“It takes a superhero to follow their intuition and make choices to create the life they know they are worthy of, filled with love, happiness, and health. The decision to go through with this surgery is purely one that is made from within since there are no tests before hand to prove that this for sure will help you. However, there are thousands of women, including myself who have listened to that voice and have made it to other side with a story to tell about healing. We all have our own personal journeys and circumstances, but our emotions are the same. We are all more alike than we are different and I thank you for connecting us to this part in our journeys.” -Chelsie Brooke
This Explant guide was created by two women who have lived, healed, and seen the light through removing our implants. We’ve teamed up to tell our stories of preparation and healing of our minds and bodies.
Since all of our stories are unique, there may be some missing information in here. We really just wanted to speak on the things that worked for us. Since our experiences were different, we’re confident that you will find some useful information in here and hope that you feel supported and loved!
To dive deeper into our explant journeys, be sure to follow us on Instagram! We both share a passion for health of the body and the mind, as well as live for love ❤
Connect with Steph: @Stephdrempel
Connect with Chelsie: @happybehealthy
To make this as easy-peasy as possible, we’ve broken everything down for you:
Physical– Strengthen your core (back & front) & upper body. Having a strong core is huge for getting up and down when you have limited mobility with your chest/upper body. I was surprised at how i was able to use my biceps and forearm strength to assist me, but core was most important!
If your explant is scheduled for 4+ weeks down the road & you’d like to start a workout routine for strengthening, I can get you started in my monthly fit group! Email me for more info!
Be Active: Moving your body not only helps you gain physical strength; it helps break up toxins and plays a big part in the way we feel. Exercise has been scientifically proven to lower depression and make you feel happy and strong. Regular exercise releases endorphins and catecholamines, which are “feel good” hormones released by the brain. It’s also associated with an increasing the production of dopamine a neurotransmitter that improves mood and deceases feeling of depression. Take a walk, do some planks, dance around your kitchen, go swimming, whatever you can do to move for 30 minutes a day….do it.
Food. The body functions best with Whole Food! The better your body functions, the quicker the healing. I focused on whole fruits, vegetables, healthy fats & gluten free carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, potatoes, quinoa, rice, lentils & chickpeas.
***Plant Based is best. Trust me, I LOVE animal protein, but it is one of the hardest things for the body to digest. Pork is especially hard on the liver. The liver’s job is to detoxify chemicals in the body, so because of our breast implants and their toxicity, the liver is already struggling!
In the 2 months prior to surgery, I ate mostly plant based but still had an average of 1 serving of animal protein a day. Be sure to choose high quality meat, free of antibiotics and hormones. Check your local farmers market to see what your options are!
A quality plant based supplement powder is a great option to ensure adequate protein intake & supported nutrition. BUT please be cautious of the ingredients! Many contain artificial sugars & ingredients which cause more inflammation in the body & sugar cravings! The one I’ve had daily for the last 4 Years is called Shakeology & I truly believe it’s a big reason for why my symptoms were so minimal pre explant! It’s loaded with anti inflammatory & immune building superfoods & antioxidants! Click here to read more about it!! If you want to give it a try, just email me, I can get you set!
Avoid these foods: Alcohol, processed foods, refined sugar, gluten & dairy. Basically avoid anything that isn’t REAL food! If you normally follow a diet high in healthy fats, I recommend using less, as again, even healthy fats are hard on a liver that is already stressed.
The above foods cause inflammation in the body. And let’s be honest, with implants we have enough inflammation!! This might seem overwhelming if you’re not used to eating this way, but I can PROMISE you, it is 100% worth it for you to feel your best going into surgery & after!
****I have plenty of amazing recipes on my Instagram for you to try! I’m a really lazy cook, but it’s always delicious and balanced!
Know who will be helping you post explant. You might feel ok to move up and down, but you may also have VERY limited mobility (you may even need help in the bathroom) Have a loved one with you for at LEAST the 1st 2-3 days!
