Breast Implant Illness and Why I’m Getting My Implants Removed

Written by: Karenna Soto
The Fully Expressed Podcast
The Fully Expressed Podcast
Breast Implant Illness and Why I'm Getting My Implants Removed

In this deeply personal solo episode, I share my decision to remove my breast implants after 10 years.

I got my breast augmentation surgery at age 20 while battling body image issues and eating disorders. The implants became symbolic of my femininity and confidence.

Over time, as I healed my relationship with my body, I started having intuitions it was time to remove my implants. Last summer of 2022, seeing myself in a photo triggered the final knowing.

I vulnerably share my complex history with implants, fears about losing confidence after explant, and how I’m preparing physically and emotionally.

You can read the full podcast transcript for this episode below:

Welcome to the Fully Expressed Podcast with Karenna.
I am low key, very nervous for today’s episode and you can already feel it.
I can already feel it in my eyes.
So today’s episode is a little bit, it’s, it’s very special to me because this is something that I have been preparing for, have been intentionally thinking about over the last year.
But to be Frank, this is also something that I’ve been thinking about for a number of years.
And I think parts of me already knew that this was something that I needed to do and not just needed to do but felt called to do and they would come up in different conversations in different ways and different, you know, different things.
And it was always a thought in the back of my head and it just, it took me some time to truly wrap my mind around what that actually meant and how I was going to get there and truly embodying kind of being ready for something like this and also just timing, I think, you know, because I’ve been thinking about this for a really long time.
It’s something that I needed to be prepared for.
And because I’ve been able to give myself this space this last year to, to be with it, to do a little bit more research, to dive into it.
I feel way more prepared than I probably would have if I jumped the gun when I decided that I was going to do this.
And so it all started or it all kind of came to the head when I was in Peru with my family.
We went back in, I want to say it was, it was August of 2022.
So August of 2022 I went to Peru with my family and I’ve been to Peru multiple times.
I’ve been so grateful to experience Peru and different cities within Peru.
And I love Peru if you don’t know this, I am Peruvian.
So I have a lot of family in Peru.
And this year we decided to do Machu Picchu and Cusco again, we got a chance to do them with a ton of our friends.
We did a full tour.
It was absolutely amazing.
And I’ve been to Machu Picchu before and there’s different ways that you can do Machu Picchu.
So or like, you know, go from Cusco to Machu Picchu and go up and one is you got to go into the sacred valley, you got to go into Cusco, you go to the sacred valley and then from there, you want to make sure that you get on the train that’s going to take you to Machu Picchu.
That’s the first way, you can take a train all the way there and then you basically jump on a bus from there and get your way up there and it’s, it’s pretty high.
I can’t exactly tell you the exact elevation, but it is very, very high in elevation.
And so that’s the number one way.
And that’s a lot of the ways that we’ve done them in the past a second way that you can get to.
Machu Picchu is by taking a four day hiking trail.
It’s called the Inca trail.
And you can take it from basically the sacred valley all the way to Machu Picchu.
And you are literally hiking over four days.
You get these gourmet meals along the way.
I’ve heard.
It’s absolutely magical.
It is literally what the Incas walked all the time just to get to Machu Picchu.
It’s, it’s really beautiful and really stunning.
And what we decided to do this year, go back in 2022 was do the halfway hike.
So there’s another set where you can take the bus, jump on the train, you get on the train and you get dropped off like halfway.
And then the remainder of the hike from that point is about seven hours.
It can take anyone from like 7 to 10 hours.
I’m blinking on the actual mileage, but it’s, it’s a freaking hike like I swear, I’m so grateful that I did it.
It was so much fun, but there are so many moments where I was just over it, but every step and every part of it was so beautiful.
It was honestly also so beautiful to witness my dad go through it.
So my dad, I think at that point was somewhere between like 60 62 and he did it and I stuck with him for most of the way and he made it, he made it all the way to the sun gates is where you go up through.
And I was so proud of him and to give you some light, like, you know, on that hike, like especially there was so many ups and downs, there were so many steps.
And then at the final, there was about like 50 steps.
I want to say maybe 50 to 75 steps.
So we like straight up like I’m not talking like an ease the staircase going up like 50 to 75 points.
So at this point, I am so over it, like my legs are literally shaking, trying to get up this thing.
And I’m walking it like on my hands even because of how steep it is.
I literally have to get on my hands and knees to take it up and I made it up and I took a big deep breath.
But on the middle of that hike, we took a picture I was with my dad and it was like kind of on one of the cliffs and that picture I saw my breast, my boobs looked so big, like so big give it.
It could have been the top that I was wearing.
Like I understand that and I see that, but I saw that photo and I was like, holy cow.
My boobs look so big.
Like I don’t like them.
Like that is, no, I don’t, I don’t want them.
I don’t like them.
I just, they just felt like a foreign object that was on my chest and in that photo and I just could not get rid of that photo in my head.
And I walked and I thought about it the entire hike after I saw it on my phone and we took the photo and the funniest part is that this photo is hung up in my parents garage.
So it’s not like I’m gonna get to see that photo all the time, but I kept thinking about it and thinking about it and thinking about it and I was just like, yes, there was a little bit of like disgust like I don’t disgust maybe or just like an appreciation like I didn’t like the way that I looked.
But there was also this deep knowing that these breasts are not mine anymore.
And so for those that don’t know, I got breast implants when I was 20 years old.
The other way that I ended up getting breast implants was I have a condition where I have a lack of collagen in my body.
And they, I was really embarrassed or uncomfortable with my areolas.
They looked a little different than other people’s areolas.
