Dana Klassen has been living as a prisoner to her breast implants since she had them put in 18 years ago. She had them removed Jan. 30 photo: Contributed

Okanagan woman prisoner to breast implants

Dana Klassen has been experiencing breast implant illness for past 18 years

Dana Klassen has been a prisoner to her breast implants since they were put in 18 years ago.

The Penticton woman’s saline implants were placed April 10, 2001, the day she made the worst decision of her life.

“It’s been a nightmare, it is literally a toxic nightmare … I would have never gotten them if I would have known,” said Klassen.

Klassen says that her surgeon told her that the implants would last her lifetime and that she needn’t worry about any complications.

Since then she has experienced a long list of symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain, chest pain, brain fog, limb numbness and tingling, heart palpitations to name a few of roughly 30 symptoms she has experienced. Klassen, who has been an athlete her whole life and is on a soccer team and hockey team says that her legs have given out from underneath her before and she cannot drive because her arms are too weak now.

RELATED: B.C. YouTube sensation removes breast implants after years of illness

She also had her gallbladder removed three years ago in an attempt to find a cure but she only felt worse.

Klassen went to several doctors, has been in the ER at least 30 times last year and no doctors were able to give her an answer.

She began researching her symptoms and found out about breast implant illness, the condition she believes she has.

“I went on Google and it came up instantly and it’s like a light bulb went off, this is what has been making me sick these past years. I was an emotional wreck, I bawled my eyes out. I was so happy to have an answer,” said Klassen.

Three years after the discovery, Klassen had her implants removed by Dr. Aaron Brown on Jan. 30. She found him on a list at www.healingbreastimplantillness.com, a website that was first published in 2013 and since has more than 60,000 women in its support group on Facebook.

The website offers information and insight to women that have breast implant illness but does not provide medical advice, only studies, lists of doctors and information about breast implant illness for women to use. The list has been compiled by women all over the world recommending doctors that will perform the explant surgery and add notes like “listens to BII (breast implant illness)” because several women report in the Facebook groups that they feel the surgeons do not believe them and will not listen to their concerns.

After realizing what was wrong with her, Klassen dedicated herself to sharing her story to help other women and try to steer them away from making the same decision she did when she got her implants.

“I swore the one positive thing I would get out of this whole nightmare is bringing awareness to all women. Women with mastectomies are putting these toxic poisons back into their bodies. I don’t want to see any young women putting these toxins in their bodies either,” said Klassen.

RELATED: Kelowna oncologist changing the face of breast cancer treatment

Dr. Nick Carr is one of the doctors on Klassen’s list, however he does not advertise himself as an explant surgeon. He says he is a doctor who listens to the women who come into his office and if they ask for their implants to be removed he is happy to oblige.

“At the end of the day it’s pretty simple, the equation is, if your implants are bothering you and you don’t have evidence to prove its (symptoms) connected, you want them out, we will take them out and see what we can do,” said Dr. Carr.

There is no scientific evidence that have proven breast implant illness, however Dr. Carr says that even if removing breast implants has a placebo effect and women no longer experience symptoms, it is a positive experience for everyone involved.

“As a plastic surgeon I have an obligation to see these people and talk to them. When a client is dealing with this I think there is a likelihood that they really are experiencing these symptoms. You have to believe people, and there is a 50/50 chance they are going to get better when the implants come out,” said Dr. Carr.

She will be launching her own website about her experience in February, its launch will be announced on her Twitter @klassen_dana.

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