I was a flat-chested bride so paid $7.5k for a boob job to look perfect on my wedding day – but it made me sick | The Sun
A SMALL-CHESTED woman who'd long been insecure about her A-cups shelled out $7,500 for a boob job ahead of her wedding day.
But years later, she grew sick, experiencing everything from brain fog to heart palpitations — and she knew she needed to have the implants removed.
Karen DiCicco had always felt self-conscious about her small breasts.
Previous partners had told her she would have the perfect figure, if only she had bigger boobs.
So when the now 33-year-old, from Michigan, said yes after her boyfriend Arthur proposed, she paid $7,500 for breast enlargement surgery to a D cup to look her best on the big day in 2015.
However, eight years after the operation, Karen suffered side effects including heart palpitations, hair loss, brain fog, and bulging veins in her chest.
She was told by medical professionals that it was nothing to do with the silicone implants and that they could be left in for life, but she knew something was wrong.
In 2022, Karen, who owns her own hair salon, had them removed — and her symptoms gradually disappeared.
Now, she’s raising awareness so others don’t suffer as she did.
“I was told multiple times that what I was experiencing couldn’t be down to my breast implants. I was even told if I took them out, I would hate how my body looked,” she said.
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“But I couldn’t carry on life feeling as bad as I did. My health was so much more important than my boob size. And I’m sure other women are experiencing similar feelings to me.
“I learned about what was in implants and how toxic they are. I started to question why I’d had them put inside my body.
“All my symptoms have disappeared after explant surgery. I was carrying around a shame for myself that I had to go through surgery to get breasts to feel better about myself.
“But now I have self love and acceptance. I don’t regret my experience as it was a lesson I had to learn the hard way for myself.”
Growing up, Karen had always wished she had a bigger bra size.
She thought her breasts were small and uneven and at a young age, stuffed her swimming costume with water balloons joking and daydreaming of growing up and "becoming a woman."
She thought bigger breasts would make her womanly and more feminine.
She even avoided low-cut tops and felt self-conscious about her appearance.
When Karen met Arthur in 2010, she knew he was the one — and unlike previous partners, he never once made Karen feel insecure about her body.
But after he proposed and they set the date for April 2015, she became obsessed with looking like the "perfect bride."
So, nine months before the wedding in the summer of 2014, 24-year-old Karen underwent a boob job — and was delighted with the results.
“I had dated men in the past that would say, ‘You would have the perfect body if you had big boobs.’
"Comments like that stuck with me so I was set on looking a certain way for my wedding.
“The implants gave me the confidence I was looking for — I loved having big boobs, the attention I was getting, and [that] clothes fit me well.
"Friends told me that the implants looked so good, they wanted it done too!
“I felt incredible on my wedding day and I felt like my dress fit perfectly.
"Family and friends said I looked great and I felt confident from the compliments.
"I felt sexier and more womanly so I felt like my implants had given me everything I wanted."
Karen and Arthur went on to have three children, their first son in 2017, their second son in 2019, and their daughter in 2021.
It was before she became pregnant with her second that Karen started to feel unwell, and her view of her implants started to change.
Hives broke out over her chest, and it was so itchy that she booked to see her doctor in case the implants had ruptured.
She underwent an MRI scan in 2018 which showed that her implant had folded.
She was told that folds can happen and it didn't mean anything — her implants were intact and that was the most important thing.
“I wasn’t happy with the answers I was getting, so I started to research," she said.
"I discovered on Google that implants can make you sick from BII (breast implant illness). I knew it could all be tied together but I wasn't certain because doctors were making me feel crazy!
“It began to freak me out that these toxic implants were sitting over my lungs and my heart — my vital organs. It became an obsession for me. I needed to get them out.
“In 2018, I went and saw my surgeon who put them in. He told me the hives couldn't be from my implants and that I would hate how my body looked if I took them out.
“He convinced me to keep them, then I got pregnant with my second son.
"In the meantime, I was researching different surgeons and my options while I gave birth and was recovering.
“But I ended up getting pregnant with my daughter so fast that I had to cancel my consultations.
“So during my two back-to-back pregnancies, I studied and researched and I joined Facebook groups of women that were going through BII.
“At this point, I was having stomach issues, heart palpitations, vertigo, skin issues, and my hair was thinning out.
"Plus, my implants were affecting my ability to breathe properly. I used to lay in bed and panic because I could feel that I wasn't able to take a real deep breath.”
In March 2022, Karen booked to see an explant consultant who specializes in implant removal.
She described her symptoms, including issues with her skin, yellow eyes, and back and neck pain, and he pointed at her bulging "hulk" veins and told Karen it was due to inflammation.
Karen scheduled her surgery for a month after meeting him, paying $10,000 to remove the implants.
Within days of having them removed, her eyes were brighter, her vertigo disappeared, and she no longer had bulging veins. Plus, her skin issues vanished.
Karen also learned she had a "gel bleed," which is the implant leaking chemicals. But there is no test to diagnose breast implant illness.
Karen said: “I was convinced a lot of my health issues were caused by my implants but going back under the knife was scary.
"I have three kids and I was terrified but it needed to happen.
“Within hours of waking up from explant surgery, my vertigo went away, and within days, my bulging veins were gone. Within a week, my rashes had faded and my eyes looked brighter.
“Within a month my urinary retention was remedied along with joint pain, chronic neck pain, dry skin, brittle nails, heart palpitations, fatigue, and spotty vision.
“Within six months, my brain fog had lifted as well as my edema in my legs.
"Now a year later, I am stronger than I've ever been and I am dialed into full body healing and my overall health.”
Karen also discovered breast implants come with a FDA black box warning due to their link with cancer.
Though she expected to feel sad after surgery, she says her boobs looked better than she imagined, so she didn’t miss her implants.
A year on, she said having them removed was the best decision she’s ever made.
She also wanted to raise awareness on Instagram, where she posts as Live Life With Kare, so other women experiencing similar symptoms don’t suffer for years as she did.
“It's hard to bear in mind that I've spent $20,000 on a big mistake but it's been a profound part of who I am now,” she said.
“Breast Implant Illness is real. It's not a matter of if breast implants will affect your health; it's a matter of when.
"I lived through it and only found answers on Google and social media.
“Trust your gut and be your own and best advocate. When I got implants, I was told that they were safe, there were no side effects and I could have them for life.
“Every woman that's going to risk their lives for surgery should have all the information that's available.
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“I'm really focused on using clean products on myself, my clients, and my kids.
"I'm eating clean, avoiding processed foods, and living healthily to support my body just as it should be,” she said.
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