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Pharmacist Claims Her $7,700 Silicone Breast Implants Made Her So Sick She Feared She Would Die

Collect/ PA Real Life

A pharmacist who gained 63 pounds “in fluid" in three years and whose short-term memory was worse than her 95-year-old grandmother's, has blamed her $7,700 silicone breast implants for making her so sick she feared she would die.


Young and figure conscious, Carrie Dyjak, 43, of St Petersburg, Florida was just 20 when she had her first set of breast implants, costing $2,350 and while she experienced some depression and fatigue in subsequent years, she did not think her aesthetic surgery and her symptoms were related.

But, after having $6,300 replacement implants fitted in 2011, Carrie, who lives with her husband, Daniel, 44, a finance manager, and their three cats, became so ill that she thought she would have a heart attack and die—especially as doctors could not find the cause of her ailments.

Collect/ PA Real Life

Her salvation came when she discovered a Facebook support group for Breast Implant Illness (BII) in 2018 which, after reading other women's stories, Carrie—who as well as having extreme fluid retention said her white blood cell count, indicating allergy, inflammation or disease, was “through the roof"—said sounded just like her.

Now an avid campaigner on social media to raise awareness of BII, a condition which is not always recognized by the medical profession, she said:

“I can only think it was divine intervention. I was on Facebook and it was telling me a friend of mine was posting in the Breast Implant Illness group."
“I wasn't even a member, so it was a little strange. I have a lot of friends on Facebook who are members of lots of different groups, but it doesn't normally tell me they are posting in those groups."

Carrie Dyjak – Breast Implant Illness (Collect/ PA Real Life)

She continued:

“So, I clicked on and read what she wrote but even then, I was thinking, 'People are removing their breast implants? Are they nuts?'"

Still, Carrie requested to join the group and one morning, as she was getting ready for work and eating breakfast, she clicked on an article about a famous woman who had BII.

“It was all about how she had Lyme disease, which can trigger autoimmune responses and other things, which had been traced back to her implants. But even then, I was thinking, 'Breast implants aren't causing autoimmune diseases!'"
“But I was approved to join the Facebook group and just couldn't believe it. I scrolled through all the stories and the symptoms other members were talking about and, suddenly, a lightbulb went on in my brain. It was like my story being told over and over again."

Carrie, who estimates she had spent around $20,000 during a five-year period, on medical consultations and treatments, desperate to find out what was wrong with her, finally felt she had found her answer.

As well as brain fog and fluid retention, her symptoms included night sweats, numbness and tingling in her muscles and her hands, which became so weak she struggled to write—an essential part of her job in the pharmaceutical industry, as she needed to produce lab reports.

Carrie Dyjak – Breast Implant Illness (Collect/ PA Real Life)

She said:

“I remember telling my doctors in 2011 something was wrong. I just didn't feel myself and after that the symptoms got worse and crazier."
“I had terrible memory loss. It was so bad that at that time my 95-year-old grandmother had a better memory than me. I'd be in the middle of a sentence and I had brain fog so bad I would just forget what I was talking about and I couldn't retrieve it."
“There were times too when I felt I couldn't speak. My brain and my mouth weren't connecting so I just couldn't get the words out."

Carrie Dyjak – Breast Implant Illness (Collect/ PA Real Life)

She added:

“The doctors couldn't tell me what was going on. They were very scared. They had no clue and kept telling me, 'This doesn't make sense. Your blood work doesn't make sense'."
“The swelling was really frightening. I had the feet of a 300lb woman. I kept thinking, 'My body can't hold this much fluid.' I was gaining 3lb a month just in fluid retention."
“My weight rocketed by 65lb over three years as a result of the fluid retention, with 35lbs of that weight piling on in just a year. I would go to bed at night scared I would die from a heart attack."

Thinking back, Carrie now believes she even reacted to her first breast implants when she was 20, although nowhere near as severely.

She said:

“I suffered with depression and fatigue for the first time, but I just never connected this to my implants."

