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Mom Says DD Implants Caused Such Severe Memory Loss She Was Scared She Had Dementia

Mom Says DD Implants Caused Such Severe Memory Loss She Was Scared She Had Dementia
Rachel before and after her explant surgery (PA Real Life/Collect)

A mom-of-four has relived the horror of being “slowly poisoned" by her DD breast implants, which she claims sparked such severe memory loss that she feared she was developing early-onset dementia.

Massage therapist Rachel Misztal-Bazzell, 37, of New York, was just 21 in 2004 when she first enhanced her figure with saline implants, taking her from a small B cup to a C – not because she hated her natural look, but because she had always admired curvaceous bodies.

Happy with her appearance, it was only when, in 2013, she noticed some unsightly skin dimpling around her implants, which she suspects was partly caused by breastfeeding her two younger children, that she had them replaced with larger DD cup silicone versions.

Rachel now (PA Real Life/Collect)

But in 2015, Rachel, who lives with her four children, Amara, 10, Avery, nine, Sebastian, five, and Myra, four, and husband, Bill, 39, a lieutenant at the Sheriff's office, started breaking out in rashes – the start of a long and bizarre list of symptoms, including hair loss, bloating, anxiety, depression, fatigue and brain fog, which were later attributed to breast implant illness (BII).

At her lowest ebb, Rachel genuinely feared she had early onset dementia, saying:

“I would forget entire conversations and was constantly missing appointments. Even writing notes to myself as reminders didn't help. It was like being in a constant out-of-body experience."
“It got to the point where I was constantly apologizing to everyone in my life for missing meetings or forgetting things they had told me. It was terrifying. I even feared it was early-onset dementia."

Rachel in 2004, after having her first set of saline implants (PA Real Life/Collect)

Doctors were baffled by her symptoms, but when Rachel searched the internet she found a Facebook page about BII and rapidly became convinced that she had it.

No official test yet exists for the condition, which the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), says is not a medical diagnosis, but a term coined by women who believe they have developed symptoms including joint ache, sleep disturbance, headaches, chills and neurological issues as a result of implants.

But studies are underway in Australia and the US, and BAAPS acknowledges that one BII Facebook group alone has more than 50,000 members – all reporting similar stories.

The difference in Rachel's eyes before and after explant (PA Real Life/Collect)

Certain her breast implants were causing her symptoms, Rachel had them removed in June 2019 – and has recovered so well that she no longer takes any of the medication she needed when she felt at her worst.

She said:

“For sure, there have been times when I have questioned if this has all been in my head and some people have told me they don't believe BII is real."
“But they have all changed their minds after seeing the difference in me since I had my silicone implants removed. It was like suddenly waking up from a coma."

Rachel after her explant surgery (PA Real Life/Collect)

She continued:

“I no longer bloat, my hair is thick again, my eyes are whiter, my skin is clear, I have more energy – the list goes on. I used to take loads of medication to combat all the symptoms, which I no longer need."

When Rachel had her first $5,000 saline implants fitted in 2004, she was delighted with the results.

She said:

“I wasn't insecure about my chest – it was more that I was just attracted to the look. I wanted big boobs, it was as simple as that."

For years, Rachel did not have a single problem. But by 2013 she noticed visible rippling around her chest, which she thinks was exacerbated by breastfeeding her two eldest children, which caused some skin to stretch.

“I wanted the skin filled back up, so decided to switch to bigger, silicone implants," she said. “The ones I had were 650CC – they were huge. It equalled out to around a DD cup size at first, but by the time I had them removed, I was so inflamed and swollen that I couldn't wear proper bras."

“I just wore a size XXL sports bra, so I have no idea of my cup size."

Rachel in 2018, when she still had her silicone implants in (PA Real Life/Collect)

Having never heard of BII, and with reassurances from her surgeon that silicone implants were perfectly safe, Rachel went ahead with the $7,500 procedure.

But around two years later, she suddenly started having skin problems, which did not clear with dermatologist-prescribed creams.

Around the same time, her hair started to thin and fall out and she developed nerve pain in her feet.

Rachel before her explant surgery, when she would feel so fatigued that some days, she could not get out of bed (PA Real Life/Collect)

“I initially put it down to age and the stress of being a mom," she said. “But no matter what I tried, the symptoms just got worse and worse."

“I went to lots of doctors, both general medicine and specialists, and they really wanted to help, but just didn't know how."

“They gave me things to treat each individual symptom, but nobody could explain why they had all suddenly started in the first place."

Rachel, showing the difference in how inflamed her face was before and after her explant surgery (PA Real Life/Collect)

As time passed, Rachel developed yet more symptoms, including a near-constant ringing in her ears, anxiety, depression, itchy eyes, swelling all over her body, congestion, brain fog and, worst of all, memory loss.

She continued:

“Everything was so random and unconnected. No matter what I tried, nothing made a difference. I even began to cut things like gluten and dairy out of my diet, in case it was allergy related, but I still kept bloating."
“At my worst, I really thought I might die. There would be days when I literally couldn't get out of bed."

Rachel after her explant surgery (PA Real Life/Collect)

With medics unable to pinpoint the cause of her alarming array of symptoms, Rachel began to lose hope. Then, in early 2019, a friend who had suffered with BII contacted her, urging her to look into it, as her symptoms sounded so familiar.

She continued:

“I went online and found a Facebook group. Reading the hundreds of stories from other women, I immediately related to them."
“I believe without a shadow of a doubt I also had BII and that it was the implants causing my symptoms. By that point, I absolutely hated them and just wanted them gone."

At last, her internet research had offered her a light at the end of the tunnel and Rachel began contacting surgeons about having her implants removed.

After meeting with three, she settled on one who she felt comfortable with.

“I am not accusing surgeons of having done anything wrong, or asking anybody to take responsibility for what has happened to me, as not everybody with implants has issues," she said. “But finding a surgeon who believed women when they said they had BII was very important to me."

Rachel when she still had her second set of implants in (PA Real Life/Collect)

“It's still quite contested in the medical profession, but both the surgeon who took my implants out and my GP have been so supportive," she added.

“They've agreed that it makes a lot of sense. At the end of the day, my implants were a foreign body that my own body was trying to get rid of, but instead, it ended up attacking itself."

“My surgeon told me he had seen BII before and knew it was very possible and plausible. My GP has even asked if she can tell my story to other patients who have implants to help raise awareness."

The difference in Rachel's eyes before and after explant (PA Real Life/Collect)

On June 21, 2019, Rachel paid $6,000 to have her implants removed and, despite suffering a lot of pain at first, she says that right away she could tell her operation had been successful, as her eyes immediately seemed far brighter.

Within five days, her brain fog began to lift and she felt much more “alive" and energized.

In the year since having surgery, she has gone from strength to strength and now no longer requires any of her old medication.

Rachel, showing the difference in how inflamed her face was before and after her explant surgery (PA Real Life/Collect)

Speaking out as model Chrissy Teigen announced on social media that she has opted to have her own implants removed, Rachel wants to raise awareness of BII – which several celebrities, including RuPaul's Drag Race judge Michelle Visage, have shared their own experiences of.

She said:

“It's very clear to me that my implants were what was making me sick."
“I'd encourage other women who have bizarre symptoms and are struggling to connect the dots to look into BII. It's been a long, painful road, but I am finally back to the old me."