TARGETED by bullies as a teenager, Renee Kacz wanted to be ‘normal’ and less self conscious of her body.
At 16-years-old, the Scarborough resident decided she would get a surgical procedure to help with her body image and self esteem.
Sick of “hating” the way she looked, Ms Kacz got her first breast implants done in London at 20-years-old as a 21st birthday present to herself.
Having done her research, she found a Harley Street plastic surgeon who, like every other one she saw, told her that they were “completely” safe.
Although the “small and natural looking” implants made Ms Kacz feel “more confident” and secure in the way she looked, the elective surgery led to her needing several more surgeries due to toxic products and health concerns.
The 34-year-old’s initial implants were made by French company Poly Implant Prothse (PIP) – which has since had its products recalled for using industrial silicone and other materials harmful to people’s health.
Women around the world joined a class action, and like Ms Kacz they had the defective PIP implants replaced.
The former lawyer then had her breast augmentation surgery done in Perth with Dr Tim Cooper but that was not the end of her ordeal.
Ms Kacz, a healthy woman who lives an active lifestyle and does not drink or smoke, started having “noticeable symptoms” that she now attributes to ‘breast implant illness’ – sickness and health problems caused by silicone or saline implants.
In 2010 she was diagnosed with heavy metal toxicity and started suffering from “severe allergic reactions” on top of a long list of other symptoms.
“I suffered from severe hormonal imbalances, period pain so bad I would be physically ill and would need to take a day off work, persistent low iron levels and heavy metal toxicity on two separate occasions from the ongoing exposure to heavy metals that are contained in the implants,” Ms Kacz said.
“I had medically diagnosed stage three adrenal fatigue; I couldn’t get out of bed for months and could barely function.
“(I had) ongoing unexplained fatigue even after receiving iron injections, foggy-headedness, loss of words, inability to think clearly, depression, anxiety and parasite infections.
“I also suffered from severe bloating – no matter what I did or didn’t eat – chronic low level inflammation, arthritis and hair loss.”
Having seen “countless” doctors, naturopaths and medical professionals – and spending tens of thousands of dollars on trying to get better – Ms Kacz was only made aware of the illness when she read an article about Hugh Hefner’s widow Crystal, who had experienced similar symptoms and had her implants removed.
She became a “mad scientist and started researching everything” about the illness.
Ms Kacz said she found tens of thousands of women who had the same symptoms and were ‘cured’ after having their breast implants removed and “detoxing the toxic effects” from their bodies.
“If I hadn’t tried everything else first, I might not have believed it,” Ms Kacz said.
“But because it was literally the only stone left unturned, I knew I had to get them out.”
Earlier this year she returned to Dr Cooper’s office and had her “toxic ta-tas” taken out in a procedure called en bloc capsulectomy that also removes capsules which form around the implants where toxic materials can grow.
“I was exposed to 13 years of heavy metal and silicone toxicity, so it takes time for the body to remove these toxins,” Ms Kacz said.
“For me, the first three months post operation were pretty good for the most part, the second three months were horrific and I suffered some very, very dark days.
“I’m now into the next phase and overall feeling much better but still have a way to go…the healing journey is different for everyone.”
Renee Kacz said there were two components to breast implant illness:
– Breast implants are made of toxic substances that leach into the body: even if the implants aren’t ruptured, they’ll still leach toxic residue.
– At a biological level, because breast implants are a foreign object the body constantly fights to get them out, which causes low level chronic inflammation. Every woman with implants suffers from this because they put the immune system into overdrive trying to eradicate these foreign objects.
For more information on breast implant illness, visit healingbreastimplantillness.com/