Today is going to involve going to another level of raw, my loves. I’m not sugarcoating this: my emotional world has been riding a rough, rough rollercoaster since finding out that I was going to have to get a breast explant surgery experience.
If you don’t know what a breast explant surgery is, it’s basically getting your breast implants removed. These surgeries happen for various reasons, and I’ll tell you all about mine. I’m hoping this will help anyone thinking of getting breast explant surgery, or even anyone thinking of getting implants, but I’m sharing about it for another reason.
This blog and my podcast are all about unfucking your relationships, yes—but it’s especially about unfucking your relationship with yourself first and foremost, and body image is a huge piece of that. So let’s get into it.
Let me start by giving the background of what led up to this breast explant surgery shitstorm. First of all, I’m thirty-three now. When I was twenty or twenty-one, I got breast implants. I’d wanted implants since I was—no bullshit—around ten years old. I always wanted big, fake-looking boobs, which is funny looking back, because my boobs didn’t look or feel fake at all.
I was a stripper for over a decade, and every dude thought they were real. I’ve had boyfriends who thought they were real. They were amazing. They quickly became my favorite part of my body; there was nothing that I would’ve changed. Absolutely nothing.
The scarring wasn’t even a big deal. My scar was through my areola, around my nipple, and you couldn’t even see it. It was so fucking invisible. So it wasn’t like my boobs looked like shit and I wanted to get them redone anyways. I loved these fucking things.
Then a few months ago, I said to my partner that I’d been having a little bit of pain on my right breast. It’s kind of hard to explain, but it was basically in the cleavage area, the inside of my bottom right breast.
Honestly, it didn’t hurt during day-to-day life. It wasn’t a huge issue. But if I touched it, it felt like it was bruised. I do breast massages quite frequently, so I thought that maybe I’d gone too hard with that or maybe that I had done too much at the gym. I thought maybe I’d done something to my rib, but I genuinely was not concerned.
I’m sharing because I want you to know this. If you have pain of any sort in that area and you happen to have implants, you might want to get that checked out.
Anyway, my partner kept telling me I needed to see a doctor, and I put it off for a good long while. But he kept pushing, and finally I booked in with my GP. So she was feeling around, and she couldn’t really tell, so she sent me in for an ultrasound. She said her best guess was that I had a ruptured implant, but she wanted to do an ultrasound to scan for a ruptured implant or cancer or cysts or whatever it might be.
Obviously I heard the big C word, and that gave me pause for a second, but there was no part of me that felt like it was cancer or even a cyst. As soon as she said rupture, I knew that was it, and I did not want it to be because of how much I loved my boobs and how attached I was to them.
I went and got the ultrasound, but I had to wait a week before I finally got the call from my doctor telling me it was, in fact, a ruptured implant.
So, sidebar, there are two different kinds of ruptures. If I’m wrong on this, sorry, I don’t know medical terminology, but this is how I remember it. There’s intracapsular and extracapsular, and with intracapsular, your implant basically inside a capsule of scar tissue. If it’s ruptured that way and the capsule’s still intact, you need to get your implants replaced or taken out, but it’s not super urgent. However, I had an extracapsular rupture, meaning it had broken through the capsule of scar tissue and my body was exposed to silicon.
I didn’t realize I was supposed to be having like ultrasounds or MRIs like every couple of years to monitor the implants because I’d had them for quite a while. I did know that I was going to have to get them replaced or taken out in the next couple years anyway, but I did not anticipate it being this sudden.
So at that point, because it happened so suddenly and I had no time to prepare, I had this whole huge emotional rollercoaster, because I did not want to get my boobs taken out at all. I did not want breast explant surgery. I did not think I had any symptoms of breast implant illness.
This wasn’t a situation where my health was horrible and me getting breast explant surgery was going to be the answer to all of my prayers. It wasn’t something I wanted. But my options were either to get them fully taken out and replace them, or to get them taken out and do a fat transfer. Either way, I was having breast explant surgery, no matter how little I wanted it.
I called a couple of different surgeons and put something up on my Instagram, and people gave me their recommendations as well. I ended up finding these two surgeons that I felt really comfortable with and booked with them.
