When Candy first started experiencing strange symptoms, her husband Michael thought it was just an aging thing. Even as she met with plastic surgeons doctors to discuss having her breast implants removed, he was supportive but skeptical.
Since her explant surgery a year ago, he quickly noticed Candy has much more energy. Like having a “brand new wife,” she has the energy of a 20-something, both physically and mentally.
At the first consultation, when they saw how much Dr. Luke Swistun genuinely believed Candy and cared about her recovery, both she and Michael knew immediately that he was the right surgeon.
Meet Dr. Swistun
Hear Dr. Swistun discuss breast implant removal on our previous episode, “Life After Breast Implant Removal: What to Expect”
Speaker 1 (00:07):
You’re listening to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast.
Hello and welcome to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast. I’m Monique, your hostess. And today on the podcast, my guest is a little bit unusual. His name is Michael. And unlike when we’ve had patients on the podcast, he is the husband of one of our patients and her name is Candy. And Candy came to see Dr. Swistun to have her breast implants removed, and that took place about a year ago. And then last month, Candy returned to have a second surgery to have fat transfer as a breast augmentation with the fat and then a lift. So we don’t always think about husbands and partners and kind of what their perspective is, maybe as much as in, mostly we’re asking patients what they feel, but having a surgery does impact the people around you. And so we are really grateful that Candy’s husband Michael is here today and that we get to talk about that side of the story. So welcome Michael.
Thank you. Good to be here.
So let’s set up the story for us first. Did she get her breast implants before or after you met?
She got them after we had met.
And so how long ago was that first surgery?
Yeah, so we had, uh, met maybe a few months prior to, we talked a couple times and then we didn’t talk for a a while and then she reached out to me out of the blue and we started talking again. And then when I see her again, then she has breast implants. So that’s kind of the way it went.
. So how long ago was that?
Oh gosh, 25 years ago maybe. Oh, okay. Something like that. Yeah, it’s been a while.
So when did you start to notice that she was having them maybe impact her life or having, you know, that she wasn’t really happy that she had the breast implants?
Oh, I would say probably the last few years anyway, she has started, uh, commenting about different ailments that were bothering her, some headaches and some neck issues. So yeah, I would say probably a good few years ago. And of course, you know, at that, you know, I’m just thinking, well, you know, if she’s just getting older, just kind of a natural type thing versus, you know, that the the breast implants were causing it is a, it just didn’t seem like that would be an issue. So I was skeptical.
Yeah. Did she right away start thinking there was a link, or do you remember when she put that part together?
She just started looking into it, doing some research, and then I would say probably like the last year before she actually got the implants out, she really started to look into the breast implant illness and just really saw other women that were going through the same things she was. And uh, she just knew that, uh, you know, it was time to get ’em out.
And so you said you were skeptical
Yeah. Yeah, I was, I was skeptical. I thought, well, it’s gotta be something else. It just didn’t seem like that could be a thing that was causing it. But I’m certainly have changed my mind.
So in the time leading up to her saying, you know what, I wanna get them taken out, you know? Was there a moment that pushed you over the edge where you said, yeah, go get it done? Or like, was there ever a change for you that, or you just thought, yeah, go. Let’s see if that helps.
Well, I wanted to be supportive of her. She had done a lot of research and she really felt like this was the, the way to go. Even going into it, I was, when she went into the doctor’s office or to into surgery to get it done, I was, I was skeptical even after the things that I’ve read. I think part of it was that I was scared for her that she was gonna regret doing it and she’d be six months down the road or a year, like, oh my gosh, what did I just do? But that, that was not the case at all. And she’s been very happy with the results. I’ve been very happy. The, all the issues that she had, the headaches, the skin discoloration, some of the darkness around her eyes is gone. Her energy, her back and neck issues, her headaches. It’s been amazing. It really has. I, I just, wow. Yeah, I mean, I’m a firm believer, you know, if someone you know is having issues, this is something that they should definitely look at.