Be Nutritious: Food plays such an important part in the way we feel and heal. Begin to prepare your body by checking what your eating. By eating whole foods, reducing processed foods as much as possible, and being aware of your meat and dairy intake, you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs to thrive. Fill your plate with whole foods such as fresh fruits, berries, veggies, greens, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds. All these foods provide nutrients that help break up toxins, while repairing and healing all parts of our body. Eating whole unprocessed foods will build up your body’s strength for the explant procedure and after. Little changes creates a big difference in our health and happiness, try adding a fresh fruit or veggies to every meal.
Since food has played such a big role in transforming my life, it lead me to become a Certified Holistic Nutritionist. I have a simply philosophy when it comes to our eating habits. Learn your food and you’ll learn to love yourself deeper. Try not to restrict yourself from having those brownies, look for recipes to experiment with and add them onto your weekly meal plan. It can take up to 17 times trying a food before you begin to like it, that doesn’t sound too fun does it? BUT IT IS!
Take broccoli for example, I began hiding it in recipes like soup or finely chopped into rice and baked with potatoes and carrots. Over time and with consistently, I now crave the green tree looking vegetable that I pushed to the side for 26 years.
Check out my Explant Nutrition Guide for more tips and tricks on healing with foods!
Mentally & Emotionally: It’s important to get VERY clear with yourself on why you are choosing to explant. You might have days where you question it, where someone tell you it’s all in your head, or where you feel great fear about what your body will look like afterwards.
It is so easy for us to focus on what we will be “missing”. Our Breasts. For many of us they give confidence, curves & help us feel feminine.
Shift your mindset from focusing on the lack, to focusing on what you will gain!!
YOUR LIFE BACK!!!!! Energy!! Less Pain! Your family will be getting back the best version of you!! You are gaining your future health too!!!
And there is nothing more feminine and sexy than a woman full of life!!!!
I recorded this Guided Meditation for Calm & Grounding. It was so helpful for me before my explant and after!!!!
Know that everyone’s experience will be different!
Some wake up after surgery & feel amazing with so much energy, But some Wakeup feeling like they’ve been run over by a bus!
Some have minimal “level 2 pain”. Some have “level 10 pain”
Some have a perfect surgery & some have complications.
Some have breast tissue after wards, and some end up flat or concave
Some have small incisions, some have multiple large ones
Some have Drains, some do not
Some have perfectly symmetrical breasts, some are uneven & disfigured
Expectation ruins EVERYTHING! Know that all options can be possibilities for you, and just take every moment as it comes. Know that this is YOUR story & journey, it is unique to you, and unlike anyone else’s!
Do your best to go into surgery without expectation, everything will be & happen & when it does, you will face it!
You have made this decision & chosen a Dr. That you trust!
Be Mindful: The one thing that no one can take away from you is what you put into our own minds. Just as it’s important that we pay attention to our food and being active to achieve health and happiness, our mind is just as powerful during the process. There are so many emotions that can come from going down this path of explant. The most common self-reflection thoughts I’ve seen (and had of my own) is the process of why we got the implants, accepting this path of going through another surgery, believing in ourselves, and even self-forgiveness. Process it as it comes. Do what you need for your mind.
Meditate. Take at least 30 minutes a day for YOU time.
Journal. Get all those thoughts out on paper in any way that you need to help process your journey. Think in the future of possible mindsets you may get in, such as a moment of low self confidence (which is typical for women after explant). Write yourself a note or a letter with words you will need to hear. Remind yourself of your love, your worth, your beauty. Remind yourself that you understand this emotion you’re feeling is part of the process, feel it and sit in it if you need, but don’t get comfortable.
Doing this will give you a great tool to pull out if that moment comes. You’ll have your own words to help pull yourself back together. It’s also a way to help process all that comes with making this decision. There’s a lot of self-forgiveness, acknowledgement to your past and present, along with the belief in the future. Process these emotions where you can and remember that healing takes time. Be kind to yourself in small ways, all day.
Important Items to have, purchase or borrow:
3-4 tube tops- these were a lifesaver! Tight enough to compress, they don’t rub incisions & you can pull it up from the bottom.
