July 1, 2017
Black Market Silicone Injections: My dangerous obsession with wanting to be more feminine
By Kayla Lozano
I think that I was in elementary school when I first started to play “dress up.” I always kept it hidden because I knew that my family would be completely against it, and my mom would probably disown me. I also kept it a secret because I felt ashamed of anyone finding out what I was going through.
I used to wrap a towel around my head, and pretend that the towel was long beautiful hair – you know, like Barbie. Then I would stuff my t-shirt with either socks (which always fell off) or toilet paper – and I would just stare at myself in the mirror for what seemed FOREVER!
I was just a young child, and while others may just write it off as me just playing a childhood dress-up game, the truth was that I was having body issues and already ashamed of my body.
When I wore my go-to enhancements, I felt a calming sense of peace. I felt a little closer to natural. This may sound foolish, but it was a real valid feeling.
That’s what my journey into becoming the woman I always was on the inside, was all about – one step closer to being what I considered natural.
Time went on, and I finally moved out on my own. This was not the easiest for me. When I began my transition, I was surrounded by a close group of transgender girls who were all going through the same process as I was. These girls became my “sisters.” Some of the girls were a year or two older, and I was the youngest.
I first started transitioning using breast pads and padded bras. This was always a problem for me because I did not like how oddly shaped my breasts looked (also, I did not like that there was no natural movement to them).
The pads would ALWAYS slip out of my bra and travel all over my chest. I believe one actually fell out on the floor at one time! (EMBARRASSING!!!) But it was all I could do to achieve who I wanted to become – Me.
One day, we found out through the club scene “grapevine” that a silicone doctor was coming into town. “Silicone doctor” – I thought, well it sounds legit – after all, she’s a doctor, right?
At the time, before the internet, there were no manuals on how to become a woman or how to transition. However, if there were, they were certainly not readily available to transgender women, struggling to put food in their mouths, or to survive. So, I did what I saw everyone else was doing. I tried to follow and learn from other older trans women – after all, these were my “sisters.”
On one evening, I tagged along with some of my friends who went to see this “silicone doctor.” I remember that at the time the fee for any “body work” was really not in my budget. Either way, I went along because I wanted to see what it was like. I felt a bit skeptical at first (my inner voice – my intuition was speaking to me, and I did not listen), especially since the procedures were to take place in a motel of all places. But I was naïve. I wanted to be a girl.
I saw the procedures get done that night, and let’s just say that it was not a pleasant site at all. After my friends were done, they had breasts. They were tiny breasts – but you could actually see a difference. The immediacy of the process, along with the immediate gratification were really intoxicating. Also, at the time, breast augmentation cost upwards $10,000 dollars, and let’s face it, I was just a gay bar showgirl – with absolutely no money.
SO, I saved. I saved and saved and saved. It took me forever to save enough money to even get a visit.
I went to a motel with a few of my closest trans sisters, ready to come out a complete woman. Or so I thought.
The process was EXTREMELY horrific and SUPER painful! When it was my turn, I laid on the motel bed, that was covered in motel towels. The “doctor” was a much older transwoman, who had such animated features. I remember thinking to myself, “I will not go THAT far” (my first thought after seeing the silicone doctor for the first time). She told me to relax and offered me a muscle relaxer to calm me down – which I declined. As I lay there, shaking with fear, she then pulls out the giant needle that she would be using for the procedure – and I about lost it!
The first injection went in and I remember feeling so much pain, I could feel my skin ripping and tearing. My skin immediately became hot and irritated. I can still remember the burning feeling of the silicone go into my tissue. After finishing each injection (each of the large injections sites oozed a clear liquid), she then took a cotton ball and some super glue and sealed the injection sites with them. When I was done, I had several superglued cotton balls on my breasts.
My skin was so lumpy and deformed – I was actually freaked out by the sight of my breasts. The doctor then used both her hands and proceeded to knead and mold my breasts. OUCH!!! That was the worse pain I had ever felt! The worst part is that after she finished the left side, there was still the right side to work on.
After the entire procedure, I paid the lady whatever little money I had saved up and she was on her way.
My only post-procedural guidelines were to leave the cotton balls on for as long as they could stay on, and to wear a bra at all times to keep the shape in place.
After having this done to me, I told myself never again! The entire process was so excruciatingly painful. But – a year or so later, I went back for more- and I did so for a few more times.
Each time my breasts grew bigger, and I was pleased with my new natural-looking breasts.
One day, I found out that one of my friends, who was also a trans female, died after having her breasts “pumped” (“pumping” and “pumped” was the “street” word for having silicone work done to the body) – and the saddest part was that she had just completed her gender reassignment surgery a few weeks prior. This was a shock to all of us in the community. The sadness of losing a beautiful friend who had already completed her gender reassignment surgery was enough to make me never get my breasts done again. We were all so young and so naïve. Breast augmentation was just too expensive in the late 1990’s – and even more so for a transgender female with no real means of supporting herself (at the time there were no laws protecting trans people from employer discrimination – and sadly, there still really isn’t).
Over the years, I have experienced a lot of pain in my breasts. My breast tissue has hardened like a rock in one of my breasts, and the other has hard large lumps in it. My breasts hang low since they are so heavy. I have experienced sharp pains that travel through my arms, as well as burning throughout my thighs and legs as well.
I consulted with physicians in the past concerning a breast augmentation/revision surgery to have the silicone taken out, however, since it has been so long (almost 20 years) since I have had the foreign substance in my body, it is impossible to entirely remove it. So I just wait, hoping that one day my fears are not proven true, and I have a stroke or blood clot because of the silicone running through my body. As soon as I finish college, I hope to get a job within the social work field, and I will save again – but this time to have the dangerous silicone removed (as much as possible) and safer breast implants put in – by a REAL board certified doctor!
I hope that by sharing a little of my story that this will help prevent anyone from seeking black market cosmetic procedures. I was too young to understand the ramifications and dangers of my actions at the time, and now I am paying the price. Several of my friends unfortunately paid the ultimate price – all because we wanted to be more like a woman on the outside.
The pain of being trapped in a body that does not coincide with your identity can drive people to do whatever they have to, in order to change or stop the pain. Some people would even commit suicide.
I hope this helps somebody. Always take care of your body and know that you are beautiful without all the dangerous cosmetic procedures out there. Also know that cosmetic surgery or enhancements DO NOT make you a woman, because you ALREADY ARE a woman! If you feel the need to do enhancements, and have the ability to do so – then PLEASE do some research first. Find out all the details, and be sure to have a true support system in place to help you.