MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WIFR) -- A local woman is on the road to recovery after an eight year battle with an illness several doctors struggled to diagnose. This follows an elective surgery after the birth of her first child.
A simple game of soccer with the family is now one of Hannah Day's greatest joys. A few months ago, she says it would have been impossible due to her failing health.
"I was not myself, I lost myself", says Day.
It all began after Day got breast implants in 2009. Almost immediately, she says she noticed something wasn't right.
"I started gaining weight that year", says Day. "I'd always been very thin and I hadn't changed my diet. Then it became joint pain and that was really hard."
Things got worse for Day. She says she was constantly sick, in and out of the hospital, causing her to quit her job. She also says she suffered heart palpitations, fatigue and what she calls "brain fog".
"I remember one of the first doctors and I was telling her my symptoms and she just looked at me and said I have no idea what's wrong with you", says Day.
Those were scary words for the mom who thought doctors would be able to diagnose her right away. Days' symptoms, coupled with fear and uncertainty, continued for eight years.
"I didn't even care if it was the worst diagnosis they could give me", says Day. "I just wanted to know."
By January of 2017, Day was fed up. One night she googled her symptoms, like she'd done so many times before, but this time a certain website caught her eye. As she started reading, her jaw dropped. The website led her to a Facebook support group, one that she credits for saving her life.
"When I started reading through the stories of thousands and thousands of other women it just hit me", says Day. "This is it. I finally connected the dots. I just know it's my breast implants."
A woman in the group connected her with Dr. Dhaval Patel. He gave Day what she had been waiting on for years, an answer.
"I started telling him about my symptoms, he knew exactly what I was talking about", says Day. "He said well what you have is silicone toxicity."
Dr. Patel says even though Day had saline implants, the outer shells were mad of silicon, which still put her at risk for silicone toxicity. It's an illness that Dr. Patel says could have been deadly as the chemicals from those outer shells spread throughout her body. Now armed with hope and information, Day scheduled surgery to have the implants removed.
"The best way to really address the issue is to go in to remove the implant, remove the scar tissue, remove what we call the capsule", says Dr. Patel. "Meaning removing it entirely instead of leaving some capsule behind."
Dr. Patel says silicone toxicity is rare and it's hard for many doctors to recognize because not a lot of research about it exists.
"I do believe there's a subset of women who get breast implants placed whose body doesn't tolerate those implants", says Dr. Patel.
Two weeks after the surgery, Day says her symptoms began to disappear.
"I had tears in my eyes because for the first time in eight years I felt normal, I forgot what normal felt like", says Day.
It's now been more than two months since Day's surgery to have her implants removed. The 30-year-old is getting her life back, enjoying more time with her family, and educating women about the possible dangers of breast implants.
'Love your body and accept what it is now", says Day. "if you still really want to get them in, just know the symptoms of breast implant illness. I wake up everyday and I thank God just for giving me a second chance."