PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — They were some of the first women in our area to say publicly their breast implants made them sick.
WPTV interviewed them two years ago. They suffered from a myriad of symptoms, ranging from joint pain, hair loss, rashes, stomach issues to autoimmune diseases.
They are all slowly but surely enjoying better health since removing their implants. Tonight, their mission to inform other women...Takes them all the way to Washington, D.C.
It's been more than two years since Terri Diaz had surgery to remove, what she believed were her dangerous implants.
Diaz says, "I am starting to see the progression at last. I am starting to drive, I am able to do more and have more energy. I am opening up my business again."
When I first met Terri two years ago she told me removal was a last resort and she made a promise that if taking her implants out made her better, she would be on a mission.
"I just want to help these women who don't know or who are at least looking into it. I just want to help these women not get to the point I was."
Part of that mission led her to the FDA in Washington, D.C. It was a two-day public hearing where researchers and implant makers presented data and hundreds of women who blame implants for their illnesses shared their stories.
During the FDA hearing, Terri Diaz told the committee she could not even walk up a flight of stairs when her illness was at its worst. She said not one of her doctors considered her implants as the cause of her illnesses.
Jennifer Robb also spoke during the hearing. She started by listing some of her many illnesses, caused by her implants. "I had pneumonia, infections, pre-term birth."
Robb says, while she was disappointed with the recent FDA decision 'not' to ban textured implants, she will continue to push for more warnings and clarity.
"We suggested a patient-doctor checklist to be able to go over these things", said Robb. "To know there is a potential of developing autoimmune disease caused by breast implants, there's a possibility of cancer-related to implants."
West Palm Beach plastic surgeon Dr. Frederic Barr has been doing breast augmentation surgery for decades and for the first time in his career, says he is taking out more implants than he is putting in.
Dr. Barr says, "As a scientist, as a physician, I'm listening and taking it seriously. If they tell me they feel their implants are causing them harm, my job is to remove those implants.
But it's not just women with serious symptoms who are coming to Dr.Barr. Candy is one of the growing numbers of women deciding that 'bigger is not necessarily better" especially in the wake of so many scary stories.
Candy says, "For me, everything in the media, having children.It made me think twice. I feel way better. I feel the current trend of smaller breasts is also a trend in clothing. I haven't ever felt better.
Dr. Barr says he's "never" used the textured breast implants which have been banned in nearly forty countries, including Canada. And he warns patients who have a history of auto-immune diseases.
"Understand we just don't have all the answers and this is a concern if this occurs be prepared you may want to be taking them out," he says.
Meantime, Terri Diaz and Jennifer Robb continue to speak to hundreds of women. They say they aren't trying to scare anyone, but want to spare women the years of severe sickness they both endured.
"All it is, is just advice, not telling you what to do with your body, you have to make that choice for yourself."
If you think you're suffering from an Illness connected to your implants, and your doctor dismisses your concerns, these women say you should find a new doctor.
Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) - Letter to Health Care Providers
Facebook Breast Implant Support Groups
Dr. Fredric M. Bar, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Board Certified Plastic Reconstructive Surgeon