And so when I went to the doctor and talked to them about it, it actually ended up being a diagnosis.
And so we were able to get the surgery done for me to fix my nipples basically.
But in the middle of that, the plastic surgeon was like, well, if you’re already going under, do you wanna get breast implants?
And I thought to myself like, yes and no one, there was a part of me that was like, oh, I could finally get bigger boobs.
Like, you know, I’m really insecure in my body at this point.
I don’t think I have good enough boobs.
Maybe it’s gonna complement my body in so many ways that I wanted it.
And there was also a part of me that didn’t want anyone to know that I had breast implants because I truly didn’t like the idea of knowing people, knowing that I had fake boobs really, I was really embarrassed by that.
And so when I decided to move forward with getting my breast implants, I actually literally asked them to make them as small and normal and natural and like a tear, they called it the teardrop.
And so a very teardrop look.
And I went for it and I love them.
I loved my breast implants.
I, I feel like they, they helped me embody a certain confidence that I didn’t feel like I had at the time.
I also have learned just to hug them and love on them and like, feel like their mind for so many years.
And then, you know, I, I really did, I love them.
There was, there’s no part of me that says that I don’t love them and I and I own that and I do.
And you know, as I and I really also just want to take a moment real quick to make sure that like as I share this, like if you have breast implants, I am not shaming you.
There is no part of me that wants to say that these breast implants are bad and that breast implants are negative like there’s something you know, negative about it.
I’m gonna be sharing my story and how I felt and how I’ve peeled the layers when it comes to my breast implants.
All right, Mila, I’m jumping in here real quick to tell you about the fully expressed community because the women that are in this group are phenomenal.
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I want you in this community, I want to invite you into this community.
I really think that being surrounded by other women that are on the same path that just get you that just totally understand where you’re coming from or where you’re going or where you want to go and wherever that path is and create such a safe space for you to be held in that and encouraged in that is so important for our healing.
If you find yourself feeling an ounce or a Sprinkle of anxiety or overwhelmed or just uneasiness with the thought of being in a group container about talking about very vulnerable things.
I just want to encourage you and remind you that I totally understand.
I totally get it.
It can be edgy, it can be scary to open yourself in that way.
But in doing so you end up creating so much more healing.
I’ve had some of the biggest breakthroughs being in containers that can hold me and being surrounded by other women that are also on this path because I feel like I’m seen and understood.
And so I truly want to invite you into giving it a chance.
I’m also offering one month free if you leave a review of the podcast and then you will get access to the next Second Wednesday to join us.
So go ahead and leave a review and I will send you the invitation to see you.
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Come join us in the muffle express community where you only don’t hear from myself and get teachings and somatic practices and meditations and guiding and network nervous system regulation.
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And so here we’re going to be surrounded by other women that want that and that create that and have this burning desire to be on that path.
So come join us, leave a review.
You want join for the next one for free.
And I hope to see you there.
So yes, I loved my breast implants.
I did.
I, you know, they, they gave me a lot of confidence.
They allowed me to set my body.
I felt like they complimented my body because I’m bootylicious and I’m curvy and I needed some curves and I, I was like, pretty much like a small, like a full a like B cup.
And so like, I really felt like it complimented me in very many ways.
And also, you know, at the time, like I really viewed these breast implants as a, as a sign of my feminine.
Like it helped me, I thought that having bigger boobs made me feel more feminine and more sexy and that, you know, instead of being a flat chested or so like, you know, comparing and I really did own that and I have completely worked through so much of my body image struggles.
And at the time, like I definitely dealt with like, obviously you guys all know, my eating disorder kind of hit around that time.
I was very insecure about my body and this was this kind of solved the problem at, at that point, I mean, a part of the problem, not the entire problem.
Come on.
I’ve clearly had a lot of healing to do ever since then, we’re talking about over 10 years ago now at this point.
And so, yeah, I absolutely love them.
And when I started really, really paying attention to my healing and becoming aware of vaccines, foreign objects, putting foreign objects, birth control in my body and just looking at my body in a much more holistic way.
I started to have these little nudges, these little whispers.
So I vividly remember having a conversation with a friend when I started to see my first holistic nutritionist, which was kind of a natural path.
At the time, she did a lot of muscle testing.
We did a lot of supplements.
She helped me get really clean on all my, all my meals.
This was back in 2020 when I started working where I had there, I told her that I had breast implants and, you know, and she also had breast implants and I asked her, I was like, do you ever worry about the breast implants being harmful to your body?
Like, what if it’s affecting my body in this way or what if it’s causing things like that’s not really living a really clean lifestyle?
Like my breast implants are fake.
You know, I have silicone in my body.
And you know, she said, well, this is an opportunity for us to work with our, our holistic nutritionist to basically manage the symptoms.
So support myself with supplements to do what to fix quote unquote, what the implants were causing to my body.
And so I already had that little in interest in that little little nudge and so fast forward to back to being in Peru.
And after that hike, we all went and got food and I just had so much anxiety in my body, I could not get my mind off thinking about my breast implants.
And I was walking around the towns of Peru and I was just thinking and thinking and knowing like I have to get these removed, I have to get these removed.