Zip up sports bra- 2 sizes & return the one you don’t use
Button up shirts
CBD oil- for natural pain control. I used 0/10 CBD Click here for some great CBD products and use the code :Stephr20 to get $20 off!
Advil & Tylenol- for post surgery pain
Essential Oils: Muscle Relief: YL Deep Relief. YL Digize for Digestion & YL Peppermint for post surgery Nausea
Tall water bottle with a straw
Black Polysporin or Cicaplast- antibacterial ointment for incisions
Mystic Ginger Apothecary Cramp Relief Salve– this was amazing for my sore aching back and muscles post surgery! It’s a steal at $12!
Gauze- or pantyliners for your incisions
Big Body Pillow- or Nursing Pillow to support you while you are resting/sleeping
Books- the ones you’ve been wanting to read!
Aloe Vera Juice- this is a wonderful natural laxative & hydrates the intestines & colon. Constipation is NOT fun & this product is magic! I found Lily of The Desert at my local health food store.
Organic dried fruit- with no added sugar- mango & apricot are high in fibre! Again, avoiding constipation is a BIG goal!
Gluten Free Crackers- to help with nausea
*** 2 weeks before surgery, prepare by ordering a Meal Box for your spouse/family. We used GoodFood and got $40 off!! If you’d like a coupon code, email me & I will send it your way! It was really important for me know that my husband would be eating Nutritious balanced meals while I was recovering and not just eating cheese and crackers & frozen lasagna for a week!
Meal Prep: Cook meals ahead to save time and energy. This way you know you’ll have the meals you need to feel good and help heal. Great things to prepare are chili, smoothie bags, rice & beans, and baked veggies. Make sure to have those fiber packed foods to help your bowels after surgery, apples, prunes, kiwi, flaxseeds, beans, pears, artichoke, sweet potatoes, lentils, chia seeds. Incorporate a few servings of these a day to help your healing process.
*Make a comfort care box: Make a box to keep beside you after surgery for the first few days. Fill it with your medications, tissues, coconut oil (for irritated or dried skin), small snacks, your journal, a pen, stones, anything you want or need so it’s all in one place ready for you.
Pillows…all the pillows
*Find your “spot”. After surgery you’re most likely going to be in one spot for a few days. Pick a comfy chair or other place that you will be able to rest and sleep. Make sure it will help keep you upright and not flat. You can add pillows around your body to keep you comfortable. The main thing to remember when choosing where to rest, it that you use as little muscles as possible in your chest and arms to get up and down. You’re going to be a little sore and have restrictions during your recovery.
Every mama is different, this is what worked for me….
If you have older kids, explain to them in an age appropriate way what’s going on and what to expect. Allow them to ask questions and answer them honestly in the best way you can. Remind them that their mama is strong and doing what you need to become healthier and happier. Let them know that you may need their extra help around the house for a little while until you get back to your better self so that they are prepared to take on more personal responsibility.
If you have little ones at home, arrange for help. Every women’s recovery is different, but all are weight restricted for a few weeks. If you have little ones, arrange for help because you’re going to need it.
For the first week or two weight restrictions are that of a half of a gallon of milk.
My doctor gave me clearance at week 3 for my 20 lb. 2-year-old to be handed to me but was restricted from picking her up from the floor on my own. This is to ensure that everything stays in place and for safety reasons in recovery. It doesn’t feel so good when your toddler slams their head into your chest a few days after surgery. Your doctor will give you more clearance at each check-up. Make sure to speak with your surgeon about any thoughts or concerns you have when it comes to your limitations on taking care of your children.
Trust me, as a mom I know how hard this is and how “I’ll be fine” mindset this can be. You’re having this surgery for YOU, to get back your life…so give your body the rest it needs to heal. We can quickly forget how often we are lifting, reaching, bending, pulling, and grabbing until you’re in recovery for chest surgery. Soon you will be back to yourself stronger than before!
1-4 days before surgery
-Massage, chiropractor, reiki/energy healing to get your body & energy aligned before surgery!!!!
-sugar/wax your armpits, bikini & legs
-Clean your house
-Wash your bedding
-Pre make smoothies & freeze. I made mine with frozen mango, banana, spinach & honey! Nutrition powder is great to add in too!
