I was in the prime of my career, I was doing so well, and things were amazing. Then one day, all of a sudden things changed.
I'm Rachael Blaze, better known as the Ambassador of Combat Sports. I have been in combat sports for over 10 years.
I did media work and I was basically a media personality for MMA and boxing. I've done years of modelling. I am published, getting ready to be on the cover of another book that's internationally published. I started a nonprofit called Unity Fighters First Foundation that's geared for kids and athletes.
In the beginning of 2007, things were great. At that time, I was full of life. I was a single mom of three children. I did so much for the community and the surrounding areas. I've traveled outside of the United States and to other states doing different events and modelling. I was in the prime of my career which was doing so well and things were amazing. Then one day all of a sudden, things changed.
So let's go back to where it started from…
Later into 2007, I got my breast implants. I thought I did enough research and checked into different types of implants and I chose to do the saline ones. At the time, they had just brought back silicone breast implants on the market in 2006, as they took them off the market before. With that being said, I didn't choose to go with silicone because obviously there was some issues with the silicone. I thought I was making the best decision for myself by going with saline. I talked it over with my surgeon, who told me you're absolutely making the right choice, you're going with saline. There is not going to be an issue and the only time you're going to have an issue is if it ruptures, then you would have to replace it. He did not go over a checklist and told me that if you experience these symptoms, then I should probably come back, you might be reacting to your implants.
I had my three children early at that time and I had previously breastfed all three of my them. They were not up to par, so when I went to check out a couple of modelling agencies and submit my information, they basically told me that I would not get as many gigs because my breasts were ill proportional and that I needed to do something about my breasts in order for me to model. I sought out probably 20 different plastic surgeons before I made my choice on the doctor that I chose. I was confident that he would do the right job and he would do it great. So I had them done.
Images of sleep study couldn’t sleep always tired etc , just got my implants not one rash or look of sickness, gained a lot of weight, more tests, and my babies:
Shortly thereafter, I reacted, not knowing that I was reacting to my breast implants. I had really dry, flaky skin on my face and I was very into facials and going to the salon and spa and you know, I kept myself very healthy. I stayed out of the sun as I’m Irish, and very fair skinned. It was important for me to keep my skin at top par, obviously, especially for modelling. Then I started to get some acne which I never had acne before, not even in high school? I didn't even experience a pimple during my first time having a period. The interesting thing is that, I was being treated for acne and being prescribed doxycycline, other antibiotics and things like that. From that point, I went to see the dermatologist that said there's something going on with my skin but was not quite sure.
I remember the doctor taking a ruler and scratching my back with it. Once he did that, he came back and he said yes, you have demographic. I looked at him and I'm like, What?… Hello? Is that it? Hmm, so it was basically my skin that would hive up and it would get irritated really quickly but then 30 to 40 minutes later, it would dissolve and go away. Once that happens, I continue to have symptoms. It wasn't until the last eight years that I had my implants that I started to get really bad symptoms. So I was going to doctors back and forth. I was traveling hours to see different doctors and different specialists. I was having 15 tubes of blood cultures, MRI’s, CAT scans, ultrasounds, and I had mammograms. It was incredible…
All of the testing that I had I learned about were tests that I never even knew existed. With that being said, after going to so many doctors at University of Chicago, I ran into a beautiful dermatologist who was super amazing. She did skin biopsies and one of my lesions came back that I was having a reaction to, an antigen in my body. But, unfortunately at that time, she didn't take a look at it or take it seriously. I didn't know about breast implant illness until about almost two and a half years ago.
I'm going to go through the list of symptoms that I had.
chronic sinus infections
swollen lymph nodes
staph infections on skin
staph infections in my sinuses
ringing in my ears
paralyzed legs - I was paralyzed for a short period of time
degenerative disc disease in my back
no mean hands
nerve pain down my arms
swelling of hands and feet swelling face
Siebel c. difficile
feet would would hurt to walk on lesions, rashes
mast cell activation
loss of colour
I had hip pain, really bad hip pain, it was so bad, I couldn't even get up the stairs.
Images of more tests, strange drugs, when I started to get really sick, death was quickly setting in, and cracking behind my ears:
Images here show it wasn’t my hair dye as it was tested:
I can remember a couple times when I had my stroke, I was hospitalized for seven days and went through the whole thing with the contrast dye and then going through the cat scan and the MRI. I was having countless IV’s and tests done, different doctors in and out of my hospital room. Then they would say to me, you are way too young to be having a stroke. I looked at them and I said “Well tell me something I didn't know”. I said, I'm very sick and I don't understand what is going on? Then I was hospitalized again back in January of 2018 for C. difficile. I was in there for seven days. I almost died because of a doctor that didn't even run any tests to find out what was wrong with me. Infectious Disease specialist and a Gastroenterologist came in and they said, absolutely not. You definitely have something going on in the intestinal area. I was bloated and looked like it was nine months pregnant. I was not pooping or peeing, couldn't eat. It was the most serious, belittling pain I've ever experienced.