And this is after years of starting to learn more.
So I’ll, I’ll tell a little bit more of what I’ve learned.
So at this point, I had already learned a lot about breast implants, specifically breast implant illness.
And yeah, I just felt like I can literally feel my body as I’m talking about this, like going back to that state and I pulled my mom aside and I was like, mom, I can’t, I can’t stop thinking about this like I need to get my breast implants removed.
And I told her and I told her how scared I was and I told her how nervous I was, but I also know how I needed to do it.
And she supported me immediately and having her on my team and saying like, ok, Kara, like, let’s let’s get your breast implants removed like you can do this and I’ll help you in any way, you know, just, but just receiving her support, I immediately said yes.
And I remember texting Nick and calling Nick and letting him know that my mom was on my side that my mom was going to support me with getting this breast implants removed.
So I got back to the United States and I walked into the doctor that did my breast implants and talked to him about getting an explant.
And I walked out of that consultation and decided to get an explant.
And what it really comes down to is since I’ve started to do so much work within my body thematically and also just falling, truly fucking falling in love with my body and knowing that whatever size my body is or whatever I look like or the wrinkles that I get or whatever discoloration I have on my skin or anything along those lines like that.
I love my body.
And I, I’ve truly started to, I mean, I truly started feeling that a couple of years ago and it has solidified even more like there is literally not a moment that comes goes by at this point that I never second guess my confidence in my body, my confidence might shift based off the mood that I’m in, but my body or how I look or what I’m wearing no longer just completely takes me out for the day.
Like that’s no longer an option.
And that’s really huge for someone that has dealt with an eating disorder.
Body dysmorphia, put her body through the fucking ringer had bulimia.
Like that’s a lot, that’s really huge.
So I’ve done a lot of work to like love my body and so deep down like I knew that these breast implants were no longer mine.
When I saw that photo, it was so confirmed, so solid that these breast implants are no longer mine.
And I started to also go through this phase of seeing women, I think because now I just see women and bodies and humans as beautiful that whether they have big boobies or small titty bitties or loving whatever size of implants, they have a woman that is confident and embodied and just feels so beautiful in her skin goes such a long way and there has nothing to do with their body image.
And I started to see that I started to recognize that I would see women with bigger booties like me, not as much titty like I do right now.
And I think I, you know, you know, not as much boobs right now and I, for anyone, I guess wants to know, I have like a full, a full sea right now.
And so, you know, I started to see these women like, wow, you’re so beautiful.
Like you are owning your body, you are owning, it had nothing to do with their body.
They were just owning their soul, their light, their energy, the internal conversations that they had within themselves.
And as I did that, you know, I started to put you in together and I was like, since when or who said that being curvy and big bootylicious makes me sexier or makes me confident or makes me glow like none of that actually does it right.
Like, truly, like you can see someone that is stunning, but if they’re shy and insecure, you could feel that energy.
And so that’s, that’s really what kind of did it for me?
That was the big ticker for me.
A lot of people end up removing their breast implants and I’ll talk about this and go through an explant surgery because of the breast implant illness symptoms.
And so if all of you guys don’t know, a lot of women experience breast illness or breast implant illness and this is literally on getting to a point where the FDA and medical are trying to say this is an actual diagnosis because for so long, the science behind it hasn’t been there.
And there are literally Facebook groups.
There are groups of women that are saying that they’re experiencing all of these symptoms such as anxiety, gut problems, hormonal imbalances, headaches, migraines that no one knows the answer to.
And so there’s these, these Facebook groups of women that are literally I’m talking like hundreds of thousands of women that are saying that they all have these common symptoms and they all started after they got their breast implants and I mean, it makes fucking sense.
You know, like we literally have silicone within our bodies and we’re thinking that our bodies are just gonna be like, I love them.
Let’s just be a part of them because they’re not, but they’re not and not everyone’s bodies end up.
What’s the best way to say this?
Not everyone’s bodies end up adapting and welcoming the breast implants like others might.
And for me, when it came to symptoms, when I first got them, I was going through the eating disorder, the bulimia, my grandmother had passed away.
Like, and I think over, I went through a hormone, I mean, chaos, but like I couldn’t really pinpoint that the symptoms were connected to the breast implants because I was tackling from other directions.
But I do know now of kind of working through all that stuff.
I do have other symptoms that just feel like they’re getting stuck.
And I don’t know if they’re connected to the implants and this is why it’s not necessarily the decision for me on driving it to get them removed.
But I have or through all of my symptoms, I have managed it.
I take my supplements, I regulate my system.
I do all the things that I need to do.
And I have realized especially when it comes to like my grip, like my hands and my grip are getting weaker.
They’ve started getting weaker over the last couple of years and they’re getting much weaker.
Like I cannot feel that and it makes a lot of sense because it’s all connected to where the implants are.
I have also felt over the years sporadically.
I get like a pain in my left boob in my left breast and I can kind of feel them right now like they don’t feel good.
Like I know something’s wrong and I’ve known something is wrong for a couple of years.
Does it have me on my deathbed?
Does it have me super sick?
Is it something that I can manage?
Am I in a place right now where I don’t want to manage my symptoms to the point where I am on my deathbed?
Like I, I truly want to avoid creating illnesses or yeah, basically illnesses that I have to work through and all these symptoms.