-Premake veggie soup & blend in food processor. This makes it easier to digest post surgery. Put in individual containers. Split between fridge & freezer.
-Premake gluten free pancakes for easy breakfast!
-Cut up veggies so they are ready for you and your family
-Download calming music playlist or meditation for those pre surgery nerves. I listened to this Binaural Beats Playlist on Spotify!
-Talk about how you are feeling with people you love. If you are afraid/excited/nervous….. talk it out!!!!
-Remove nail polish & jewelry/ piercings
-Pack your Bag!!!! Loose button up shirt, comfy pants (not tight leggings), warm socks, water bottle, dried fruit, peppermint oil, medical history forms, crystals for calming anxiety & a book incase your surgeon is running behind. Bring a pillow as well! This is helpful to hold against your chest while driving!
-Pack your snack bag too! Dried Fruits, Crackers, smoothie & soup! (Especially for overnight)
**** Day before: eat will with plenty of clean Carbohydrates! That will give your body energy into the day of surgery!!!!
Day of Surgery
-Wake up and listen to meditation to calm yourself! It’s your day!!!
-Shower, exfoliate & wash your hair
-French braid it if you can!
-Take one last look at the girls, thank them, take a picture & say goodbye!
-Cry**** don’t hold it back, just let it all flow! Cry for whatever you are feeling! Crying is detox! (We had a 1.5 hour drive & I cried for at least 45 mins!!)
-Remember all of the important reasons that you’ve decided to do this!
-No Expectations- this is YOUR story & your body, you can’t compare it to anyone else! Deep Breath! You got this!
-Listen to your calming music while changing into your surgery gown. (This helped me SOOO much!)
-You are in good hands!!!
Give yourself whatever you need! Today is a day that you will remember for the rest of your life and it marks the start of a new journey! Remind yourself how proud you are for making this decision, remind yourself of your beauty and your strength. Cry if you need (it’s our bodies only physical way to release supressed emotions), blast some music and have a dance party, take some last minute photos. Spend a few one-on-one moments with yourself. Place one hand over your heart and the other over your stomach and take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Open your eyes and gaze into them reflecting back in the mirror. Stare into your eyes, into your heart, and into the depths of your soul and give yourself all the love that you carry.
*Wear a lanyard to easily clip your drains to for easy care and safe keeping.
*Track your fluid for your doctor to view at your check-up.
*Drains will remain in depending on the amount of fluid your body produces, typically it’s 3-7 days.
*You will be given a surgical wrap to help hold the girls and drains in place. You can take it off for a few minutes throughout the day to allow your skin to breathe, just make sure to wrap yourself back up snug so everything stays in place.
*If you have skin irritation on your stomach from the wrap, rub coconut oil on your skin for relief. Stay away from your incisions and your chest. If you’re concerned, make sure to speak with your doctor.
*Wear soft, loose fitting button up shirts. Doing this allows you to easily get to and from your drains, and keeps them out of your way.
-It’s common to feel dizzy/light headed/nauseous from the surgery & drugs. Have your peppermint oil in a handy spot for the nurse or your family member to grab for you.
-Within 2 hours of waking, eat a bit if you can. Dried fruit & crackers are good option. Remember, food is medicine!
-Be sure to have a “Puke Bucket” just in case you need it on the drive home/to the hotel.
-When you get up, walk slowly & take long slow breaths
-Drink plenty of water, eat smoothies/soup and high fibre foods
-Stay on top of your pain meds (especially the 1st 30-48 hours) I had T3’s & set a timer every 3.5-4 hours (even through the night) Eat a snack every time you take them so you don’t feel sick.
-Watch this video for my “trick” to getting up & down in bed!
-Know that when you wake up in the morning, you will likely feel your “peek pain” especially when you sit up! Have someone there to help get you up!
-Put antibiotic ointment on 2x per day
-Use deep relief oil on sore muscles around your chest
-Have a loved one gently massage your back
-Get off T3 asap & switch to Advil/Tylenol
-Use Natural remedies like CBD oil
-Start sipping the Aloe Juice the day after surgery. 1 or 2 servings a day, depending on severity of constipation.
