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Committee Members

Anne Ziegenhorn

Anne Ziegenhorn is a Floridian who grew up on the beautiful Emerald Coast of Florida. She is a dedicated wife and mother of two teenagers who also runs a non-profit as a Women’s Health Advocate. Anne is a former Swimwear Model, one of the Original Destin Hooter Girls, a Plastic Surgeon Surgical Tech & Medical Assistant, and she is a Registered Dental Hygienist.

 

Anne now has her own medical insurance consulting firm and has helped many women have their explants covered by their insurance. Anne has educated many doctor’s offices with her knowledge on a case by case basis. There is a belief that insurance will not cover ex-plant; that is inaccurate. Anne fought to have her insurance pay for her implant removal by proving with help from her surgeon it was medically necessary. Anne charges a very small fee to which Anne will donate a portion to TITS so more women can be assisted in ex-planting.

 

In addition, Anne has written a book, ‘Perfection’. It is based on her true life story and how everything leads up to her becoming ill and how she overcame it and turned that negative moment in time into a positive. Here is a short summary.

 

A true-life story of a vivacious woman who takes you on a roller coaster of love, heartbreak, deception & romance while in search of true love. She is misdiagnosed multiple times, left to die & as she fights for her life she uncovers a tangle web of lies. All while enduring personal attacks from doctors, family, friends & other women on social media. What is the ugly truth & the cover ups behind this multi-billion dollar industry?

 

Please feel free to keep sharing my story, maybe it can go viral to save a life~

 

You can read more of my story and journey at my personal blog The Implant Truth here

Paula Blades

TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL

 

I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard a whisper in my ear that sent chills throughout my body.  One syllable that would prove to save my life. A very common word but so profound “STOP”.

 

My name is Paula Blades I am the Co-Founder of The Implant Truth Survivors. I will try to give you the highlighted version of my journey up to this point. It is a story of despair, hope and graciousness.

I was always out going, vibrant and full of life until a decision I made at the ripe old age of twenty one would alter my path forever.  I made the decision to get breast augmentation surgery. I had been teased throughout my teenage and older adolescent years regarding my flat chest.  I can remember having a Skipper Barbie Doll that you could wind her arm and her breast would grow.  My cousin would try winding my arm but nothing never seemed to grow.  I did the exercises where you stated I must I must increase my bust, still nothing.  I knew it was harmless teasing and jokes but none the less it made me very self conscious. I loved my new breasts and was told they were completely safe and would last a lifetime.

 

So years passed and I was living my life to the fullest. Then came the chronic sinusitis about four years of augmentation. No big deal I live in Western Kentucky and practically everyone has sinus and allergy issues. Fast forward to 2000. I began getting sores on my upper torso that would ooze, bleed and very slow to heal. Biopsies revealed nothing and I was told it was stress.  I did have a very stressful Marketing career so once again I chalked it up to no big deal.

 

Around 2007-2008 I started having menopause type symptoms although I was only 38 years old. The Ob Gyn did blood work and prescribed me bio identical hormone replacement  therapy and supplements for adrenal fatigue.  I began to have gastrointestinal issues and was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. So more medication was prescribed and I took it and went on with life.

 

I could write a book regarding the next 5 years to follow but I promised highlights only. 2008-2009 the symptoms of chronic sinusitis and migraines became unbearable. I was living on Excedrin Migraine, antibiotics and steroids. I was first hospitalized in late Summer of 2009. We were sure the sinus CT would be horrible but to everyone’s surprise it was negative.  My WBC was high my BP low, chronic fatigue,weight loss, migraines and the general feeling of being hit by a truck. They tested me for everything I had spinal taps, blood cultures etc nothing was showing up. My health continued to decline the following Summer I was hospitalized again.

 

I was so dizzy I could barely stand along with the previous symptoms coming on full force. Still no answers , I was discharged home. I will never forget the Neurologist that was making rounds that Saturday morning , whom had never laid eyes on me and  came in to discharge me. I asked him what was I suppose to do regarding the dizziness? He answered “get a cane.” At that point I was feeling defeated and needless to say I never saw him again.

 

It was about one month later , Labor Day Weekend, my BP had been dropping to 70/48 subsequently stroke level. My Primary Care Physicians wanted to admit me but I persuaded them to send me to Nashville, Tennessee to a hospital. I was just too weak to go sit in an E.R. For hours so I convinced them to hold off until that following Tuesday so I could be a direct admit through my Neurosurgeon. I spent that weekend in my recliner taking my BP constantly , my legs were so numb I could barely move. I prayed a lot and asked the Lord  to take me home but I learned my struggle was just beginning.

 

Tuesday finally came and I made it to Nashville and was admitted.  I was full of hope that I was going to get answers there. They put me through rigorous testing. I will never forget the bone marrow biopsy.  That was the most excruciating pain I have ever felt in my life, childbirth was a breeze to that.  My Mom went down the hall and could hear me screaming and saying a few choice words.  Once again no answers.  I prayed and prayed for a diagnosis of anything. I felt I could handle the worse if I just knew what I was fighting. My health continued to spiral out of control.

 

My life consisted of physician appointments, my Mom driving me around a few hours so I could make some sales calls then to bed.  I was slipping away from everyone. My husband, my kids , my parents, my Grand Son, my friends, and my work colleagues.  The light in my eye and the fire in my belly had went out.  I was a shell of a person. My Grandson came into my cave one day and said ” I miss my fun MiMi”. I lost it and my heart broke for that precious little boy.