Mm-hmm. . Now describe for us what it was like maybe for you guys before she had the surgery, how it affected maybe your relationship or your life, like going out and doing things versus now. I mean, has there been an impact, I guess, directly on your relationship?
Yeah, for sure. So when, you know, when we were young, you know, and she had the breast implants, she was not concerned at all about, I’m not gonna say showing them off, but you know, just wearing things that, where she looked good in the clothing, but really the last, I would say probably five years or so, she was very self-conscious about them and didn’t like how large they were. And so that part, you know, she didn’t really like wearing a lot of attire that hugged her tightly because she just didn’t want to stand out, you know, in, in that manner where people just, all they saw were her breasts. She wanted people to see her. Other than that, and I know a lot of guys are gonna, you know, they want to know about sex life. Let’s, let’s be honest, wanna to know, you know, how does it affect, you know, before the implants got out, uh, I would say it was average type sex life for a married couple post surgery. She has been feeling so, so much better energy wise and wearing clothes that really are flattering to her and clothing that she was so afraid to wear before. And then her libido is like freaking off the chart. So guys,
Well that’s good.
That is a concern. Yeah. To me, that’s a nice problem to have, right. For a husband.
Yeah. Well, I guess it makes sense. If you’re not feeling well, that makes your energy low. And then if you’re not feeling super confident either or feeling, yeah, maybe some awareness so that you’re self-aware that, you know, she’s feeling like they were too big. Because I think, you know, we all go through different times in our life where we have different goals, you know, and when you’re in your twenties, you, you wanna have a different look than maybe when you’re in your forties. And I don’t know her age, but those things change and that’s okay. But certainly it sounds like she’s really like coming into herself and embracing maybe this new look that she has and maybe the newfound energy too. ,
Yeah. It’s just energy, you know, and I’m not just talking about libido wise, but just energy for life in general. It’s just she wants to go out and do things and it’s just, you can feel it in, in the house. It’s been amazing. And I’ve told her many times I wish she would’ve done it years ago.
Now, when you said that she was doing some research on her own, were you doing that research with her or did she kind of just bring it to you and, you know, what was your role I guess in that process?
She would bring me the research. I did surface level research, but nothing like she did. She went down some serious rabbit holes regarding the, the breast implant illness, and she would bring me thanks and examples of other women having the same type of issues. She joined a couple groups on Facebook and that’s actually how she ended up finding Dr. Swistin was somebody was talking about the amazing job that he had done and, and she had looked at other doctors as well and did research and, you know, we’re, we’re fully prepared to go outside the state if we had to, but thankfully we, we found him great reputation within the community. And so when we came in and talked to him, it was like a done deal because we could see that he gave a crap about us and her right. And believed in the illness. So we’ve been thoroughly impressed post surgeries, texting, talking on the phone, whenever he’s been, uh, at our disposal. And so it’s just been a wonderful experience.
Well, that’s so good to hear. And I think, you know, my own personal experience with him as a surgeon, and he hasn’t done surgery on me, but working with him, you know, he is so very dialed in to every patient and knowing who they are, everything about them, and he genuinely cares. And there’s a connection that you can’t fake that. And I think especially when it’s something that maybe almost goes against the norm, the norm is everybody gets implants put in, nobody talks about getting them out. And when whether you’re feeling like something’s not right, you wanna be heard and you don’t want to be kind of dismissed, like, oh, that’s not a thing. It, it’s crazy. Go away. That’s like the worst thing. And I think having a surgeon who will genuinely listen and care and say, yeah, this, this really could be something that is affecting you. I think that’s such an important part because you do feel like you’re swimming upstream, , everybody’s going this way and you’re going that way. And why am I, am I crazy, am I crazy to think that? So once she was ready. Okay, so she had her consultation with Dr. Sw and were you there for the consult?
Yes, yes, I was. And you know, the, the other thing that I had to, I had to look past that he was, uh, he was in the Navy, you know, I, I didn’t hold him against, hold that against him.
Are you a Marine?