When they thought I had lupus my nurse who took care of me for 7 days. I had hair loss, ankle swelling. Cellulitis put me in the hospital 7 days:
They ran some tests and they came back positive for C. difficile. I was shocked! All these nurses came in with little jackets and gloves and they had to give me different antibiotics through the IV and steroids. It was a scary time! It was very scary because I didn't know anything about C. difficile, which I found out can kill you if it is left untreated. It can come back and make you sick. I'm pretty much kind of stuck with C. difficile. I have to be very careful on what I do with my body.
Then there was a time when I was hospitalized for seven days because I had cellulitis in my leg, it was so bad. The infection was extremely deep into the layers of the skin and took a very long time for it to go away and eventually came back and multiple antibiotics later. I can remember at one point they diagnosed me with lupus and Fibromyalgia because that's what they thought I had and thought I had scabies. They thought I had herpes, they thought I had crazy diseases I've never heard of? I had vitamin deficiencies, vitamin B 12, vitamin D, I had no zinc in my body whatsoever. In fact, the dermatologist was completely stumped and never had seen, a human not have zinc in their body period. She was extremely trying to figure out what was going on with me. I had so many symptoms. She ran every test. I mean, I had stool testing, I had parasite testing, I had all my blood came back, you know, normal, I had a positive AMA. I had chronic lymphocytes, which was weird. I don't even know what lymphocytes were at the time.
I was breaking out from the cold lesions:
Then there was several times and I went to the ER, I went to different hospitals, doctors looked at me and said that this is not an emergency, this can't be your breast implants. They're FDA approved, they're perfectly safe. This can't be your breast implants. Although one doctor and infectious disease doctor came in and said this is definitely autoimmune and there's something going on in your body, you're definitely gonna have to check with a rheumatologist which I had to, and they couldn't even figure it out.
I remember being scanned, I believe it was an MRI and I couldn't move… like I couldn't move the lower half of my legs. This happened for several days and it happened when I was walking and I completely fell down and then I couldn't move. I had to call my mom and my mom, you know, had to come get me and take me to the hospital. The crazy thing is, when they did the scan, they came back and they said you have degenerative disc in your back? I said okay, well what does that means? They basically said that I had a spine of an 80 year old woman at 90 year old woman who was significantly showing signs of my disc degenerating. I already had an L for L five issue from a car accident and said that's not what caused it. They said there you know, obviously there's something else going on? I had bone density testing done that was normal.
It was just incredible, all these different diagnosis! At one point I was on 22 medications. It was so bad that the medications were making it worse. I literally had to tell them I am not taking any more medication. I stopped cold turkey, which they said was the craziest thing for me to do. The last part of me refusing to take medication, I was on steroids, heavy doses because they couldn't control the rashes. They were so bad that I burned from the inside out. I burned on my skin. Everything was losing it. I had a weird bile smell and my urine smelled like chemicals. It was just incredible. So at this point, right towards the end, especially when I found Nicole to route is Facebook group! Thank god to the woman who suggested it to me two and a half years ago, who read my story.
Images of blood cultures, when I had C Diff and other gut issues, heavy doses of antibiotics and steroids, and C Diff hence the yellow jackets:
There were two times that I almost died. There were times where I was laying in my bed and I just wanted to kill myself. I wanted to stop this agony and pain and the burden that I was causing upon my children and those who loved me and I felt extremely hopeless. I felt like nobody was listening to me. Nobody believed me. Only one of my rheumatologist listened when I mentioned to her about my breast implants. I'll never forget her name Dr. Weckherlin, she's such a beautiful soul who said that she had several breast implant patients who had breast implants with the symptoms that I had and they explanted removed their breast implants and some of them got better. She said a couple of them did not and she suggested I would advise you to remove your implants. I mean what's what's the worst that can happen?
Images of rashes on my breasts, modelling picture, when I first got them in 2007 117 lbs 10% body fat, and ultrasound of my breast with lump on the right none of these tests including MRI did not detect a rupture:
I made the appointment with Dr. Dewolfe. Obviously I was 13 for surgeons on and off the list. I went to several and I even had surgeons tell me that they can remove my breast implants in the office which was crazy. So I opted with Dr Dewolfe after my family and myself saw him 3 times. We discussed it through what I wanted specifically, he was able to provide all that information and he was very confident in the results that he would give me after surgery. February 1rst I explanted with Dr Dewolfe. He found in my right breast was bleeding profusely. I had breast pain in the left side severely even prior to surgery. It was very painful and I had rashes on my breasts and lesions on my breasts. I forgot to mention that when he went into the left side, he said that my capsule had grown into several ribs and also grew into my pectoral muscle. He literally had to scrape my rib cage in order to get the capsule out with the implant intact. When he opened the capsule, he saw that my implant had been depleted, there was supposed to be saline solution left in there but it had been leaking over a period of time! God knows how long it was leaking and after learning that sailing solution has a shelf life, it really concerned me. I had my implants 12 years, it goes to show that what kind of things were growing like bacteria and things were swimming around in my body from the leak. He was able to successfully remove both of my implants with the capsules! He took samples from the inside of both breast cavity areas and thank God I have no cancer, no lymphoma cancer from my implants. I did grow a little bit of staphylococcus and some weird bacteria that I’ve never heard of in my implant and in my chest cavity.
