Mastectomy Tattoo Pictures and Impact Stories
My journey with breast cancer has been a story 6 years in the making. As with most survivors, it's been a roller coaster ride with gut-wrenching lows, sensational highs, and more twists and turns than I can count, or care to remember. My experience with the Phoenix Project is, without a doubt, the most life-changing and life-affirming part of my cancer experience and the perfect conclusion (please God) to a wild ride.
Those twists and turns? In addition to the lumpectomy, I've had 5 corrective surgeries to remove scar tissue caused by my body's reaction to radiation treatments. My final surgery was a tissue flap procedure done 1 year ago. It was "successful" in that it brought health back to the radiated tissue; however, the scaring on my breast and 12-inch incision on my side was significant.
Scaring...A small price to pay for being a survivor. Right? That's what I tried to keep telling myself. However, as the months went by, I realized that those scars were a constant reminder of the lows, and more and more, I wanted to celebrate the highs of my journey. The traditional scar treatments (laser, surgery, creams) weren't appealing. Sorry, been there, done that. So I googled "celebrating breast cancer scars" and was brought to tears with image after image of beautifully tattooed breast cancer survivors. I thought, "But I'm not a tattoo person. Wait a minute. I'm also not a cancer person. If I can get cancer, then I can get a tattoo. I'm going to do this, for me!"
After searching for highly rated tattoo artists in the area, I found Brittany at Thistle and Pearl. We immediately connected during our consultation. Not only because she is an amazingly gifted artist and beautiful sole, but she is also a former student of mine. Karma is awesome! She shared her ideas for a tattoo which would incorporate my scars into a natural floral spray of honey-suckles and soft blooms. With tears streaming down my face, it was at that moment I realized just how deeply my journey had scared me.
Cost...Wow! I knew tattoos weren't cheap but hadn't considered how extensive and expensive mine would be. Even though I'm still paying off medical bills, I was sitting in that consultation calculating budget cuts or part-time jobs to make it happen. That's when Brittany told me she had recently gotten involved with the Inked Phoenix Project and that I could apply for financial assistance. Again, Karma is really awesome! The application process was easy, and the communication between the artist, the Project coordinator and myself was outstanding. I was shocked, and incredibly grateful, when I learned 100% of the cost would be covered.
Happy endings...My scars have been turned into a beautiful celebration of a challenging journey. Thank you to everyone involved with this amazing, life-changing project. You are my heroes!
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I had a double mastectomy in May of 2016. I was so happy that the surgery was all I needed. I had been through chemo and radiation 28 years before, and I didn’t want to go through it again. Going though the reconstruction process is a scary and funny thing. I went from looking like a 12 year old boy to developing breast every few weeks when I would get my ‘fill’. All I could think about was wanting to look ‘normal’ again. My surgeon had told me about Areola renewal, and I knew that was the route I wanted to take. I had gone through a divorce and I couldn’t imagine not looking like a real woman as I ventured back into the dating world. Having had the double mastectomy and thinking that I wouldn’t be attractive to anyone was my biggest insecurity. Once I got my tattoos in January of 2017, I felt whole again. My friend Kirsten and I were going through the same thing.... however she opted for a more artistic way to cover her scars. It’s funny, when she saw my 3D Areola’s, she thought they were awesome. When I saw her art, I was so envious of her new look. After that, I thought of a way I could look normal, with the tattoo nipples, but also do something that would look artsy too. That’s when I thought about having demi bra tattoos.. but still show my 3D nipples. I love my new look. Ike totally captured what I wanted and exceeded my expectations! My scars are completly covered. I feel beautiful and a little bad ass!