And so this is the reason why I’m getting my breast implants removed.
And you know, the other thing that I want to share really quickly that I learned was that the silicone.
So a lot of people get worried about the breast implants actually erupting and then creating the silicone actually getting into your body, but it’s actually getting absorbed into our bloodstream since the minute that they were in my body and makes me so mad.
That makes me so sad because I’m just like, holy shit.
Why did I do this in my body?
And this is the part where I get very emotional because I know that I decided to get the implants from a place of insecurity from a place of wanting to look a certain way.
Yes, it was, ended up being an option, but it definitely, there was definitely parts of me that wanted the breast implants at the time.
And I get so sad because I decided to do this from a place.
Yeah, insecurity and wounds.
And now that I’m in a place where I truly love my body.
I wish I just had, I wish I had done the work before I decided to get the breast implants in because I’ve done a shit ton of work to fall in love with my body.
And to be honest, I’m so scared of what’s going to come from getting these, these ex plants, these breast implants removed.
And I say that because that’s the biggest part like I know what it feels like to be closed off.
I know what it feels like to not feel confident in your body when you’re in the bedroom and being intimate with your partner.
I know what it feels like to want to hide when you’re naked.
And I also know what it feels like to be free in your body.
I know what it feels like to walk around the house naked and be so confident and love my body.
I know what it feels like to give myself fully to my partner to make like, I know what it feels like to be so open and receiving.
And I’m so scared that this, this breast explant surgery is going to close me up and I don’t want to close up.
What I’m so grateful for is that I have all of the tools, the somatic practices, the somatic ceremonies to be with whatever the decides to come up after this surgery.
And I know it’s gonna be such a beautiful layer of another additional layer that I get to release and let go.
So I can fall in love with my body fully.
But it’s one of those things that I’m more scared for the process.
And I’m also very confident and in my abilities to come back because I have come back so many times, I have fallen in love with my body over and over again.
My body has been the biggest vessel for me when it comes to healing.
It has been my initiation to every step that I have wanted to take and for the woman that I am today.
And what I do know is that I have an amazing partner that is super supportive of, of this.
And I’ve never ever felt from him that he won’t love my body with the size boobs that I have or not, you know, like, and there’s so many reasons for that.
But, you know, we’ve had a lot of conversations around that because I was like, how are you going to respond when I no longer have these big boobies?
And, and that’s really coming from a place of hoping that he still accepts me and loves me,, for if my body changes and I think he’s never ever made me feel like he won’t.
And he is constantly reassuring me and reaffirming me that we’re gonna get through it together and that he’s gonna be there along the way with me.
And I am just, yeah, I, that’s been really grateful because that’s one of the things that I don’t, I’ve experienced such deep, deep love in our relationship and I don’t wanna close myself off to that.
And so I’m thinking about proactively thinking about making sure that I continue to open myself up, and throughout that process, taking a big deep breath real quick.
And so those are a lot of my insecurities about when it comes to this.
But I know that this is again the next layer that I get to share in my evolution and as well as an opportunity to be more expressed and more fooling me in that next stage of who I am and who I be.
And so, I think that’s, that’s where I’m gonna leave it.
I think this is the end of this episode.
I, I do feel called to if anyone wants to hear, you know how I’m preparing for this surgery, what I’m doing, what I’m gonna be taking.
I have a literally a list of all the things that I’m gonna be doing to support myself in this surgery.
So if you did get a chance to listen to my past episode about winter time, I wasn’t fucking kidding when I said I am literally going into a deep healing state this winter.
And I actually intentionally plan that I planned that I was gonna get the surgery in November, December time frame.
So I can do a lot of going inward and having the space too to hibernate.
I had originally planned to have this surgery back in May because I was trying to get it done before the summer time and I ended up pushing it out for a number of reasons, financial, not feeling fully ready, not doing enough research kind of a thing.
And since I’ve been able to take this space, I’m so grateful for all of the information that is out there, breast implants and the more that’s coming to the surface because there’s a lot of women that are struggling with a lot of symptoms when it comes to the breast implants.
And I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to manage a lot of my symptoms if I have them.
I’m also grateful that my symptoms aren’t necessarily like, quote unquote deadly.
Like I don’t feel like I’m gonna be like that.
I am grateful that I’m gonna be taking them out here shortly.
And yeah, I think the next episode, I’m going to share how I’m preparing.
and I’ll also make sure to keep you guys in the loops of what it looks like going into surgery as well as what it feels like afterwards.
But I really felt called to, to share this episode with you because I think it needs to be talked about way more.
I think people need to know what breast implants can do.
I don’t, I can’t say and be defined in saying that breast implants are the problem to everything.
But I do know they are playing a very significant role in a lot of women’s lives right now over the last four y you know, the years and the generations that I’ve gotten breast implants.
And so I just, I just feel so called to share that.
And again, I’m not no breast implant or black breast explant expert by all means this is, that’s not where I’m coming from.
It’s just me wanting to invite you into the story that I’m I’m working through and what’s coming up and how I’m gonna do that.
And yeah, I Yeah, so thank you so much for listening.
Thank you so much for just supporting me from a distance.
And if you know anyone that might resonate with this episode, like, please feel free to share it with them.
And if any of you guys want to talk about it, I’d be happy to talk about it on Instagram.
Just send me a DM and I’m sending you guys lots of love.