After surgery it was the most painful thing I've ever been through but I honestly did the right thing for the longevity of my health. I feel 95% 96% better! I still have a little bit of ringing in my ears, a little bit of blurred vision, but everyday, it gets better and all of my rashes are gone, my lesions are gone, heart palpitations are gone. Most of my symptoms are gone and I am so thankful that I'm happy. I'm back to myself again. I have energy to be a mom, I have an energy to work. I have an energy to help other women. I am thanking God for watching over me while I was sick. I was one of those patients that refused pain medication. In fact, when I was in pain so bad, my mom called the ambulance and when I got into the ambulance, they said okay, we're going to give you an IV and of course I hate IV use. They said well, we're going to give you some fentanyl and I looked at them and I said, “like hell you are, you're not going to give me that!” I absolutely didn’t want any narcotics in my body and they looked at me and thought that I was crazy from that point on. They're like you're in pain, but you don't want pain meds?
I explained to them it was my breast implants I was reacting to and of course I got the crazy look like you're a crazy lunatic lady. I had never been the one to take any type of narcotics, any type of medications. The only thing I had was asthma, and maybe a small little tiny bout of eczema. I had some allergies but when we did the allergy testing, I was through the roof. It was alerted to my dogs, which I had never been alerted to my dog. My dog, my 10 pound min pin I had for about 12 years and not an issue up until just the last couple years. So it was definitely a journey... I learned so much from this journey. I learned about diseases I did the lupus walk I I learned about Fibromyalgia. I learned about diseases that people suffer on a daily basis and I have to take that story and share it with other women, I have to be an advocate for this illness.
I have never been the one to sit down and not talk about my experiences in life and this experience is crucial for all women in all facets of life, to listen and adhere to these stories, at least educate yourself and keep yourself aware of these type of symptoms. If you choose to get breast implants, make yourself aware read everything and quite honestly, it is not worth your life. I almost lost my life twice! I was literally in my bathroom on the floor profusely crying slob all down my face and I had a bunch of pills in my hand. If it hadn't been for my mother calling me I would have swallowed all of those pills and when you see your life flashed before you and you see that it's going to come to an end and you're losing hope and you just can't take it anymore… then one day someone, an angel comes to you and tells you, “hey, I think it's your breast implants” and you should go to this website. Of course I was in denial and I thought the obvious thing like all these women are crazy but then I read the stories and the symptoms and I cry like I was obsessed for an entire week. I don't even think I slept. I was obsessed and reading everybody's stories and I said Finally, I have the answer to what has been alien me.
I was a perfectly healthy hundred and 17 pound 10% body fat athlete, I was training in the gym with one of the Illinois’s most prominent bodybuilders and I was eating clean and my diet was amazing. So for me to get sick, constantly and and to go on a decline to the point where I was almost going to die. That was an eye opener and so I feel I have to share this story, I feel that I have to tell women and I feel like I have to educate all of my specialists, and all of my doctors. I decided to form a committee for the Chicagoland area, a group that I created. I'm hoping to have a group of women were committed to going to doctors and directors and universities, and actually speaking to these professionals, letting them know that this illness is serious and to take this seriously. It’s so important that we keep awareness alive and we keep plugging and we keep fighting and we fight together. I'm going to tell you ladies, natural breasts are best. It's healthier, and I have scars underneath my breast. I have you know, they're not like they were before I was a natural D and by the time I had the explant they grew to a 36 triple D which was back pain and neck pain.
Ladies, I cannot tell you enough, please keep your breasts natural. Love yourself. Be gracious to yourself. Be positive, body positive and don't conform to the world to the ways of the world. I know that they sexualize women and especially the breast area don't conform to that. I have a 15 year old daughter that I tell her every day you're beautiful. When you have children here, breasts are still beautiful, don't conform to what other people may say or may think about you. Because you matter you are important and your health is irreplaceable. There is nothing in the world that can replace your health and I have to tell you this by the graciousness of myself and my heart and and how I am with other humans. I am a giving person and I love a lot of people. So please love yourself and things will come together for you.
That is my story… Thank you so much.