My Journey to Health! (the long story on my recent surgery)
I want to start by saying thank you for your prayers and love during this time that I am in the states for surgery and recovery at my mom’s house, while Tyler and Guenther are in Honduras continuing the work that God called us to in Honduras.
Here is my surgery story, for HIS (God’s) glory. My hope and prayer is that you see how good God is in the midst of my mistakes. He’s such a good, good Father. Jesus changed my life and I am eternally grateful!
Most of you have gotten the short version of the surgery story, not because I didn’t want to share it but because it’s a long story to share. Well, here’s the long version for those who were curious. May you see the hand of God all over this story!
In order to get you to the present surgery, I have to take you back quite a few years…19 years to be exact. I was 20 years old and in my second year of college. I felt beautiful and never really struggled with self-confidence, but so desired to be what I thought defined a beautiful woman. I was not a believer in Jesus at this time and was heavily impacted by what the world defined as a beautiful woman. I believe my early exposure to pornography and TV exposure (MTV, Baywatch, oversexualized teen movies, etc) had a huge impact on my definition of what defines a beautiful woman. So, although I felt beautiful, I always desired to have super large breasts like the women who defined beauty for me. Therefore in 2003, I went for a consultation with a plastic surgeon I found in the local phone book and decided to get breast implants. I wanted them big and round just like my TV role models of beauty. I even brought in a picture of one of my TV idols that I wanted to look like. Looking back, I see the hand of God in this moment in the doctor’s office even though I wasn’t a believer. After showing the doctor the picture, he said that he understood that I wanted the big, showy breast implants, but it was his recommendation that I get tear drop breast implants so they looked natural. It’s by the grace of God I took his recommendation and got the natural looking breast implants, that is why mostly everyone NEVER realized I even had breast implants. I took out a loan and had surgery to change my body drastically. I guess you can say I was happy with them, but they were never me.
So you may be wondering what this has to do with today’s surgery….I’m getting there. I told you it was a long story, we’re getting closer. Knowing my health journey will help you understand about my recent surgery, so hang on a little longer...we're getting there.
In October 2020 when my brother got diagnosed with cancer, it rocked my world. I was scared to lose him, sad for all the treatment he had to go through and fearful because the doctor thought it might be genetic. When praying about my brother’s situation and feeling sad that I couldn’t be there for him in person (he was in the states and we were serving in Honduras…but I did get to be with him for 3 weeks December 2020 praise God), God gently mentioned that I might not be able to do much physically to help my brother, but that I could look at my own health and get healthy to better honor God with my own body.
For the first year of my brother’s cancer, I took away starchy carbs as a way to remember to be a prayer warrior for my brother. You may ask "why starchy carbs?", and the reason is because I love them and I knew I would notice them missing from my plate therefore reminding me to pray for my brother. Surprisingly I lost 55lbs that year. I was just focused on getting healthy and praying for my brother, and the weight came off as a side benefit.
After losing this weight, I prayed that God would lead me to somewhere that I could learn to continue losing the rest of the extra weight and learn to keep it off...the hard part. God faithfully answered this prayer and I was led to Faithful Finish Lines, a Christian weight loss program that also teaches you how to maintain weight loss. This program helped me loose some more weight and now I have lost over 70lbs total (still have 15lbs more to go and hope to get there by my birthday Jan 9).
Then a good friend gave me a book talking about how you can use nutrition to fight off cancer. I didn’t have cancer, but figured I could use the tips to fight it the best I can in case my brother’s cancer was genetic (later I found out that the doctor said the type of cancer my brother had was not genetic after all). After reading the book, we became interested in looking into how to fight cancer (and heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol). That’s when my husband and I watched quite a few documentaries on Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) eating for health (helps in all areas of health mentioned above). We didn’t struggle with any of these areas yet, but desired to do our best to be as healthy as possible through nutrition and exercise to better prevent and fight off those diseases, as most all of them run in our families.
So if you’ve hung on this long, you’ve made it to the recent surgery.
WFPB eating is a new way of living and it takes work, but is so worth it. Since it is a total new way of eating, I went to my favorite place for good recipes…Pinterest! On August 19, 2022 I put in the search bar something like “healthy WFPB recipes” and was scrolling through the healthy recipes when I came across a post titled “Why I removed my Breast Implants and One Week Post Explant (Breast Implant Illness)”. You may find this strange, but I call it God getting my attention. I even took a picture of the post that same day, because I was shocked that it came up during my search and knew I had to research this more. In my head I was thinking, "wait…my implants can make me sick". After a lot of research, I learned that the FDA recommends that people change their breast implants every 10 years (or sooner if they rupture or get infected) and that they can cause lots of medical issues, including a rare type of breast cancer. WHAT?!
I looked online and saw that my original surgeon was still practicing and reached out for an online consultation. After sending him pictures through a secure health app he uses, he felt that I had “capsular contracture” in my left breast….the formation of a “capsule” of scar tissue around the implant attacks the implant causing it to harden and could rupture it. In other words, it was trying to remove the foreign object from my body. Ugh. That was not what I was hoping to hear.
While praying I felt peace over having my breast implants completely removed without replacing them, going back to me! I talked to my husband and he was a go. The doctor was a go. My mom was a go for taking care of me after surgery. More importantly I felt that this was what God was guiding me to do.
This surgery is not covered under insurance as it is deemed to be cosmetic. BUT GOD provided a donation from a sweet friend a few months prior to deciding on surgery and she said it could be used for personal or ministry. I feel this is both personal and ministry, if I’m not well…how can I do ministry. When we first got the money a few months before I booked the surgery, WE THOUGHT it would be used for a 2nd vehicle (we never felt peace or clarity from God to buy the 2nd vehicle)…BUT GOD KNEW we would need it for this surgery. I am so glad we didn’t jump the gun and buy a 2nd vehicle, but waited on God’s direction for how to use this money. We also used some tax money to cover the rest. God provides!!!
I flew to the states mid September 2022 in order to get all of the blood work, ekg, etc needed to be cleared for surgery (had to be completed and turned in 2 weeks before surgery). I underwent surgery on October 5, 2022 and had my breast implants removed, a breast lift (because I stretched out the skin getting implants and being overweight for so long), and got my hanging arm fat removed that came from losing over 70lbs (debated about this, but went for it because I had a lot of loose skin and I was already going in the operating room for the other).
Now I’m done with surgery and onto recovery. My recovery timeframe is 6 weeks (2 weeks down, 4 more weeks to go). PLEASE PRAY for no complications and for healing to go well. At my 6 week check in with my doctor I get the pathology reports and details from the surgery.
I told you it was a long story, but you made it through! Now for the best conclusion…
Accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior on Mother’s Day (May 9, 2010) changed my life forever. I have been on a journey open to whatever change the Lord wants to make in my life along this journey, including going back to ME…smaller chest and all!
I may have thought greater beauty was in having a larger chest, but what I wish that 20 year old girl knew then that I know now is that I AM FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE BY GOD (Psalm 139:14). Changing my body through surgery and overeating damaged my body, along with many other things (if you heard my testimony, you know). I am grateful for God’s forgiveness and redemption. Here’s to being just me and getting healthy!
All for HIM…King JESUS, my Lord and Savior!
Lorenda, daughter of the King