Episode Timestamps:

7:22 – Karenna’s thought process leading to implants at age 20

12:18 – Coming to love and accept her implants over the years

19:47 – Learning about breast implant illness and potential risks

15:16 – The moment on a hike in Peru when she knew she had to explant

24:14 – Her fears about losing confidence and intimacy after surgery

25:51 – Nick and her community’s support through this process

27:09 – How she is physically and emotionally preparing for surgery

This is a courageous episode about listening to your intuition and letting go of things that no longer serve you. Karenna models resilience and radical self-trust.

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Karenna Soto

I’m an expert in communication, creating healthy professional and personal relaitonships, and in managing and overcoming anxiety with a knack for navigating difficult conversations both in personal and professional atmospheres. I am here to invite you into your fullest authentic expression and personal evolution.

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More About Karenna

I know how debilitating it can feel to be stuck on the perpetual hamster wheel of a life that you don’t enjoy living. Sure, externally you’ve got it all together, but internally, it likely feels like you’re questioning E V E R Y T H I N G.

Can you relate?

It was when I felt disconnect with what I was doing, and with how I was showing up in my life that I realized the answers lied in how I was doing what I was doing that I decided I no longer wanted to keep living within the box of what I was told to be and decided to boldly express myself and stand for what truly mattered to me.

I have seen the power of fully expressing myself in my personal and professional life. Now I want to bring it to the masses, which is why I’ve created this podcast.

This podcast is my invitation to all people struggling to be fully expressed in life, relationships, and business. It’s for those who are wanting to feel A L I V E, connected, and in love with their life, relationships, and business.

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