I’m a Marine, yeah. I’m a retired marine officer. So that, that part, uh, you know, I had to look past, but uh, I got over it quick,
But yes, I was part of the process.
Well, that’s good. I think that’s important. I think having support no matter what surgery or what, you know, big life event, it’s nice to have, you know, the support of your partner there. So what was your first impression when you met him? Other than the fact that he was in the Navy and not a Marine?
Uh, just, just like I said, uh, I just, I could tell right away that he cared about us. Not, you know, not just my wife, but us as a couple. And, uh, thoroughly explained everything and was at our disposal when we had questions. We had his phone number and my wife could text or a call at any time, literally. And, uh, in fact, I think, uh, the night that she had her surgery actually was talking to him on the phone at like 10 o’clock at night and he called me. So I was just very impressed with him throughout the process. Still very impressed with him and I just could not recommend him enough.
Now, did you have certain things that you were worried about her going into that surgery? And, and maybe did she have things that she was worried about and were they the same or different?
Uh, yeah, I would say they were different. Again, my, my concerns going in is, uh, and you know, I was skeptical up until the, you know, the last moment. Even after, you know, speaking with Dr. Sw and, and I think maybe more fearful than skeptical that she was going to regret this decision. That was really my biggest fear. And that she was just, it was gonna just kill her mentally for her. I, she had some apprehension going in. I think anybody getting that type of surgery, even though she wanted to get it, is gonna have that type of apprehension. You know, there was, you know, some tears just wondering, you know, if she’s doing, you know, the right thing. And, and I just tried to reassure her that, you know, in your heart this is what you want to do. And we went for it. And it’s, it’s been great. It really has. And I recommend any woman that’s having this type of issue to do your research, but there’s really has been no downside to this at all from her individual standpoint or, or from a couple standpoint. It’s just, it’s been a great year since the surgery.
So tell us about the day of her first surgery. What was that like for you?
It was a lot of work to take care of her. She had the drains that we had to drain every few hours. She’s in pain, of course. Um, I got to see the bags that were inside of her and feel how heavy they were, you know, and I could, I could see why she was having neck issues cuz she’s, she’s a small woman, small frame. And those implants were just crazy. I, I, I’m trying to think, I think he had said they were like 500 or 600 cc bags or something like that. Oh, that’s big. Yeah. And so I could just see why something like that pulling on this part of your body would affect your neck. And, and here’s the other thing is that as she started getting better and I saw all those symptoms going away, I, I kind of felt like crap because, you know, I was so skeptical, you know, I felt bad, you know, that I was like, it’s just this or that, do some exercises. I just feel bad, you know, looking back that, uh, I kind of, um, dismissed some of the those things.
Were you or she at all concerned that like, what if I had the surgery and I don’t experience any change to these symptoms? Was anybody thinking about that?
Well, I had actually, you know, I thought it, it goes back to my skepticism in the beginning anyway, but I certainly had that, those thoughts going through my mind. But, you know, I wasn’t really communicating them with her, you know, I didn’t want to put it out there, you know, I just wanted her to, to recover as quick as she could and, and to help her along. And it’s, like I said, it’s been amazing one year.
Now, do you remember at all, like, was it an immediate change with her or did it take a little while? Like how, when did she start to tell you that she felt different?
Uh, it was pretty soon after, I would say within the first month anyway, she started to experience or not experience some of the things that were bothering her. Particularly, you know, the headaches. She was notorious for getting headaches that, I mean, just, it happened so much that it was just like part of our life. Not to say that she doesn’t get any headaches at all anymore, but they’re like few and far between. You know, when she says, when she tells me she’s getting a headache, I’m like, oh wow, you know, maybe you need to hydrate or something like that. Not, you know, it’s definitely not because of, you know, the implants anymore. But I mean, it happened so much. It literally was just like part, oh, well, mom’s got another headache, but now it’s very rare that, uh, she has headaches, the neck pain, uh, is gone. The, the back issues, they’re gone. She’s just, just all in, you know, with our relationship and just has tons of energy. She has the energy of uh, 20 something.
