A woman who underwent a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer » at age 23 is goes viral after turning her surgery scars into unique works of art.
Nikki Black , who is now 25, is a comedian from Los Angeles. At age 23 while doing stand-up in Philadelphia, Black went to the doctor to get a biopsy of her breast tissue. The next week the doctor’s office called and told her she had breast cancer.
Black was stunned when she discovered she had breast cancer » , in coping with her diagnosis, Black turned to art, makeup, and photography as a form of therapy and expression.
She would draw designs on her head and had photographs taken as a way of dictating how her body would look.
After sometime she decided she was going to get elaborate floral tattoos in the shape of hearts over her reconstructed breasts rather than nipples as a therapeutic way to embrace her new identity.
‘ The tattoos were a way for me to feel like I’m in the driver’s seat again; to make my body a place that was safe and where I wanted to be, ‘ the Los Angeles-based comedian told Daily Mail Online.
‘ When you have breast cancer, you lose control of your body in so many ways .’
‘ After going through reconstruction, she decided that getting tattoos was a perfect way to take back control. I didn’t want my pre-cancer body back, but I wanted the body I have to be mine .’
Nikki contacted Holly Feneht, who owns a tattoo shop called The Gilded Lily Design, which specializes in paramedical art.
They communicated back and forth, and Feneht came up with a design that incorporated floral elements and a fish to represent Black’s star sign, Pisces. Black was moved by the beauty of the work. “ I almost cried at my desk; it was so beautiful. ”
She wrote in an XO Jane article about how getting the tattoos has been a positive process: “ The tattooing was like therapy, a surgery for the soul .”
Black said the reactions to her tattoos have been spectacular.
“People love them! I love them! 10/10. People have been so supportive — it’s been amazing!”
Black told Buzzfeed that she hopes writing about and documenting her experience will serve as a way of helping others.
“When I was first diagnosed, I really could have used some positive reading on the whole experience, so I hope I can do that for somebody .”
Her tattoo comes after the hashtag #NoBraDay » , a day set aside by netizens around the celebrate the Breast Cancer Awareness Month.