A Bowmanville, Ont., woman says she wants the Canadian government to increase awareness about the risks that comes with getting breast implants, which she says made her severely ill.
Rose Finlay, 29, wants Health Canada to recognize “breast implant illness,” a term used by many people who believe they have suffered symptoms similar to Finlay’s. “The government needs to step up and put some safeguards in place or there needs to be more guidelines,” she said.
The 29-year-old mother of three says her health took a turn for the worse shortly after she had the surgery in June 2017. “Two months after my … breast augmentation, I suffered a seizure that was isolated, unexplained. … didn’t know why.”
But, she says, this incident was only the beginning. “When I had my implants in, I think I had upwards of 60 symptoms,” said Finlay, who had her implants removed in February 2018. “Autoimmune disease markers, … my urine was black. I had brain fog. I was anxious all the time. I had unexplained septic systemic infections, … skin lesions.”
She lost the ability to walk after an accident in her teenage years, but, she says, the post-implant symptoms made her whole body weak. She says last summer, she weighed about 120 pounds, and she is now down to 65.
She says that when she consulted doctors about her symptoms, they denied these were linked to her implants.
Finlay is not alone in her claims surrounding her symptoms. There are support groups online with tens of thousands of members, and a study by The Netherlands Journal of Medicine on women with breast implants found that all people involved reported systemic symptoms. Thirty-one per cent of participants had dermatological symptoms; Finlay says she did, too.
The Canadian government, however, does not recognize breast implant illness as a medical condition. In a statement to Global News, a media relations advisor with Health Canada said, “There is no evidence that breast implants cause or are statistically associated with breast implant-related illnesses such as fatigue, muscle weakness, aches and pains and brain fog.”
Dr. Mahmood Kara, a plastic surgeon, says because it is “absolutely uncommon” and not medically recognized, it is difficult to diagnose patients who say they experience symptoms. “We really don’t even know what’s happening to any particular patient, so we can’t comment on how long things will last.”
Finlay says 90 per cent of her symptoms went away, but she is not nearly as healthy as she was before she had her breast augmentations.
She says she wears the scars on her chest from her implants, and the removals, with “pride.”
“It’s a weird place to be in where you modify your body because you’re uncomfortable with it, and at the end of it, you’re more badly damaged,” she said. “But totally okay with it because I’m just grateful to be alive.”
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