Signs and symptoms of Breast Implant Illness: Robyn Smith who had a double mastectomy underwent ‘toxic’ breast implants

Robyn Smith watched her mother die from ovarian cancer at 59 and she lost her maternal grandmother to breast cancer at just 52.

So when Doctors told her she was carrying the faulty BRCA2 gene – making her 87 per cent more likely to develop breast cancer – she made what she calls the “Sensible choice”.

She opted to have both breasts removed and replaced with Implants.

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But the move, aimed at promoting Longevity, proved highly troublesome.

In the months after her breast implant surgery, the mother of three slowly lost feeling in her hands, her hair began to fall out and her memory was “shot”.

She also had Insomnia. At one stage, she was awake for 70 hours straight.

That’s when Robyn connected the dots – her breast Implants were the root of the problem.

After living with breast Implants for 13 months, Robyn had the ‘toxic’ bags removed. Credit: Supplied

So she sought to have the Implants removed, begging the surgeon to leave her “flat chested”.

Just two weeks after the “explant”, the numbness in her hands subsided, her hair began growing back, the tooth had lifted from her brain and she was finally able to sleep.

Looking back, Robyn is flabbergasted at what she believes is a prevailing attitude about a woman’s appearance.

“Every time I saw a surgeon about getting my implants out, they would tell me it’s aesthetically unpleasing to have no breasts,” Robyn tells 7Life.

Not a choice

Robyn lost both her maternal and paternal grandmothers to cancer.

So when her mum was diagnosed with the illness, she and her brother underwent gene testing.

Robyn’s brother was negative for the mutated BRCA2 gene but she was positive.

The Canberra local had a 66 per cent chance of developing any sort of cancer in her lifetime and an 87 per cent increased risk of breast cancer.

Having watched the Destruction that cancer had wreaked on her family, Robyn requested a preventative double mastectomy.

“I was lucky because I had the time, unlike Mum,” Robyn says.

Robyn, then 39, began prepping for the mastectomy, and was offered information and advice on what to expect.

Six months after having the breast augmentation, Robyn's hair began to snap off.
Six months after having the breast augmentation, Robyn’s hair began to snap off. Credit: Supplied

“I was told the mental health benefits of getting Implants after the surgery were a lot better than if I didn’t get Implants at all,” she says.

“Not getting implants didn’t really seem like an option.”

Robyn lives a fairly ‘natural’ life, opting for items such as aluminum-free deodorant and paraben-free shampoo.

But when it came to breast implants, she didn’t hesitate to follow the Doctors’ recommendations.

She chose Implants the same size as her natural breasts, to be inserted during the mastectomy procedure.

Just three months after her mother died, Robyn went under the knife.

The first sign of trouble

With her two new Silicon breasts in place of where her “old boobs” were once, Robyn was happy overall.

As she continued to heal, she didn’t mind the fact she didn’t need to wear a bra with her new perky breasts.

But in the months that followed, she began suffering from short-term memory loss.

“At first, it was things like I couldn’t remember where my toothbrush was,” she says.

Then severe fatigue set in.

After the preventative mastectomy, Robyn opted for breast implants.
After the preventative mastectomy, Robyn opted for breast implants. Credit: Supplied

Once a lover of exercise, Robyn could barely make a lap around the supermarket before she was out of breath.

Her hair began to fall out in chunks and her hands would suffer bouts of numbness and uncontrollable tingling.

“I thought I had MS (multiple sclerosis),” Robyn says, referring to the debilitating disease that attacks the nervous system.

That’s when she Uncovered Breast implant illness (BII).

While BII is not a medically recognized condition, thousands of women Nationwide report their breast implants have made them ill.

On page 57 million it said the patient may suffer from my exact symptoms.

Digging Deeper, Robyn opened the pamphlets she was handed pre-surgery and began reading the fine print.

“Implants can contain anything from arsenic, rat bait, platinum, lead, cobalt,” Robyn says.

“And on page 57 million of the pamphlet it said the patient may suffer from my exact symptoms.”

Six months post-op, Robyn headed back to the doctor in a quest to find an answer.

Her notion of BII was rejected and she underwent a barrage of tests to find the cause of her symptoms.

But deep down, Robyn knew her Implants were poisoning her.

Post op suffering

“I didn’t experience any of this prior to my implants,” she says.

“I just wanted them out.”

Her Insomnia continued to impact her, with the mum at one stage unable to sleep for a total of 70 hours.

More research led Robyn back to her original surgeon where she booked her explant surgery.

The mum of three is now proud to be 'unbreasted' and 'flat chested'.
The mum of three is now proud to be ‘unbreasted’ and ‘flat chested’. Credit: Supplied

The surgeon Suggested leaving a “pocket” inside her breasts in case she changed her mind later and wanted Implants reinserted.

But she was done with breasts – and was looking forward to her life flat chested.

Thirteen months after the Implants were inserted, Robyn had the “toxic bags” removed – and she instantly felt better.

Within two weeks, her hair was back, the color in her skin had returned and she could finally sleep.

The cloud of fog had lifted and her Weekly grocery shop no longer left her gasping for air.

Robyn is now proudly flat chested.

“We need to normalize being flat chested,” she says.

“You need to trust your gut and seek a second opinion and understand what is best for you.”

Report symptoms

Robyn is now urging other women suffering with breast Implants to no longer sit in silence and report any Symptom on the Australian Government Department of Health website.

With more than 20,000 women having breast implants in Australia each year, the Australian Breast Device Registry says explant surgeries rose by 4.2 per cent from 2016 to 2020.

“One surgeon I spoke to said he’s doing at least five explants every week,” Robyn says.

The 42-year-old now helps guide other women through their breast and ovarian cancer journey.
The 42-year-old now helps guide other women through their breast and ovarian cancer journey. Credit: Supplied

It’s been three years since Robyn has had her Implants removed and she has never looked back.

Now 42, she is the Programs Manager at the organization Pink Hope, helping raise awareness for all things “breasts”.

“I want women to seek a second opinion,” she says.

“Understand what is best for you and know you have a choice.

“You don’t have to have breasts if you don’t want them.”

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