-Water, Water, Water!!!!
-Breathwork, Meditation, Journaling, Reading & Kundalini Yoga are all great for post surgery days!!!
(*Pictured is Steph day of surgery and 3 days after)
*Breath work: Focus on your breathing by deeply inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. This will help expand your lungs and bring oxygen to where it’s really needed. Remember, implants have been sitting on top of vital organs and they are now breathing without the extra weight. This exercise will also help your recovery from surgery.
*Walk around the house: Get your blood circulating, help your body gain strength and mobility by just walking around the house. As uncomfortable as it may be, it’s soooo good for the healing process. Just listen to your body and don’t outdo yourself, stop when you feel it’s time.
*Plan for someone to be with you constantly for the first 24-48 hours. Go into this expecting the unexpected. If you’re a woman like me who feel like getting hit by a truck (but totally worth it because you can breathe easier than you have in years), you’re going to need some help moving around. I needed help going to the bathroom for the first two days and taking a shower for the first time. I also needed assistance getting up and down from sitting positions.
*CBD: Talk about a plant that is powerful and has a list o-f benefits from chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, joint pain, and more. There are many ways you can use CBD from the flower, oils, eatables, and the one that was my savior during my explant recovery, Full Spectrum Extract 1000mg capsules. I took one a night for the first two weeks after surgery and it truly was highly beneficial for my pain and ability to rest.
*Look at yourself naked in the mirror: Your body just went through a major surgery and it is completely OKAY and NORMAL to feel a little sad or insecure with your new body. You will get to know this new you and love the skin that you’re in Begin with gazing into your own eyes, channeling your strength and love. Move your eyes down your face and over your body. Feel you body. Notice the texture of your skin and remind yourself of your incredible journey of taking back control. The more you look at your chest & body, the more you will become comfortable and confident in the skin you’re in. YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL!
*Heating Pad: The majority of my pain came from my back, this happens because of the pressure release from removing the implants, the surgery, and the lack of movement. I was okayed by my doctor to use a heating pad on the lower part of my back on and off for 10-15 minutes.
*Water. Water. Water. Hydrate yourself and all 37.2 trillion cells.
Breasts after explant:
Here’s the thing, you’re going into a surgery not knowing what you’re going to look like afterwards. Using the tools above has helped both Steph in I in preparing for the mental aspect of this. First and foremost, give yourself the love that you need. It’s important to keep in mind that the body can take up to 2 years to heal fully. Your body will constantly evolve. Maybe you’ll fluff some, maybe not at all, or maybe you’ll end up with even more than you were expecting.
Your Day 1 will not look like your day 7.
Your Day 7 will not like your week 3.
Your week 3 will not look like your 3 month.
Get where I’m going here?
After you are cleared from your doctor and ready to start exercising, you can slowly begin to work those muscles. Start with basic stretches to help the healing and to prevent injury. Those muscles a need to be treated with care. You can slowly begin to add in weights and increase as needed. Start low with 5-10 lbs and work your way up.
Doing things like push-ups, planks, and boxing style punches also targets the chest area.
2 weeks post surgery:
-Begin very gentle, light yoga stretches. Listen to your body, & do not do anything that pulls or hurts. However you will be surprised at how those muscles start to stretch & warm up! (I went to a full day Yoga Retreat 10 days post op & was of course limited in my movement, but I was surprised at how good it felt for my body! 2 days later I was able to raise my arms above my head!)
2 weeks after surgery, the magical Kelly Jilson recommended some amazing healing tips that helped tremendously:
1. Massage the calf muscles. The calf muscles are known as the “second heart”, as they are directly related to our heart. Since after surgery you can’t immediately massage your chest, massaging the calf’s help push good blood flow to your heart. Plus, it feels so so good.
2. Hula Hoop: Trust me, and give it a try. Using a hula hoop helps activate muscles and opens up those tight places in our bodies from having limited mobility. You can look up videos on social media and YouTube for the basics. I began by simply passing it back and forth, holding it out to my side and raising it to a level that felt comfortable.
