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I have never been a fan of Valentine’s Day. To me, it is one of those inauthentically contrived “Hallmark holidays” that are a set up for expectation and potential disappointment, none of which inspire me. That is, until Valentine’s Day of 2016…the day I ended a long term relationship that I allowed to stay in my life for way too long.

It is the day I underwent explant surgery —  the removal of the toxic breast implants that I had in my body for 15 years.

It was the most meaningful, beautiful and sweetest gift ever, and it keeps on giving.

You might be wondering why I allowed the implants into my life in the first place. Like many who enter a toxic relationship, the red flags were there from day one, but I chose to put on blinders and look the other way. I was hoping that what attracted me to them in the beginning, would outweigh the fact that they didn’t align with my soul.

I was grossly mistaken. I started to experience serious health consequences: thyroid cancer, Hashimoto’s disease, candida, brain fog, parasitic infection, heart palpitations, depression, chronic fatigue, adrenal fatigue, body aches to name just a few. Not one doctor suggested that any of my symptoms or disease could be related to the FDA approved devices implanted in my body.

As a yoga instructor, business owner, and wellness warrior I kept my long list of symptoms and declining health a secret. When not putting on my “healthy face” at work, I spent many hours alone, curled up in a ball hidden from the outside world. I was in deep despair, and losing hope of ever feeling like “me” again.

It took me years to finally see what no one else saw or even believed. That what looked healthy, beautiful, and even perfect on the outside was killing all that I was on the inside.

Until one day in late 2015 I had an “aha” moment that was life changing. A random conversation with a friend of a friend which led me to a Facebook community and the answers I had been searching for.

From that moment on there was no turning back. I now knew that it wasn’t just me, I wasn’t crazy, and I wasn’t alone. Thousands of women were experiencing the same symptoms as I was and we all had a common denominator — breast implants!

I immediately found one of the top explant surgeons in the country and asked to be put on the wait list for the soonest surgery date available. The date serendipitously fell on Valentine’s Day. Perfect.

It has been two years since I made the decision to break up with my breast implants and reclaim my life. It is a process that does not come without set backs. But, the heal is real.

The poison is now nectar.

I feel like I have come home to myself. It has been not just a physical journey back to health, but a journey of self-love and acceptance. This experience has been a necessity for me to learn the greatest love of all: the love of self.

So today, I not only celebrate Valentine’s Day, but I gratefully celebrate the daily opportunity to live my life big, in my truth, and authentically. And no gift is sweeter.

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