Oh, that’s so cool. Now, since I alluded at the beginning to the fact that she had her surgery really in two parts. So she had her explanation last year in February and now we’re in March of 23 and she just recently had the breast lift and, and augmentation with fat. So tell me mm-hmm. , what was the thought process of splitting that all up? Did Dr. Swistun really dictate that? Did, is that something that she wanted to do? What was kind of the thought process behind that?
So when we spoke to Dr. Swistun, on the plan a year ago, he did not recommend a lift at that time. He had said, let’s see what happens after a year. Let’s see what happens with them before we decide to do anything. So she had some extra skin there that she wanted to get fixed and she just wanted to look more like, like she didn’t have these huge implants inside of her, of her chest, you know, and that had stretched out her skin and and whatnot. Just kind of bring ’em up from down here to bring ’em up. here,
Back where they used to be .
Back before the implants and before kids .
Yeah, yeah, exactly. So we went back to him and he laid out, you know, what he could do. And again, 100%, uh, it’s gonna be a month tomorrow. And couldn’t be happier with, uh, with the results he had to, to do a lot of, pull out a lot of his tricks that, uh, that he knows, those are his words, to get them fixed. Cuz there was a, there was some complexity to her lift and the, the grafting of the fat. But man, he, he did a, a great job and she’s super happy with, uh, with the results. And again, she just feels, it was like kind of like the last piece for her to really feel 100%, which is saying a lot because again, that time from when she first had the surgery to this last one, she was already like crazy off the chart energy, just feeling like a million bucks. Um, it was just this small tiny piece that she just wanted to, to complete the whole, the whole thing by, you know, just getting that, just tightening up that area and she’s just like over the moon and back.
Wow, that’s very cool. So now she’s probably mostly healed right from the most recent surgery. I mean, it’s a month, so she’s still post-op in a way, but mm-hmm. , you know, she’s starting to be able to do exercise and things like that.
That’s good. So was there anything that surprised you after either one of the surgeries that you weren’t expecting?
Well, after the first surgery, you know, I can’t emphasize enough how surprised and happy I was that her symptoms were gone and she was just a new woman. And it’s really hard for me to underemphasize that or overemphasize that because it has been just completely night, night and day. And even people who haven’t seen her in a while, or they see her in pictures, they’re just like, wow, you look really good. You know, what have you, what have you done? They can just see it, the energy that she, that she’s putting off and the glow. When we take pictures together, uh, people are just like, wow, you just, you look really good. You look really happy. And that part has been surprising. If I would’ve been on board earlier or known this was gonna happen, I would’ve said, let’s get them out 10 years ago.
Now that you’re through it and she’s through it, what advice would you give to someone? And this is kind of a two-part question. What advice would you give to someone who has implants and is confronting the same challenge? And then what advice would you give to maybe their partner in this journey of, you know, deciding whether you wanna keep them or, or take them out?
Well, I, on the female side, I would definitely recommend if they’re having these, uh, the illness to get them out because it’s really no way to live your life to be sick for boobs. It’s just not. And on the husband’s side, uh, tell them to, to be supportive, trust the process and just know that, uh, you’re getting a new wife when she gets out and being sick, she cannot put her best foot forward in in the relationship when she’s not feeling good. And so that manifests in, you know, all sorts of aspects of your relationship just from daily interaction to, you know, being intimate and, and whatnot. And so I think that the more support that the husband or the partner can give, you know, to his wife or girlfriend, the better she’s gonna feel about it. And when she comes out of it, the support needs to be there so that she can recover more quickly. And I am fully invested in, in, uh, believe in the, in the process and what it has done for my wife and I, I have no reason to believe that it, it would not manifests itself into other people’s relationships as well.
Now what part, as a person taking care of somebody who’s just been post-op, and I know you’re a marine so you can, you can do it all and you’re fine, but, you know, some guys I think are really intimidated by what do I have to do? How do I do it? I’m, they’re like scared almost of taking care of somebody after surgery. So if you could describe for the audience, what was that first 24 hours like and maybe a couple days after surgery? What was, what does that look like?
