The world would be a happier place if we didn’t talk about how women’s body should look like. We’re drawn to click-bait headlines like “Kim Kardashian's plastic surgery timeline” - even though we know it conflicts with our values and only breeds more problems. Our obsession with social media and reality stars have made plastic surgery and injectable a commonplace.

Tina Fey's 2011 memoir “Bossypants,” she joked, “Now, every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.”

While these cosmetic procedures can be done safely in the hands of a professional, unfortunately, there can be rare cases of unwanted side effects. This is exactly what seemed to happen to YouTube star and influencer, Karissa Pukas after she received a breast augmentation in 2014.

At 22, Pukas thought bigger breasts would improve her looks and confidence. Now at 28, her painful experience and chronic illnesses following the surgery have changed that view. In her video, titled "The truth about breast implants," she mentions she's felt sick since she got her breast augmentation though she doesn't often show the pain on social media.

“From no boobs to big boobs, to no boobs.… I think everyone has a notion the grass is always greener. There are great things about small boobs, great things about big boobs. The biggest thing is about being happy about how you naturally are."

“I felt like I was living in a 90-year-old body”

The video shows a chronicle of past four years in flashbacks, including one in which she says, "I've had on and off blurry vision and I feel like I'm an old woman. I have hip pain, back pain and digestive issues. I don't understand why I feel so old and debilitated at 26 years old."

She also mentions symptoms like anxiety and depressive disorders, foggy memory, acne, nasty body odour, diarrhoea - all of which she traces back to her 2014 breast augmentation.

She delved into her life, trying to figure out all the changes. Doctors and naturopaths would say that she was doing everything right and her medical tests apparently showed it. The chronic illness made no sense. So many doctor simply prescribed ‘stress.’ She couldn’t see how her life was any more stressful than it had been a year earlier. Not to mention, health and fitness had always been a top priority for her.

Her vulnerability helped other women

It was Pukas’ fans who pointed out that breast implants could be causing her mystery illness. “If it wasn't for the other women in the community sharing their stories, I would still be sick,” she tells the Today show.

Since her tell-all video, her vulnerability has helped countless other young women. Pukas’ story is a story about being your own advocate.

Many women who had considered altering their bodies have a different opinion now, one YouTuber commented, “This is an extremely well-researched video. You're doing an incredible job helping women be well informed about the dangers of breast implants."

“Do you realise how many lives you just saved with this video??? Thank you for your bravery.”

Pro-information, not anti-plastic surgery

Pukas now has her life back and her purpose in talking about her experience is not intended to cause panic, judgment or shame. It’s for information purposes – not to stigmatise plastic surgery.

“I want women to be aware it is a possibility from implants. It’s an important conversation. Often women’s health gets pushed aside.”

Her raw story is spread throughout the media, including Cosmopolitan, O (Oprah) Magazine, MSN.com, and Yahoo.com. Her YouTube video, “The Truth about Breast Implants – Breast Implant Illness,” detailing her experience, has surpassed half a million views.

“I think its important people put their story out there, and the truth. A decision I made at 22 will affect me for the rest of my life. I see the value of what my body can do, not what it looks like. That’s what it’s for. It doesn’t matter what you look like. It’s a shell.”

Do you have a story about how cosmetic procedures have changed your life? Cases like Pukas are rare so we’d also love to hear cases where it has made a positive impact in the lives of women. You can submit your story below.

Please provide a brief overview of your story below. Every month our writers will be contacting different women to discuss their story of inspiration, adversity and life and share them with the Womanhood community.

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