Empowering mastectomy tattoo by Lianne Moule


Back in August, we spotted this absolutely stunning mastectomy tattoo by Lianne Moule, who works at Immortal Ink in Chelmsford, after she shared it on Instagram. So we got in touch with Lianne to find out more about the process, we’re sharing the story here to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“Around four years ago, Liz was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer: sarcoma. The type and size of the cancer dictated that Liz’s only real option was a mastectomy with delayed reconstruction. The process must have taken a huge amount of strength and courage but I’m so grateful she allowed me to be a small part of her inspiring journey.

“Having never had a tattoo in her life, I am awe-inspired that she found me to request a mastectomy cover-up. Liz emailed the studio and told us about her situation and what she wanted to do. When I met Liz for her first consultation, she was very nervous. But she bravely told me her story. When she was diagnosed and told she would lose her breast, she was overrun by emotions. She even said to the consultant that she would rather die than lose her breast. She was aware that even though it seemed a dramatic reaction, her emotions were all over the place and she genuinely felt that. All of a sudden, she was aware of the fact that she felt her breasts gave her femininity, she questioned whether or not she would be able to love her body afterwards.

“Liz told me that throughout every stage of her diagnosis, surgery and aftercare, she was given so much support by the different departments – every team would explain what would be happening to her body and what the options were for her in the future. She decided to go ahead with a nipple graft onto the reconstructed breast, but at this point in the surgeries, she still didn’t know what she wanted to do with her body.

“When Liz was looking at the option of getting tattooed nipples, she came across some pictures of some flowers over mastectomy scars. Liz told me many times that she would never have had a tattoo if it hadn’t been for this journey she has been through. When Liz’s breast was taken away, it was replaced with what she calls ‘a lump of flesh’ – she said it never felt like her breast. With these feelings, Liz said she wanted to make it ‘her own’. Having a beautiful picture on it would make it finally hers, after having many operations without choice, she could finally make a decision to do what she wanted with it.

“Every time I tattoo a breast cancer survivor, it is always about reclaiming their body. It’s the decision that they get to finally make about their own body, to get closure of their experience. Having their bodies cut and poked and prodded and tested without really having a choice, it’s empowering to finally make a decision.

“Liz’s tattoo is one of my favourite pieces of artwork, she looks beautiful and I really hope she feels it. It’s detailed and colourful and I forever hope it gives her confidence.”

Research shows that one in seven women in the UK will develop breast cancer at some stage in their lifetime. October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is so so important to check your breasts (if you need help with this head to coppafeel.org). 

 



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