Breast Tattoos Post-Mastectomy, A Compelling Slide Show

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I haven’t had breast cancer, just a cyst aspiration here and there; I’ve been fortunate. And I was blown away by these body tattoos that camouflage, enhance, and adorn the chests of women post-mastectomy and post-lumpectomy. I love the way the art creates beauty where some women have seen pain and suffering.

Here are a few of the bold and beautiful women who chose to decorate and redefine their scars in ways that are meaningful for them. The quotes are from the author of the piece, Megan Decker. There’s some strong language in the complete article.
 

"Some women decide not to undergo reconstruction after breast cancer. As seen here, the flowers blossoming signify a kind of re-birth and are popular for many women who get post-mastectomy tattoos."

“Some women decide not to undergo reconstruction after breast cancer. As seen here, the flowers blossoming signify a kind of re-birth and are popular for many women who get post-mastectomy tattoos.”

 

"This colorful design of a lotus flower and a blue butterfly brings good vibes."

“This colorful design of a lotus flower and a blue butterfly brings good vibes.”

 

"There's a feeling of movement in this design that represents a renewed sense of self after cancer."

“There’s a feeling of movement in this design that represents a renewed sense of self after cancer.”

I am embarrassed to make any comparison to women who’ve had breast cancer, but I’ve been thinking about a tattoo to cover the scar from my wrist fixator. The scar doesn’t represent anything but pain to me, and I’d like to look down and see something inspiring. Below is how the scar looks today, three months after surgery. I’ll have at least two months to wait before it can be tattooed. Flowers, hearts, or a saucy quote?

Yikes, sorry you have to see all the freckles and other things that grow on bodies!

Yikes, you have to see all the freckles and other things that grow on bodies!

 

What do you think about the therapeutic use of body art? Would you (or have you)? Stay fabulous, and see you at the new “Easy does it” Visible Monday,

 

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patti

20 Comments

  1. I don’t have the greatest skin but I was fortunate that my mastectomy scars really faded well. I never wore a 2 piece bathing suit so my chest has no sun exposure and I think that helped it heal without a lot of scaring.

    I had reconstruction and by the time I was done with the multiple surgeries for that I was not in the mood to have any more anything done to my body, and even skipped the nipple tattoo. The best way for me to move on was to quit ending up in exam/procedure rooms with my chest exposed. Ten years later I rarely think about my mastectomy/reconstruction, and am happy that I don’t have a tattoo that might peek out from a bathing suit. That is behind me – thank goodness.

  2. These tatoos seem so visually symbolic of moving forward. I think they’re a wonderful way to mark life’s movement forward.

  3. Do NOT put a school mascot on your arm Patti!!! Just sayin’ you’d regret that 1 second afterwards. Sorry Jodie…I cannot get on board with that.

    Something that means something to your heart though would be beautiful and cover up something that brings back bad memories.

    I have a big scar from my uterine surgery that I do my best to avoid looking at. No tattoos for me though. Not after my eyelid tattoos.

    If I was Jodie’s Mom I’d have half of my legs tattooed trying to cover up spider veins. It’s a regular map going on down there.

    Suzanne

    • oh yes, you did have a rough go with tattooing, so sorry! And covering spider veins sounds like a super idea (except I’d need a boat-load of ink) xox

  4. I absolutely love this idea, Patti! Making beauty from ashes… It’s wonderful! I’ve suffered from severe fibromyalgia for over 15 years, I’ve often thought of getting a purple butterfly, the fibro symbol, to represent my battle. I can’t wait to see what you decide to do!

    • Well you just taught me something – I didn’t know about the purple butterfly. Best to you, xo

  5. Hey Patti!

    I know it seems like your scar isn’t as “painful” seeming as a mastectomy scar, but as someone who had to have multiple arm surgeries with a broken arm as a teen, I understand just how upsetting the leftover scars can be.

    I now have two full sleeves of tattoos, but my original goal was tattooing over my old surgery scars. Covering them with something beautiful helped me ‘reclaim’ my arm, which still causes pain at random thanks to messed up nerves and damaged muscle.

    I look forward to seeing what you go with.

    • so sorry you still have damage from your old injury, M!
      Thanks for the encouraging words, xo

  6. I love this idea about therapeutic tattoos. Maybe you want a tattoo anyway, in a different place, like a learner’s permit for driving.

  7. You might want to wait a while, that is a very recent scar and will likely fade away quite a lot. My husband had a really nasty scar from abdominal surgery and now we can hardly see it.

    • thanks Janet, yes I’m going to wait a while — but have also wanted a nice tattoo for a long time! xo

  8. I think it’s a wonderful idea. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in May had surgery in June and just finished up radiation therapy in September. I was lucky it was caught early Stage 1, so my prognosis and treatment was much easier than many others. I’ve been thinking of some type of tattoo to signify my journey but I’m not ready to make that type of commitment for life. I guess I’m still old school and while I admire the artwork I’m not sure I’m ready to commit.

  9. I love that idea Patti!!
    What about your mascot from school?
    We keep telling my mom to get a tattoo to cover a spider vein she has on her leg—but I doubt she’ll do it. When I was working, I’d numb up the area before hand so it was easier!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

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