3. She then sent this beautifully written suggestion and helped me tremendously:
“ I want you to work on doing flashlights, where you reach your hands out to north west & north east & grip & stretch open your hands palms foreword, for 30 seconds-one minute every other hour, set a reminder on your phone. then take two of your fluffiest pillows, whatever feels comfortable, hug them vertical in your dining room chair & pretend there is an invisible golden lock of hair pulling your spine up straight, yet comfortable. Shoulders back & down. And one vertebra at a time ease into a stretch curling the chin gently. Work towards hugging the pillows at the same time.
Please take this slowly & don’t start doing it too much. You’ll be sore the next day possibly. I want to work on stretching out the muscles that are over working right now to compensate for the muscles that are traumatizes from surgery & also help blood start flowing willingly towards those areas of need!”
Weeks following Explant:
*Remember, we all heal differently. Some women see changes right away and other it can take weeks or months. For complete healing, it can take up to 2 years so be sure to be mindful of your journey while you are healing.
*Keep a journal to continue to track your thoughts and feelings, it’s always great to look back on.
*Also, TAKE PHOTOS! Sometimes you don’t realize how much your body is changing until you see it side by side. Take photos of your face and full body shots for comparison. I know there have been days where I felt like I was slipping back but has these to remind me just how far I really have came.
*There’s a misconception that when the implants are removed, all the symptoms go out with them. Again, this goes into giving your body time. Your body will begin to detox, especially if you follow this food guide. Detoxing is extremely good for your body but can bring out some short lived unpleasant symptoms. This is just the body’s way of releasing these toxins so hold onto your hope!
*Stay on your grind with keeping your mind and body healthy using the tips and tools listed above like whole foods, being active, journaling, and meditation.
*If you’re feeling like connecting or need someone to talk to, our inboxes are always open. You are NOT alone in this journey and we are here for you! Please feel free to reach out, we are an open book so no topic is off limits!
There you have it! Our Guide for how to prepare for surgery & the few weeks after! The most crucial time! We hope this has been helpful for you, and if you have ANY questions please either email or reach out to Steph or Chelsie on Instagram!!!
We are here to support you in any way we can!!
and remember, you are a superhero ❤
For More Information & To Connect with Other BII Women click here for the facebook group, breast implant illness and healing by Nicole and here for their website.
About the Ladies
Hello beautiful soul! My name is Chelsie Brooke and I am a wife, mother of 3, a certified holistic nutritionist, and a happy helper of life. I’m a lover of whole foods, the divine, the power of the mind-body connection. I use movement as a form of meditation and eat potatoes in all forms.
After being sick for years and spending many days at the doctor & specialists for every test and scan they could think of, I was left with no answers. I had a list of 39 symptoms that no one could explain…I dropped down to 69 lbs.
I lived a healthy and happy life to be the of best of my ability.
I was tagged in a woman’s story at 3:33 about breast implant illness. Every part of my being stood at attention and screamed “THIS IS YOUR ANSWER”. A year of researching & finding the self love to spend that kind of cash on an “intuitional thought,” I scheduled my surgery for 2/28/19. That day I woke up breathing deeper & easier than I ever remember. I knew I had just changed my life for the better, forever.
Click here to visit my Instagram where I share more in depth of my story. I try to keep it as honest and happy as possible about how I’ve seen the light throughout storm.
My name is Steph Rempel & I am a 29 year old gal from Southern Manitoba Canada. I’ve been married to my hubby for 6 years & we have 2 fur baby kitties that I am obsessed with! I had my Breast Implants for 5.5 years & had them removed on May.22/2019. For the last 4 years, I’ve lived a very healthy lifestyle, which is why I knew that something was NOT right. I spent 1000s on supplements, naturopath & HOURS researching, trying to figure out what the hell was “wrong with me.”
When I first heard about Breast Implant Illness, I thought it was a “made up thing”, but after a few months, I began to pay attention, and I just KNEW this was the problem. I share the in-depth story of my Symptoms & Surgery Process on Instagram, Click Here to Learn more about my Story!!!