health

In 2016, Emma Carey got breast implants. She regretted them immediately.

It was not much more than three years ago when Emma Carey accompanied a friend to a breast implants consultation.

Em, 26, never had a desire to get implants, but not long after watching her friend, she found herself at her own consultation.

Then before she knew it she was back in hospital, this time for her own breast augmentation surgery.

This is Emma Carey’s story. Post continues below video.

Video via Mamamia

Known as the girl who fell from the sky, Em was more than familiar with hospitals. She’d been in and out of them for years after her skydiving accident in Switzerland in 2013.

Speaking to Mamamia, Em explained that at the time of her augmentation, entering a hospital for a cosmetic procedure was different. Firstly, it was a very spontaneous, “rash” decision. Secondly, it was a choice she had control over.

“It is something I never in my life had even thought of. I’ve always in my life been completely flat chested but I never cared, I’d never been self-conscious about it. I never thought about it,” she said.

“I guess it was because at that time I was still getting used to being in my body after my accident, I was still in hospital all the time with infections, there was a lot medically going on. Maybe it was just something I thought ‘Oh, this is something that I can choose and I can have control over’… At the time it felt different because it was for me, it was something that I wanted to do rather than something that I had to do.”

 

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Em said she noticed changes in her health from the moment she had them put in. Rapid weight gain, psoriasis, fatigue, hair loss and pericarditis (swelling of the heart).

She didn’t hate them, but she never really liked her implants. Even so, having them removed was not really something she considered. Another surgery? No thanks.

“Straight away I was like ‘What on earth have I done?’. I just didn’t feel like me,” she told Mamamia.

“I never thought that I’d actually get them out, because the thought of another surgery just feels ridiculous… I didn’t even know if it was them that was making me sick, but the timing of it all when I pieced it together in my head seemed like it lined up and I’d been reading so much about other people who’d been experiencing the same things that I was.

“I straight away, as soon as I got them in, realised that I wish I didn’t do it. But it wasn’t like for three years I was like ‘Oh my god, I can’t wait to get them out’. I didn’t think I would get them out, I thought I’d always be like ‘That was a mistake, but oh well’ and make the best of it. It wasn’t until the end of last year that I started researching breast implant illness and people’s stories were so similar to mine and their symptoms – they’re all such random symptoms – that I just thought it was too coincidental.

“I thought I may as well try and get them out. If it doesn’t help, it doesn’t help but if it does then great, because I never liked them in the first place.”

 

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A few months ago, Em underwent an ‘explant’ to remove her implants. In an Instagram post, she recalled the moment she woke up from that surgery.

It wasn’t just about the sickness. It was also about feeling foreign in her body – a body that had gone through a major transition and defied so many odds already.

“When I woke up from having them removed I was crying to my mum and boyfriend saying ‘every part of me was broken, I just wanted one part to be perfect’. So I guess for me it was the idea that I could fix myself,” she wrote.

Don’t know how she does it? Let Emma Carey explain. Post continues below audio.

Em told Mamamia that with her implants, she didn’t recognise the person in the mirror.

“I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but for me, I would see something that was not who I am. It wasn’t how I was born and how I was made. It just wasn’t me.

“No one really warns you that with changing your body, you might not feel like you anymore.”

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Image: Instagram/@em_carey.
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Since sharing this part of her journey on Instagram, Em said she has been shocked at how many messages she has received from other women with similar stories.

As well as a growing understanding of medical and physical changes that implants may cause, Em said she's most pleased that society is making progress with the "mental side" that may lead people to cosmetic surgery.

Her passion? "Helping people to realise the way they are is absolutely perfect, and we're very capable of accepting ourselves the way we are," she explained.

She stressed that of course, not all people will share the same experience as her. Many have never and will never have any issues with implants, and for some they can be truly life-changing. She just wanted to share her journey and encourage anyone considering a procedure to do adequate research.

"It was a really rash, quick decision that I made so if I did thorough research, which I definitely should have, then I'm sure I would've found more about it. But I do think when you're making any medical decision, doctors should lay all the cards on the table: 'Here's the pros, here's the cons, here's the risks, here's the reward, you make your decision'.

"People are still going to want to get them and that's totally fine, I'm all for people doing whatever they want to do, but I think people should make an informed decision."

Feature image: Instagram/@em_carey.

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