PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Imagine being sick for nine years. Imagine going from doctor to doctor, knowing something is wrong, but never getting better.
That was the nightmare Amy Peskin lived. As it turns out, something that made her so happy a long time ago, her breast implants, were ruining her life
"Had I known what I would have gone through, how much of a price my husband, family and I would pay, I never in a million years would have gotten them."
Peskin, who lives in South Florida, says she got breast implants 18 years ago. Nine years later she started feeling sick. She was diagnosed with auto-immune disorders, hormonal imbalances and gastrointestinal issues.
She says she was taking 38 medications and supplements a day just to survive. Doctors performed hundreds of tests.
"After I had a partial hysterectomy, because they told me that was what was wrong with me, what happened after the surgery was that I only got sicker," says Peskin. "I was a medical mystery. I was a mess. No doctor could help me."
Peskin started suspecting maybe it was her implants that were hurting her health. She read stories online and in magazines about women who had similar symptoms and made the decision to explant, to remove her breast implants.
She contacted plastic surgeon Dr. David Rankin in Jupiter and scheduled her surgery.
Peskin found support online. Tens of thousands of women suffering from auto immune, gastrointestinal, hormonal issues were connecting in Facebook support groups.
In May 2017, Amy Peskin, and four local women who had already undergone surgery to remove their implants shared their stories on WPTV in hopes of helping others.
Terri Diaz said, "I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs.
Catherine Carr said, "I was diagnosed with Lyme disease and lupus."
Karen Rapport said, "Something was poisoning me from the inside out, that's how I felt."
Jennifer Robb said, "It saved my life getting my implants out. They found one had ruptured. I have a rare fungus with over 70 colonies in my chest."
And in May 2017, Amy Peskin told us, "I've been told I'm crazy. I had a doctor tell me to put my big girl panties on and deal with my life."
Two days after our interview last year, Jupiter plastic surgeon Dr. David Rankin removed Amy's breast implants.
"I remember looking at Dr. Rankin in the eye and saying to him please, get the entire thing out. Please help me this is y last shot. I've had every test, been to every doctor, tried every supplement and drug and nothing has helped me."
The capsule is scar tissue that builds up around the implant.
It's been 40 weeks since Amy's explant surgery.
She says, "Everything has normalized. I am no longer estrogen dominant, my hormone levels have stabilized. I don't have 45 symptoms anymore. I have my life back."
Rankin said, "Something is there for sure, I think we are at the tip of the iceberg as far as figuring this one out."
He went from doing three to four explant surgeries a month one year ago to, "My practice has exploded. I'm doing 20-30 per month with a lift, right now."
He said he's doing more explants than implants these days. Which begs the question, are breast implants safe?
Rankin says, yes. "I still believe for the majority of women who want breast implants they're safe. For those women I think a sub-set, in general that react or have a sensitivity to foreign bodies, breast implants are foreign bodies. I think part of informed consent of breast augmentation should be explaining that the women might reject the implants and cause symptoms at which time you may want to take the implants out."
Amy Peskin says it's buyer beware!
"If you have certain genetic mutations, if you have a pre-disposition to thyroid disease, auto-immune disorders---this may not be something you want to put in your body. Not every woman will have that same reaction but when you get to a point where you are a medical mystery and you've lost your quality of life, then it's time to say, could my implants be doing this to me."