holidays on which my procedures and surgeries have taken place. (If my iPhone calendar considers it a ‘holiday’, who am I to argue?)
I realize this may seem like an extreme measure to some, but after you’ve been through what I have, you are not willing to risk developing yet another type of cancer. No matter how rare. I hesitated sharing this because it is a very personal decision. My intent is not to alarm anyone who has textured implants or to raise any unnecessary red flags. Instead, I wish to inform those patients who have this type of implant and might be unaware of this news. Also to raise awareness for those who have yet to choose their implants, and can discuss this issue with their physician when making a choice. Every patient has the right to know about this so that they can make an informed decision about how to proceed. And what is right for one is not necessarily right for all.
Although this surgery is very unexpected, there IS good news. It should be fairly straightforward with minimal downtime. I will have 2 drains, but they should be out within a few days. In other words, I should be back to normal in no time!
As always, your prayers are SO appreciated.
As are your unicorn planters.
Thank you for continuing to love me and encourage me along this crazy ride!
Until next time…much love to you all & make every day count,
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1