 

Breast Implant Illness steals precious time with our friends and family that we can never get back.  It comes in like a hurricane destroying everything in its path.  My once supportive husband, friends and family began insinuating it was all in my head. I began to think I was literally loosing my mind. Deep down I knew I wasn’t but when test after test comes back normal it makes you wonder.  My friends even did what I call an intervention. They came to my home and suggested all the medicines I was on was the cause. I was so hurt and so furious at them and felt all alone.  I was so sick of hearing “You just need to push yourself.” I was pushing as hard as I could. This is very difficult to write hence why it has taken me this long to do so.

 

By this time I was having memory loss  and other cognitive issues affecting my job.  I had an amazing boss who was very understanding. If I had worked any place else I would have been fired.  In 2012 I finally got into the Mayo Clinic. I had a renewed hope and was positive they could figure me out. My Mom drove me to Jacksonville Florida, I spent two weeks there. I was tested for everything.

 

At the end of the two weeks we met with the Internal Medicine physician whom was spear heading me through the system. Once again no answers. We know you are severely ill but there is basically nothing else to test for. This was my absolute lowest point.  I knew then I was going to die.  The physicians were never going to figure me out not even an autopsy would reveal cause of death. My family would always wonder what took me from them so soon.

 

I started planning my funeral. My top request was that my dogs be at my funeral. I am still not quite sure why I was demanding their presence. My thought process was quite diminished.  I have only shared this next part of my journey with very few. It was my lowest point.  I felt like such a huge burden to my family and I was suffering so. I had a moment of weakness and attempted to swallow a hand full of sleeping pills. By the Grace of God my husband walked in and saw what I was doing. He literally took his fingers in my mouth and pulled the pills out. I don’t know if I would have actually swallowed them or not. I have a strong faith in God and knew it was wrong but that is how far down in the depths of despair I sank.

 

So many women have succeed in taking their own lives due to this illness and never knew what was wrong with them. I vow to do my best to spread the word so no woman sinks as far in despair as I did and no more lives are taken or lost.

 

The message I now want to get across is hope and new beginnings.

 

I was in my cave ( bedroom) channel surfing and I felt a hand on my shoulder and a whisper in my ear “STOP”  it gave me cold chills and a feeling of love  and peace I had not ever experienced before. Stop so simple , to pause and cease movement. I glanced at the television and what was on, Monsters Inside Me.

 

There was Susan Kolb M.D.discussing a patient whom had been made ill by her saline implants.  I knew immediately that I had to see this physician.  I had such renewed faith and was so excited at the prospect that the suffering would end.  I Googled her and made appointment in one week.  I had a consult with her on Wednesday and Explant that Friday. She literally saved my life and I will always be so grateful to her.  I cannot say enough good things regarding Dr. Kolb. I know that day , that touch, and that whisper was God letting me know I had suffered long enough.  That moment was such a life changing event for me and it is always vivid in my mind.

 

The Explant went well and I came home to recover. Then reality set in when I took the binder off and realized that my left breast was deformed. Wrinkled and sunken in due to she had to remove more tissue on the left. I was so thankful to be alive but vanity slipped back in.  I was unable to look at myself in the mirror. I would jump out of the shower and throw on a towel. I would not dare let my husband see me. I felt as if he wouldn’t want me any longer damaged goods.

 

I had a pity party for quite some time.  My husband was very patient with me and reassured me enough that I finally realized he loved me for the person I was from within.  It is ok to mourn the loss of your breast just try not to get bogged down in it. Mourn it and let it go.

 

My implants were 21 years old when they came out. They were sent directly to Dr. Blais for testing.  He found them to be growing aspergillosis mold and faulty valves. Dr. Kolb continues to treat me. Unfortunately during my recovery I tried to hang on to the job and career I had worked so hard to build.  My boss and I came to a decision that it would be more beneficial for the company if I left and filed for disability.

 

That was another loss I incurred that took a long time for me to realize that I was not just a Marketing Representative.  So often people become their job titles and loose their real selves. I had to learn who I was and to my surprise I really like her. I continue to heal and still struggle with some of the symptoms every day. This experience taught me to love myself and be much more patient and tolerant of other people.

 

Breast Implant Illness took so much from me and my family but these days I focus on what it has given me. I found a wonderful , strong, inspiring and caring woman Anne Ziegenhorn. I will never be able to express to her how she has touched my life. I feel as if I have known her my entire life.  Anne and I may have been brought together by this illness but God made us best friends.

 

I am so proud to be a Co- Founder of The Implant Truth Survivors along side Anne.  We had the same vision and the determination to make it happen. We have been blessed with the opportunity to get the word out regarding Breast Implant Illness and help other women.

 

We have aligned ourselves with incredible women to get TITS up and running.  I am so grateful to them all. We have joined forces with many groups that consist of women helping women. Together we will prevail. The story is just beginning and I am so excited to see where it leads.

 

I want to thank my husband Terry , my Daughters Cheslie and Marcy, my son Terry, my grandsons Hayden and Dakota and my parents for loving me through this journey. I love you all to the moon and back.

 

We will no longer stand for pro-quo We are Pro-Go.

 

God bless and keep you all

 

Your TITS Sister,

 

Paula Blades