My emotional struggles throughout the breast explant surgery experience were not because of their treatment at all. I really felt really cared for throughout the process. The woman who booked me in actually told me that she’d had a breast explant surgery before, so she was happy to help me with the emotional stuff.
Anyways, I was freaking out. I did not want anything to change about my body, and this really showed me where I was at in terms of my body image.
So breast explant surgery day rolls around, and I’m literally fucking sobbing beforehand. I was there for hours all by myself, silently freaking out. I’d decided to do a fat transfer, but I was still losing something, you know?
Breast explant surgery happens. I wake up in recovery and I’m totally fine. My surgeon said that the surgery went really well; however, they were only able to get about a quarter of the fat that we wanted for the transfer. I felt really disappointed about that, but it was fine. I was happy, I was healthy, I was good. But the emotional part wasn’t over yet.
It’s really fucking easy to love yourself when you look in the mirror and you like what you see. But when I lost my boobs, I felt like I was losing this part of me that made me a woman. I didn’t want to lose something that I felt made me so feminine, a part of me that I was really attached to. And on top of that, I didn’t even get to see them for a week, and they told me that my areola had a lot of scar tissue from the original scar, so now my nipple is puckered in.
It might go back to normal, or it might be like that forever. They gave me massage techniques to try, but no one really knows.
So now I’m like, not only did I not want breast explant surgery, but now my nipple’s on the piss. I was convinced my boobs looked horrible before I ever even saw them.
Honestly, my mental health went a little bit haywire. Not the whole time—I’d say I was actually pretty positive like 80% of the time—but for the other 20%, I didn’t feel like myself.
I’ll be honest—I feel ugly. I feel deformed right now just sharing this. And I feel ridiculous for even feeling this way, knowing what I teach and what I preach, but that’s the honest truth of it.
This part of myself that I loved so much was now gone. And I know that in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal, but I didn’t realize how much of my value I had placed on my boobs and being curvy and sexy. Not that I’m not sexy now, but it felt different.
When I finally got the surgical tape off after and was able to see my boobs for the first time…honestly? It wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. From the front, I’m actually super happy. From the side, they’re like ski slopes a little bit, but a few friends have told me that’s how natural boobs are. I haven’t had natural boobs since I was practically a teenager, so I forget.
So I get this tape off, I see it, and it’s not that bad. I showed my partner, and he said, “Baby, I love them. You’re so beautiful. You could have no tits and you’d still be beautiful.” So naturally I’m sobbing at that point. It really reminded me how grateful I am to have him in my life, and how important this work is to me in terms of helping you find someone who loves you as much as Drew loves me, and to help you love yourself as much as I am learning to love myself.
Like I said, it’s really easy to love yourself when your tits are perfect, but when they’re not, it’s a different story. I’m only two and a half weeks out from my breast explant surgery, but I’m starting to love them more and more.
I share this because I know that this has a deeper message than just getting implants taken out. This is about choosing to love yourself regardless of how you look on the outside, and I use that term very intentionally—choosing. It’s a choice. I do have to look at myself and choose to speak to myself with love and devotion and reverence. Even self-love coaches have their moments, loves. And that’s all right.
Be sure to connect with me over on Instagram. I’d love to hear what you thought of this post and what your major takeaways were. Or head over to my website to learn more about how we can work through your relationship journey together.
Ready to quit playing a supporting role in your own life? Join my course, Main Character Energy, starting in early January: https://michellepanning.thrivecart.com/main-character-energy/
If you want to go from feeling anxious AF about your love life to feeling confident, secure, and having unfuckwithable self-worth, join my program The Connected Woman, starting in early February: https://michellepanning.com/the-connected-woman
Can’t choose? You don’t have to! Get the Main Character Energy and The Connected Woman BUNDLE: https://michellepanning.thrivecart.com/hot-girl-shit-bundle-tcw-mce/
I get it, girl. I’ve been there too. For years, I was going through the same experiences with men over and over again that left me feeling confused, anxious and pissed off.
I silenced myself in dating and relationships because I was terrified of being judged, rejected and abandoned. It all changed when I went through a break-up and thought “enough is enough. I cannot continue to repeat the same relationships with different men! Something HAS to change!”