But the clear connection between her health and the replacement implants she had fitted in 2011, before she married Daniel in 2012, is now, she believes, crystal clear.

Carrie Dyjak – Breast Implant Illness (Collect/ PA Real Life)

She said:

“Within about six months of getting the new implants, I knew something wasn't right again. I just didn't feel myself."
“I was back to where I'd been in 1996, after my first implants were fitted, where I just felt blah… nothing excited me. I didn't have any drive anymore. I didn't care about travelling which had always been a passion of mine, I didn't care about work, I didn't care about kickboxing which I loved."

Eventually, as her health problems escalated, Carrie believes she had “around 30 symptoms" which she now attributes to BII.

Carrie Dyjak – Breast Implant Illness (Collect/ PA Real Life)

She continued:

“After joining the Facebook group and reading other people's stories, I told Daniel, 'My boobs are making me sick'."
“He knew that if I was saying that I had already done a lot of research and said, 'Well, they are a foreign body'."
“He mentioned it to someone at work who said they had a friend who had been sick after having implants too and that I could talk to her. So, he came back from work that day and said, 'This really is a thing. You have nothing to lose and potentially your whole life to gain if you take them out.'"

So, with her husband's support, six months after first reading about BII, Carrie paid $7,200 to have her implants removed—saying that within hours of them being taken out, the swelling in her feet started to go down and, as she left the clinic, her vision also improved.

“I hadn't even realized my vision had been affected, but when I stepped outside, I noticed the difference. The colors were so much brighter, and I had much better clarity."

While Carrie does acknowledge that, after her second set of implants were fitted, she was given a leaflet warning of possible adverse reactions, she does not think there was sufficient information given about what might happen.

Carrie Dyjak – Breast Implant Illness (Collect/ PA Real Life)

“There was a tiny little booklet in there that talked about cohort studies and said implants can cause memory loss and brain fog and lots of other issues, but that it's very rare. I now know it's not!"
“I was angry when I realized it was the breast implants causing all my sickness, because you are told they are safe."
“It really angers me that surgeons can say, 'Breast implants are safe, we put them in cancer patients all the time.'"

Carrie Dyjak – Breast Implant Illness (Collect/ PA Real Life)

According to Carrie, her doctors have now told her it will take another three or four years for her health to return to normal although her white blood count has dropped dramatically.

“My healing since the implants were taken out has been slow but it is happening."
“But I'm upset that I haven't lost all the weight. Gaining 65lb over three years has been devastating, because I've always been health conscious and proud for working out and taking care of myself. It's taken a big mental toll, but in the last six months I have lost 20lb."

Carrie Dyjak – Breast Implant Illness (Collect/ PA Real Life)

She added:

“It makes me really sad to see women still having breast implants, so I started an Instagram site about BII. People have said it's really brave of me to come out and say all this, but I am on a mission now."
“I still have a lot of friends who have breast implants and they're not swollen and blowing up like a balloon, but you have to understand that the material is it is degrading inside you every day."
“I'd always eaten healthily and even turned my place into a green home because I was afraid of chemicals. Then I realized I was a hypocrite, as I had toxic chemicals permanently placed inside me!"

Now Carrie wants other women to take heed of her warning to have breast implants fitted at their peril.

She said:

“For women who are thinking about having implants I would say, 'Do your research and make an educated decision. Understand that your health may be more important than your vanity. And if you already have implants, be aware that BII is happening. My case is not rare'."

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) describes BII as having a very broad range of non-specific symptoms—listing everything from hair loss to brain fog and autoimmune conditions to irritable bowel syndrome.

Carrie Dyjak – Breast Implant Illness (Collect/ PA Real Life)

BAAPS literature also questions whether the symptoms in some patients are physical or psychological, adding:

“Though Breast Implant Illness has been recognized as a condition that affects some patients with breast implants, there is currently a lack of good evidence that the breast implants are the cause."
“It is believed in some patients, the cause may be psychological rather than physical."

Carrie's Facebook can be found here and follow her on Instagram.