A mum was nearly killed by breast implants after doctors mistook life-threatening mould poisoning for premenopause.
Dee Hicks, 45, was bedridden for six months and suffered hair loss, chest pain, rashes and depression believed to be caused by mouldy implants.
However, for a year, the reason for her declining health remained a mystery to medics who suggested it was due to her age.
As the pain worsened and began to affect her family life, Dee took matters into her own hands and had her implants removed last year.
In just 24 hours, the mum-of-five felt “like a new person” and two months later has finally got her life back.
Now, she hopes to help other women suffering from Breast Implant Illness by sharing her story.
Dee from Satellite Beach in Florida, USA, said: "I spent thousands of dollars on test to find out what was wrong and not even one time did any of the doctors say it could be implants making me sick.
"The doctors were telling me I was fine and it was in my head. A lot put it down as premenopause."
A decade after having breast augmentation in 2001, Dee began to experience fatigue, hair loss and rashes on her skin.
She said: "I got the breast implants for my self-esteem, I was 34A and I wanted to be in proportion with my curves.
"I lived in a beach community in Florida where everyone has them. I was the last one of my friends to go ahead with it.
"Ever since I had them put in I had these rashes. I thought it was a heat rash – they were there three or four times a week.
"This past year it really took a nose dive. I was having double vision so I went to see a doctor who did [a] test and showed it was inflammation, but wasn't sure what was causing it."
Dee was so sick she lost her job in May and suffered depression.
She said: "It affected my marriage and my relationship with my children.
"I was absolutely bed-ridden the last month and even six months prior to having them removed I was withdrawn.
"The brain fog I had was one of the most horrific experience. When my brain started going it was so frustrating.
"My friends knew something was wrong, and they thought I was dying.
"I couldn't be a good mum or a good wife because I was sick.
"I was out of it for six months. The last month I could hardly get out of bed and I was having suicidal thoughts."
During a flight to visit friends in New York, she experienced severe chest pain in her left breast.
Dee said: "When I was on the plane, I felt like my lymph-nodes were going to explode. They were enlarged and swelling.
"My left breast was killing me. My chest was sore or tight, I was having trouble breathing."
Dee took her search online and found her symptoms matched mould poisoning.
She said: "It was like a light bulb went off.
"I was upset with myself but I was so relieved that it was something I could change by getting the implants removed and regaining my health.
"It really saved my life."
Dee had to fork out $6500 to have her implants removed in December 2016 but immediately noticed an improvement.
She said: "As soon as I had them removed, my vision and hearing improved.
"My skin and old scars that wouldn’t heal before began to heal.
"My sex drive returned and my husband and I are better then ever.
"My quality of life has done a 360 turn. I started to recover after 24 hours and four days later I was a new person."
She added: "I'm just glad that word is getting out, I really don't know if I would be alive if I hadn't realised out it was the implants causing the problems."