Well, at the office, they give you instructions, paper instructions, and then they also go over those instructions with you. So it’s not like they just wheel her out in the wheelchair and dump her off into the car and, and tell you thank you. They give you clear instructions on, on how to take care of her. And it’s really not difficult. It’s marine proof. I, whenever something, uh, I want to try to emphasize how easy something is, I just tell ’em it’s marine proof, so . Cause if a Marine could do it, then anybody can do it.
That’s funny. Oh, that’s good. Cuz I, I have actually been, I was filming a surgery one time and I remember the spouse of the person coming in and they just were so overwhelmed and I’m like, it’s gonna be easy. It’s all right here. It’s on the book. Yeah. But they were just almost overwhelmed because they’ve got the emotional part of seeing their spouse or their girlfriend or boyfriend in a gown and hooked up to things. And so sometimes people get a little weirded out by that whole thing and they’re like, what do I do? And . So it’s nice to know.
Yeah, it wasn’t difficult at all. You, you just keep track of their medication and you, you know, we, I just had a little list of uh, a little piece of paper with the times that I gave her, gave her medicine and really within probably a week or so, you know, she’s almost taking care of herself at that point. Um, I mean you still gotta help her out with some things, but it’s, it’s well worth it. It’s not like it’s this daunting task that somebody can’t complete. And the reward at the end is again, having an amazing, healthy and happy wife and you know what they say, you know, happy wife equals happy life.
Yeah, exactly. And now you’ve done it twice, so now you’re a pro and you could, you know, write the book on supporting your spouse through surgery. So thank you so much for, you know, really being open and, and I heard this was actually your idea that you wanted to talk about what it’s like from a spouse’s point of view and just share. And I really appreciate that transparency to share for other husbands out there or partners who you don’t know what to say sometimes if you’ve got somebody saying, this is making me sick, and you’re like, I don’t know, is it ? You know, you’re where you don’t know where to weigh in on the topic, it’s not you feeling it. And so just your honesty about being with her throughout this process before, during and after I think is so, so helpful for other people who might be looking at this surgery.
And it’s becoming much more popular surgery just because I think one is maybe lifestyle, you know, you change over time and what you wanted at 23, like I said earlier, might be different than when you’re in your forties or fifties. But also, you know, for the percentage of people, we do have some podcasts that he has done and we’ll put him in the show notes where he talks about breast implant illness and how many patients has he helped and how many patients. I think he said he can count on one hand the ones who didn’t feel different. So for hundreds and hundreds of women they felt better. Mm-hmm. . And so I love that you’ve brought us into that fold of how it’s impacted your life in a positive way. So thank you.
Yeah, no worries. Uh, I felt like I was pretty much the, the average guy going into something like this, you know, where their wife had this breast augmentation, that she looked good with them, the fear that, you know, I think a lot of guys would have is, uh, oh my gosh, the boobs are gonna go away and you know, I’m not gonna be attracted to her or whatever. And I just felt it was really important to let other men know that, hey, just forget about that. It’s gonna be fine. Cuz my wife literally went from a double D down to like a b basically mm-hmm. . And so I just wanted them to, to know that hey, everything’s gonna be okay. And the the woman that you get at the end after the surgeries is like infinitely better than the one that was miserable with the boobs. And so not to be afraid of it, for her to get the the eggplants and that, uh, everything’s gonna be okay cuz I was, I was afraid too and I’m just like, I just wish I had done it or we had done it, uh, several years before.
Well now you have many more years of your frisky wife. .
Looking good, feeling good. I mean that’s, that’s exciting. That’s really exciting and I really appreciate, like I said, that you coming on and telling everyone your story and I think we’re gonna be sharing, I think Gretchel’s doing some filming with her and so we’ll have some links in the show notes with her before and afters and kind of see her transformation. So thank you so much again, and I hope her healing continues as she’s, you know, now getting to enjoy her new lifted perky B sized breasts. .
All right. Well thank you.
Speaker 1 (27:27):
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